Saturday, June 30, 2018

The case for abolishing ICE

Breaking the Ice - Robert Koehler, Counterpunch:

March 16, 2018 - "Immigration and Customs Enforcement ... ICE, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, was created in 2003, 'a direct product of the post-Sept. 11 panic culture,' as Sean McElwee put it in The Nation. Its establishment reframed immigration as a national security issue, which is to say, an exploitable source of national fear. We must protect ourselves from the illegals! The agency’s mission ... appears to be the dehumanization of people of color born outside the United States..... It has the moral resonance of the Klan, or maybe the Brownshirts....

"The time, as McElwee notes, has come to defund — to abolish — ICE: not just the agency itself, but to 'abolish the function' of ICE, which is to keep immigrant communities in a state of terror.

"'The agency talks about, and treats, human beings like they’re animals,' he writes. 'They scoop up people in their apartments or their workplaces and take them miles away from their spouses and children.'

"Indeed, the time has come to abolish the presence of an official 'other': a targeted group of people who have been legally defined in dehumanizing terminology, e.g., 'criminal aliens.' This is domestic war, the sole purpose of which is the maintenance of a top-down, authoritarian social order....

"Jonathan Blitzer, writing last summer in the New Yorker, described his communication, initially off the record, with an ICE employee who was growing increasingly alarmed at what was happening to the agency. Eventually, he gave Blitzer permission to publish his observations.

"'During the campaign, many rank-and-file agents publicly cheered Trump’s pledge to deport more immigrants, and, since Inauguration Day, the Administration has explicitly encouraged them to pursue the undocumented as aggressively as possible,' Blitzer writes, describing what the agent called an unleashing of contempt among many of the ICE guys for the immigrant community.

"Whatever the agents’ private opinions were, ICE itself had a standard of integrity, but that’s no longer the case. 'Now people are bringing their own opinions into work,' the agent said....

"Racism continues to regroup around an ever-shifting other. This is world — certainly it’s American — history. Fortunately, it’s only part of our history. The same awareness and intelligence that birthed the civil rights movement is driving the phenomenon of sanctuary cities. A welcoming attitude makes everyone safer."

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Friday, June 29, 2018

NM Libertarians want hand count of primary votes

Libertarian candidate for governor fails to make ballot | Local News | Andrew Oxford, Santa Fe New Mexican:

June 26, 2018 - "The Libertarian candidates for governor and lieutenant governor received so few votes in the primary election that they did not qualify for spots on the general election ballot in November, state election officials said Tuesday. In response, the Libertarians will ask officials to hand-tally ballots in several counties in hopes of making the ballot....

"Under New Mexico law, gubernatorial hopeful Bob Walsh and his prospective running mate, Robin Dunn, could have each collected 230 signatures from registered Libertarian voters to get their names on the primary election ballot.

"They didn’t. Instead, they aimed to get 230 Libertarian voters to write in their names on the primary election ballot to obtain the party’s nomination.

"A total of 850 Libertarian voters cast ballots in the primary election. Walsh, a mathematician in Santa Fe, received 175 votes. Dunn, who is in the ranching business in Mountainair, got 177 votes, according to results made official Tuesday....

"Libertarian Party leaders say they suspect the machines that tabulate the ballots did not count some of their votes. The party’s primary election ballot included lines for writing in the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. But there is also a bubble next to that line. For the machines to count the write-in vote, a voter must fill in that bubble.

"A. Blair Dunn, the Libertarian candidate for attorney general and Robin Dunn’s son, said he believes many more voters wrote in the candidates' names but did not fill in that bubble, meaning their votes have not been counted.

"The party will ask for a tally by hand in 13 counties where the party’s turnout was highest, he said.. 'We’re confident enough we’re going to cross the 230 threshold,' he said."

Unclear is exactly how much money it would cost the party. Dunn said it would likely amount to thousands of dollars, though the state would pay if the candidates are found to have enough votes to get on the general election ballot."

