Saturday, March 31, 2018

What the Facebook Scandal is about

The Fake Facebook Scandal | Liberty Unbound - Fred Mora:

March 27, 2018 - "It is no mystery that Facebook painstakingly accumulates a detailed profile of every user. Their locations, habits, purchases, relationships, and opinions are carefully analyzed and stored.... Facebook exploits this information to sell ads and resell user data to third parties. In exchange for the free service, users click through a lengthy consent form and become the product that Facebook sells.... Facebook created and published an 'API' (Application Programming Interface), a way for third-party programmers to query and receive Facebook user data — provided they pay.

"From 2010 to 2015 or so, Facebook allowed customers using their API to download and keep user data. Many Facebook customers took advantage of the feature. Among these customers was the firm A.M.G., which worked for the 2012 Obama campaign.... A.M.G. downloaded Facebook data on every American user — so much data that it triggered an alert in Facebook's monitoring system. Facebook looked the other way and told the campaign it could go on until the election....

"The 2016 Trump campaign hired a British data mining company, Cambridge Analytica, which also used Facebook user data.... The business-as-usual data sale was deemed a 'breach' or a 'leak,' ... [which] implies that Facebook's juicy data were not voluntarily sold....

"Mark Zuckerberg ... stooped to abject apologies for something that was done legally and publicly.... Now, Zuckerberg might be a greedy sociopath and a cloying statist, but he is not an idiot. And he doesn't give off the martyr vibe, either. So what’s going on?...

"According to market research company eMarketer, 5 to 10% of young users — from preteens to age 25 — are dropping off Facebook every year.... Zuckerberg needs to stop the user hemorrhage. He can take a risk and change the services and features offered by Facebook. He tried a few times, but these changes either backfired or failed to retain users.

"Thus, like every good rentseeking statist, Zuckerberg is now turning to the force of government. He is advocating regulation that would force social media companies to increase transparency on ads and fight hate speech. And ban offensive messages. And vet content. And more....

"Facebook is already severely limiting free speech.... Zuckerberg employs a horde of rabid activists that roam the site, looking for popular pages that contain un-PC keywords, and will block off any user sounding vaguely conservative if he or she becomes too popular. His biased censorship, which would make the Chinese government proud, is starting to attract attention.

"Zuckerberg is now advocating regulation mandating similar censorship and content vetting for all social media. This is a clever triple play. It would raise costs, and thus the barrier to entry, for all potential social network rivals, thereby keeping these pesky competitors at bay. It would absolve him from his anti-conservative witch hunt, since he would merely be implementing a regulation. And it would deprive banned users of a tribune where they can publish their horrid un-PC diatribes."

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Ex-RCAF member runs for Ontario LP in Quinte

Former military member represents Libertarian Party for Bay of Quinte provincial election : Prince Edward County News

March 25, 2018 - "A former member of the Royal Canadian Air Force now living in Madoc will represent the Libertarian Party in the Bay of Quinte riding in the upcoming provincial election.

Cindy Davidson, who grew up in Napanee, is a 24 year aviation and commercial transportation industry professional and adult educator whose career has taken her across the country. She returned to the Bay of Quinte region when she was posted to 8 Wing/CFB Trenton in 2009. In 2013 she was medically released for service related injuries.

"In her nomination media release, Davidson states she has considered herself 'an activist, advocate and change agent' since her early adult years.... She said government should be working for the people, absent of power, scandal, or corruption.

"''I am "of the people", not a member of the political elite in the province. I want to facilitate conversations on reducing the size and scope of the provincial government; on the non-government, free market, options to the services currently monopolized by government programming (i.e: healthcare, social services, education); on property rights and personal freedoms; and above all, on becoming the voice of the Bay of Quinte constituency.'

"Davidson plans an open-door policy where people will have access to voice their concerns and opinions on the direction of government. 'The Ontario Libertarian Party does not "whip" the votes of its members, therefore I am free to vote the collective conscience of the constituency, not the will of Party leadership or lobbyists. As an elected member of the Ontario Libertarian Party’s Ethics Committee, I bring forward a commitment to ethical and moral governance, vowing to remain a representative of the people, working for the people, to bring positive change and fiscal responsibility through the application of Libertarian policy and philosophy.'

"Key Libertarian issues include reducing the size and scope of the government through motions to repeal regulations that infringe upon property rights and personal freedoms; working for a fiscally-responsible government; eliminating monopolies in the health and social services sector; repealing regulations that give Crown Corporations sole access to markets such as liquor and cannabis and promotion of free market alternatives to all goods and services now monopolized by the provincial government."

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Rand Paul endorses Labrador for Idaho governor

Rand Paul backs Idaho 'small government' governor candidate | McClatchy Washington Bureau:

"March 27, 2018 - "Nearly 2,000 miles from Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to spread his distinctive brand of politics.

"The Kentucky Republican has endorsed Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican giving up his House seat to run for governor. Labrador will run the state in the Paul mold, unafraid to take on the establishment, the senator explained."

"'There is a difference between just being a Republican and being a constitutional conservative,'Paul said.... Labrador is one of a number of candidates Paul and his political action committee, RANDPAC, are supporting....

"Paul acknowledged the endorsement on the state level was 'unusual,' but called Labrador exceptional. 'Raul has a track record of being an independent thinker and someone who will stand up on principle and we need more of that in the states.... I'm always telling folks in my state, "Resist, resist, resist when the federal government tries to tell you what to do."'

"Labrador, Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist and Otter’s lieutenant governor, Brad Little, are considered the front-runners in the May 15 Republican primary. That contest, open to Republican voters only and likely to draw the most conservative activists, could determine the ultimate victor in reliably-red Idaho, where the last Democrat elected governor was Cecil Andrus in 1990."

"Labrador, a member of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus and a former Idaho House member, is positioning himself as a disruptor, promising to 'restore citizen control of our government, buck the establishment, and drain the swamp.'"

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Catalan independence leaders jailed

Protests in Catalonia after independence leaders held - The Local - AFP News:

March 24, 2018 - "Thousands of protesters descended on the streets of Catalonia late Friday after Spain's supreme court detained five separatist leaders for their role in last year's independence bid. The court also issued international arrest warrants for six other Catalan figures who have fled abroad....

"Spain's Supreme Court said Friday it would prosecute 13 key Catalan separatists for 'rebellion', a crime which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail. Five people were held in custody, including Catalan presidential candidate Jordi Turull ... former Catalan parliament president Carme Forcadell and three former regional ministers. Judge Pablo Llarena ... also issued international arrest warrants for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Belgium along with four of his former ministers.

"Four other separatists had already been detained by the Spanish authorities. In total 25 people, the core of the movement, have been indicted over last year's independence drive."

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Spain Catalonia: Puigdemont's arrest in Germany sparks mass protests - BBC News:

March 26, 2018 - "Protests broke out across the Spanish region of Catalonia on Sunday after former leader Carles Puigdemont was taken into custody in Germany. At least 89 people were injured in clashes with police and four arrests were made....

"Puigdemont ... had been on a trip to Finland to meet lawmakers and attend a conference last week when the arrest warrant against him was reissued, taking him by surprise.... Puigdemont faces charges of sedition, rebellion and misappropriation of public funds in Spain as a result of his role in last year's Catalan banned independence referendum. The charges in Spain could result in up to 30 years in prison."

