Wednesday, February 28, 2018

CNN: Rand Paul is right about GOP budget

Rand Paul was right - CNNPolitics - Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large:

February 9, 2018 - "When Rand Paul took control of the Senate floor ... virtually every one of his Republican colleagues grimaced. Five years ago, they would have cheered him.

"Paul's speech, which slowed attempts to pass a massive budget deal before the government [shut] down at midnight, was a savaging of his party.... 'When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party,' Paul said at one point. 'But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty.'

"He is 100% right.... Republicans in the Obama era defined themselves primarily as committed to reducing government spending and shrinking the nation's debt. The ur-document of that age was Paul Ryan's budget, in which he proudly touted the need to confront entitlement spending and make the hard cuts necessary to keep the country solvent.... 'Our debt is a threat to this country,' Ryan said in a 2013 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 'We have to tackle this problem before it tackles us'....

"Republicans insisted that any spending legislation -- even for disaster relief -- be paid for with budget offsets. Every major Republican leader talked about debt and deficit relentlessly. One candidate, however, did not.

"Donald Trump ... showed little care or concern for the issue that had animated the party he was running to lead.... Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential nominee, lambasted him for it in a speech.... 'His tax plan in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt,' said Romney.

"And then Trump won.... Which is how it came to pass that ... [Mitch] McConnell was on the Senate floor pleading with his home-state colleague to drop his push for a vote on an amendment that would maintain the current budget caps. Paul's issue was a simple one: A two-year spending bill that would increase the federal deficit by more than $300 billion was being rammed through at the last minute -- and without any amendments being offered.

"And he's right about that too.... Paul is right that it is absolutely ridiculous that a near-700-page piece of legislation that senators got their hands on around midnight Wednesday should be passed by midnight Thursday....

"'The reason I'm here tonight is to put people on the spot,' Paul said. 'I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, "How come you were against President Obama's deficits, and then how come you're for Republican deficits?"' Mission accomplished."

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Shoppers Drug Mart applies for medical cannabis license

Shoppers Drug Mart signs marijuana supply deal with Aurora Cannabis - Edmonton - CBC News:

February 27, 2018 - "Licensed producer Aurora Cannabis has signed a deal to supply medical marijuana to Shoppers Drug Mart.

"The agreement is subject to Health Canada's approval of the pharmacy chain's application to dispense medical cannabis.

"Aurora's products are expected to be sold online, as current Canadian regulations prohibit the sale of medical marijuana in pharmacy locations.

"Shoppers Drug Mart's deal with Aurora, an Alberta-based medical marijuana company, comes after it recently signed similar deals with licensed medical marijuana producers Aphria, MedReleaf and Tilray.

"The pharmacy chain's parent company Loblaw Companies Ltd. applied in October 2016 for a license to dispense medical marijuana.

"Other pharmacies have also lined up similar supply agreements, such as deals between Maricann Group. and Lovell Drugs and CanniMed Therapeutics and PharmaChoice."

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Arkansas pastor nominated for governor

Libertarian Mark West Enters Arkansas Governor's Race | KUAR Little Rock -Jacob Kauffman:

February 26, 2018 - "Mark West is throwing his hat in the ring for the race for Arkansas governor. The pastor and business manager out of Batesville filed to run on Monday after being nominated over the weekend at the Libertarian Party of Arkansas’s convention in Little Rock. The governor’s office tops the Libertarian ballot for a number of reasons. Notably, the party’s gubernatorial or presidential candidate has to get three-percent of the vote if it is to retain ballot access in the next election. For the past four election cycles its fallen short of that threshold and had to petition its way on the ballot. West thinks he’ll be the candidate to breakthrough.

"'The percentages we receive in the races go up every election and right now we are at the point where we are going to be able to push through. I think we’re going to be able to get the right coalitions together to be able to blow right past the three-percent,' said West.

"In 2012 the party’s presidential nominee Gary Johnson drew 1.52-percent of the vote. In 2014, gubernatorial candidate Frank Gilbert drew 1.92-percent of the vote. And in 2016 Johnson ran again, garnering 2.65-percent of Arkansas’s vote. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is hoping in-part  to draw votes from down the ballot by fielding more candidates than it ever has before, with 33 office seekers from the state Legislature to the governor’s office.

"West says he’s got a message of 'government accountability' that’ll resonate with the electorate.

"'We are going to run with COST, which is our Committee on Spending and Taxation. We believe that using that we’ll be able to target different agencies where you have duplication or abuse going on, or where there is inappropriateness or unethical behavior going on and we’re going to crack down on that because government should serve the citizens,' said West.

"He continued, 'We’ll find expenses and things we’ll be able to cut on a budgetary nature and regulations that we’ll be able to cut so that we can free up Arkansans to be the masters of their own domain, to be the chief deciders to their lives, and to be able to pull themselves up with us getting the government out of everybody’s way and out of everybody’s personal lives.'”

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

2,000 U.S. troops still in Syria illegally

America’s Creeping Regime Change in Syria | Cato Institute - John Glaser, American Conservative:

February 14, 2018 - "In eastern Syria last week, American air and ground forces attacked Syrian pro-government military units, killing roughly 100 people, including some Russian advisors....

"[A]s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained last month, the Trump administration has committed to an indefinite military presence of roughly 2,000 U.S. boots on the Syrian battlefield. Are these troops present at the behest of the host government? Certainly not. Has Congress ratified their deployment in some way? Guess again. Are they there preempting an imminent threat of attack on America? Nope. Are they under the mandate of a UN Security Council resolution? No....

"In fact, the U.S. military presence in Syria has no legal authorization whatsoever.... One might fairly argue that the Assad regime, in its brutality against its own people, long ago forfeited the sovereign right to defend its territory against an invading foreign army. Fine, but we should be clear that Washington, in responding to the lawlessness, is also acting lawlessly....

"Quaint legalisms aside, the clash between U.S. and Syrian forces should make clear just how dangerous our military presence in Syria is. This particular incident, we can reasonably assume, didn’t escalate only because the [Assad] regime is desperate to avoid escalation.... But ... the multi-sided chaos of the Syrian Civil War is neither balanced nor stable and the risk of escalation is very real....

"America has an interest in a stable Middle East, and thus in a stable Syria, but the notion that U.S. policy has contributed to that end is rather dubious. The Islamic State, which exacerbated the Syrian Civil War by orders of magnitude, is, after all, an outgrowth of America’s war in Iraq. And the U.S. and its allies encouraged the Syrian rebellion from early on, an effort that was not only a spectacular failure but also fostered quite the opposite of stability.

"An enduring feature of U.S. foreign policy is that each intervention, whether it is seen to fail or succeed, eventually serves to justify further intervention. While it’s true that the Islamic State has been decimated ... it has been accomplished at great cost in blood and treasure. The answer to this near-Pyrrhic victory is not for Washington to invent new missions that lack legal authorization or a plausible timeline of success, but instead to reckon with its own role in this interminable tempest and acknowledge the very real possibility that backing away may be in the best interest of America and of Syria."

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Unions worry as SCOTUS hears dues suit

John Stossel: Unions think you should be forced to pay for their ‘benefits’ – will Supreme Court agree? | Fox News:

February 21, 2018 - "If your workplace is a union shop, are you forced to pay union dues? Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about that.