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

SCOTUS strikes down compulsory union fees for government employees

The Case of Janus v. AFSCME - Rich Peters, MPG editor, Placer Sentinel:

June 27, 2018 - "This week the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Janus v. AFSCME that government workers can no longer be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a heavy financial blow to public sector unions.

"This revokes a 41-year-old decision that required employees to pay union fees to the state unions that represented them whether or not the workers chose to join.

"Mark Janus ... a child-support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services ... challenged the $45 per month that is deducted from his paycheck [and] goes to the local branch of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

"Janus argued that any form of required payment to cover the cost of collective bargaining violates the First Amendment because it finances speech by the union intended to influence the government.

"The unions argued that their alleged fair share fees pay for collective bargaining and other work the union does on behalf of all employees, not just its members. More than half the states already have right-to-work laws in place that ban mandatory fees, but most members of public-employee unions heavily populate the states that do not, including New York, California and Illinois.

"The court’s final ruling states: 'Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.' (p. 48)

The unions believe that the outcome could affect more than five million government workers across roughly two dozen states and the District of Columbia.... A 2015 national report showed that the average union president makes $170,000 annually in states with compulsory dues but only $132,000 in states with voluntary dues – a $38,000 difference."

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Democrat endorses Libertarian in NC's 9th CD

Democrat supports Libertarian in 9th District congressional race | Richmond County Daily Journal - William R. Toler:

June 22, 2018 - "A two-time congressional hopeful is throwing his support behind a third-party candidate.

"Democrat Christian Cano announced June 14 that he is endorsing Libertarian Jeff Scott for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District seat currently held by lame-duck Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger.

"'I know that Jeff Scott will fight for my family and all our families equally in Congress,' Cano said in a letter on his campaign website. “More importantly, he is not beholden to the corporate deep pockets in Nancy Pelosi’s political machine, President 45’s (Donald Trump) hatred and bigotry, or the privileged interests focused on preserving the status quo and the ways they benefit.'

"Scott said he was 'extremely pleased' with the endorsement. 'This opens a lot of important doors for me to swing voters in this district,' he told the Daily Journal....

"Cano also accused the other candidates of being involved in collusion or corruption during the campaign.

"'As a progressive and person of faith, major party collusion and corruption is a non-negotiable issue for my family and many of our families,' he said. 'I have decided to put our country over party and endorse Jeff, because I know where he stands on the real-world issues facing our rich culturally diverse working-class and struggling neighbors'....

"Cano made sure to say that his endorsement of a Libertarian 'does not and will not alter our complete dedication and support for flipping our North Carolina General Assembly' in the much-anticipated 'blue wave,' with Democrats replacing Republicans in November’s mid-term elections.

"Cano lost the Democratic primary last month to Dan McCready.

"Pittenger was defeated by former Charlotte pastor Mark Harris in the Republican primary. He narrowly won a recount against Harris in the 2016 primary and handily won over Cano in the general election."

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

SCOTUS to hear 'excessive' civil forfeiture case

Supreme Court Will Decide If Civil Forfeiture Is Unconstitutional, Violates The Eighth Amendment - Nick Civilla, Forbes:

June 19, 2018 - "For the first time in over 20 years, the U.S. Supreme Court will have the opportunity to review the constitutionality of civil forfeiture laws, which allow the government to confiscate cash, cars, and even homes. On Monday, the court granted a cert petition from Tyson Timbs, who was forced to forfeit his $40,000 Land Rover in civil court to the State of Indiana, after he pled guilty to selling less than $200 worth of drugs.....

"Determined to keep his truck, Tyson argued that forfeiting the Land Rover would violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on 'excessive fines.' A trial judge agreed, and rejected the forfeiture as 'grossly disproportional.' Under Indiana law, a felony conviction could trigger a maximum fine of $10,000 — less than a quarter of what Tyson’s Land Rover was worth. That decision was upheld by an appellate court.

