Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump ignores debt in State of the Union address

What About the Debt? Trump's SOTU Ignores a $20 Trillion Time Bomb - Hit & Run : - Eric Boehm:

January 31, 2018 - "The State of the Union address is traditionally an opportunity for presidents to make outlandish promises.... Historically, it has also been an opportunity to discuss the sorry state of America's entitlements and the unsustainable trajectory of the national debt.... [T]hese annual promises to address the country's debt are not meant to be taken completely seriously. Still, it's an important box to check....

"Donald Trump skipped that box in his first official State of the Union address. He did not once utter the words 'debt' or 'entitlement.' The only mention of 'deficit' came in reference to America's supposed 'infrastructure deficit' — in other words, it came in a call for even more government spending. Trump did reference the 'sequester,' a colloquial name for the 2013 budget act instituting limited cuts in discretionary spending, but only long enough to call it 'dangerous' and to ask for Congress to repeal it so more tax money can be shoveled into the Pentagon.

"Trump had a lot to say about the tax reforms he signed into law in December. Rightly so. Cutting corporate and personal income taxes will let Americans keep more of their own money and will likely boost the economy in 2018 and beyond. But the tax bill will also add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years. Republicans can pat themselves on the back ... but unless spending is reduced all they've really done is postpone the payment of taxes for 10 years or so....

"While the Congressional Budget Office says the deficit for the current fiscal year is only about $666 billion — only, as if a figure twice the size of Canada's annual budget is nothing — it's going to begin growing next year. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projects that the country could face a trillion-dollar deficit in the next fiscal year, with annual deficits of $2 trillion expected by the mid-2020s....

"In the long term, the largest driver of the national debt are entitlement programs that run on autopilot, without needing to be renegotiated as part of each new congressional budget. In fiscal year 2016, $2.47 trillion of the federal government's $3.66 trillion in non-interest expenses — in other words, 67 percent of every dollar spent that wasn't going to payments on the national debt — went toward 'mandatory spending' on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Within a decade, those three programs will consume $4.14 trillion annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"Congress, meanwhile, can hardly scrape together the votes for a months-long continuing resolution. Even with full Republican control, passing an actual budget — a budget that would affect only that other 33 percent of federal spending — seems like an impossible dream."

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Koch machine budgets $400M for midterms

Tax Cuts Help Trump Win Fans at Conservative Koch Donor Network - Bloomberg - John McCormick, Politics:

January 29, 2018 - "At this weekend’s gathering of Koch donors at a desert resort in southern California, Trump’s stock, like the U.S. market, was up, even if members of the libertarian-leaning group remain nervous about his restrictive views on trade and immigration.

"The network founded by billionaires Charles and David Koch didn’t support Trump’s insurgent 2016 campaign....  Before the election, Charles Koch compared a contest between Trump and Clinton to a choice between 'cancer or a heart attack.'

"Even as some donors and Koch officials praised Trump for passage of the tax bill, Charles Koch, 82, made no mention of him when he welcomed donors Saturday evening or when he appeared on a panel discussion that reporters were allowed to monitor on Sunday.

"With more than 700 donors who give a minimum of $100,000 per year and more than 100,000 donors overall, the network has convened similar gatherings twice annually since 2003. Throughout the weekend, reporters were prohibited from approaching donors, except during a hour-long window Sunday evening when a small group agreed to interviews.

"The network used the weekend to reinforce its commitment to help Republicans keep control of Congress and statehouses nationwide. Leaders said plans call for spending close to $400 million on policy and politics during the two-year election cycle that culminates with November’s midterm elections, a roughly 60 percent increase over 2015-16.... The spending will include about $20 million in 2018 to sell voters on the merits of the new tax law, about the same amount Koch-affiliated groups spent in 2017 promoting the legislation....

"Americans for Tax Fairness, a left-leaning advocacy group, released a rough estimate last week that said the changes could be worth $1 billion or more a year in reduced taxes for the conglomerate.

"Koch officials pushed back against the study. 'The report should be met with skepticism,' said David Dziok, a Koch corporate spokesman. 'Its methodology is questionable, and the group responsible for it makes no secret of its political leanings. Koch is a strong proponent of comprehensive tax reform because we’re confident that it’ll lead to stronger economic growth, more jobs, and more money in the pockets of American families.'"

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Monday, January 29, 2018

NM Land Commissioner switches to Libertarians

Dunn switches to Libertarian Party | Legislature | New Mexico Legislative Session | - Andrew Oxford, Santa Fe New Mexican:

January 27, 2018 - "State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, one of New Mexico’s top elected Republicans, has switched parties and registered to vote as a Libertarian.

"Dunn said Saturday he is considering his next political move as his term comes to an end later this year. Some Libertarians have launched a campaign to draft him as their candidate for the U.S. Senate.

"Regardless of his next steps, Dunn’s departure from the GOP means Republicans now hold one less statewide elected office. And it comes as the party grapples with factional battles as well as its very identity in a purple state during the age of President Donald Trump.

"Dunn’s move, though unusual, is hardly a surprise. A rancher and banker from Southern New Mexico, he has long been at odds with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.... But he also has been one of the few Republicans to win a statewide election in recent years. Dunn won elected office for the first time in 2014, ousting Democrat Ray Powell as land commissioner in a race so narrow it prompted a recount.

"Under Dunn, the office has avoided scandal. He has rankled some oil companies, however, by imposing restrictions on pumping fresh water from the Ogallala Aquifer. And he has scrapped with Martinez over management of the State Investment Council....

"Dunn’s son, A. Blair Dunn, is running for attorney general as a Libertarian and has undertaken a campaign of sorts to get his father into the race for U.S. Senate.... It would be an unprecedented win for Libertarians. But the party has access to the ballot this year.

"Former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson ran for president as a Libertarian in 2016 and received about 9 percent of the vote in New Mexico ... to win Libertarians a designation as a major party in the state.... Libertarians still only constitute around 1 percent of New Mexico’s registered voters — about 7,260 people as of November 2017, according to the Secretary of State’s Office."

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pentagon has spent millions hunting for UFOs

The Pentagon Is Hunting for UFOs. Guess How Much It Costs. - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Camilo Gómez:

January 28, 2018 - "Last December, the New York Times broke the story about a secret Pentagon program that searches for UFOs. The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was a pet project of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and then-Senate majority leader. The program ran from 2007 to 2012 and cost $22 million. It was funded by 'black money,' the term used for classified Pentagon programs. This explains why the project wasn’t public until this year...