"When I worked at CBS and ABC, I was ordered to join the American Federation of Radio and TV Artists. That union had won a vote that gave them the right to speak for all reporters. I said, 'I'm no 'artist.' I'm a reporter! I won't join!' But my bosses said they couldn't pay me unless I did.

"In right-to-work states, unions can't force people to join. But only 28 states are right to work. Aging socialist bureaucracies like New York state are not among them. But now the Supreme Court may say that no government worker, in any state, can be forced to pay a union.

"'If we lose this case, the entire public sector will be right to work,' warns Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, the big government employees union.

That outcome would thrill Rebecca Friedrichs. She's the teacher who filed the right-to-work lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court two years ago.... But shortly before the justices voted, Antonin Scalia died.... Without Scalia's vote, the Court deadlocked 4 to 4.

"Now a new suit has been filed by government worker Mark Janus. With Neil Gorsuch now the ninth justice, unions are worried.

"In fact, they are so worried that AFSCME representative Steven Kreisberg agreed to do one of my YouTube interviews.

"'Our members ... want their union to have power,' he said. 'It's (Janus') right to dissent and not be a member of our union. He only has to pay the fees that are used to represent him.... I'm not sure if he doesn't agree with it, or just simply doesn't want to pay because he'd like to get those services for free'....

"Janus's lawsuit points out that Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.'

"Kreisberg had a quick answer to that: 'Thomas Jefferson had no sense of 21st-century labor relations.'"

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Eagles win Super Bowl, lose to taxman

The Philadelphia Eagles Won the Super Bowl, but They'll Lose on Tax Day - Hit & Run : - Eric Boehm:

February 5, 2018 - "The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl when they defeated the New England Patriots.... But it's the tax man who really always wins.

"Because the game was played in Minneapolis, the $112,000 bonuses paid to each player on the winning team (and the $56,000 bonuses paid to the losers), will be taxable in Minnesota, which has some of the highest personal income tax rates in the country. Each member of the Eagles will end up paying about $7,200 of their Super Bowl bonus to the state of Minnesota. That comes on top of an estimated $23,500 federal tax hit for each of the winning player's shares....

"Minnesota also imposes a so-called 'jock tax' on athletes that visit the state for practices and games. Income earned during the days leading up to Sunday's big game will be taxed at the state's top marginal rate of 9.85 percent. Only California has a higher jock tax, and even states with no personal income taxes — like Texas and Florida, both frequent Super Bowl hosts — still hit up professional athletes, coaches, and team staff with special taxes.

"Robert Raiola, chief of the sports and entertainment group at PKF O'Connor Davies, a New York–based accounting firm that specializes in working with athletes, tells that most players on the two teams would have spent about a week in Minnesota during the lead-up to the Super Bowl. That works out to about 3 percent of their total working time for the year, and their tax bills will vary... Tom Brady, who earned about $15 million in salary this year, could end up owing Minnesota roughly $43,000.

"[T]he average NFL player makes $1.9 million — considerably less than the average in America's other major sports. Still, that works out to more than $3,300 in state taxes owed simply for spending a week in Minnesota. And of course those players still owe taxes in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, along with every other state where they played a road game during the season. Tennessee is the only state without a jock tax."

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

3 contest Libertarian gov. nomination in Illinois

Tom Kacich | 3 Libertarians think they're better choices for governor | - Champagne-Urbana News-Gazette:

February 21, 2018 - "Third parties historically have done poorly in Illinois gubernatorial races.... The best a Libertarian has done was Chad Grimm's 3.4 percent in 2014.

"But don't tell Kash Jackson, Matthew Scaro or Jon Stewart that they're wasting their time running for governor as Libertarians.

"'I think people are going to look not for a billionaire in November, but for somebody from the trenches who has experience, and that's me,' said Stewart, a 51-year-old former professional wrestler ('The Illustrious Jonnie Stewart') who lives in Deerfield and runs a used-car dealership in Chicago.

"'Illinois is broken,' said Scaro, a 35-year-old Chicagoan who calls himself a serial entrepreneur. 'It is a state filled with fraud and corruption, and I believe that the Democrats and Republicans cannot get along on anything except raising taxes. Only a Libertarian sitting in that seat in Springfield can straighten this state out and handle (House Speaker) Michael Madigan.'

"'I've slept in the back of a Ford Focus for several days and I'm 6-foot-1. I've slept in peoples' homes and in my truck. It is a lot of work and that's my commitment,' said Jackson, a 39-year-old veteran of 20 years in the Navy. 'My prediction is that Bruce Rauner gets the nod and J.B. Pritzker gets the nod. Then you're going to have competing interest between a billionaire, a multimillionaire and a middle-class guy who's been a political activist fighting for human and constitutional rights since he left the Navy'....

"The way the Libertarians choose their nominee could not be more different from the lengthy, expensive, TV ads-centric way the Democrats and Republicans will.

The Libertarian Party will meet at a Bloomington hotel the weekend of March 2 and 3. Only those who have been registered state party members for at least 120 days can vote on the party ticket."

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Alabama bill to abolish civil forfeiture introduced

New Alabama Bill Would Abolish Civil Forfeiture, Require Convictions To Confiscate Property - Nick Sibilla, Institute for Justice, Forbes:

January 24, 2018 - "Alabama could soon blaze a trail for civil rights. On Tuesday, Alabama Republicans Sen. Arthur Orr and Rep. Arnold Mooney filed the Forfeiture Accountability and Integrity Reform (FAIR) Act that would abolish civil forfeiture throughout the state and replace it with criminal forfeiture.... If the FAIR Act (SB 213) becomes law, Alabama would be just the fourth state to eliminate civil forfeiture, following the lead of Nebraska, New Mexico and North Carolina. In addition, the bill takes direct aim at a federal forfeiture program that was revitalized by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who previously represented the state as U.S. Senator....

"The state is in dire need of drastic reform. One study by the Institute for Justice ranked Alabama’s civil forfeiture laws as “among the worst in the nation'.... Unlike criminal cases, which require proof 'beyond a reasonable doubt,' Alabama prosecutors only have to make their case to the court’s 'reasonable satisfaction' to forfeit property in civil court....

"[A]n in-depth report released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice ... examined over 1,110 forfeiture cases in 14 counties, or 70 percent of all civil forfeiture cases filed statewide in 2015. In 25 percent of those cases, the state never filed criminal charges against the property owner.... Half of the forfeiture cases involved cash under $1,372.... Since the cost of hiring a lawyer is typically greater than what the seized property is actually worth, owners have little choice but to walk away.

"In Alabama, prosecutors mainly file civil forfeiture complaints to carry out the drug war. Out of all forfeiture proceedings filed in 2015, more than 40 percent related to marijuana offenses.... But plenty of other offenses could trigger government confiscation too, including gambling, the distribution of 'prohibited liquors and beverages,' 'illegal nighttime deer hunting,” and, most bizarre of all, 'bear wrestling'....

"Thanks to Alabama’s rigged civil forfeiture system, police and prosecutors collected nearly $2.2 million under state forfeiture law in 2015. Perversely, the state even allows agencies to keep up to 100 percent of the proceeds from forfeiture....