"But in November, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed that decision, and instead ruled that the Constitution’s Excessive Fines Clause provided no protection to Hoosiers ... 'because the United States Supreme Court has not held that the Clause applies to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment'.... With this decision, the Indiana Supreme Court found itself at odds with 14 other state high courts and two federal appellate circuit courts, which had all ruled that the Excessive Fines Clause does, in fact, apply to the states....

"In January, Tyson and the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, filed a cert petition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case and overturn the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling. Their efforts earned support from all across the political spectrum, with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Cato Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, all filing briefs in support of Tyson and IJ’s petition.

"With the petition now granted, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide once and for all whether the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment."

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Canada's Cannabis Act violates international law, Russian government charges

‘Obstacle to drug-free society’: Russia says Canada’s weed legalization undermines intl. law — RT World News - Maxim Shemetov, Reuters, Russia Today:

June 25, 2018 - "Moscow says Ottawa is trampling on international law by legalizing recreational use of cannabis. Canada is set to become world’s second nation to fully decriminalize production and consumption of pot.

"The rebuke comes after Canadian lawmakers approved a law regulating production and circulation of cannabis for recreational purposes. Moscow believes that the law, which is to come into force come autumn, directly violates Ottawa’s international commitments, Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"The ministry referred to three key treaties dealing with narcotics – the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention of Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Convention against illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances – all of which Canada endorsed. The documents as well [as] international bodies tackling illegal drug trade, do not condone using 'exceptions' or 'flexible interpretation' to turn scheduled substances into entertainment. Moscow sees the change of policy in Canada as a 'serious obstacle' on the way to a drug-free society.

"'We expect, that Canada’s "arbitrariness" will merit a response from its G7 partners, since this group has repeatedly declared its commitment to the rule of law in interstate relations,' the ministry added....

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the law will not take effect until October 17. The delay is needed so that individual provinces that had opposed the bill have enough time to make adjustments to their local laws, he said.

"Several provinces, namely Quebec, Nunavut, and Manitoba, vowed to contest the Cannabis Act in court. They mostly object to allowing the home growing of the plant and want the authority to fully ban the practice....

"The medical use of marijuana has been legal in Canada since the 2000s, but the recreational use of [it] remained criminalized since 1923. The pledge to abolish the long-standing ban was one of the key pre-election promises of Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party, which received a parliamentary majority in the 2015 general elections.

"The Canadian government argues that by legalizing pot it will squeeze out of business the street gangs, which have been profiting from a thriving cannabis black market.... Critics of the legislation say that it will fail to eliminate the black market, only causing a surge in demand."

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Church helps young Georgians avoid conscription

Eurasianet | A libertarian Georgian “church” aids young draft dodgers - Bradley Jardine:

May 29, 2018 - "In a modern office space in Tbilisi’s trendy Vake district, a scruffy haired teenager is undergoing his initiation into the priesthood.... [He] recites his vows to the seated bishop:

“'I believe that individual human rights are the most important and that personal freedom cannot be restricted,' he pledges. 'Those who believe otherwise are irresponsible bureaucrats, homophobes, xenophobes and other bullies who bully and use violence onto others in accordance with their wicked worldview.' And with that, a handshake, and a document signed by the patriarch, he is a priest in Georgia’s fastest growing 'church,' which ordains about 40 new priests per day.

"The ersatz church is a creation of a libertarian political party, Girchi, and cheekily named the 'Christian, Evangelical, Protestant Biblical Freedom Church of Georgia.' Its goal isn't the spiritual salvation of its followers, but rather saving them from Georgia's dire military conscription system.

"According to Georgian law, all men aged 18 to 27 are subject to a compulsory 12-month military service, with some exceptions made for those with ill health and for only sons.... But another group of men allowed to legally avoid conscription are priests, and Girchi is aiming to use that loophole to help Georgia's young men enjoy the liberty of not joining the military.... So far the church has registered 5,000 people and has opened an additional office in Georgia’s second city, Kutaisi.