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ontario Libertarian declares in Dufferin-Caledon


March 22, 2003 - "Jeff Harris says the Libertarian Party's platform is simple - 'Explore New Possibilities'.  Harris is running for the Libertarians in the Dufferin-Caledon riding.

"Married with two children, Harris says his family is dealing with same issues that most Ontarians are facing when they visit the hospital or open their hydro bill. He says hydro costs are steep and healthcare wait times are increasing.

"Harris adds that he is in favour of public healthcare, but people should be allowed to seek out private care too.

"With experience in technology and business, Harris says he can help make Ontario more efficient.

"He thinks it's time to vote out career politicians and replace them with people coming into politics for the public service."    

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Mexican towns secede to evade drug war

Losing Faith in the State, Some Mexican Towns Quietly Break Away - The New York Times - Max Fisher, Amanda Taub, Dalia Martinez, 'The Interpreter':

January 7, 2018 - "TANCÍTARO, Mexico — The road to this agricultural town winds through the slums and cartel-controlled territory of Michoacán, ground zero for Mexico’s drug war, before arriving at a sight so strange it can seem like a mirage.

"Fifteen-foot stone turrets are staffed by men whose green uniforms belong to no official force. Beyond them, a statue of an avocado bears the inscription “avocado capital of the world.” And beyond the statue is Tancítaro, an island of safety and stability amid the most violent period in Mexico’s history.

"Local orchard owners, who export over $1 million in avocados per day, mostly to the United States, underwrite what has effectively become an independent city-state. Self-policing and self-governing, it is a sanctuary from drug cartels as well as from the Mexican state....

"Tancítaro represents a quiet but telling trend in Mexico, where a handful of towns and cities are effectively seceding, partly or in whole. These are acts of desperation, revealing the degree to which Mexico’s police and politicians are seen as part of the threat....

"It began with an uprising. Townspeople formed militias to eject both the cartel, which effectively controlled much of Michoacán, and the local police, who were seen as complicit. Orchard owners, whose families and businesses faced growing extortion threats, bankrolled the revolt.

"This left Tancítaro without police or a government, whose officials had fled. Power accumulated to the militias that controlled the streets and to their backers, an organization of wealthy avocado growers known as the Junta de Sanidad Vegetal, or Plant Health Council. Citizens sometimes call it the Junta.

"Nearly four years in, long after other militia-run towns in Michoacán collapsed into violence, the streets remain safe and tidy. But in sweeping away the institutions that enabled crime to flourish, Tancítaro created a system that in many ways resembles cartel control.

"Though violence eventually cooled, the wartime power structure has remained. The militias now act as the police, as well as guards for the town perimeter and the avocado orchards."

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Government-controlled Facebook? Just think ...

The problem with 'public ownership' of Facebook - CapX - Tim Worstall:

March 21, 2018 - The latest bright idea from Paul Mason is that Facebook must be regulated or changed in some manner to make darn sure it does what Paul Mason wants Facebook to be doing.
Reminder: nobody needs to #Deletefacebook if there is one of a) strong regulation b) breakup c) public ownership
"There are lots of problems with the Corbynista columnist’s idea. They include: not understanding how the internet or corporate law works; ignoring how innovation happens; and the political problem of allowing the government to control a social network, real or digital....

"Let’s start with the question of ownership. That Facebook is a public, listed company therefore owned by the public seems to escape Mason. Perhaps by public ownership, he means government ownership. But that is something he rules out.

"Heavy state regulation of Facebook would be to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century when governments really did try to control the social milieu. As Anne Applebaum points out in Iron Curtain, the first thing every Soviet-imposed government in Eastern Europe did was to make sure that all corners of society were state controlled. The local equivalents of the Womens’ Institute, the chess and jazz clubs, swimming teams, and simply every expression of civil society were brought under the control of the state and Party bureaucracy. People were actually sent to jail for continuing to run Scout troops.

"As to breaking the company up, ... He points to the UK corporate registration as proof that we can control the local bit, or break it off from the whole. Such a conclusion is hard to square with the complaint about the Facebook profits HMRC struggles to tax. The reason Facebook doesn’t pay UK corporation tax on all the money collected from the UK is that the UK company just does some engineering bits, and doesn’t actually run the service. That engineering could be done from elsewhere just as the ad sales are. And the design. And there’s absolutely no one at all who has insisted that there must be a UK company out there before signing up for the service, is there?...

"But there is a deeper reason why we don’t want the British state to have anything to do with the likes of Facebook. The state never does innovate. Even if we accept Mariana Mazzucato’s points about invention — which we shouldn’t — it was still Apple that made the iPhone. There was no state involvement in the creation of MySpace, Twitter, or Facebook. There never is in people using extant inventions to do something new and whizzy, the very definition of innovation. Therefore we just don’t want the state running things in those areas of innovation, do we? For if it did, it would never happen....

"That, in short, is why we don’t want the British state anywhere near something like social media or any other fast-changing technology business. The moment decisions are taken on the sort of societal grounds that Mason admires and insists upon then technological advance will grind to a halt....

"Facebook should be and is subject to all the same sorts of rules as any other business in the country. That is the proper role of government: to set general rules which must be obeyed by all and then we all get to see what happens. If Facebook did indeed break the law then they should, of course, be held responsible.

"But the mere fact that someone is successful within those rules isn’t an argument to nationalize or regulate them further and that, when it comes down to it, is the only real argument Mason is employing. For there’s no one quite as jealous as a statist discovering that an organization other than the state has a meaningful amount of power."

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

The story behind Estonia's economic miracle

How Estonia—Yes, Estonia—Became One of the Wealthiest Countries in Eastern Europe - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - by Luis Pablo de la Horra:

March 23, 2018 - "The question of why some countries are rich and prosperous whereas others seem to be condemned to the scourge of poverty has been around for centuries. Many factors have been argued to be the determinants of prosperity.... Yet, since at least the publication in 1776 of The Wealth of Nations, we know that ...  Free trade, a reliable legal framework that protects private property and enforces contracts, and sound money are necessary conditions for countries to thrive.... Estonia is a paradigmatic example...

"On Aug. 20, 1991, Estonia gained its independence after 51 years under the yoke of communism. The country was first occupied by the Red Army in June 1940...  One year later, the Nazi Army invaded the Soviet Union, occupying Estonia until 1944, when the Soviets retook the country. The political instability in the Soviet Union during the early 90s precipitated the restoration of democracy in the Baltic country.

"From day one, the new government committed to undertaking market-oriented reforms that ... included monetary reform, the creation of a free-trade zone, a balanced budget, the privatization of state-owned companies, and the introduction of a flat-rate income tax.... Mart Laar, Estonia’s Prime Minister during two periods: 1992-1994 and 1999-2002 ...has claimed that he took inspiration from Milton Friedman’s bestseller'Free to Choose....

"These reforms paved the way for the incredible rise in living standards that Estonia has experienced..... Today, Estonia is considered a high-income country... The purchasing power of Estonians has increased 400 percent over the last two decades.... In addition, life expectancy has moved from 66 years in 1994 to 77 years in 2016.....