"The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program gave most of the money to Reid’s billionaire friend Robert Bigelow, who runs an aerospace research company that has worked with NASA. Since Bigelow was already a billionaire, the obvious question is: why can’t he ... fund his own program?

"The relationship between UFO searching and the US government ... started in 1948 with a program by the United States Air Force called Project Sign, then it changed its name to Project Grudge. Then, in 1953, it became Project Blue Book for the next two decades. The program had two goals: to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security and to scientifically analyze UFO-related data.

"In 1968, the Condon Report was published by the University of Colorado UFO Project, a group funded by the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1968.... The conclusions of the Cordon Report were that UFOs are not a threat to national security, that unidentified sightings didn’t represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern science, and that there is no way to determine if UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin.

"In 1970, Project Blue Book came to an end, but that didn’t mean the government stopped funding the search for aliens. The SETI Institute, a non-profit organization founded in 1984, received funding from the government, but it stopped after the criticism as a waste of money without any relevant objective by two Democratic Senators, William Proxmire of Wisconsin and Richard Bryan of Nevada. But this was just the direct funding....

"The American government has wasted money on silly things like birdwatching, changing sand in beaches, and funding a clown school in Argentina.... UFO searches sound like a more imaginative way to waste money, but it’s still not a legitimate government function.

"[C]ould we trust that if a government actually solves the UFO mystery, they would reveal it? It seems doubtful, given their love for secrecy.... Plus, politicians tend to be hawkish, so if they are first to contact an extraterrestrial civilization, the risk of war increases. Searching for UFOs is just not the government’s business. We all would be better off if we leave that task to the private sector."

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Oxfam fighting "extreme" wealth, not poverty

Oxfam Cares More About Ideology than Poverty - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Martin van Staden:

January 27, 2018 - "Oxfam recently published its latest report on global inequality, pretentiously titled Reward Work, Not Wealth. In the report, Oxfam not only regurgitates all the same economic fallacies we’re used to — chief among them, the labor theory of value and the notion that wealth inequality is a problem to be solved — but it goes on to make dangerous and authoritarian recommendations to governments on how they should respond to this supposed 'inequality crisis'....

"Oxfam is among that cabal of non-government organizations that love the much-touted slogan that the world’s wealth is increasingly being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people..... In this year’s report, however, Oxfam cites research that 2017 saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in human history; 'one more every two days,' the charity claims. But ... Oxfam ... considers this phenomenon as indicative of 'extreme wealth' ... a problem that must be ended.

"Either wealth is increasingly being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people ... or, as Oxfam reported this year, there has been a substantial, indeed unprecedented, increase in the number of billionaires. Oxfam should decide what its angle is going to be....

"The report makes another incredible claim: globally, billionaires’ wealth increased by $762 billion in 12 months. According to Oxfam, this 'huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over.' There is, of course, a massive problem with this claim. In 2011 alone, the United States government spent more than $668 billion on 126 welfare programs.... According to Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute, the United States has spent nearly $15 trillion on welfare since the War on Poverty was declared by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964....

"Poverty is ended through employment, savings, and, crucially, a political environment conducive to economic freedom and economic growth; not by throwing money at the problem. Thankfully, on the up-side totally ignored by Oxfam, global extreme poverty has fallen dramatically over recent decades. It is likely that extreme poverty will be eliminated within the current generation. This won’t satiate Oxfam, however, because it concerns itself with the rich, not the destitute....

"Among a laundry list of state-centric suggestions, Oxfam calls on governments to 'use regulation and taxation to radically reduce levels of extreme wealth, as well as limit the influence of wealthy individuals and groups over policymaking.” It is safe to assume that Oxfam excludes itself — an extremely wealthy lobbying organization, having received over $244 million from governments alone between 2015-16 — from those groups that need limiting. It further advocates that governments should set targets 'for the collective income of the top 10% to be no more than the income of the bottom 40%'....

"It is high time that Oxfam be reduced to irrelevancy, at least as far as public policy goes. Its dodgy methodology, nit-picking of facts, and ideological commitment to the non-problem of inequality – at the expense of the very real problem of destitution – make it an intellectually dishonest player in policy advocacy. To the extent that Oxfam still engages in charity work, we must wish it all the best of luck. But solving poverty will not come out of its recommendations; instead, it will only yield more despair and tyranny.""

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Friday, January 26, 2018

BC Libertarian leader campaigning in Kelowna

Libertarian leader coming to Kelowna - Kelowna Capital News - Kevin Parnell:

January 24, 2018 - "After announcing himself with an electronic billboard attack on ICBC, the Libertarian candidate in the Kelowna West byelection will officially kick off his campaign this weekend, by hosting the leader of the BC Libertarian Party.

"Party leader Clayton Welwood will join candidate Kyle Geronazzo at a Kelowna event at Dakoda’s Sports Bar and Grill.

"At the event Geronazzo says he will be making a speech and outlining his campaign platform as well as taking questions from the public and media in advance of the Feb. 14 byelection to replace Christy Clark.

"The arrival of party leader Welwood is a continuation of party leaders to the riding. Andrew Weaver was in West Kelowna to support candidate Robert Stupka and several Liberal leadership hopefuls have been in the riding.... BC premier John Horgan has said he will be in the riding to support candidate Shelley Cook....

"As for Welwood, the native of North Vancouver joined the BC Libertarian Party after the 2015 federal election and was elected party leader at its most recent convention.

"The party had 29 candidates in last year’s provincial election and Welwood says he has set a goal of running a full slate of candidates in the 2021 B.C. election."

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Vermont governor signs cannabis legalization bill

Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Into Law - Tom Angell, Forbes:

January 22, 2018 - "Vermont is officially the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to end cannabis prohibition through an act of lawmakers.

"'I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children,' Gov. Phil Scott (R) said in a statement accompanying a legalization bill he signed into law on Monday.

"Under the legislation ... people over 21 years of age will be allowed to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow as many as two mature and four immature cannabis plants. Commercial marijuana sales will not be allowed under the new law ... set to take effect on July 1....

"Vermont’s legislative move signals a milestone in the evolving politics of marijuana. Polls consistently show majority voter support for legalization, and more politicians are beginning to see the issue as a winning one they should embrace rather than run away from.

"State lawmakers approved the legislation earlier this month, just days after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference....