"'We’ve cost the government about 10 million lari ($4 million) so far,' MP Zurab Japaridze, Girchi’s charismatic leader, told Eurasianet ... referring to another legal deferment category, with which men under 25 can delay their service by paying a fee of 2,000 lari ($775) per year. In the end, only the poorest Georgians, lacking money and connections, are likely to be conscripted, said Giorgi Noniashvili, a legal expert at the Tolerance and Diversity Institute....

"[P]romises over the years to scrap conscription have come to naught, primarily because conscripts provide cheap labor for the state. Over 6,000 men are conscripted each year.... Only a quarter of those recruits are assigned to the military; the remainder guard government buildings ... Noniashvili said. 'Recruits are still used as free workers and many of them serve as prison guards'....

"Georgia’s government has tried to force the Evangelical, Protestant Biblical Freedom Church of Georgia to close. Last year, officials argued that the church does not meet the legal requirements for a religious organization since it lacks a space for members to hold prayers.... Parliament also approved a draft law which could send young men to prison for avoiding military service. Irakli Sesiashvili, chair of the parliament's Military and Security Committee, said during a session last year that Girchi’s church was abusing Georgian law.

"'They tried to close the loophole but doing so would also take away the Orthodox Church’s privileges, and the Church doesn’t want that,' Japaridze said, as it would force them to debate 'what a "real" religion is.'"

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

How Liberty Republicans can thrive in Trump era

Don’t Write Off the Libertarian Republicans | The American Conservative - Kevin Boyd:

June 19, 2018 - "Last Tuesday’s elections were a mixed bag for Tea Party legislators, or what we might call libertarian Republicans. The bad news was Corey Stewart’s defeat of Nick Freitas in the Virginia Senate primary and Katie Arrington’s defeat of Congressman Mark Sanford in South Carolina. However, the GOP’s libertarian wing picked up wins by Eric Brakey, who prevailed for the Senate nomination in Maine, and Lee Bright, who qualified for a U.S. House runoff in South Carolina.

"Still, questions have been raised about whether or not libertarians are even welcome in a Republican Party controlled by President Donald Trump.... The Trump administration has championed policies that libertarians generally despise, such as increased tariffs, immigration restrictions, spending hikes, and preserving the current entitlements system....

"The GOP under Trump is certainly not a party that values limited government. Then again, the GOP has rarely ever seemed to value limited government, at least when it’s in power. But is all lost for libertarians? A closer look at the both the Freitas and Sanford losses reveals the answer is not a simple one.

"In Virginia, Stewart picked up 44.9 percent of the vote to Freitas’s 43.1 percent, or a little more than a 5,000-vote difference. Stewart ... had the highest name ID in the race. Freitas, on the other hand, ... was a relatively unknown state house member before the campaign, and he spent only $355,749 compared to Stewart’s $680,505 ... this doesn’t seem like a catastrophic loss for libertarians. Indeed, Freitas nearly pulled it off despite his lower name recognition....

"As for South Carolina, ... Arrington made her support for President Trump a major focus of her campaign and contrasted it to Sanford’s criticisms of Trump. But a deeper look at the race tells a different story. The fact is that Arrington worked hard on the campaign trail while Sanford took his reelection for granted. The result was predictable, regardless of any Trump factor....

"Still, it’s worth asking what lessons libertarians can learn to survive and thrive in the Trump era. The biggest one comes from Daniel McCarthy, who notes that libertarianism was a success in the GOP when it was anti-establishment.... Rand Paul, Congressman Thomas Massie, Congressman Justin Amash ... are flourishing because they’ve maintained their anti-establishment credentials ... despite the fact that they have opposed and even criticized Trump at times.

"Amash, who was targeted by Trump allies for a primary challenge, wound up running unopposed. Although he faces a tough general election battle, he is still favored to be reelected. Massie is all but certain to return to Congress.