"Government finances are healthy ... public debt is only 9.5 percent of GDP. In terms of the labor market, Estonia’s unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, well below the EU average. Finally, its efficient and attractive corporate tax system (undistributed profits aren’t taxed) has placed Estonia as a worldwide center for high-tech companies, boosting foreign investments and economic growth....

"In terms of PPP-adjusted income, Estonia ranks first ahead of countries such as Russia or Latvia and well above the median income. The picture is similar when it comes to other indicators like life expectancy or infant mortality rate, where Estonia shows that economic progress has a real impact on the living standards of people.

"Estonia is the living example that human progress is closely linked to economic freedom.... The only thing we can do is to spread the word so that all countries have the opportunity to improve their living standards like Estonia did in the early 1990s."

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Lauren Southern barred from entering UK

Alt-Right Media Personalities Denied Entry to U.K. - Tom Porter, Newsweek:

March 12, 2018 - "Three prominent activists with the so-called alt-right have been denied entry to the United Kingdom.

"U.S. activist Brittany Pettibone, who hosts a nationalist podcast, was prevented from entering the country alongside Austrian far-right leader Martin Sellner on Friday. Canadian YouTube blogger Lauren Southern was denied entry Monday.

“'Border Force has the power to refuse entry to an individual if it is considered that his or her presence in the U.K. is not conducive to the public good,' a Home Office spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Newsweek....

"Southern was refused entry to the U.K at Coquelles, France, where the Channel Tunnel joins the European mainland with the British Isles....

"Southern said that she was prevented from entering Britain after displaying provocative anti-Islam posters in the English city of Luton. Luton Today reported that on February 24, Southern was photographed outside a burger restaurant in the town center displaying posters that stated, 'Allah is gay'....

"Southern’s YouTube channel has 400,000 subscribers and features 'anti-feminist, xenophobic, Islamophobic diatribes [that] tiptoe at the precipice of outright white nationalism,' according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"She ran as a Libertarian candidate for the Canadian Parliament and is a former journalist for Canadian alt-right media website The Rebel. Robinson has also filmed stunts for the site. She has denied being affiliated with the alt-right.

"Southern tweeted she was 'officially banned from U.K. for "racism"’ but was doing fine. She added that “all the cool people are being banned anyway.”

"In August 2017, Southern and Pettibone took part in the Defend Europe mission led by Sellner, in which activists hired a boat to prevent refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe."

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

3rd Dunn enters New Mexico state elections

Three Dunns running: For New Mexico’s Libertarian Party, it’s a family affair | Local News | - Andrew Oxford, Santa Fe New Mexican:

March 20, 2018 - "Plenty of families talk about politics around the dinner table. But a mom, dad and one of their sons do not usually end up all running for office together in the same election. That will be the case this year with the Dunn family, however.

The New Mexico Libertarian Party’s slate continued to take shape on Tuesday with Robin Dunn filing for lieutenant governor. She is in the ranching business in Mountainair with her husband, Aubrey Dunn Jr., the state land commissioner who recently switched from the Republican Party to make a bid for the U.S. Senate.

"In addition to the husband-and-wife pair, one of their sons, lawyer A. Blair Dunn of Albuquerque, is already running for attorney general as a Libertarian. He told The New Mexican that his brother is not in politics and his sister is resolved to keep out. So it is not quite the whole family.

"But A. Blair Dunn said his mother is the one who taught him most of his libertarian values. And she would be campaigning for her son and husband anyway, so running for office herself was more way to help the Libertarian Party as it heads into its first election as a major party in New Mexico....

"Bob Walsh, an 81-year-old retired mathematician from Santa Fe, [also] filed Tuesday to run as a write-in during the primary election for governor.... Walsh describes himself as having been a Libertarian since around the time the party began to take shape decades ago. He recounts seeing a short piece in a newspaper about it and thought 'that’s for me.' Walsh has since run unsuccessfully for the Legislature and touts an agenda that fits with the party’s reputation as socially liberal and fiscally conservative....

"Though he votes Libertarian, Walsh has worked with politicians on both sides of the aisle.... But he says: 'A lot of people are disgusted with the Republicans and Democrats. We’re offering people a choice.'

"The party won easier ballot access this year after Libertarian presidential candidate and former Gov. Gary Johnson got about 9 percent of the vote in New Mexico during the 2016 election. As long as the party can get more than 5 percent of the vote in a race for governor or president, it can keep its status as a major party and, with that, easier access to the ballot."

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Crowdfunding helps illegal barber pay $2K in fines

Reason Readers and Ajit Pai Helped Memphis Barber Pay His Absurd Licensing Fine - Hit & Run :

"Thanks to readers of Reason, Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, and other random strangers who had never met him, Elias Zarate was able to pay off a $1,500 fine (plus another $600 in fees) imposed by Tennessee's haircut cops.

"What crime warranted such a stiff penalty? Zarate cut hair without a ... high school diploma. What's finishing high school got to do with being a good barber, you may ask? Well, nothing, but Tennessee is one of 13 states to require completion of high school as a prerequisite to getting a barber license....

"Zarate dropped out of high school midway through the 12th grade to help raise his two younger siblings — their mother had died in a car accident and their father abandoned the kids to tenuous living arrangements with relatives — and ultimately got a job working as a barber in Memphis.... After getting busted, Zarate approached the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, hoping for some help with getting a legitimate license. They slapped him with a fine and told him he'd have to go back to high school before he could work again. 'I was thinking, how am I supposed to pay for this fine, you know, because they're stopping me from working," Zarate told Reason....

"With the help of licensing reformers at the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free market think tank, Zarate set up a GoFundMe account to help pay off his fine. After our story about his situation — and a clutch tweet from Pai — the page was flooded with donations.

"Zarate ended up raising more than $3,200, with most of it coming in the form of small donations from people who likely have never met him and never will.... 'I just want to thank everybody who donated, it means so much to me," says Zarate in a video posted by the Beacon Center. 'I just want to be able to get into barber school and make everything right with the state and provide for my family.'

"But now that Zarate has paid off his fines ... he's still no closer to having a career as a barber. Righting that wrong will require action from the state legislature. After Zarate's story became public, Gov. Bill Haslam called for a bill to reduce the educational requirements for a barbering license. Legislation introduced in the state House and state Senate would require the completion of 10th grade....

"It's not clear why there should be any educational requirement attached to a barber license. Cutting hair well does not require knowledge of trigonometry or a careful study of the meaning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Proper sanitation for the equipment used by licensed barbers — the only thing that could remotely be considered a reason for government to intervene — could be, and indeed is, taught during the mandatory training that all barber licensing applicants must complete in Tennessee. It is not taught in Tennessee high schools.

"The closer you look, the less sense it makes. You can become a licensed emergency medical responder in Tennessee without a high school diploma ... Getting an EMR license in Tennessee requires only that an applicant can 'read, write, and speak the English language,' according to Tennessee Department of Health guidelines....

"Individuals pitching in to help a guy like Zarate is a heart-warming story; but the reality is that state boards can issue more fines than could ever be paid off in such a fashion. Eliminating unnecessary licensing laws that have nothing to do with public health and safety is the only way to ensure that barbers, hair braiders, and cosmetologists in Tennessee and elsewhere have the freedom to pursue their careers without fear of the haircut cops."