"Now that the bill allowing possession and home cultivation has been signed into law in Vermont, supporters appear ready to keep pressing toward full-scale commercial legalization.

"'It’s up to citizens across the state whether or not we see a bill like that pass this year with their participation in the process,' Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (Progressive) said at a press conference earlier this month. 'I would like to see that. I think every year we go by not doing it, we are perpetuating the underground, unregulated, unjust system that we have today while other states are moving forward.'

" The Senate approved bills to allow legal marijuana sales last year and in 2016, but they didn’t gain traction in the House, which favored the noncommercial approach. "

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Less to gov't "shutdown" than meets the eye

Red Dirt Liberty Report: Shut It All Down! - Being Libertarian - Danny Chabino:

January 23, 2018 - "Unless you’re an American under total mental lockdown, you are aware that there was yet another government shutdown recently. It seems it’s a common occurrence, if only for a few days, every time there is a budget that needs to be passed....

As a libertarian thinker, it’s easy to cheer on the thought of a government shutdown ...  a respite from 'big brother' and the overreaching arm of illegitimate control over individual liberty.... However, this really isn’t that at all. This sort of government shutdown usually means 'non-essential' personnel go home, while many others are forced to continue working without pay until government is in full operation again. Then, everyone receives their full pay that was missed. Contractors who were blocked out can return to their contracts as well. In the meantime, we’ve spent no less money, government hasn’t stopped enforcing debilitating laws and regulations, and liberty really hasn’t changed at all.

"In the US, all that changes under a government shutdown is that people who were hired to do a job and depend on their paycheck like everyone else, have to figure out some way to get by with no pay for a while. One could argue that maybe government employees should go into these jobs fully aware of this risk (especially given that it seems to be an almost permanent threat every time it’s time to fight over the budget), but let’s be realistic. Only a very small portion of Americans have enough savings set aside for unexpected and immediate loss of income. Not to mention, these employees are essentially under a contract – a legal promise to pay for work. They haven’t been fired, and they are not under breach. Instead, the government is under breach and is not holding up its end of the deal. One could also call into question why the government continues to employ anyone who is “non-essential.” However, if you suddenly stop paying someone an amount you agreed, unless they are fired or let go, then the promise is broken, and the employer is in breach.

"A government shutdown, at least of most government functions, would be both a wondrous and glorious thing. It’s what I would love to see, and I’m positive most libertarians would as well. But, that would require actually shutting down those parts of government – ending funding for them and closing them for good. There would be no expectation of future work for employees, just as there is none when a private business closes.... We want to stop having to pay for things that shouldn’t be necessary. We want to end overreach, not just pretend to suspend it (even though it hasn’t been suspended in the slightest). The laws and regulations are still there, and they will be enforced, either now or when work resumes, retroactively."

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Colorado Libertarians decry Denver kratom ban

Kratom Ban in Denver Ripped by Libertarian Party of Colorado | Westword - Michael Roberts:

January 23, 2018 - "In November, Denver Environmental Health issued a human-consumption ban on kratom, a plant-based substance that advocates tout as a pain reliever lacking the well-known negative effects of more powerful opioids. Now the Libertarian Party of Colorado is formally decrying the move, and the organization's spokesperson reveals that it's a very personal subject for her. After all, she's a user of kratom who believes her life would be infinitely worse if she could no longer take it.

"'Who is the government to tell me that I can't have a functional life and have to live with excruciating pain that makes me want to kill myself?' asks Caryn Ann Harlos, the Colorado LP's communications director....

"[K]ratom has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration took steps to reclassify it as a Schedule I narcotic in August 2016 before reversing course the following year. The change in approach was undoubtedly influenced by public backlash; approximately 140,000 people signed a petition to the White House opposing the DEA's proposal, and a group of 51 U.S. senators and representatives sent a letter to Chuck Rosenberg, the agency's acting head, questioning it.

"Nevertheless, the feds continued to view kratom consumption as dangerous, attributing fifteen deaths between 2014 and 2016 to its use, even though fourteen of the victims had other drugs or illegal substances in their systems when they died.... DEH didn't ban all sales of kratom, but retailers that wish to peddle it for non-consumptive purposes must affix a consumer advisory ...that states: 'This product is not intended for human consumption. Consuming kratom products may pose a risk, including death, to consumers and has addictive potential.'....

"'I have a degenerative back disorder, spinal stenosis, and I've been on and off Vicodin for fifteen years,' Harlos says.... 'But when I moved to Colorado, the federal government started cracking down on opioids, and when I'd try to get legitimate pain medication, they made me feel like a criminal'.... Harlos began looking around for pain-killing alternatives — and marijuana didn't do the trick. 'I don't like it, and it doesn't work for me,' she allows.... At that point, she goes on, 'I discovered kratom, and it worked better than Vicodin. It doesn't have any side effects. You do get a boost when you take it, but it's a boost like you get from caffeine'....

"'The national Libertarian Party is for the full legalization of drugs, period,' she stresses. 'Our position is that the government doesn't own you — that if you want to put something in your body and it's not harming others, it's not the government's business. They have no business protecting you from yourself. So even if kratom was being used recreationally, we'd oppose a ban. But kratom has obvious medical uses. It's had no downside in my life, and it's the same for other people I know who use kratom for pain management. They haven't had any issues, either.'"

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Monday, January 22, 2018

BC Libertarian campaigns on insurance monopoly

Kelowna West Libertarian goes after ICBC - Kelowna Capital News - Alistair Waters:

January 19, 2018 - "He may be new to politics, but Kelowna West Libertarian candidate Kyle Geronazzo is wasting no time making a visible entrance into the campaign.

"Geronazzo has taken out an ad on a large electronic billboard on the Westside, advertising his campaign and asking the public if they are 'being ripped off by ICBC.'

"The young candidate is going after the provincial auto insurer, saying British Columbians are been getting “gouged” on their auto insurance premiums.

"'While prices have come down for collision, loss-of-use and other coverages since private insurers were allowed to compete with ICBC, for third-party liability coverage the opposite has happened,' said Geronazzo in a news release... Geronazzo is one of four candidates in the Kelowna West byelection race....

"'While ICBC performs important functions as a regulator, its insurance business is a Frankenstein that combines the worst parts of public and private sector organizations. In good times, it can make profits, but these can be pilfered by governments to balance their books. In bad times, the ratepayers have to pick up the tab with higher premiums.'

"And he predicted more bad times are ahead, saying ICBC has warned it could raise rates by more than 40 per cent over the next five years.