"Contrast their fates with another libertarian leaner and Trump critic, Senator Jeff Flake. Flake was forced to retire after it became clear he would be defeated in the primary.... Flake was a strong proponent of free trade and railed against pork barrel spending in the House of Representatives. He was not afraid to challenge his own party on those issues. But since being elected to the Senate in 2012, Flake had also become a consistent ally of the Republican establishment....

"Libertarians can survive in the Trump era. After all, Trump’s destruction of the old GOP has given them space to operate. But libertarian Republicans must not forget their anti-establishment roots and they cannot take their election races for granted."

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Kraft Heinz helping kids with lemonade stand fines

Kraft Heinz paying kids slapped with lemonade stand fines | Fox Business:

June 7, 2018 - "Kids getting busted and fined by cops for running neighborhood lemonade stands without permits could come to an end this summer — thanks to food giant Kraft Heinz.

"The brand’s Country Time Lemonade unit announced Thursday that it will personally defend and pay for any fines that children get for trying to sell the summertime drink.

"'We recently came across a story of a kid getting her lemonade stand shut down for legal reasons, which had to be an urban myth. After looking into it and seeing even more instances, we realized these weren’t myths, they were real stories,' Adam Butler, general manager for beverage and nuts for Kraft Heinz, told Fox Business.

"Just last week, three brothers, ages 2 to 6, from Stapleton, Colorado, got their lemonade stand shut down by Denver cops after several vendors at a nearby arts festival called the police to complain the kids were undercutting their prices. The brothers, who didn’t have a temporary vending permit, ... were trying to raise money for a nonprofit child-advocacy ministry called Compassion International that supports children in poverty....

"But according to Butler, this summer will be different.

"The fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world with a market cap of $71 billion said it has created a 'Legal-Ade' unit that is on hand to help kids and their parents fight any legal woes or fines associated with their lemonade stands.

"'Any child fined for running a lemonade stand without a permit can have his or her parent apply for reimbursement. To apply, simply upload the image of your child's permit or fine along with a description of what your lemonade stand means to your child, in his or her own words,' the company said in a statement.

"Each submission will then be reviewed by Country Time Lemonade’s team and if it complies with the terms, the company will cover the permit fee or fine, up to $300. Additionally, it will donate up to $500,000 to help kids with their entrepreneurial pursuits next year and beyond."

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Democrat, Libertarian in 2-man race for Iowa AG

Democrat and Libertarian matchup set for November | Cedar Rapids Gazette - Adam Sullivan, At Liberty:

June 19, 2018 - "Iowa politics will see a first this November — a statewide race between a Libertarian and a Democrat. With no Republican candidate, the race for Iowa Attorney General this November will be between incumbent Democrat Tom Miller and Libertarian challenger Marco Battaglia.

"Battaglia ran in the Libertarian gubernatorial primary this month, falling short with 38 percent in the party’s first official statewide primary since earning major party status in 2016. He was nominated by delegates at the Libertarian Party state convention two weeks ago, after fellow party activists urged him to run.

"'I’ve had problems with Tom Miller going back to when I was a young Democrat and it made me concerned when it didn’t appear anyone would challenge him. I thought we could bring the positivity and momentum we had in the governor race and offer some much needed perspective,' Battaglia told me.

"Miller was first elected as attorney general in 1978. Robert Ray was governor and Jimmy Carter was president. Last month, Miller reported more than $200,000 cash on hand.

"Miller won more than 55 percent of the votes in each of the last two cycles, and he was unopposed in 2006. Edward Noyes ran as a Libertarian for the office in 2002, winning 1.7 percent of the vote in a three-way race, and Natural Law Party candidate Nancy Watkins won 2.2 percent in 1998....

"In a statewide race with only two candidates, Battaglia is almost certain to become the Libertarian Party’s biggest vote-getter in Iowa history this November.

"Battaglia said he sees ample opportunity to raise important issues, and he hopes to have televised debates and widespread media coverage. He said the Iowans he met during his gubernatorial campaign this year are hungry for reforms Miller isn’t offering.