"The bill sponsored by Orr and Mooney would abolish civil forfeiture altogether and replace it with criminal forfeiture. Under this proposal, the government could only confiscate property after a felony conviction or plea deal, unless the owner died, was deported or fled after being arrested and released on bail. The bill would also strengthen due process ... by raising the standard of proof to 'clear and convincing evidence' and by shifting the burden of proof onto the state, which would restore the presumption of innocence for forfeiture cases."

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Casino owner antes $20M for online gambling ban

Ron Paul: Let the States Decide on Gambling - Newsweek:

January 21, 2018 - "The news that four Republican congressmen recently sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding the federal government overturn nearly a dozen state gambling laws is just the latest attack on the Constitution and the concept of federalism....

"While the Founders did not impose an ideological litmus test on federalism, too many modern politicians do.... However, one issue of federalism which most on the left and right finally appear to agree on is gambling. States have regulated their own affairs in this industry since the inception of the Constitution. Some states have gaming available in gas stations and convenience stores while others don’t even allow state-run lotteries....

"After the Justice Department reversed its federal ban on the state legalization of online gambling in 2011, New Jersey quickly legalized it, while several others – Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – followed suit. Some states like Georgia also allow the online sale of lottery tickets.... Technology prevents residents from restrictive states like Utah from gambling on the sites of more permissive states like New Jersey....

"The attack on the states’ ability to establish their own gambling laws comes mainly from one Las Vegas casino owner. Sheldon Adelson, a generous contributor to GOP political campaigns, had Darryl Nirenberg, his personal lobbyist, draft legislation that would establish a federal ban on online gaming.... As Tho Bishop at the Mises Institute pointed out, Adelson donated $20 million to the Republican Senate Leadership Fund to pressure GOP members into introducing his protectionist legislation.

"When the bill failed to move, an effort was undertaken to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to impose this anti-gambling view on the states. The Adelson crowd went so far as to hire a lobbyist that was a longtime friend of Sessions this summer. After Mr. Sessions was forced to recuse himself, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has become the new target for this pressure campaign.

"Recently, four Republican congressmen, including my friend Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), dispatched a letter to Mr. Rosenstein urged the Department to pull the plug on the states’ ability to set their own gambling rules....

"The danger of opening this Pandora’s box is obvious. Today, social conservatives may seek to ban state-regulated online gambling. But tomorrow, opponents of online ammo sales may use this precedent to advance their political agenda. Just how big would this domino effect of resisting the Tenth Amendment get?

"Gambling [laws], like other controversial issues, are best decided in state capitals, not by federal dictates. The Founding Fathers recognized this fact. It is time for modern-day politicians to realize it as well."

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bastiat on The Law and its limits

Bastiat Knew the Proper Limits of Government Force - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Frank Hollenbeck:

February 18, 2018 - "High school students in the United States are usually required to take a course in government. They learn about the structure of government but rarely discover the appropriate role of government.... If they did, one of their required readings would be Frédéric Bastiat’s treatise The Law, a seminal mid-nineteenth-century work....

"Bastiat states that individuals are born with the natural rights of life, liberty, and property. From this notion, the only proper function of the use of force or the law is the collective organization of the natural right to self-defense of these rights....

"He then defines any illegitimate use of force or of the law as legal plunder. This is an all-encompassing term which includes any unjustified violation of the life, liberty, or property of others. Many examples abound today with regulations on labor (e.g. minimum wage laws), products (e.g. subsidies and tariffs), health care, education, or even the use of marijuana or any other drugs....

"The problem with legal plunder is that it creates hatred and discord and eats at the very fabric of society. The US Civil War was fought primarily for two reasons: slavery and tariffs. The first was a violation of liberty, the second was a violation of property....

"The law should be a viewed as a negation; if you don’t violate the life, liberty, or property of someone else, you should not see the arm of the law or care much about the role of government.... If the law were properly defined, you would not blame the government for your misfortunes nor would you credit it with your successes.... Bastiat wrote:
[I]f you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, literary, or artistic — you will then be lost in an uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it upon you. This is true because fraternity and philanthropy, unlike justice, do not have precise limits. Once started, where will you stop? And where will the law stop itself?
"More important than left or right is the concept of liberty. The solution to the problem of human relationships is freedom, and it thrives most when the role of government is limited, the use of force is constrained, and the law is confined to the administration of universal justice, or, more precisely, the law is exclusively used as a roadblock to injustice."

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Canadian Senate delays cannabis legalization

Unelected hacks in the Canadian Senate delay cannabis legalization | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly - Charlie Smith:

February 16, 2018 - "Once again, aging legislators who've never been chosen by the people and who do not reflect the demographic reality of the country have thwarted the will of Parliament.

"I'm talking about the Canadian Senate.... Its members collect $147,700 per year while being allowed to moonlight.... Unlike members of Parliament, these fat cats can't be kicked out of office by the public at election time ... even if they're charged with criminal offences, because they get to keep their well-paying jobs until they're 75 years of age.

"As a result, they'll face no political consequences for delaying the legalization of cannabis as they continue their review of Bill C-45 until as late as June 7. Their decision to continue picking apart the weed-regulation bill ensures that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not fulfill his promise to legalize cannabis no later than July.... If the Senate recommends amendments, that could result in a longer delay....

"The Trudeau government was elected in October 2015. This means it will be nearly three-quarters into its mandate before finally getting around to fulfilling its pre-election promise to legalize weed ... unelected senators are still dithering over a marijuana-legalization bill 27 months after Trudeau became prime minister.

"Back in 2002, a Canadian Senate special committee on illegal drugs issued a report on cannabis legalization after exhaustively studying this subject.... It proposed a licensing scheme to produce cannabis with a THC content of 13 percent or less [and] endorsed amnesty for those who've been convicted of possession of cannabis....Its recommendations, including amnesty, were ignored by successive federal governments.

"In 2016, the first full year after Trudeau became prime minister, 17,733 people in Canada were charged with possession of cannabis. That's 17,733 people whose lives have been profoundly affected because elected and unelected officials couldn't countenance people smoking a joint when even the prime minister has admitted to doing this in the past.

"Even today, the Justice Department, headed by Vancouver Granville Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, refuses to direct Crown counsel to stop charging Canadians for possession of cannabis."

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Liu forfeiture unconstitutional, BC suit argues

New constitutional challenge argues B.C. civil forfeiture regime violates Charter - The Globe and Mail - Sunny Dhillan:

February 11, 2018 - "British Columbia's civil forfeiture regime violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by forcing individuals to produce evidence against themselves and by resulting in penalties that are grossly disproportionate, says a new constitutional challenge.

'The case, which will proceed to trial in B.C. Supreme Court in November, stems from a 2015 police search of a multimillion-dollar home on Vancouver's west side that turned up hundreds of marijuana plants....

'The Globe and Mail has reported extensively on the Civil Forfeiture Office, which was established as a way to fight organized crime but has come to have a far broader reach. The office does not need a criminal conviction or even charges to pursue a file. The Globe has interviewed those who have had to fight to keep their homes, vehicles, money and even a coin collection. Others have been unable to afford to argue their case.

"B.C.'s NDP government, which had called for a review of the province's Civil Forfeiture Act when it was in opposition, has since said it does not plan to order one. The province's Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, has said the office is operating as it should....