"Geronazzo said more competition is needed and he is advocating removing ICBC’s monopoly on basic auto liability insurance to create what he says would be a truly competitive insurance market.

"'Virtually every other jurisdiction in North America has gone this route and it hasn’t been a disaster,' says Geronazzo. 'In fact, premiums have gone down and the level of customer satisfaction has gone up.'"

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Crossfit fights government fitness licensing

Government-Approved Workouts? The Fight Against Fitness Licensing. - - Zach Weissmueller & Mark McDaniel:

January 19, 2018 - "Almost everything the federal government has told the public about healthy diets over the past three decades may have been wrong. The U.S. Surgeon General suggested avoiding saturated fats and prioritizing grains and other carbohydrates. Low-fat products started filling the aisles at grocery stores, as families tried to follow the government's infamous food pyramid. Obesity rates continued to climb, and some dissenting scientists and started questioning the consensus. The U.S. government and major health organizations were slow to react, but in recent years have finally started updating the official recommendations.

"Is the exact same scenario about to play out in the fitness industry?

"'All of these government agencies, all of our universities, they've all sat silent through one of the worst declines in health the modern world has ever seen,' says Greg Glassman, who's the founder of Crossfit, which runs more than 14,000 gyms around the world.... Crossfit's explosive growth was made possible in part by the lack of regulation in the fitness industry.... Crossfit was free to run its own certification program, which flouts most of the conventional nutrition and exercise advice championed by government and academia.

"The company regularly spars with fitness credentialing organizations with different exercise philosophies, like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Several of them have united under the banner of the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREPS), an industry group that regularly lobbies for regulation of the fitness industry. The fight is occuring largely behind-the-scenes at state legislatures across the country, where licensing laws have been introduced on 26 separate occasions since 2005. Crossfit supporters have pushed back just as hard, at times showing up in person to speak out against the bills.

"The one place Crossfit lost is Washington, D.C., which passed the nation's first fitness trainer licensure law in 2014.

"It's an attempt to silence Crossfit on the subjects of nutrition and exercise," says Glassman."

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Prohibition the real cause of the 'opioid crisis'

Stop Calling It an Opioid Crisis - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Jeffrey A. Singer, Cato Institute:

January 18, 2018 - "For nearly a decade, policymakers have bought into the misguided narrative that the opioid overdose crisis is a result of careless doctors and greedy pharmaceutical companies getting patients hooked on prescription opioids and condemning them to the nightmarish world of drug addiction. As a result, the Drug Enforcement Administration has ordered decreases in prescription opioid production. There was a 25 percent reduction in 2017 and a 20 percent reduction is ordered for 2018.

"States have set up monitoring programs that put doctors and patients under surveillance leading to a dramatic reduction in the prescription of opioids since 2010. In fact, high-dose prescribing fell 41 percent since 2010.... This focus on the supply and prescription of opioids makes many patients needlessly suffer in pain. Some, in desperation, turn to the illicit market to get relief, where they find heroin and heroin-laced fentanyl often cheaper and easier to get. Some others resort to suicide.

"Policymakers mistakenly focus on doctors treating their patients in pain. By intruding on the patient-doctor relationship, they impede physician judgment and increase patient suffering. But another unintended consequence is that, by reducing the amount of prescription opioids that can be diverted to the illicit market, they have driven nonmedical users to heroin and fentanyl, which are cheaper and easier to obtain on the street than prescription opioids, and much more dangerous....

"The overdose rate is not a product of doctors and patients abusing prescription opioids. It is a product of nonmedical users accessing the illicit market.

"The problem will not get better — it will probably only get worse — as long as we continue to call this an 'opioid crisis.' The title is too nonspecific. This is a crisis caused by drug prohibition, an unintended consequence of nonmedical drug users accessing the black market in drugs.

"Policymakers should stop harassing doctors and their patients and shift their focus to reforming overall drug policy. A good place to start would be to implement harm reduction measures, such as safe syringe programs, making Medication Assisted Treatments like methadone and suboxone more readily available, and making the opioid antidote naloxone available over-the-counter, so it can be easier for opioid users to obtain. Even better would be a sober reassessment of America’s longest war, the 'War on Drugs.'"

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Bill to cut DEA cannabis eradication funding

Representatives Lieu and Amash Introduce Legislation Ending Funding For Marijuana Suppression | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform:

January 18, 2018 - "Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) and Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) have reintroduced HR 4816: The Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act.

"The measure restricts civil asset forfeiture funds from being used for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program. The bill would prohibit the transfer of property that would be used for cannabis eradication from a federal or state/local agency and ensures precious federal resources are not wasted on marijuana eradication.

"With the Justice Department having rescinded Obama-era directives limiting the federal government’s involvement in marijuana states, and with the future of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment uncertain, it is essential that elected officials address this measure and halt officials from taking civil actions against state-compliant operators who have never even been convicted of a crime.

"Now that one in five Americans resides in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized, it’s more important than ever to defang the DEA.

"Upon introduction, Rep. Lieu said:
“The Federal Government has a responsibility to spend taxpayer money wisely. Instead, AG Jeff Sessions would rather waste federal dollars by attacking marijuana, which has been legalized either for medical or recreational use in the majority of states in the U.S. The DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program is a waste of time and money and runs contrary to the will of the people....
"Rep. Amash said:
Civil asset forfeiture is an unconstitutional practice whereby the government takes people’s property without due process. The DEA’s use of proceeds acquired through civil asset forfeiture to expand marijuana enforcement — a state-level issue — makes the already unacceptable practice even worse."
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Kokesh files for Libertarian POTUS nomination

Today Adam Kokesh Filed Papers Seeking the Libertarian Presidential Nomination. Then He Was Arrested on Drug Charges. - Hit & Run : - Brian Doherty:

January 16, 2018 - "Adam Kokesh, longtime anarcho-libertarian activist who first came to public prominence with Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2007 and was later a big Ron Paul supporter, today filed the paperwork necessary to officially seek the U.S. presidency. He is hoping for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.

"He also had his RV pulled over twice by Texas police, and was arrested the second time.

"A video of the second pullover that led to the arrest ... shows highway patrol officers instructing Kokesh to shut off his camera at the point a police dog, off-camera, was said to have 'alerted' to the RV. Kokesh was pulled over for driving 74 in a 65 zone, according to one officer in the video.