"'On civil and criminal justice reform, I think we have tripartisan agreement from the grassroots level, but we have an attorney general who has been problematic in dealing with rolling out medical cannabis, or on how we’re going to charge people if they break certain laws,' Battaglia said.

Libertarians, Republicans and even some Democrats have been frustrated at the extent to which Miller involves his office in national legal battles. 'There is a considerable number of attorneys around the state who don’t necessarily agree with Miller’s interpretations. Anything you could regulate, he’s put out an opinion on it. He gets involved in a lot more federal issues than most attorneys general around the country,' Battaglia said.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Parliament passes cannabis legalization — but ...

Canadians can't light up yet, justice minister warns after 'historic' bill to legalize pot passes | CBC News - John Paul Tasker & Kathleen Harris:

June 20, 2018 - "The Senate has passed a contentious bill to legalize pot — but Canadians won't be allowed to legally light up for several weeks yet, to give provinces time to set up a retail regime, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould warned today.

"Last night, senators passed C-45, the federal government's bill to legalize recreational marijuana, with a 52-29 vote and two abstentions.

"The bill stipulates the law does not come into force until a date is fixed by an order of the governor-in-council — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet. The government has long said there will be a buffer of eight to 12 weeks between the bill's passage and full legalization....

"'Cannabis for non-medical use is not legal yet. The law still remains the law,' Wilson-Raybould said during a news conference on Parliament Hill. 'The date that cannabis will become legal will be announced soon. Until then, I urge all Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force'....

"The government initially floated July 1 as the date for retail sales to begin but the timeline was pushed back as senators debated the bill at length. Under the current timeline, legalization is most likely to occur sometime in September.

"Until the bill receives royal assent — the last procedural step of the legislative process — it will be illegal to transport cannabis....

"When asked Wednesday if the government was considering pardons for Canadians convicted of marijuana-related offences, Wilson-Raybould said such a question was 'premature.'

'I think, as has already been stated, the law remains in effect until it's repealed and replaced through Bill [C-45] and quite frankly any discussion of those records can't take place until that process is complete,' she said....

"Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut want to ban home cultivation. Today, Wilson-Raybould said the bill provides a 'framework' and that it's not the federal government's intention to challenge provincial laws. She noted that a resident could challenge any province that moves to ban home-growing, though."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NH Libertarians get 1st primary in 20 years

Aaron Day files for governor, setting up Libertarian Party primary with Jilletta Jarvis - John DiStaso, WMUR:

June 15, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire has a gubernatorial primary campaign. And party officials are pleased because, they say, it will raise the profile of the low-tax, small government-minded party in the Granite State.

"Aaron Day of Bedford, former chair of the Free State Project and the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, filed his candidacy for governor Friday, setting up a primary with Sandown businesswoman Jilletta Jarvis, who filed last week. The winner of the Sept. 11 primary will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot....

"The Libertarian Party this year has major party status and will have a spot on the ballot for the first time since 1996, said Secretary of State William Gardner.... Gardner said the Libertarian Party had primaries for governor in three elections in the 1990s....

"The LPNH is back on the ballot in 2018 because in 2016, its candidate for governor, Max Abramson, received 31,243 votes, which was 4.3 percent of the general election vote, more than the 4 percent required threshold....

"In the primary, undeclared voters are free to take a ballot of the party of their choosing and then may, if they wish, change their registrations back to undeclared....

"Day, a longtime conservative activist in the state, ran as an independent for the U.S. Senate in 2016 and, many believe, spoiled Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s bid for re-election by receiving 17,742 votes.... But that was then. 'This time it’s completely different,' Day said Friday ... 'I’m actually running this time,' he said, adding, 'I no longer believe in the Republican Party'....

"Jarvis, who also is running a serious campaign complete with a website and a media staffer, welcomed the notion of having a primary competitor. 'I actually think it’s a good thing to have a primary because more people will take notice,” she said....