"Kwok Wai (Andy) Liu, ... granted the Vancouver Police Department access to the property in September, 2015, at which point officers discovered approximately 700 to 750 marijuana plants.... 10 kilograms of dried marijuana, 'packaged in a manner consistent with drug trafficking rather than personal consumption,' were also found, as were three Health Canada licences allowing for personal production of cannabis. Each licence authorized the growth of 146 plants.

"The property was sold in October, 2016, for approximately $3.1-million. The money is being held by the court until the case is resolved. The office has said Mr. Liu would not have been able to afford the home unless he trafficked marijuana. It has said money from the sale should be forfeited to the province....

"Liu said the Civil Forfeiture Act violates the Charter.... Vancouver police did not forward his file to the Crown to consider criminal charges but did send it to the Civil Forfeiture Office, which faces a lower standard of proof – on a balance of probabilities instead of beyond a reasonable doubt. He said individuals who face civil forfeiture cases do not have adequate protections, including but not limited to the presumption of innocence and the right to not be compelled by the state to testify against oneself....

"Liu is seeking several declarations, including one that would see the right to silence apply to civil forfeiture proceedings and one that would state the application of the Civil Forfeiture Act can lead to results that are grossly disproportionate to the alleged unlawful activity."

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Maclean claims a libertarian-to-alt.right "slide" (video)

Professor at prestigious university declares libertarian leaders ‘seem to be on the autism spectrum’ | TheBlaze:

"A Duke University professor said the 'architects' of libertarianism 'seem to be on the autism spectrum' because they 'don’t feel solidarity or empathy with others'.... Nancy MacLean — a history professor and author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America — made her comments during a Thursday lecture.... Here’s the video of her lecture and the subsequent Q&A session. MacLean’s 'autism spectrum' remark comes just after the 1-hour mark:....

"Prior to her 'autism spectrum' remark, MacLean tore into libertarianism, saying 'social Darwinism … drives the whole thing' and 'there’s always a slide from libertariansim into the alt-right.' She added that libertarians believe capitalism is 'absolutely wonderful, without flaws....Then they have to explain why some people have poverty over generations … are not able to lift themselves up out of their circumstances in the way the libertarians prescribe, and so they slide off into the kind of racist thought that we associate with the ‘alt-right,' MacLean added.

"She added that while libertarians are 'well organized,' they 'wouldn’t be much' without their money — and that 'when they’re exposed,' it will be like 'the emperor has no clothes.'"

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nancy MacLean smears libertarians & the autistic

Democracy in Chains Author Nancy MacLean Calls Autism a Leading Cause of Libertarianism - Hit & Run : - Robby Soave:

February 13, 2018 - "Nancy MacLean, the Duke University historian who wrote Democracy in Chains, the deeply conspiratorial and much-criticized biography of public choice economist James Buchanan, told an audience in New York last week that Buchanan and other early leaders of the limited-government movement 'seem to be on the autism spectrum.'

"According to MacLean, there is a connection between autism and libertarianism, and that connection is not feeling 'solidarity or empathy', and having 'kind of difficult human relationships sometimes'...."

"This decidedly unempathetic assertion was MacLean's answer to a question from the audience at NYC's Unitarian Church of All Souls: 'Where do [Buchanan's] motivations lie? Are they ones of personal greed? It seems like it's a little grander, is it malevolence?'.... MacLean thanked the audience member for his 'profound question.' Then she confides in a low tone, 'I didn't put this in the book but I'll say it here' and goes on to explain:
It's striking to me how many of the architects of this cause seem to be on the autism spectrum. People who don't feel solidarity or empathy with others, and who have kind of difficult human relationships sometimes....

Buchanan's own parents wanted him to go into politics and have a political career....  Part of me, since you've asked me in the way you have, part of me feels like there was this some kind of wound in him that he couldn't be this political figure, and then he made it his mission to kind of debunk the whole of politics to show that no one who was in it was good. But I don't know....
"MacLean is making two not-necessarily-related claims here: 1) that Buchanan's autism made him unsuitable for politics, spurning his opposition to government, and 2) autistic people are less empathetic, which is why callous, unfeeling libertarianism appeals to them.....

"'I've discussed how ableist people like MacLean use autism as a slur, but I don't think we've ever been accused of being the source of malevolent ideologies before,' wrote Troy Earl Camplin, who blogs about living with Asperger's syndrome and having an autistic son. 'If I lived anywhere near Duke University, I would be outside the History Department tomorrow protesting her'...

"In case there was any doubt about what she meant, another audience member asked whether Buchanan's ideas were spreading 'to other universities and so that we've got this constant flow of libertarians, autistic libertarians.' MacLean smiles and chuckles."

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ontario cannabis entrepreneurs to defy new law

Why Toronto's cannabis 'grey market' 'ain't going nowhere' as legalization looms - Toronto - CBC News - Salma Ibrahim:

February 12, 2018 - "They've been raided, warned and put on notice. But as legalization looms, players who describe themselves as part of Toronto's cannabis "grey market" say they simply aren't going anywhere....

"Many dispensary owners and lounge operators say they're part of a grey market, not a black market, because they say their status under the law is murky and ambiguous. But currently, the only legally sold weed is for medical purposes and is delivered by licensed producers via Canada Post. Storefront dispensaries, medical or otherwise, are illegal. Lounges, under the proposed Cannabis Act, would also be outside the law....

"There were high hopes that the existing distribution network would be adopted into a legal framework post-legalization but the province has set up an LCBO subsidiary to be the only legal retailer of cannabis. Nonetheless, players in the existing network of businesses refuse to be pushed out. There are 219 weed delivery services and 66 dispensaries listed in Toronto on Weedmaps — a popular app that maps and reviews cannabis shops and strains in North America....

"Justin Loizos ... owns Just Compassion, a medical pot dispensary in Toronto's west end, and believes he is poised to adapt his business model enough to squeeze into the legal framework. ''I could put a doctor's office out front, a vapour lounge here, bongs for sale, maybe some [hydroponic] equipment,' he said. It all depends on the legal regulations the province lays down, he says. Either way, he has no plans to leave the industry....

"Loizos set up shop after finding that cannabis provided rare relief from his struggles with multiple sclerosis and PTSD. He says his shop allows people with medical needs quicker access to the drug than Health Canada's current delivery system....

"Tania Cyalume ... used to run Queens of Cannabis, a dispensary that was shut down by Toronto police.... Now, she's moved her business to a more flexible model. 'There are various pop-up markets in the city every month and so we've just been jumping around from place to place and our patients follow us,' she said.... The pop-up market organizers are very careful to keep their location a secret so that they're not targeted by police....

"[T]here will likely still be a demand for underground pot after marijuana is legalized, argues at least one expert.... Miles Light, founder of the Colorado-based Marijuana Policy Group ... blames this gap on the 'bottleneck' that will be created if only 80 storefronts open up in Ontario, a province of over 14 million people, by 2019 as promised.

"'Colorado has over 800 outlets and we only have five million people so if the consumers can't get marijuana at a reasonable access point then they'll probably return to the black market.'"

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder dead

Cyber-Libertarian And Pioneer John Perry Barlow Dies At Age 70 : The Two-Way : NPR - Richard Gonzalez:

February 7, 2018 -"A founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, John Perry Barlow, has died at the age of 70, according to a statement issued by the Foundation.