"According to the Texas ACLU, the police do not have the right to demand a citizen stop videotaping willy-nilly though they have the loophole I'm sure they'd summon here regarding 'truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.' The ACLU notes that: 'Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.'

"A spokeswoman for the Wise County Jail confirms Kokesh is in their custody on four charges, one related to possession of under two ounces of marijuana, two related to possession of another controlled substance she was not able to specify, and one for 'tampering and/or fabricating evidence with intent to impair' a police investigation. He will likely be arraigned and have bond set tomorrow."

"Ben Farmer, the Kokesh campaign's chief strategist, says in an email that 'we don't know any more than you do at this time about the charges or the circumstances of his arrest. We do find it suspicious that Adam was pulled over twice within an hour of formally announcing his candidacy for President. Particularly, since he just came off of a 4 month, cross-country tour in the same vehicle without being pulled over once the entire time.'"

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Monday, January 15, 2018

NM ex-legislator switches to Libertarian Party

Sandra Jeff to run as Libertarian for sec. of state | - Los Alamos Monitor:

January 12, 2018 -  "Former New Mexico State Rep. Sandra Jeff announced late Thursday her intention to run for secretary of state on the Libertarian Party ticket.

"'It is time for candidates that are about making life better for New Mexicans, not about following party dogma,' Jeff said in a release.

"Sandra went on to discuss that she 'is switching parties and looking to run for secretary of state to fight the corruption in Santa Fe so that New Mexico has a new horizon to look to."

"In 2016, Jeff ran as Democrat in the state senate race for District 22. She was defeated in the June 7 primary.

"Prior to that, Jeff served in the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 5, (representing McKinley and San Juan counties) from 2009 to 2014....

"She is the second Libertarian candidate to declare a spot on the Libertarian ticket.

"Lloyd Princeton, an Albuquerque business consultant, announced Jan. 8 his candidacy as a Libertarian for the First Congressional District in New Mexico"

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The journalist called the 'Czech Bastiat'

This Thinker Was the "Czech Bastiat" - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Tomáš and Lukáš Nikodym:

January 11, 2018 - "On the occasion of Karel Havlíček’s 180th birthday in 2001, one economist called him “The Czech Bastiat”.... We find many similarities between these two men ... most importantly, both possessed a great ability to explain economic phenomena in a very simple, compelling way.... Both men were also economists, journalists, and statesmen. Havlíček was a poet as well....

"Havlíček’s increasingly liberal views (in the classical sense) made him quite unpopular among representatives and supporters of the absolutist monarchy. He fought its authoritarian principles, its censorship, and its repression.... A newspaper he started, National News, was forced to close in January 1850.... Havlíček did not give up. He started a new journal, The Slav, which officially satisfied all the regulations but put forth his views as boldly as he felt safe to print. He focused much of his writing on educating the people on the economics of free markets....

"Havlíček was a devotee of František Palacký, the 'founding father' of Czech democratic politics and its liberal orientation. Both Havlíček and Palacký understood history as a clash between external authority and free, inner reason.... Havlíček’s concepts of individualism and freedom were close to those of John Locke, a pioneer of the foundational view shared by most libertarians today.... As he saw it, the purpose of government was the protection of life, liberty, and property....

"A free-market environment was needed, Havlíček maintained, to benefit fully from the existence of the factory. That included the reduction or abolition of prohibitions and tariffs on foreign goods. Those in business who demanded protectionist policies were, to him, a kind of aristocracy because aristocracy has always been connected with the misuse of the political and legal power of the State....

"Freedom, argued Havlíček, is a necessary precondition of economic prosperity, as well as peace in society. 'It may sound strange, but peace and the certainty of protection of each individual’s property are features of the free countries.' There, he said, instead of the strife that regularly afflicted the unfree countries, economies are spared the turmoil of disruptive uncertainty and violent uprisings....

"He even claimed that every absolutist government, whatever its ideology, was, in fact, a communist government because of the lack of guarantees of individual property. 'The absolutist government is taking under the name of taxes, confiscation, expropriation, etc., the property of others and no one can even protest it. The government is taking the property of some and giving it to its supporters, together with other privileges. Isn’t that communism?'...

"In November 1851, Havlíček was accused again of violating the press law.... Luckily, he was freed by the local court but ... was arrested by police — without any charge or trial — and deported to the small city of Brixen in South Tyrol, ... to spend the rest of his life in exile.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cannabis activists challenge new Canadian laws

Cannabis activists prepare to fight for changes to evolving legalization laws - Toronto - CBC News - Canadian Press:

November 4, 2017 - "Cannabis activists say that while they've succeeded in helping to push for marijuana legalization across the country, their work is far from over.

"The federal government has committed to making recreational cannabis legal by July 1, 2018, but has tasked provincial governments with establishing their own business and regulatory models.... Activists say ... provinces such as Ontario, which plans to levy fines of up to $1 million on businesses that illegally sell recreational weed, are wrong to try and monopolize marijuana sales.... Others say they plan to crusade for medical marijuana users, who they feel are being left behind.... Still more say their efforts will involve pushing for relaxed consumption rules, such as marijuana licenses for restaurants and other public spaces....

"Lisa Campbell of the Ontario Cannabis Consumer Retail Alliance said marijuana activists were once shunned for the cause they championed.... Once recreational cannabis is legal, however, she said she and others will push to work directly with government to shape more effective policies on everything from dispensaries to the availability of edible products....

"For Abi Roach, owner of a cannabis lounge in Toronto, the fight will centre on an effort to create safe public spaces for cannabis consumption. Ontario's current proposals ban the use of recreational marijuana in public spaces or workplaces, shutting the door on the possibility of licensing establishments....

"Medical marijuana use will be the focus for Toronto-based advocate Tania Cyalume.... She said storefront dispensaries staffed by knowledgeable employees are essential for medical patients, adding a government-controlled cannabis retailer, like the ones proposed for Ontario and New Brunswick, won't be able to address the clientele's more complex needs.

"Cyalume said she plans to push for looser regulations on dispensaries, which the Ontario government has 'officially put on notice,' but said she also hopes to speak up for cannabis users who can't often advocate for themselves."

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Low-IQ couple wins round in fight to get kids back

Judge Orders Return of Oregon Boys Taken Because State Deemed Parents Not Smart Enough - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

January 12, 2018 - "An Oregon judge has ruled that the state cannot take away a couple's young children and put them into foster homes merely because the parents have low I.Q.s.

"Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler of Redmond were not accused of neglecting or abusing their two sons, one of whom is nearly a year old and one of whom is 4. But the parents both had I.Q. levels well below average — 72 and 66, respectively — and the state removed their kids pretty much because officials were afraid they wouldn't be raised well.

"Right around Christmas, a judge ordered the youngest son returned, determining that the state hadn't proven that the 'parenting deficiencies' the government described rose to the level of neglect or abuse. Officials had dinged the couple for things like not applying enough sunscreen to their children and neglecting to wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom.

"On Thursday, Judge Bethany Flint ruled that the state had also failed to make a good case for taking the older son. The Oregonian's Samantha Swindler reports that Flint
determined there wasn't enough evidence to show the couple couldn't safely parent. Fabbrini's attorney, Jamie Gerlitz, said Flint found a key witness for the state not credible, and Flint called omissions in the state's timeline of events "suspicious."...

A review hearing will be held in two weeks. Until then, the parents can have unsupervised visits with Christopher while the state puts in place a plan to gradually reunite Christopher with Fabbrini and Ziegler without abruptly taking the child from his foster parents, whom he's lived with since days after his birth.
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trump's cannabis flip-flop may doom re-election

Gary Johnson says Trump marijuana reversal could doom re-election - Steven Nelson,  Washington Examiner:

January 5, 2018 - "Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson reacted angrily to President Trump's apparent abandonment of a campaign pledge to leave pot policy to the states, saying he hopes the pivot ends Trump's shot at re-election.

"Johnson, who served two terms as a Republican governor of New Mexico, said the Trump administration is 'grossly underestimating the anger this will create.'

"I hope it dooms his re-election. Trump promised to leave marijuana to the states," Johnson told the Washington Examiner.

:On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the 2013 Cole Memo, a policy document that allowed states to unfurl recreational marijuana markets. Eight states and the nation's capital allow adults to possess recreational pot.... Now, the Justice Department says individual U.S. attorneys can decide how to enforce federal law, which still makes nearly all pot possession a crime.

Johnson has worked in the state-legal pot industry. He became CEO of Nevada-based startup Cannabis Sativa in 2014, promoting cannabinoid lozenges before stepping away from the company to run for president. He's currently on the advisory board of CB1, a hedge fund investing in publicly traded marijuana companies.

"Johnson, who took 3.3 percent of the popular vote against Trump in 2016 and finished third nationally, supported marijuana legalization before the idea gained broad public support.

"While he was a sitting governor in 1999 he called for a taxed and regulated market. The Clinton administration’s drug czar Barry McCaffrey flew to New Mexico to chastise him at a press conference, saying, 'He ought to be ashamed of himself telling a bunch of college students that marijuana was wonderful'."

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

U.S. federal judge blocks DACA repeal

Federal Judge Blocks Trump from Rescinding Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program - Damon Root, Reason:

January 10, 2017 - "A federal judge has temporarily blocked President Donald Trump from rescinding the Obama administration's 2012 program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

"According to Tuesday's ruling by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security, the legal challengers 'have shown a likelihood of success on their claim that the rescission [of DACA] was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with law.' Judge Alsup therefore temporarily enjoined the federal government from ending DACA while this legal challenge proceeds on the merits in federal court.

"The Trump administration rescinded DACA in 2017 on the grounds that the program was an unlawful intrusion on Congress's authority to regulate immigration....  The decision to end DACA, Judge Alsop wrote, 'was based on the flawed legal premise that the [executive branch] lacked authority to implement DACA....This order holds that DACA fell within the [executive's] enforcement authority. The contrary conclusion was flawed and should be set aside.;

"The Trump administration has already signaled its intentions to appeal this loss. 'It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts,' Trump tweeted.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Vermont House passes compromise cannabis bill

Vt. House gives marijuana bill a clear path to governor's desk - April McCullum, Burlington Free Press:

January 4, 2018 - "The Vermont House of Representatives has signed off on the marijuana legalization bill that was crafted as a compromise after Gov. Phil Scott's veto.

"The bill would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow their own plants at home. H. 511 would not create a legal market for marijuana in Vermont, nor would it impose any taxes.

"The Senate already passed a version of the bill last summer but will need to approve the House's decision to remove a study commission. After that final review, the bill will move to the governor's desk.

"Lawmakers spent hours Thursday debating the bill, which was widely expected to pass. Supporters staved off a series of attempts to slow the legislation and rejected several last-minute amendments that would have substantially changed the bill.

"House members first rejected a Republican-led effort to delay the vote until the governor's Marijuana Advisory Commission issues its next report on Jan. 15 about preventing youth drug use, detecting impaired drivers and other issues....  They later rejected amendments that would have delayed the effective date of legalization to July 1, 2019, or until Vermont State Police adopted a roadside test for impairment.

?'This is a thoughtful, incremental approach to marijuana legalization,' House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, said in a statement after the bill passed Thursday evening. /We're proud to be the first state in the nation to pass marijuana legalization without the pressure of a public referendum.'"

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Monday, January 8, 2018

U.S. government "shutdown" looming in January

No Christmas shutdown – but Congress faces same crisis next month: 'It's maddening' | Fox News - Chad Pergram, Capital Attitude:

December 22, 2017 - "Lawmakers dashed out of Washington Thursday night after approving a short-term bill to run the government through Jan. 19. December was supposed to be an epic month on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers expected brawls over a host of seemingly intractable issues like military funding, disaster aid and DACA. Then there was the GOP aim to finish tax reform.

"The tax bill was the easy part. Republicans wrapped that with relative ease on Wednesday – and proceeded to shelve virtually every major issue until January....

"Did the holiday spirit simply prevail on lawmakers? Or, basking in the afterglow of tax reform, did Republicans simply come to their senses and realize it wasn’t a good idea to mess with a government shutdown at Christmas?

"But in the end, Democrats wanted to ditch Washington too. Democrats noted that the GOP controls both the House and Senate. If Republicans managed to discombobulate their tax reform victory by stumbling into a government shutdown around the holidays, fine. But if Republicans got their act together, Democrats knew the issues wouldn’t dissolve over the break. Democrats would hold even more leverage in January. Plus, Democrats thought they could force the president’s hand on a number of subjects just days before the State of the Union speech on Jan. 30.....

"Many conservatives with libertarian leanings were upset about attaching a temporary reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to the spending bill. Defenders of FISA consider the program a key tool in disrupting terrorism plots. But some lawmakers fear the operation could lead to spying on Americans without a warrant....