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

CT Libertarian gov. candidate outlines fiscal plan

EXCLUSIVE: Libertarian Gov Candidate on Why He’s Not Running as a Republican – Reclaim Connecticut:

March 19, 2018 - "Rod Hanscomb is not the typical gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut. He talks about why Washington, typically considered a blue state, could be a model for Connecticut’s path to an economic comeback. He criticizes some Republicans for not being true fiscal conservatives.

"And, perhaps most consequentially, he’s a conservative who’s not running as a Republican in the 2018 race for governor. Instead, Hanscomb is opting for a libertarian run....

"Hanscomb grew up in Connecticut, attended Stamford High School, and lives in Stamford now. In between, though, [Hanscomb], an ex-military man, lived in Washington state, the Seattle area, 'for 20-plus years'.... 'When I left Connecticut back in ’85, we had the highest incomes in the country,' Hanscomb added. 'Coming back here four years ago,' he said, 'it was kinda surprising, or I hadn’t realized, how much the energy had kinda died in this state.'

"What happened while Hanscomb was gone? Well, he points out, the income tax.... Hanscomb’s prescription for Connecticut then?
  • First: 'We need to drastically cut spending.' 'There’s a lot of obstacles to it,' Hanscomb said, 'but that just has to happen, in order to get these tax rates down.'
  • Second, on taxes: 'We’ve just gotta get these taxes as low as possible'.... 
  • Third: 'deregulating.' 'People that aren’t in small businesses or small industry don’t understand, but the amount' of regulation, Hanscomb said, 'it really stagnates the economy, it really puts a lot of pressure on smaller companies'.....
"Hanscomb expressed, at times, his frustration with Republican leadership.... 'Republican after Republican just kept saying that they don’t feel that their leaders are true fiscal conservatives anymore,' Hanscomb said, of his time on the campaign trail.... The Republicans in many ways … they just seem very gun-shy to bring up even anything that talks about spending, or reining this in,' Hanscomb later added.

"That said, Hanscomb praised the legislature, some of whom he has met. 'When you talk to them, I really get the feeling that they want what’s best for the state,' Hanscomb said. 'I think there might be something to having a third-party leader in there that wasn’t beholden to either party'....

"Hanscomb said his focus is on social media, getting on the debate stage, and calling people.
'You have to get as much media as possible,' Hanscomb said.... Hanscomb’s website is"

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Monday, March 19, 2018

No legal cannabis in July 2018, either, Canada's Health Minister confirms

Pot could be legal June 7, but sales delayed until at least August: Senator | CTV News:

February 17, 2018 - "Cannabis could be legal for recreational use as soon as June 7, but Canadians will likely have to wait until at least early August to purchase it, independent Ontario Senator Tony Dean told CTV News Channel... 'July 1 was always a target date,' Dean explained. 'We’re going to see … a final vote by the Senate on June 7 that may require a bit of time for some amendments to be dealt with. But in a sense, if that bill is approved on June 7, cannabis will be legal in terms of the law -- it just won’t be available....'

"Canadian senators struck a deal to hold their final vote on Bill C-45 – the legislation that will legalize recreational marijuana -- on June 7.

"According to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, provinces and territories would then need between eight to 12 weeks following royal assent (which would come immediately after the bill’s passage in the Upper House) to be ready for retail sales. Barring amendments or the bill’s failure in the Red Chamber, that would mean recreational marijuana would be available for purchase in the first week of August, at the very earliest....

“What (my colleagues in Ontario) tell me and what I hear from other provinces and jurisdictions and other agencies and those who are getting ready for retail is, ‘Just give us some certainty; give us some predictability,’” Dean said of the federal government’s legalization timeline. 'I believe that the Health Minister has given them that now, I believe that the Senate has helped that in providing for the certainty of a final vote, and that’s nothing but good news as far as I’m concerned....

“'So yes, there may be a delay until August perhaps, a delay of a few weeks,' he said. 'But with that delay comes a lot of certainty that wasn’t there a few days ago.'

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer on censorship (music video)

Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer: What I Think About Censorship | Music News @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com :

March 17, 2018 - "Katie of ... WSOU radio station recently conducted an interview with Iced Earh leader and guitarist Jon Schaffer. In that interview, he expressed his thoughts on his lyrics censored in order to get them played on certain radio stations:

"I'm not a fan of censorship at all, because I'm very much a First Amendment guy. And I think it's weird that that would even be a topic in America; I don't think it should be....

"We've played in China ... I guess it was on the 'Dystopia' world tour; we did Shanghai and Beijing — and before the government would issue our visas to get into the country, they had to look at the lyrics of the setlist that we were gonna perform. And ... the only thing that was remotely against authoritarianism in that setlist was the song ' V', and we were wondering if that was gonna actually cause us to have a problem. But we put it in there and they were okay with that one. I mean, it isn't blatantly saying, 'Rise up and overthrow your tyrannical government,' but it is kind of saying that. [Laughs]

"'I'm not a fan of censorship. I'm a freedom guy. I'm very much a libertarian type. I'm an American first. I don't play the divide-and-conquer game of the parties. I believe in freedom and personal responsibility — pretty much the stuff our founders stood for that seems to have been lost in the mire in the last century especially. That's just where I stand; let's put it that way.'"

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

The libertarian who founded a university

The Guatemalan Economic Miracle and the Man Who Helped It Happen - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Alfonso Abril:

March 15, 2018 - "Guatemala is a poor country, but we were richly blessed by the late Manuel 'Muso' Ayau, who was born here in 1925.... What can an honest citizen do to change a poor country for the better? Muso knew the recipe. Let me tell you how I interpret this Guatemalan hero’s vision and how his legacy contributes toward building a prosperous Guatemala.

"Our country is full of smart and passionate people. We have splendid weather, bountiful natural resources, and a strategic location with access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. So why is Guatemala poor? The reason lies in our weak institutions and flawed ideas, not in a lack of resources. Changing ideas so people support institutional reform, and then making those institutions work in people’s favor to create a prosperous society were the challenges that Muso tackled....

"Donald Boudreaux explains some background: 'Soon encountering burdensome regulations, corrupt bureaucrats, and absurd taxes, he joined with other Guatemalan businessmen seeking to free consumers and producers from the then-dominant command-and-control regulatory regime.... But as Muso once recalled to me, "I quickly became disillusioned. Even when we won a battle now and then, we continued to lose the war against statism. I realized that we would make no real progress unless we changed the underlying ideas of the people. We had to take a long-run perspective. I learned that freedom must triumph in people’s minds and hearts before it can make any headway in politics."'

"Muso believed in education, especially the education of intellectuals and other influencers to ensure a proper understanding of economic principles and the philosophy of freedom.... In 1958, he co-founded the Center for Economic–Social Studies (CEES), which began publishing and disseminating its own analyses of Guatemalan issues and also translating and distributing classic works in freedom literature such as Frederic Bastiat’s The Law....

"Undaunted by obstacles and skepticism, he founded Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) in 1971, now a leading private university in Guatemala City, one of the finest in Latin America, and a beacon of freedom ideas. UFM, where academic excellence is a passion, is where I studied business.

"Muso established a rule at the founding of the University: Every student, no matter what his or her major field of study, must enroll and pass the 'Economic Process and Philosophy' courses. Those courses acquaint students with the 'Austrian School' of Economics, particularly the insights of two giants among 20th Century economists, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek. With that policy in practice at the university now for more than 40 years, solid free-market economic ideas have been spreading, slowly but surely, across the country....