"As of Thursday evening, Libertarian candidates had also filed in both of the state’s congressional districts, three of the five Executive Council districts and two state Senate districts. Also filing were 13 Libertarian candidates for the New Hampshire House."

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Taiwan's top court legalized same sex marriage

Lawmaker says same-sex marriage ruling ‘liberating’ for Taiwan | South China Morning Post:

June 13, 2018 - "Being the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage was a big step towards creating a 'broad-minded' society, a Taiwanese legislator said, referring to a ruling last year by the island’s justice system that guaranteed the right under Taiwan’s constitution. People have recognised 'the diversity of Taiwanese society' in the process of discussing the issue of same-sex marriage, 'and they have become aware of disadvantages sexual minorities face,' Yu Mei-nu said in a recent interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo.

"Her comments came after the Council of Grand Justices ruled in May last year that a provision in the civil code, which stipulates marriage is the legal union between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional, making Taiwan the first Asian jurisdiction to allow same-sex marriage.

"Yu, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, has greatly contributed to pushing forward the moves by stirring debates over the issue and submitting bills to parliament... She visited Japan to share the experience at a symposium organised by the Japan Association for Taiwanese Studies....

"Commenting on the moves in Taiwan, Ken Suzuki, a Meiji University professor of Chinese and Taiwanese laws, said: 'They indicate that changes in education could change a society in 10 years.' Suzuki, who was also present for the interview, was hopeful that Japan would follow the Taiwanese path to legalisation of same-sex marriage.

"Some Japanese municipalities, including Sapporo, Naha as well as Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo, have recognised same-sex partnerships.... Suzuki himself has been involved in a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage at the state level, arguing that excluding same-sex couples from the legal marriage framework constitutes discrimination against LGBTs....

"Among the Group of Seven industrialised nations, only Japan has not yet introduced a same-sex marriage or same-sex partnership system at the state level....

"In Taiwan, authorities concerned are required to amend or enact relevant laws within two years in accordance with the 2017 ruling of the court interpretation."

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Libertarians rediscover their principles, on eBay

Libertarian Party rescues its original founding document from eBay - Washington Times - Jennifer Harper:

May 22, 2018 - "[T]he national Libertarian Party ... has reclaimed its most important founding document.

"Libertarian National chairman Nicholas Sarwark reports that the original 'Statement of Principles' — typewritten on plain paper by early member John Hospers at the party’s first convention — has surfaced in an unlikely place.

"'The existence of this original document was unknown until it turned up on an eBay listing, was purchased by a Libertarian Party member, and then donated to the Party,' Mr. Sarwark said.

"The seller said that her parents were early activists in the California Libertarian Party, and as she was disposing of their estate she found this document hidden behind a framed, photocopy picture of Ayn Rand, where it has likely been for decades,' he explained.

"The simple document has since been properly framed and will be on display at the 2018 Libertarian National Convention in New Orleans next month, then returned to the party’s headquarters just outside the nation’s capital."

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why the "Intellectual Dark Web" exists

Why the Intellectual Dark Web Had to Go Dark - Foundation for Economic Education - Tyler Brandt:

June 14, 2018 - "Recently, The New York Times ran an exposé on the “Intellectual Dark Web.” The piece profiles all the heavy hitters of the movement: Jordan B. Peterson, Bret Weinstein, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, and Sam Harris.... The piece characterizes the Intellectual Dark Web as a shadowy underground of renegade iconoclasts who dare to challenge the orthodoxies of academia and the media [but] glosses over the reason why these thinkers have been ostracized....

"Peterson rose to fame when he controversially criticized a 'humanitarian' bill legally mandating the use of certain pronouns. Bret Weinstein, who happens to be a progressive, was ejected from Evergreen State because he refused to bow to illiberal students calling for a no whites allowed 'day of absence.' Sam Harris rose to popularity after being called gross and offensive by Ben Affleck for criticizing Islamism. After The Young Turks had Sam Harris on their show and Dave Rubin saw how hostile and irrational the host was, Rubin left his job and started The Rubin Report, a show founded on open dialogue.