"Barlow was a poet, essayist, Internet pioneer and prominent cyber-libertarian. He co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990 after realizing that the government was ill-equipped to understand what he called the "legal, technical, and metaphorical nature of datacrime.' He said believed that 'everyone's liberties would become at risk.'

Barlow described the founding of the EFF after receiving a visit from an FBI agent in April 1990 seeking to find out whether he was a member of 'a dread band of info-terrorists.' Shortly thereafter, Barlow and Mitch Kapor, the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, organized a series of dinners with leaders of the computer industry for discussions that would lead to the creation of the EFF.

"'It ... became clear that we were dealing with a set of problems which was a great deal more complex and far-reaching than a few cases of governmental confusion. The actions of the FBI and Secret Service were symptoms of a growing social crisis.... America was entering the Information Age with neither laws nor metaphors for the appropriate protection and conveyance of information itself.'

"Barlow was a Fellow Emeritus of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

"Earlier in his life, Barlow was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead who co-wrote songs such as 'Cassidy,' 'Mexicali Blues,' and "Black-Throated Wind.'

"According to the Electric Frontier Foundation, Barlow 'passed away quietly in his sleep' on Wednesday morning."

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

How libertarian is Burning Man?

Does Burning Man Mean That a Post-Scarcity Society Would Be a Libertarian Utopia? Not Quite. – InsideSources - Erin Mundahl:

January 25, 2018 - "Every year, some 70,000 people descend upon the Nevada desert for an experience somewhere between an art festival, a music festival, and a tent city. The Burning Man festival bills itself as an “experiment in temporary community,” founded upon concepts of radical self-reliance, anti-consumerism, and self expression. At the Burning Man camp, 'guiding principles' rather than strictly enforced rules govern, and even bartering has been replaced by the act of giving. It sounds something like a libertarian’s dream – and many would say that it is. In a discussion fostered by the Cato Institute, former Burning Man attendees acknowledged that to remain orderly, even this experiment in giving and radical openness requires understanding general principles that start to sound an awful lot like rules.

"'Because cash exchanges and to some extent the barter system are banned in Black Rock City, Burning Man is often viewed as an anti-capitalist community that is very against the ideas of libertarianism,' said Cat Murti, Senior Digital Outreach Manager at the Cato Institute. 'However, as a voluntary association driven by freedom of association, self-governance, non-violent dispute mediation and emergent order, Burning Man is in many ways somewhat of an example of modern libertopia,' she said....

"When choosing to attend, people decide to follow the guiding principles of the festival. This, combined with the necessity of purchasing a ticket, emphasizes the voluntary association inherent in the festival structure.... 'We can think of Burning Man, to an extent, as having an independent governing system,' says Mark Lutter, president of the Institute for Innovative Governance and a Burning Man attendee. 'For example, there is no exchange. Not only is there no money, but there is no barter. So you need to bring with you everything that you are going to use for the week'....

"The rule against bartering is not strictly enforced. Rather, the culture of the camp is one of both self-reliance and giving.... Lutter explained how the unusual social rules of the camp create a different social structure and, by extension, a different community experience than life outside of the camp....

"Burning Man exists as something temporary. The camp only needs to function for a little over a week. As a result, it escapes the need for much of the regulation that governs the smooth day to day existence of cities and towns. In part, this reflects the reality that people behave differently when they know that they will only be together for a limited period of time....

"[E]xperiment might be the best way to characterize Burning Man. For a period of a little over a week, different rules apply and a group of self-selected and rather dedicated people are able to create a new society. Whether that society would or could exist for a month or longer is another question altogether."

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

The myth of the "crumbling infrastructure"

Our Infrastructure Is Not 'Crumbling.' Repeat: Our Infrastructure Is Not 'Crumbling' - - David Harsanyi:

February 9, 2018 - "One of the great myths of American politics, no matter who is president and no matter who runs Congress, is that our infrastructure is 'crumbling.' Former President Barack Obama repeatedly warned us about our 'crumbling infrastructure.' President Donald Trump now tells us that our infrastructure is 'crumbling.' The next president is going to hatch a giant plan to fix our crumbling infrastructure as well, because most voters want to believe infrastructure is crumbling....

"Ask someone about infrastructure and his thoughts will probably wander to the worst pothole-infested road he traverses rather than the hundreds of roads he drives on that are perfectly safe and smooth ... 'crumbling infrastructure' peddlers play on this concern by habitually agonizing over things ... like the 2007 disaster with the Interstate 35 bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis even though, according to federal investigators, the collapse was due to a design flaw rather than decaying infrastructure....

"In reality, the number of structurally deficient bridges, never high to begin with, has been dropping ... from over 22 percent in 1992 to under 10 percent in 2016. According to a Reuters analysis of those bridges, only 4 percent of those that carry significant traffic need repairs. Of the nation's 1,200 busiest bridges, the number of those structurally deficient falls to under 2 percent — or fewer than 20 bridges in the entire country. And none of those bridges need repair....

"That has never stopped politicians from fearmongering, however. 'Our roads and bridges are falling apart; our airports are in Third World condition,' Trump claimed during his 2016 campaign. Yet as the Heritage Foundation's Michael Sargent points out, the percentage of airport runways deemed as poor has fallen from 4 percent in 2004 to 2 percent in 2016. And for the past 30 years, the number of 'acceptable' or above roads has remained relatively consistent at approximately 85 percent....

"Despite years of hearing otherwise, there is still no evidence that infrastructure bills create self-sustaining jobs — or any jobs, for that matter. According to a 2010 Associated Press analysis, the first 10 months of Obama's economic stimulus plan showed virtually no effect on local unemployment rates, which rose and fell regardless of money spent on infrastructure projects....

"Now, ... the White House's plan apparently features some attempt to reduce the regulatory burden that the private sector must wade through before gaining approval for building permits. This is a positive step considering the vast majority of infrastructure is still built by the private sector. This should be a goal of the administration with or without the massive infrastructure bill.

"How we fund the infrastructure, and who builds these projects, is certainly a debate worth having. But it's a debate worth having without ever using the word 'crumbling'."

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Ed Crane accused of sexual harassment

Former Cato employees describe years of harassment - POLITICO:

"Three former employees of the famed Cato Institute say they were sexually harassed by Ed Crane, the 73-year-old co-founder and president emeritus of the think tank and one of the most recognizable figures in the libertarian movement.

"One former employee said Crane asked her to take off her bra. Another said he compared her breasts to pornographic images on his computer. A third said he sent her an email on breast augmentation. Crane also settled an additional sexual harassment claim by a former employee in 2012, her lawyer confirmed....

"Crane, who served as president and CEO of the libertarian think tank for more than 30 years before becoming president emeritus after a dispute with Cato shareholders Charles and David Koch, denied several of the incidents or said he didn’t recall them before ending a brief interview. He declined to comment on whether he was involved in a legal settlement in 2012.

"Peter Goettler, who has served as Cato’s president and CEO since 2015, also declined to comment on specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment during Crane’s tenure.... James Davis, a spokesperson for the Koch brothers, said they found out about the 2012 sexual harassment settlement in the midst of their dispute with Crane, at a time when they were already seeking to remove him as president.