"UFM is without a doubt the most important and enduring achievement of Manuel Ayau. His energy and his spirit endow every building and room on a stunning campus — in particular, the Mises Library, the Hayek Auditorium, the Atlas Libertas Sculpture, and the Liberty Plaza. The University teaches free-market economics and the philosophy of freedom to influential leaders of the future. The budget of UFM amounts to more than $30 million per year, a very significant figure for Guatemala. Visiting intellectuals from all over the world ensure lively discussions that keep the professors experts on the most innovative trends and ideas."

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Friday, March 16, 2018

PA Libertarian happy to be seen as spoiler

Libertarian Candidate Embraces His Role As Spoiler In Pennsylvania Election - Daniel Marans, Huffington Post:

March 14, 2018 - "Until Tuesday night, Drew Gray Miller, the Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, was treated like an afterthought by Democrats, Republicans and most news outlets.

"Miller jumped through numerous bureaucratic hoops just to get his name on the ballot. His $2,000 campaign haul was below the threshold requiring him to report it to the Federal Election Commission but just enough for some social media outreach to his target demographic of high school seniors and college students....

"He was not invited to the televised candidate debates, and on Election Day he was still publicly pestering CNN, which he had provided with a photo of himself, to mention him as one of the choices on the ballot.

"Then the election results came in. Miller had received 0.6 percent of the vote ― accounting for far more than the 0.2 percentage point lead Democrat Conor Lamb ended up holding over Republican Rick Saccone.... Suddenly Miller was the man of the hour, as pundits discovered that [he] might have cost Saccone the race. When CNN finally flashed Miller’s photo on screen, his 20-person election watch party at Fat Head’s Saloon erupted in cheers ... high-fived one another and took selfies in front of the TV.....

Miller embraced the 'spoiler' moniker on Twitter, gleefully predicting late Tuesday that he would soon be the 'most hated man in America.' But he rejects the ... premise that any one candidate can be an actual spoiler.

"'No candidate is entitled to somebody’s vote. You have to earn somebody’s vote,' he said. 'If you have to silence a third-party candidate because your candidate cannot win otherwise, that tells me that you either have a crappy candidate or a crappy message. And in the case of Lamb and Saccone, it’s probably both.'

"For now, though, Miller appreciates the 'notoriety' that comes with the label, he said..... It’s attention that he hopes to use to spread the Libertarian gospel of individual liberty in all facets of life, including freedom from high taxes, marijuana prohibition and an overbearing surveillance state."

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Record # of wrongly-jailed freed in US in 2017

Discovery of Police Corruption Freed Dozens of Imprisoned Americans in 2017 - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

Mar. 14, 2018 - "In 2017, 84 Americans were freed from prison after revelations of government misconduct helped prove them innocent. That sets a record, according to an annual report on exonerations in America... An additional 96 defendants in Chicago and Baltimore were released last year in 'group exonerations' as a result of two very high-profile police corruption cases.

"The details are part of the National Registry of Exonerations' annual report, a project by the University of California Irvine Newkirk Center for Science and Society, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Michigan State University College of Law. All in all, 139 exonerations were added to their registry for 2017, a drop from 171 in 2016. Though the total number of exonerations came down, a record number of people were exonerated due to official misconduct, mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, and perjury or false accusations.

"There has been a significant decline in exoneration for drug crimes ... because a backlog of cases from Harris County, Texas, has finally been cleared. In Harris County, the district attorney's office discovered hundreds of cases where defendants pleaded guilty to drug possession but subsequent crime lab tests discovered no actual illegal substances in the drugs. The county has been working since 2014 to go through all these cases and free people imprisoned for substances that turned out to not be illegal....

"Ledura Watkins, 61, was convicted of murder in 1976 in Detroit. After serving 41 years in prison, he was exonerated and released in June after details came out about faulty forensic evidence and police and prosecutor misconduct. His case represents the longest sentence served by anybody on the registry....

"Among the behaviors that led to this record-setting year, the most common form was concealing evidence. Of the 51 cases where a person convicted of homicide was subsequently exonerated in 2017, 43 involved official misconduct.... There were 29 exonerations involving false confessions in 2017, another record..... Eleven exonerations were a result of false confessions connected to ... one detective.

"In 66 exonerations — almost half the total — the underlying crime didn't even happen."

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cannabis legalization bill introduced in NJ

NJ marijuana legalization: Home grow, 400 weed dispensaries in bill = Mike Davis,

March 13, 2018 - "New Jersey could become home to hundreds of legal marijuana dispensaries and users would be allowed to grow legal weed at home under new marijuana legalization legislation introduced Tuesday.

"The bill, proposed by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, calls for a much more open market than first envisioned by proponents, with some 400 marijuana dispensaries and a lower tax rate on legal weed. The Senate and Assembly are expected to try and find common ground between Gusciora's bill and the one proposed by Sen. Nick Scutari, D-Union, which took a more conservative approach....

"Gov. Phil Murphy, as a candidate for the office he has held since January, made marijuana legalization a priority, citing social justice concerns. In his budget address Tuesday, Murphy said he was committed to passing a legal weed bill this year....

"Gusciora's legislation ... calls for as many as 400 retail marijuana dispensaries, 10 in each of New Jersey's 40 legislative districts, with a minimum of two dispensaries in each. There would be a limit of 11 dispensaries per legislative district, including one medical marijuana facility....

"Gusciora's bill starts at [a] 7 percent tax rate for the first two years, before rising to 10 percent in the third and fourth years. It caps the marijuana tax rate at 15 percent beginning in the fifth year.... During the first two years a marijuana business is in operation, 1 percent of tax revenue will go back to the local municipality. The town's share of tax revenue increases to 2 percent in the third and fourth years, and 3 percent in the fifth year and beyond....

"Gusciora's bill allows New Jerseyans to grow up to six marijuana plants at home, but only three of those will be allowed to flower – when the drug is ready to be harvested – at the same time. Any municipality can pass its own ordinance outlawing home-grow operations."

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Virginia Libertarians nominate Waters for Senate

Yes, Virginia, There Still Is a Libertarian Party - Bacon's Rebellion - James A. Bacon:

March 12, 2018 - "And in other news largely ignored by Virginia media over the weekend… The Libertarian Party of Virginia nominated Matt Waters, an Alexandria fund-raising consultant, as its candidate for U.S. Senate. Waters will run against Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and whoever wins the Republican Party free-for-all.

"In his speech to LPVA delegates, Waters said his biggest concern is the unsustainable national debt. He characterized the $21 trillion debt as the United States’ biggest national security threat, greater than ISIS or China, and he called for an end to the failed war on drugs, the war on terror, and the war on poverty....
"Waters’ immediate challenge is collecting 10,000 signatures of registered voters, always a big hurdle for third-party candidates. Beyond that, he faces the perennial Libertarian Party obstacle of gaining media recognition. Libertarians’ traditionally low vote percentages make it difficult for candidates to get reporters to take them seriously.