"Members of the Freedom Caucus abhorred the idea of re-upping FISA just to keep the government’s lights on. 'We want to change FISA,' said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., a Freedom Caucus member. 'We don’t want it on the CR (Continuing Resolution, which is shorthand for the spending bill)'....

"Things may even be harder come 2018. On Jan. 3, the Senate’s will swear in its newest members..... Sen.-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., is prepared to take the seat of Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., after last week’s special election.

"In 2017, Republicans enjoyed a 52-48 edge in the Senate. That narrows to 51-49 ... in January."

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

10 excellent libertarian children’s stories

Top 10 Libertarian Children’s Books - Being Libertarian - JSB Morse:

January 2, 2018 - "It’s not easy raising kids. It’s even more difficult if you want to raise your kids as independent, critical thinkers.... So, what’s a parent to do if they want to instill a love of books and liberty? Well, until I can create a children’s version of Gods of Ruin, we’re left with a short list of these excellent stories:

10. 10 Little Fingers 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox.... In this repetitive picture book, we’re taught the value of every human person ... all created with equal dignity and rights. This linchpin of libertarianism is conveyed in the cutest of ways with watercolor paintings of chubby babies.
9. The Crow and the Pitcher by Aesop.... The crow doesn’t sit back and demand easily accessible water for crows of all shapes and call the pitcher racist. No, the crow figures out a way to raise the water by adding pebbles to the pitcher....
8. The House the Biff Built by Janet Campbell and Tom Cook.... Going step by step through the process of building a house ... this book details the necessity of cooperation in productive enterprises.....
7. The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Aesop.... Societies are built on trust and for one to operate effectively, truth must be respected.....
6. The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island by Conor Boyack.... With a clever take on real-life events conveyed in a fantastic narrative, this Tuttle Twins picture book teaches the dangers of inflation in entertaining fashion....
5. Tortoise and the Hare by Aesop.... While the turtle started off with a handicap, he ended up winning by working hard. The tortoise teaches us you can’t rely on God-given ability in life, and you shouldn’t use the lack of it as an excuse either.
4. The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop.... Probably the basis for Pixar’s excellent A Bug’s Life, this Aesop’s Fable recounts a lazy grasshopper who laughs at the hardworking ants storing food for the winter. When the temperatures drop, the grasshopper is at the mercy of the prepared ants.
3. The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen.... When swindlers convince the ruler that their amazing clothes are invisible to those who are unworthy of their office, everyone in the kingdom is faced with a dilemma to lie and appear competent or tell the truth and appear a fool.....
2. The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law by Connor Boyack.... The Law is Frédéric Bastiat’s concise magnum opus and Connor Boyack has made it a brilliant picture book for kids....
1. Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss.... In an unsurpassed lyrical style, Dr. Seuss drops the gauntlet on greedy tyranny through his tale about turtles.... The poem ends with the inspirational:
“And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud.  That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free,
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Libertarian campaigns to watch in 2018

Here Are Four Major Electoral Opportunities for the Libertarian Party in 2018 - Andy Craig, The Jack News:

January 1, 2018 - "The most common criticism of the Libertarian Party is that it can’t win.... It’s not always the case that Libertarians can’t win, though.... In no particular order and with the New Year upon us,  here are [some] key opportunities for Libertarians in 2018:

1. "Nebraska state senator Laura Ebke ... switched her registration to the Libertarian Party in 2016.... Since then, Ebke ... secured the passage of a bill to ensure Libertarian ballot access in Nebraska, assembled a bipartisan coalition for occupational licensing reform, and was elected by her colleagues to serve as the Chair of the important Judiciary Committee....

"But Ebke still needs help from Libertarians nationwide, particularly in fundraising to match the spending-spree that [the GOP] is likely to go on.... Ebke’s re-election ... could set off a domino effect of other liberty-minded state legislators ditching the GOP....

 2. "Libertarian Party ... chair ... Nicholas Sarwark is making his first bid for elected office in a special election for Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. A unique combination of circumstances and local notability give Sarwark some recognition. In a race that includes two Democratic members of the City Council, but no Republican, it is possible that Sarwark could make it into the top-two run-off....

"So far his campaign website shows that he has raised over $27,000 in online donations since announcing his campaign.... That’s not yet enough, but it’s a good start....

3. "In a belt of states across the Mountain West, and ... Upper Midwest, popular alignment with libertarianism runs higher than in most of the country.... As we get into the Spring of 2018, it will be worth keeping an eye on states like Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota. If viable non-incumbent Libertarian candidates for state legislatures arise anywhere, it will probably be in this part of the country. Elections that ... go uncontested by one of the two major parties can be particularly ripe for Libertarians to target....

4. "In New Hampshire, the party already has three incumbent party-switchers ... – Caleb Dyer, Brandon Phinney, and Joseph Stallcop – [who] face very local elections, with low margins for victory under New Hampshire’s multi-member-district system..... The incumbent advantage is real, but voting trends for the NH legislature also tend to be sharply partisan, a real obstacle for even a Libertarian incumbent who doesn’t secure the endorsement of either local Republicans or Democrats....

"Next-door Maine also offers potential, thanks to having become the first state to adopt instant run-off voting, also known as ranked choice.... It’s not yet known whether IROV will actually be used during the 2018 elections, but if it is, it will provide a chance for Libertarians to test the theory that they could prevail if not hindered by the perception of 'wasted votes' and perpetual spoiler status."

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Friday, January 5, 2018

NM Libertarians aiming for full statewide slate

Libertarian Party plans to make entrance in N.M. races | - Tris DaRoma, Los Alamos Monitor:

January 3, 2018 - "An Albuquerque attorney is in talks with various would-be candidates across the state of New Mexico who are interested in running on the New Mexico Libertarian Party ticket this year.

:Attorney A. Blair Dunn, the son of New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, said it’s time to give New Mexicans a third option. He posted an open letter on his Facebook page urging citizens to consider the 'Liberty' ticket....

"'Being a candidate is no easy or comfortable task, but without those willing to put themselves out there in an election, there will be no alternatives that vote for the principles that we all share in, and we would be left to our status quo decision of the lesser of two evils between two parties that have offered no solutions in 100 years of control,' Dunn said in his letter.

"Dunn declined to mention any candidates that are interested, only saying there would be an official introduction, and announcement as soon as next week.