"A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, who spent part of his early career as an investment manager, Crane became a national leader in the libertarian movement.... In 1977, the then-32-year-old Crane co-founded Cato with economist Murray Rothbard and Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and political donor. Crane ran the institute on a daily basis, establishing Cato as a top Washington think tank and growing its annual budget to more than $20 million at the time of his retirement. Cato helped to inject libertarian policies — such as privatizing Social Security — into the political mainstream....

"Goettler, Cato’s current president, ... said there was a settlement at the organization in 2012 and another settlement at Cato during that period of time, but declined to provide details on who paid the settlements or whether they involved Crane....

"Goettler ... said the think tank has 'a pretty explicit policy against sexual harassment,' as well as a 'robust complaint process' for employees and an anti-retaliation policy. He said the procedures predate his own time as president, which began in 2015.... Cato also conducted a mandatory sexual harassment training for employees several years ago, Goettler said."

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sharpe raises $100K in run for NY governor

A New York rarity: A serious Libertarian candidate - Bill Mahoney, Politico:

"January 25m 2018 - "The $5.9 million in contributions Gov. Andrew Cuomo received in the past six months easily topped the growing field of potential challengers this year. Who came in second place?...

"By a wide margin, the declared candidate who received the second-highest contribution total was Larry Sharpe, who’s planning to run on the Libertarian line. He raised $102,596 during the filing period, most of which he said came from small donors who contributed online.

"In a state in which voters are reluctant to embrace Republicans — Democrats have won the past 19 statewide races — Sharpe plans to present himself as a potential alternative....

"'The Republican vote is a wasted vote,' he said. 'There is no way a Republican can win in this state. The advantage that I have is I’m not a Republican, I’m a Libertarian. … So when New York state looks at the Republican and says, "Not that guy," and they look at Cuomo and say, "Not that guy" — I’m their guy.'

"Sharpe, a former trucking company executive and Marine, sought the national party’s nomination to be Gary Johnson’s running mate in the 2016 national election. He came close, losing with 47 percent of the vote on the second ballot... He’s already gained Johnson’s endorsement, and partially as a result of his efforts in 2016, Sharpe has a substantial online presence. A Facebook page for his gubernatorial campaign has 41,000 followers.... Much of that following and his fundraising likely comes from Libertarians from other states. But the magnitude of it, coupled with the fact that Sharpe already has started to campaign, makes it realistic to imagine a scenario in which he crosses the magic threshold of 50,000 votes.

"When a candidate hits that number in a gubernatorial election, a little more than 1 percent of the votes cast, the party becomes official in New York. For the next four years, the party has automatic ballot access, appears on voter registration forms and has the state fund its primaries.... But outside of a 48,359-vote performance by Warren Redlich in 2010, Libertarians have never come particularly close.

"Sharpe said it was 'a joke' to talk about his chances of garnering at least 50,000 votes. 'I already have a base of [176,000] people who vote[d] for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld in 2016,' he said. 'I’ll get that easily'....

"Sharpe says he’s running not just to legitimize the party, but to win. 'Only about 4 million New Yorkers are going to vote,' he said.... 'So that means all I need is about 1.5 million and I’m governor. That’s a mountain, but that’s not impossible.'

"He says there are four areas that will determine who is ultimately elected — traditional media coverage, public speaking, social media and debates. While he’s ready to concede coverage by traditional media, he thinks he can be competitive in the other three."

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dunn runs for Senate as Libertarian in NM

Libertarian Aubrey Dunn joins Senate race | Legislature | New Mexico Legislative Session | - Steve Terell, Santa Fe New Mexican:

February 6, 2018 - "State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr., who recently changed his voting registration from Republican to Libertarian, filed to run for U.S. Senate on Tuesday against incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican building contractor Mick Rich.

"Dunn, who won the land commissioner race four years ago, is one of an entire slate of Libertarians who filed for congressional and state offices on Tuesday. Dunn’s son, A. Blair Dunn, is running for attorney general, while other Libertarians are running for secretary of state, land commissioner and two of New Mexico’s three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"The Secretary of State’s Office last week designated the Libertarian Party as a major party in New Mexico. The party won that [status] after former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s relatively strong showing in the 2016 presidential election in this state. Johnson, who was a Republican when he was governor between 1995 and 2002, got about 9.3 percent of the vote in the state, which is the best a third party has done here since independent presidential candidate Ross Perot won 16 percent of the state’s vote in 1992.

"Although Libertarians appeal to some on the left because of the party’s liberal views on social issues such as marijuana, abortion rights and gay rights, they tend to hurt Republicans because of their strong views on easing regulations, lowering taxes and shrinking government. The emergence of an active Libertarian Party in the state raises the question of whether GOP candidates will suffer.

"'I think I’ll pull equally from both my opponents,' Dunn said Tuesday. "Progressives in this state have made strides in taking over the Democratic Party, leaving many conservative Democrats behind'.... 'This is a winnable race for Libertarians,' he said, pointing to a recent poll that showed Heinrich with an approval rate of less than 50 percent....

"Besides Dunn, the best-known Libertarian candidate to file Tuesday was former state Rep. Sandra Jeff, who is running for secretary of state.... Jeff is a former Democrat from Crownpoint. She often sided with Republicans during her three terms in the state House....

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Has the Libertarian Party rejected Ron Paul?

Has the Libertarian Party Rejected Ron Paul and Judge Napolitano? - Steve Byas, The New American:

February 5, 2018 - "The national Libertarian Party was back in the news late last week, with a dispute over whether the LP had refused to allow Ron Paul — probably the nation’s best-known libertarian — and Judge Andrew Napolitano to speak at the party’s 2018 convention. The convention’s coordinator, Daniel Hayes, said Paul 'has no idea what the LP represents.'

"Apparently, the Mises Caucus, a faction of the LP, had expressed interest in Paul appearing at the convention, but Paul typically has a speaking fee of $35,000. Hayes has denied that Paul would not be allowed to speak; rather, Hayes said, Paul could speak, if the honorariums for Paul and Napolitano (which would have totaled $70,000) were paid by someone other than the LP — though a question arose about whether an outside group can actually pay for a speaker at a political party event, under federal campaign laws.

"While the Libertarian Party may not have actually rejected Paul from speaking at the event, it is quite clear that the LP has moved to the left in recent years, and Paul's libertarianism is no longer the accepted brand any more among the more socially liberal leadership of the Libertarian Party.

"Incredibly, the LP leadership has even compared Ron and Rand Paul to the Bushes and the Clintons. LP Chairman Nicholas Serwark attacked the Ludwing von Mises Institute, comparing it to a Nazi organization. And while the Mises Institute has become somewhat controversial within the LP, the party does make room in its circle for a Socialist Caucus!

"Paul, for his part, expressed disappointment.... 'It used to be that they would ask me, you know, quite frequently.' He added that he believed the LP has abandoned its principles, especially with its nomination of Gary Johnson and William Weld to head the ticket in 2016. 'When you look at the leadership, so often you see that they melted away.'

"Paul lamented that the LP 'failed to live up to what should have been its role as an ideological alterntive to Washington’s one-party system. As was quite obvious in the 2016 presidential election, the Libertarians yielded to prevailing attitudes on war, welfare, the Federal Reserve, and more. In believing that winning was more important than standing for something, they ended up achieving neither'....