"One outside factor might help Waters. The Republican Party of Virginia seems to be in the process of imploding. Mini-Trump candidate Corey Stewart seems best positioned to capture the Republican party nomination, although his victory is far from certain given the number of other candidates.... If Stewart is nominated, he is so polarizing that he will drive many mainstream Republicans out of the party. While Kaine is widely regarded as a genuinely decent guy, he is a cog in a Democratic Party machine that is tilting farther Left every day. Homeless Republicans may well seek refuge with the Libertarian Party."

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Record 50 Libertarians running in NC in 2018

In Wake County, the Libertarians Are Coming—and They’re Not Just Old Whites Dudes Looking to Skip Out on Taxes | Wake County | Indy Week - Erica Hellerstein:

March 7, 2018 - "Robyn Pegram ... a twenty-four-year-old Apex [North Carolina] native, had been a Democrat, but the party's handling of Bernie Sanders's candidacy and the HB 2 aftermath left her feeling alienated. Pegram had always been interested in libertarianism — 'I had always kind of prided myself on being a free thinker,' she says — so she switched.

"A few months later, Pegram made another big decision. She filed to run against state representative Nelson Dollar, the seven-term Republican whose district covers parts of suburban Wake County, because she 'wanted to be a voice for the people' and believed his seat was winnable....

"Pegram isn't the only local Libertarian with high hopes for 2018. She's one of a record number of Libertarian candidates running for office in Wake County, a trend party officials chalk up to voters' dissatisfaction with the two-party duopoly and a growing Libertarian presence across North Carolina. Statewide, the party is fielding six congressional candidates, twenty-one state House candidates, fifteen state Senate candidates, four sheriff candidates, and four county commissioner candidates.

"In all, fifty Libertarian candidates are running for office in 2018, including sixteen in Wake County.

"'The people of North Carolina deserve real choices in the voting booth, and we have an amazing group of people who have made the commitment to serve,' wrote Libertarian Party of North Carolina chairwoman Susan Hogarth in an email announcing the party's 'record-setting slate' of candidates. 'In an environment dominated by political expediency, the growing energy in the LPNC tells us people want something more'....

"Any sort of Libertarian movement in North Carolina, in fact, will face an uphill climb. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson received less than 3 percent of the vote in 2016; Sean Haugh, the Libertarian Senate candidate, garnered 3.6 percent."

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Five great libertarian movies (video)

5 Great Libertarian Movies! - - Nick Gellespie & Todd Krainin:

March 2, 2018 = "Forget the Oscars! Here are five great movies made over the past quarter-century that any libertarian will (must?) enjoy.
  1. The Incredibles (2004) - This Pixar film directed by Brad Bird is so full of speeches extolling individualism, personal greatness, and self-fulfillment it sometimes sounds like it was scripted by Ayn Rand....
  2. The Barbarian Invasions (2003) - Québécois director Denys Arcand's brilliant sequel to The Decline of the American Empire is the single best depiction of the depredations of socialized medicine....
  3. Dallas Buyers Club (2013) - This based-on-a-true-story movie about a rodeo rider and a drag queen routing around the Food and Drug Administration brought home Oscars....
  4. Joy (2015) - Jennifer plays real-life "Miracle Mop" inventor Joy Magano, who helped make cleaning your floors easier while making herself rich. The film is a paean to capitalism's genius at allowing self-expression and self-fulfillment....
  5. Ghostbusters (1984) ... was perfectly in synch with the Reagan Revolution's valorization of business and demonization of government.... [T]he real villain of the movie is ... an Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrat named Walter Peck, who shuts down their operation and puts the city at risk. Hilarity ensues."
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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Trump budget legalizes sale of federal parkland

Trump's Budget Will Destroy National Parks | Outside Online - Wes Siler:

February 15, 2018 - "Recently, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke employed a bait-and-switch defense of President Trump’s bait-and-switch budget proposal for the Department of the Interior.

"The bait? An $18 billion fund for fixing the National Park Service’s massive maintenance backlog. The switch? It’d be paid for by deregulating oil and gas extraction on public lands, firing NPS employees, and empowering Zinke to sell off any public lands he wishes....

"As a recap for those of you fortunate enough to not have to closely follow Washington’s political machinations, the White House budget isn’t law. It’s more a piece of science fiction about how the president and his minions hope the government might work next year.... Still, as a statement of how the executive branch wishes it could govern ... the budget proposal is ... the first time we’ve seen an outline of exactly what Trump and Zinke plan to do to our national parks.

"The big proposal here is the creation of that $18 billion infrastructure fund for the NPS. Like the $1.5 trillion in national infrastructure spending Trump called for in his State of the Union address, the vast majority of that total will need to come from private industry. Specifically, the budget calls for the federal government to contribute only $257 million over the next ten years, while the remaining $17.743 billion would come from the energy extraction industries....

"The NPS currently has an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog and is desperately in need of repairs to its roads, trails, visitor facilities, and other infrastructure assets. Placing the majority of that burden on private industry operating on public lands seems like a great way to fix all that without raising taxes or visitor fees.

"The trouble is that ... we must assume that other allocations won’t require more money than planned, that rates for energy leases (and energy sales) will remain stable, and, of course, that the the number of leases will massively expand....

"The budget calls for firing 1,835 NPS employees, at a time when national park visitation is at its highest level ever. It would also remove 559 people from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1,209 from the U.S. Geological Survey, and 330 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.....

"The budget also suggests selling off the George Washington Parkway and Baltimore Washington Parkway, two D.C.-area roads that are owned by the Park Service. That may sound practical — toll roads make a ton of financial sense — but in so doing, the budget gives the DOI the authority to sell off any other public lands that 'demonstrate an increase in value from the sale' and 'optimize the taxpayer value for Federal assets' In short, if he can make money from them, Zinke can sell public lands willy-nilly — the language giving him authorization to do so is hidden inside an otherwise practical provision."

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Friday, March 9, 2018

1st candidate in Michigan's 1st Libertarian primary

Bill Gelineau files signatures for Michigan's first-ever Libertarian Party primary | News Hits - Lee DeVito, Detroit Metro-Times:

March 9, 2018 - "Libertarian candidate Bill Gelineau filed his petition signatures for Michigan's gubernatorial race on Thursday, becoming the first candidate to qualify for the first-ever Libertarian Party primary election to be held alongside the state's Democrat and Republican primaries on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

"According to a press release, the Grand Rapids businessman delivered 21,187 signatures to the Bureau of Elections ahead of the April 24 deadline. Candidates need 15,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify.

"It's the first time a non-Democrat or Republican has qualified for a gubernatorial party primary in almost 50 years. Michigan gets a Libertarian primary this year due the party's strong polling numbers in the 2016 presidential election, where Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson earned 172,136 votes, or 3.6 percent, surpassing the 154,040-vote threshold necessary to participate in the 2018 primary....

"Gelineau supports dropping the state's spending limit by 10 percent and is against taxpayer subsidies for businesses. He also supports the legalization of marijuana ("Period.") and says it's time to "revisit" the rights for terminally ill patients to choose physician-assisted suicide as popularized by Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

"At least one other Libertarian candidate — John Tatar, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Colonel and school teacher from Redford — has announced his intention to join the race and is expected to file by deadline."

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

French Polynesia repudiates Seasteading deal

French Polynesia sinks floating island project | Radio New Zealand News:

February 28, 2018 - "The French Polynesian government says its deal with the US institute planning to build floating islands is now void.