"'There will be a slate, I do not know whether or not the land commissioner is going to be on the slate. That is still a decision he’s contemplating,' Dunn said. 'But, as far as a Libertarian slate, there is going to be a full slate of candidates for the statewide executive office.'

"That would include governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and other positions....

"Dunn said the slate is a healthy cross section of New Mexico, young, old, some ... former legislators and candidates.

"'They can articulate  what the Libertarian Party means as an opportunity for New Mexico,' Dunn said. 'We think that there are a few races, for instance the AG race and a couple others where we can be actual players because the incumbent option is so bad that there’s a real desire for something other than the status quo.'"

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

What's wrong with cannabis DUI blood testing

Stop Pretending Sober Drivers Are Stoned - - Jacob Sullum:

January 3, 2018 - "Last year Kali Su Schram was sentenced to six months in jail because of a fatal traffic accident she did not cause, thanks to Michigan's unjust and unscientific definition of drugged driving. Schram had the right of way when a bicyclist suddenly appeared in front of her at an intersection, but she was blamed anyway because she had a detectable amount of THC in her blood.

"California, where state-licensed marijuana stores began serving recreational consumers on Monday, takes a more rational approach to driving under the influence of cannabis, requiring evidence of impairment. But three of the eight states where marijuana is legal for nonmedical use have adopted versions of the Michigan model, falsely equating impairment with arbitrary levels of THC in the blood.

"In Michigan any amount of THC suffices for a DUI conviction. The cutoff in Nevada, where legal recreational sales began last year, is two nanograms per milliliter, which is not quite as strict but still criminalizes driving by many marijuana users who pose no threat to the public.

"Because THC is absorbed by fatty tissue, it can be detected in the blood of frequent cannabis consumers as long as a month after last use.... A 2015 study found that a cannabis consumer tested at or above five nanograms as long as five days after last use. Five nanograms is the legal cutoff in Washington, where any driver who hits that level is automatically guilty of DUI....

"'Per se' rules that define stoned driving based on THC in the blood appeal to politicians and the general public because they look similar to state laws that define drunk driving based on alcohol in the blood. But the latter policy, while problematic because of individual variability, has a much stronger scientific basis. 'Whereas the impairment effects for various concentration levels of alcohol in the blood or breath are well understood," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes, 'there is little evidence available to link concentrations of other drugs to driver performance. Hence "specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment.'

"A 2016 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety noted that THC blood levels do not predict performance on roadside sobriety tests. It said 'there is no evidence from the data collected…that any objective threshold exists that established impairment.'

"As Staci Hoff, research director at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, noted in a TV interview last summer, 'More and more research is coming out debunking this mythical link between THC level in the blood and level of impairment.'"

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bitcoin, the free market in action

Love it or hate it, bitcoin represents a market out of control: Don Pittis - Business - CBC News:

January 3, 2018 - "In many ways, bitcoin is a microcosm of a pure free market. Whether you think that's a good thing or not depends on your own political values....

"[E]ven the most neo-liberal governments really don't like truly free markets..... South Korea ... plans to crack down and end anonymous trading.... The European Union and Britain have announced measures of their own to put controls on virtual currencies.... Russia has said something similar.... Beijing has banned trading outright....

"After all, bitcoin was founded on libertarian principles — the dislike of government involvement in our daily lives, the so-called 'nanny state.' The libertarian view, with a strong following in the tech community, is ... often ... in favour of things like encrypted messaging, with the goal of stopping groups like the U.S. National Security Agency from reading your email.

"In its harshest rendering, those strong free market principals [sic - gd] oppose taxation as a form of theft.... Digital currencies are a celebration of those principles. By design, bitcoin keeps your wealth strictly between you and the global blockchain....

"From a pure free market analysis, bitcoin may be the ideal currency. Rather than basing decisions on government tax laws and other rules that might seem like arbitrary red tape, a person using bitcoin could choose to consider only what's most profitable.

"According to Canadian tax law, people who earn money in bitcoin are required to report the value of that income. As bitcoins rise in value, Canadians are supposed to report those increases as capital gains.... But if those currency units are anonymous, they are hard for the Canada Revenue Agency to track, meaning ... the rest of us will have to pay more for the roads and streetlights that keep our economy functioning....

"Even in the long term, it is hard to see how governments can ever come to terms with a free market currency like bitcoin that robs them of so much power.

"But for those who believe free markets really are the solution to creating a sound and stable economy, there is a first test bitcoin and its ilk must pass to show libertarians are right. To prove their superiority over government-sponsored money, the unregulated digital currency markets must end their wild swings and bitcoin must reach a stable equilibrium price."

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Stossel interviews Sarwark on LP in 2018 (video)

Stossel: Is 2018 the Year of the Libertarian Party? - - John Stossel & Naomi Brockwell:

January 2, 2018 - "Nicholas Sarwark, Chairman of the Libertarian Party, says [the 2016 campaign] was a great success. 'We tripled all previous records. In the 45-year history of the Libertarian Party, we've never had that kind of support from the electorate.'

"Johnson only got 3.5% of the vote. John Stossel asks, 'is that really winning?' 'We're growing, and they're dying,' answers Sarwark. 'Voter registration identity with Republicans and Democrats is dropping. Voter registration identity with Libertarians is the only party that's growing'.....

"Sarwark says the plan for this year's midterm elections is 'to be on the ballot in all 50 states. We'll definitely be on the ballot in all 50 states in 2020'....

"Stossel talks to Sarwark about what we can learn from the last election, and what the future holds for libertarians and the Libertarian Party."

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Libertarian Party: Denver shooter not a member

Libertarian Party distances itself from gunman in deputy shooting | FOX31 Denver:

December 31, 2017 - "The Libertarian Party is distancing itself from Matthew Riehl, the gunman in the deputy ambush that left one dead in Highlands Ranch on Sunday morning.

"Riehl released a YouTube video in which he claimed to be a member of the party and teased the idea of running for office as a Libertarian against Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock....

"The Libertarian Party of Colorado denounced the shooter and said it has no record of him in its database.

"The statement also expressed 'great sadness" regarding the shooting and offered condolences to the families of those injured in the ambush.

"'The core of Libertarian philosophy is a belief in a peaceful means to political change and a repudiation of the initiation of physical force for political or social reasons,' Libertarian Party of Colorado State Chair Wayne Harlos said. 'Ambushing any person and committing physical violence is as blatant a denial of the Party’s beliefs as any action can be. Ultimately this is not about politics but about an evil action that leaves several families in grief over death and injuries.'"

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