"The 2016 LP nominee for president, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, hardly qualifies as a limited-government candidate himself. He opposes the abolition of the Federal Reserve System, and supports the Environmental Protection Agency, despite there being no authorization in the Constitution for either one.... More important, apparently, is support for same-sex 'marriage.' Johnson infamously dismissed concerns about forcing bakers to celebrate same-sex marriages, by saying, 'I just see religious freedom, as a category, as just being a black hole'....

"Liberty is apparently no longer the principle driving the Libertarian Party."

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Trump saves U.S. from cheap washing machines

George F. Will: Protectionism rewards bad deeds | New Hampshire - Union Leader:

January 28, 2018 - "Like Horatius at the bridge, or the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled, or the Dutch boy who saved the city by putting his finger in the dike - pick your analogous heroism - the Trump administration last week acted to stanch the flood of foreign-made washing machines that are being imported because Americans want them. The stanching will be accomplished by quotas and stiff (up to 50 percent) tariffs, which are taxes collected at the border and paid by American consumers.

"Americans also will pay higher prices for washing machines made domestically by Whirlpool, which sought this protectionism, from which it instantly profited: In Monday's after-hours trading, Whirlpool's stock rose 3 percent. When protectionism is rampant, no bad deed goes unrewarded.

"The washing machine drama about 'putting (a faction of) America first' cannot be industrial policy - government rather than the market picking winners and losers. And it cannot be government redistribution of wealth. And it cannot be crony capitalism. It cannot be those things because Republicans oppose those things and control policymaking.

"Next, and soon, will come a government decision about the problem, as our protectors see it, of menacingly inexpensive steel imports, concerning which the administration is pretending to deliberate. The charade of thinking will end with the imposition of yet more steel tariffs/taxes, joining the 149 (some as high as 266 percent) targeting many of the over 110 countries and territories from which America imports steel....

"Imposition of the new tariffs/taxes will be done solely by the President, exercising discretion granted to Presidents by various laws, including one passed in December 1974, when Congress evidently thought that Watergate, then fresh in memory, had taught that Presidents were not sufficiently imperial. Then, as now, Congress seemed to think it had more important things to do than set trade policy....

"In 2002, George W. Bush imposed tariffs that caused steel prices to surge, costing more jobs in steel-using industries than then existed in steel-making. (Today there are upward of seven times more steel-using than steel-making jobs.) The tariffs cost $400,000 a year for every steel-making job saved, and cost $4 billion in lost wages. Especially hard hit in 2002 were three states - Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania - that in 2016 voted for today's protectionist President....

"Fomenting spurious anxieties about national security is the first refuge of rent-seeking scoundrels who tart up their protectionism as patriotism.... The coming steel tariffs/taxes will mean that defense dollars will buy fewer ships, tanks and armored vehicles, just as the trillion infrastructure dollars the administration talks about will buy fewer bridges and other steel-using projects. As Henry George said, with protectionism a nation does to itself in peacetime what an enemy tries to do to it in war."

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Bettina Bien Greaves dead at 100

Bettina Bien Greaves, R.I.P. | Liberty Unbound - Mark Skousen:

January 28, 2018 - "All scholars dream of having one or more disciples who will make sure their legacy is kept alive and their works and theories prominently trumpeted before the public eye.

"For the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, there was quite a following, including two couples, Hans and Mary Sennholz, and Percy and Bettina Greaves. On January 22 the last of the four, Bettina Bien Greaves, died at the astounding age of 100. (Mary Sennholz also lived to be 100)....

"Bettina Greaves deserves to be honored as Mises’ most devoted student, and in July a room will be dedicated to her at the annual FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas.

"From the time she first heard Mises speak in 1951 at a Freeman seminar in Washington Square in New York City, Bettina was smitten. With a background in shorthand and secretarial work during the war years, she attended Mises’ famous New York University graduate seminar, taking copious notes on every lecture from 1951 until 1969. Although she had no formal training in economics, Greaves was the queen of the Austrian school and never deviated from it. She joined the Foundation [for] Economic Education (FEE) staff in 1953 and worked at the FEE mansion for the rest of her career. She survived everyone, including founder Leonard Read. After retiring, she stayed on as a board member and even donated her home in New York to FEE....

"She focused her career on advancing the works and ideas of the Austrian school, including the contributions by Henry Hazlitt and Hans Sennholz. She wrote many articles for The Freeman, gave lectures, and compiled anthologies about Austrian economics. She spearheaded FEE’s program to provide libertarian material for high school debaters with packets on foreign aid, government regulations, medical care, and other issues. She compiled and edited Free Market Economics: A Syllabus and Free Market Economics: A Basic Reader, a two-volume set that was distributed to thousands of students and teachers....

"But her main interest was always in her mentor, Ludwig von Mises.... She compiled, edited, and translated many of his books after his death in 1973. She also worked with her husband Percy [on a book] ... published in 1974, called Mises Made Easier (but never easy!). With the help of Robert W. McGee, she published an exhaustive Mises: An Annotated Bibliography (FEE, 1993, 1995). When the Liberty Fund decided to publish the complete works of Mises, Bettina was asked to be the editor, writing introductions for each volume."

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Libertarians & everyone else react to #TheMemo

Here's What Rand Paul, Mark Meadows, and Others in Washington Are Saying About the Nunes Memo - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

February 2, 2018 - "Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, released his short memo today after the White House agreed to its declassification. The document claims that the FBI withheld from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the 'Steele Dossier,' used as justification to snoop on former Donald Trump adviser Carter Page, was funded by Democratic Party sources and pushed by FBI officials with an agenda against Trump....

"House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calls the memo 'partisan spin'.... Yet she doesn't actually counter any of the claims in the memo itself.... John McCain (R-Ariz.), no friend of Trump's, does not want the Nunes memo to threaten the investigation of whether Russia colluded with members of Trump's campaign during the election outcomes....

"But some Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), have been philosophically consistent. This tweet may sound like what we've been hearing from other Trump supporters:
So, there it is. The FBI took an unverified political dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, and they used it as a central piece in their request to get a warrant for spying on American citizens and political opponents in the Trump campaign.
... but Meadows, as a member of the House Freedom Caucus, supported reforms to the FISA amendments that would have put tighter restrictions on using secret surveillance of American citizens....

"Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who tried to organize a filibuster to stop FISA from being reauthorized without reforms, applauded the memo's release for similar reasons....  Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) who attempted to get surveillance reform through the House and failed, has a like-minded thread of tweets....

"The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is no fan of Trump's, but it's one of the major civil liberties groups concerned about unwarranted FBI surveillance of Americans. And in the wake of the Nunes memo, it wants more information to come out. From Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington Legislative Office:
Rather than one side or the other cherry-picking facts, all Americans deserve to see all of the facts, including both the minority report and the underlying documents. The goal should be more transparency, not less, particularly when a congressional committee chairman makes serious charges of abuse but does not provide the facts to either prove the charges or allow Americans to make up our own minds.
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Friday, February 2, 2018

Seven management secrets of Atlas Shrugged

7 Management Secrets From 'Atlas Shrugged' That Beat Misinterpretations - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist Society:

July 25, 2017 - "Business and management is not the subject or theme of Atlas Shrugged, but it is the setting. As one of the few novelists to make a serious and sympathetic attempt to portray people who run businesses, she frequently sets up her characterization and plot points by showing us how the heroes and villains operate in the business world, how they make important decisions, and how they treat their employees. We can look at that and derive a few basic rules for how an Ayn Rand hero does business. Call it 'The Management Secrets of ‘Atlas Shrugged'....