"The suggestion to build a floating platform in the lagoon in the south of Tahiti was resisted by some local residents, with opposition politician Valentina Cross asking the government last week to pull out of the agreement.

"The Atimaono lagoon was being considered because of its depth and proximity to Tahiti.

"As criticism grew, the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party said nothing had been signed.

"Now it says that its deal with the US-based Seasteading Institute was not a legal document and that it expired at the end of 2017.

"It also said it hoped that this would end the debate about the floating islands.

The Seasteading Institute approached French Polynesia because it found that its links to France, its autonomy and calm waters offered a suitable environment for the project."
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

UK drug expert calls prohibition 'irrational'

Prof David Nutt: 'It's irrational to deny people access to LSD'- Radio New Zealand:

February 25, 2018 - "Outspoken UK drug expert David Nutt argues for regulated access to any drug less harmful than alcohol, including cannabis and Ecstasy. He is a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and author of Drugs: Without The Hot Air (2012).

"'My view is that any drug that is less harmful to the person that uses it than alcohol should be available as an alternative to alcohol - in a form where the harms are minimised,' he told Sunday Morning. 'That doesn’t mean a free market, that doesn’t mean opening up cannabis shops to compete with supermarkets selling beer. It means having access to cannabis, and ecstasy and other drugs perhaps, such as mephedrone and mushrooms - in pharmacies, possibly with electronic cards that allow you to have a certain amount per year.'"

"'Prof Nutt said in the UK the leading causes of drug deaths were tobacco, alcohol and heroin and opiates – all much higher than deaths from ecstasy (MDMA). 'Regulated access to drugs that are less harmful than alcohol will reduce the harms of alcohol, hopefully reduce the use of drugs more harmful than alcohol like crystal meth and P and heroin, and will actually overall reduce the societal damage from drugs.'

"Research on certain drugs and their potential therapeutic value was being denied, he said.... 'There have been two studies done ... and one of the most promising uses is in helping people come to terms with dying. Often under psychedelics people become "at one" with the universe. I'm very interested in that, in helping people deal with that terminal, difficult part of their lives. These two American studies showed that a single psilocybin treatment helped people become less anxious about dying.'

"He says opiates are not the be-all and end-all in terminal pain treatment. 'Under opiates you're constipated, you're confused, you have a dry mouth.... And using opiates to deal with chronic pain syndrome you can also get excessive use and people selling them on the streets so I think psychedelics offer an alternative.... If you allow people to take morphine for pain control, which kills in the UK nearly 2000 people a year, it's irrational to deny people access to LSD which kills nobody'....

"Prof Nutt was chair of the UK government’s advisory committee on the misuse of drugs until 2009, when he was sacked for suggesting alcohol was more dangerous than many illegal drugs.... Though alcohol was a leading cause of death under the age of 50 in the UK, politicians did not want to take on the alcohol industry, he says, so they make a show of being hard on drugs."

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Why the death penalty will not win the Drug War

The Evidence Is In: the Death Penalty Won't Win the Drug War - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world:

March 6, 2018 - "This week, Axios released a story revealing that President Trump privately supports the theory that imposing the death penalty upon drug traffickers will help reduce the demand for illegal drugs. This belief is flawed in several ways, but it was apparently presented to him by the President of Singapore where there is a mandatory death sentence for the crime.....

"Harm Reduction International released the most comprehensive study on this issue in 2015. Iran executes, by far, more people for drug crimes than any other country. There are roughly 5,000 people on death row for this crime, yet Iran has one of the highest rates of opiate addiction in the world.... The opiate addiction rate of Iran is slightly surpassed by Pakistan, which also has the same policy and roughly 100 people awaiting the death penalty for this crime. China executes the second highest number of people for drug trafficking ... but it is also arguably the world’s top producer of synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, flakka, and the precursor for methamphetamine....

"Trump reportedly believes that this policy has been a success in the Philippines [yet] the Philippines has one of the highest rates of amphetamine use in the world despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s well-publicized war on drugs.... The Philippines doesn’t officially have the death penalty for drug trafficking. However, Duterte has supported the extrajudicial murder of suspected addicts and dealers by government forces. Human Rights Watch estimates that 12,000 people have been killed, including 4,000 victims directly murdered by the police....

"Duterte sanctioned the murder of the one person, Rolando Espinosa, who was willing to testify and name hundreds of public officials involved in drug trafficking.... Espinosa was murdered in his jail cell by a group of police officers. Those officers were subsequently advised by Duterte to plead guilty so he could pardon them and they’ve since been reinstated at their jobs....

"Saudi Arabia has the third highest rate of execution for drug traffickers. Overall, Saudi Arabia has a fairly high rate of amphetamine usage, particularly a drug known as “Captagon,” even though trafficking, along with possession, is punishable by death.... [A] Saudi prince ... was arrested in Beirut in 2015 with two tons of Captagon pills.... [A]nother Saudi royal ... Prince Nayef Bin Sultan Bin Fawwaz al-Shaala ... was indicted in 2002 for transporting a two-ton cocaine shipment from Venezuela to Paris. However, Saudi Arabia doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S. or France and Prince Nayef ... remains free in Saudi Arabia....

"With that said, the U.S. government has been a catalyst for similar hypocrisy. Former Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) wrote [an] op-ed in 1990 advocating the death penalty for drug traffickers. Fortunately for Burton, Congress didn’t fall in line because his son was arrested four years later for trafficking seven pounds of marijuana. He received preferential treatment from the court in the form of probation.... Nonetheless, his son was busted five months later in the possession of 30 marijuana plants, but he, once again, was let off easy with a misdemeanor plea bargain.... Likewise, former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) was also a supporter of the death penalty for drug trafficking..... Cunningham once pleaded to a judge for mercy on his son after he was arrested flying a planeload of 400 pounds of marijuana.

"However, arguably the worst hypocrite is Donald Trump ... a recent report by Global Witness found that the Trump Ocean Club in Panama was a money laundering hub for Colombian narco-terrorists....

"Trump adamantly supported the legalization of drugs, long before he made a serious run at the presidency. In 1990, Trump asserted to an audience at a luncheon of The Miami Herald, that our country needed to end the war on drugs. 'You have to legalize drugs to win that war,” said Trump. He also pointed to the core of the issue; our politicians lack the 'guts' to make the necessary changes."

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Ontario Libertarian candidate declares in Nipissing

Libertarian candidate steps forward in Nipissing - - Jeff Turl:

March 5, 2018 - "The next provincial election is June 7, and it looks like at least a five-person race in Nipissing....  Bond Keevil of Callander [was] nominated to be the Ontario Libertarian Party candidate.

"'I will be running in this election because I want to help you recover your personal and economic freedoms and encourage serious reductions in the scope of government,' he says on the Libertarian website.

Keevil lists the five most important election issues as:
  1. Ontario's record-breaking $312 billion debt.  Ontario is the world's most indebted sub-sovereign borrower. We need to make a serious effort to reduce government spending and government services.
  2. Ontario has some of the highest electricity prices in North America.  We need to end all forms of energy subsidies and leave energy production and distribution to the free market.
  3. A $15/hr minimum wage will be economically devastating to the north and destroy jobs.  We need to repeal minimum wage laws to ensure everyone who needs a job can find one.
  4. Reign in the nanny state and restore personal responsibility.  The government has no business regulating the production, distribution, and sale of any product or service.
  5. Ontario continues to have the highest policing costs per capita of all the provinces. We need to reduce the scope of what the police are doing and refocus them on solving property crimes and violent crimes.
"'I have been living in this district for 12 years and have become convinced that reducing the size of government is one of the keys to getting this district and the province back on track,' says Keevil in a news release, 'This will be the second election in a row in which the Libertarians have been able to field a candidate in this riding and I am pleased to have been selected to help continue to build the party brand.'"

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Assassin's Creed: Games with a libertarian p.o.v. (video)

Assassin's Creed: Games with a Libertarian View of the World (New at Reason) - Hit & Run :

February 23, 2018 - "Video games have become one of our most influential, popular, and creative forms of media. Last year, the industry generated almost $150 billion in revenue worldwide, rivaling books and films and dwarfing music.

Gamers spend over three billion hours a week in the virtual worlds of their choosing. And more so than other contemporary forms of media, video games explore the themes of freedom and personal agency, allowing players to go where they want and do what they please — as long as they're prepared to bear the consequences....

"But it's the Assassin's Creed series, published by Ubisoft, that puts the conflict between liberty and authority at the center of its plots, its characters, and the alternate history in which the games are set....

Click here for full text, a transcript, and downloadable versions."

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Ghost Gunner enables home gun manufacturing

Guns, Code, and Freedom - - Mark McDaniel:

April 2018 - "Cody Wilson ... a crypto-anarchist and serial troublemaker, launched the age of the digital gun in 2013 when he published files showing how to make the Liberator, a 3D-printed pistol. It set off a panic in the media and in anti-gun political circles.

"By late 2014, his company, Defense Distributed, had raised enough capital to begin manufacturing the Ghost Gunner, a miniature computer numerical control (CNC) mill designed to take an '80 percent lower' for an AR-15 and turn it into a legal, untraceable, fully functioning metal firearm.... A lower receiver is the part generally considered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to be the 'firearm,' whether other components are present or not.....

"So-called 80 percent lowers (or ''80 percent frames') are ... only four-fifths complete. As a result, they're not firearms in a legal sense. Anyone can purchase an 80 percent lower and then use his own tools to do the remaining mill work, turning the object into a working weapon. It is perfectly licit in the U.S. to make a gun this way; outside of California, it does not need to be registered or serialized.

"For four years, Wilson has been embroiled in a legal battle over his work [with]  the State Department. Shortly after publication of the Liberator instructions, the agency forced Defense Distributed to remove those files from its website, citing violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

"In 2015, joined by the Second Amendment Foundation and the legendary attorney Alan Gura, Wilson challenged the State Department's order on First, Second, and Fifth Amendment grounds. They later petitioned the Supreme Court for a temporary injunction that would null the take-down order until their lawsuit is resolved. In January, the high court declined to hear the case, sending it back to a lower court in Texas....

"Despite the ongoing legal skirmishing, Defense Distributed in late 2017 released new files allowing the Ghost Gunner to mill handgun frames in addition to rifles. In December, Reason's Mark McDaniel spoke with Wilson about the future of gun control, how a weapon can be speech, and where Western liberal decadence is taking us."

Read interview here:
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Friday, March 2, 2018

Autistic classical liberal responds to MacLean

No, Libertarians Don’t All Have Autism - WSJ - Matthew Vaillancourt, letters, Wall Street Journal:

February 28, 2018 - "Nancy MacLean is a historian at Duke University and an opponent of libertarian and classical-liberal political philosophy. Critics have called her 2017 book on the subject, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, biased and inaccurate. I don’t know enough about her work to judge its quality. But I’m angry about something she said recently.

"'It’s striking to me how many of the architects of this cause seem to be on the autism spectrum,' Ms. MacLean said during a February talk at New York City’s Unitarian Church of All Souls. 'You know, people who don’t feel solidarity or empathy with others and who have difficult human relationships sometimes.'

"I consider myself a classical liberal. I believe in the power of free markets and sound money to generate prosperity. Trade and technological progress allow us to live longer, healthier, easier lives. I believe in a social policy that leaves people alone to make personal decisions as long as they don’t hurt others. I see my political ideology as a consistent defense of freedom, and I regard both prosperity and tolerance as noble values.

"I also have autism, and I would like to set the record straight about what that means. Specialists in the field long ago debunked the simplistic stereotype that people with autism have no feelings or compassion. We can be empathic and express feelings, but we tend to do it in a different way.

"I have trouble making eye contact, for example. But that doesn’t mean I am not listening to you when you talk. In fact, I tend to listen better when I’m not trying to make eye contact, because my brain is more focused on processing the words I hear....

"MacLean is equally wrong in stereotyping people with autism as libertarians. Like everyone else, we believe in different political ideologies and vote for different political parties. We’re humans, not robots.

"Nor are classical liberals and libertarians emotionless, compassionless people. The vast majority of us believe in helping the needy; we simply think aid is better given in a bottom-up, voluntary way than dispensed by a centralized government. We disagree among ourselves on how to achieve social goals. But it’s outrageous to suggest that we don’t care.

I don’t think Ms. MacLean is necessarily a bad person. I admire her for writing a book, which takes courage and willpower. I hope that she will take some time to educate herself about autism, because ignorance is not a good look for a scholar. Sometimes it’s better — and more compassionate — to say nothing."

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Name hijacking puts Delaware Libertarians' ballot access in question

Ballot access in question for Delaware Libertarians - Delaware State News | Delaware State News - Ian Groneau:

February 28 - "The state’s election commissioner says she doesn’t know which party should get ballot access belonging to Delaware’s 1,640 registered Libertarians. Two committees are vying for that access: the Libertarian Party of Delaware and the Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc.

"'I don’t know who gets to claim them at this point,' said Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove. 'I am awaiting a response from my Deputy Attorney General'....

"[T]he Libertarian Party of Delaware claims it’s both been putting candidates on state ballots and sending delegations to the National Libertarian Party’s conventions for many years. Libertarian Party of Delaware Secretary Will McVay said Ms. Manlove told his party leadership at the Feb. 12 Board of Elections meeting that their party was the one who would maintain ballot access, but has failed to provide it in writing....

"The national Libertarian Party has also urged the commissioner to address the issue promptly. A statement from the executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, Wes Benedict, both recognizes the Libertarian Party of Delaware as their only state affiliate and disavows the claim made by the Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc....

"McVay said the confusion started several months ago, when the Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc. 'fraudulently' formed a 'political committee' by filing a statement of organization with the election office. He notes that constitutionally, this sort of 'hijacking' should be impossible, but ... 'Delaware code title 15, section 3302 (a), ... says that if you’re a Democrat or Republican, they’ll protect your name, but if you’re anyone else, you’re not mentioned.... So, we’re beginning to wonder if that’s an equal protections issue under the 14th Amendment as well.'
"The Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc. did not provide an official comment to this paper regarding their claim. But, the administrator of their Facebook page claimed that 'the LPD is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party according to the Department of Election’s registration forms available to the public' and 'the LPD, INC was established in 1975, and is in good standing with the state of Delaware,' in response to a request for comment."

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