1. Know the business from the ground up. Many of Ayn Rand’s business heroes ... worked their way up from the bottom.... Hank Rearden rose up out of the iron mines before becoming a mine owner.... The same goes for Ken Danagger, who is described as having started work in the coal mines at age 12.... At age 16, railroad heiress Dagny Taggart starts a summer job as the night operator at a rural train station. Francisco D’Anconia, heir to a vast copper fortune, spends his college years working at a dilapidated copper foundry.... This is why the heroes in Atlas Shrugged are able to start up again in Galt’s Gulch..... They can readily downshift into the roles of foremen and mechanics, and they have no compunction about walking to work swinging a lunchbox....

2. Earn respect.... Rand’s heroes are clearly inspirational leaders, but it’s not because they jet off to Davos or give TED talks about 'thinking outside the box'.... It’s because they earn the respect of their employees and business partners.... Rand’s heroes inspire their employees because they lead from the front. They never demand that anyone give more, in terms of knowledge, work, or devotion, than they give themselves....

3. Always take responsibility.... This is one of the reasons why the business heroes in Atlas Shrugged all have their businesses named after them — Rearden Steel, D’Anconia Copper, Wyatt Oil, Taggart Transcontinental — while the villains run companies with vaguely collective names like Associated Steel. Part of the point Rand was making is that behind every productive organization there is a person who created it and keeps it going. But from the characters’ perspective, they name their businesses after themselves as a way of stressing their responsibility, the idea that everything their company does is literally done in their name.... The whole method of the business villains in Atlas Shrugged is to evade responsibility, constantly whining that 'it wasn’t my fault,' or 'I can’t be blamed.' We can see this most clearly in the Taggart Tunnel disaster, which happens because, with Dagny briefly gone, a whole chain of Taggart executives from Jim on down pass the buck....

4. Deal with the best talent. If Ayn Rand’s heroes expect a lot out of themselves, they look for the same qualities in the people they hire and do business with. At the beginning of the novel, the basic plot idea is introduced to us in the form of Dagny’s struggle to find and retain talent.... Later, in Galt’s Gulch, Dagny realizes that the foreman at Andrew Stockton’s foundry is the disappeared coal tycoon Ken Danagger.... 'She glanced at Stockton with curiosity. "Aren’t you training a man who could become your most dangerous competitor?" "That’s the only sort of men I like to hire…. Any man who’s afraid of hiring the best ability he can find is a cheat who’s in a business where he doesn’t belong"'....

5. Set an innovative vision. Rand’s business heroes ... are visionaries who are looking for revolutionary new machines and the kind of innovations we would describe nowadays as 'disruptive.' There are two such disruptive innovations that embody this idea. Roughly the first third of the novel’s plot is driven by Hank Rearden’s invention of a revolutionary metal alloy that is strong[er], lighter, cheaper, and longer-lasting than steel.... By the end of Part One ... Rearden Metal is now regarded as a proven technology [and] it is time for our innovators to move on to the next big thing, ... the revolutionary motor they find abandoned at the Twentieth Century Motor Company.... The search for the motor drives the plot up through the end of Part Two and brings us into Part Three.... So the business leader’s search for innovation is at the heart of the novel and is the key driver of the plot.

6. Make every deal win-win. This is a point that very few of the casual mainstream commentators get.... If you actually read Atlas Shrugged, you notice that her heroes are very insistent on making mutually beneficial deals and never trying to get something for nothing out of their customers or business partners. They expect the other guy to pull his weight in any business deal — and they expect that they will have to provide a lot of value in return.... It is the government officials and the altruistic 'humanitarians' who keep trying to set up deals in which one side gets all the benefits and the other side takes all the losses.... Rand makes a specific point to show why these one-sided altruist set-ups have to fail. If you create a deal in which one side takes all the burdens and all the losses, you are ensuring that one of the parties to the deal will eventually be unable to fulfill its obligations and the whole thing will collapse.

7. Don’t prop up the Jim Taggarts.... This is shown in Atlas Shrugged, not by the positive example of her main protagonists, but by their biggest error. In taking heroic action intended to save the railroad and the economy, Dagny actually ends up bailing out her worthless brother, time and time again.... This isn’t about claiming credit or public glory. This is about not accepting a role as the person who always bails his boss, colleagues, or business partners out of their own mistakes, putting them in the position to make more mistakes that need more bailing out in the future ... In the current therapeutic terminology, the person who always bails a chronic drunk out of trouble is 'codependent' or an 'enabler'....

"So Rand did have a few things to say about management, after all.... Ayn Rand uses the business decisions of her heroes as a way of moving forward the plot and characterization and of expressing her big philosophical themes.... Observers of the business world can debate how well these management ideas work and which companies and CEOs truly implement them."

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

60% of Americans see need for a third party

Are Republicans Ready to Join a Third Party? - The New York Times - Juleanna Glover:

January 28, 2018 - "At think-tank conference tables, over coffee at the Senate Chef and at the incessant book parties on the Washington social circuit, disaffected Republicans are wondering whether, if they came up with a truly great candidate, they could jump-start a new party, just as the original Republicans did in the 1850s.

"And if surveys have any truth to them, plenty of Americans are ready to join them. A September Gallup poll found 61 percent of American voters support the idea of a third major political party, the highest level of support Gallup had ever recorded. Young voters seem especially eager to junk the two-party system; NBC reported in November that 71 percent of millennials want another choice."

"In a world in which Alabama voters elected a Democratic senator, all kinds of previously unimaginable possibilities make a new kind of sense. A third-party presidency in 2020 is no less likely today than the prospect of Donald Trump’s election appeared to be two years ago.

"A viable third-party candidate — say, someone with credibility inside one of the parties who bolts from it — would have appeal to voters across the spectrum. There are many Republicans wary of a second term for Mr. Trump, and yet right now they are entirely reliant on the Democrats to deliver a winning centrist candidate out of a primary process that almost made Bernie Sanders their 2016 nominee. A contest between Mr. Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate ... would leave the middle up for grabs. And a big contingent of politically orphaned political strategists, academics and donors would be ready to lend support....

"Abraham Lincoln was the last representative of a new political party to be elected president. He won in 1860 as the nominee of the anti-slavery Republican Party after he gained notice for his debates with Stephen Douglas during his 1858 Senate run. Lincoln lost that Senate race, but he became famous as a voice of moral clarity. Lincoln’s eventual win resulted not from a party affiliation but from the moral authority he commanded as an opponent of slavery....

"A popular, well-known candidate could co-opt a minor party and inherit its ballot access. But with money and expertise, starting a new party isn’t out of reach: The financier Peter Ackerman and the political reformer Kahlil Byrd led a 2012 effort, Americans Elect, that got on the ballot in a majority of states.....

"In the post-Trump world of American politics, there are all kinds of potential candidates who make sudden sense. Those quixotic enough to daydream about a new political party aren’t foolish enough to envision a candidacy driven by policy papers or party platforms. Personality and principles — either adoration or abnegation thereof — will propel the election of the next president."

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