"What these individuals have in common is that, in the pursuit of truth and free expression, they offended arbiters of politically correct opinion. These thinkers are the new heretics who challenge the religious convictions of society and they are excommunicated in the same way that those who went against the church once were....

"We are selectively choosing which arguments are ok to make by a cabal of politically correct youth, who claim to stand for the oppressed. The world of truth is too dangerous for these vulnerable persons, so we must bubble wrap knowledge as to not harm their sensibilities, so the logic goes. Well, in bubble wrapping the world, we disguise its reality, and that is a surefire way to cause catastrophe. We can’t put blinders on certain corners of the world and expect to come out with a proper understanding of how it functions.

"We can’t select the truth based on offensiveness.... Offense is subjective by nature and largely determined by individual temperament. A claim of subjective emotion can hardly be invalidated. This means that scientific hypotheses are being rejected on claims of subjective emotion instead of meticulous checking....

"We have started concentrating the power of who determines truth in the hands of educational administrators, politicians, and bureaucracies. What we have lost is a dialogue between intellectual community members about what the truth is. When not able to satisfy that need in public institutions, many great thinkers have taken their thoughts to the internet....

"The Intellectual Dark Web exists because many still venerate objective truth. With the rules of truth-proving being rewritten by our institutions, many expelled thinkers continue their pursuit online. It’s a blessing for those who want to have discussions on evolutionary biology, religion, culture, economics, and politics, without any toxic ideology polluting the outlet."

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Wisconsin governor signs civil forfeiture reform

News - Wisconsin Enacts Sweeping Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform | Heartland Institute - Owen Macaulay:

June 11, 2018 - "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill  protecting residents’ constitutional rights to property and due process. Senate Bill 61 (S.B. 61), sponsored by state Sen. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon), sets new requirements for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in using civil asset forfeiture to take ownership of individuals’ seized assets or property.

"In most cases, police or prosecutors now must obtain a criminal conviction before property held by individuals accused of committing a crime can be forfeited. The law went into effect on April 5.

"Lindsey Stroud, state government relations manager for The Heartland Institute ... says many law enforcement agencies have routinely abused the civil asset forfeiture process. 'It’s a problem because, in a lot of these states, if you’re an innocent person, your property can be taken away from you,' Stroud said. 'A lot of these laws allow the law enforcement agencies to retain what they take'....

"Craig says the bill he introduced, now known as Act 211, ... 'requires a criminal conviction prior to forfeiture of property with some limited exceptions, preserving the fundamental notion that one is innocent until proven guilty.... Additionally, the legislation requires that forfeiture be proportional to the offence, that innocent owners are protected, forfeiture actions are properly reported and transparent, and divests the monetary incentives for departments to pursue forfeitures.'

"Stroud says civil asset forfeiture can harm innocent individuals.... 'In one case, a woman went to bail her son out,' Stroud said. 'They took a drug-sniffing dog, sniffed her money, and they seized it. Studies show that 90 percent of bills have traces of drugs on them. She was eventually able to prove she got the money legally'....

"'Frankly, civil asset forfeiture affects every American,' Craig said. “The mere fact that Wisconsin law allowed private property to be forfeited to the government without conviction was a glaring violation of the Constitution.... All citizens should care when their liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are threatened by an overzealous government,' Craig said. 'These abusive policies could someday be used against you, despite no wrongdoing on your part.'"

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

SCOTUS dodges cake issue in ruling for baker

The Supreme Court's unexpected wedding cake verdict - Chicago Tribune - editorial:

June 4, 2018 - "In ruling for a Colorado baker who cited his religious objections in refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t decide the interesting question at the heart of the case: whether civil rights laws override such objections. The justices did not decide the issue everyone expected them to decide. But the decision they reached was nonetheless important and sensible.

"The two men who went to Masterpiece Cakeshop in 2012 to order a cake for their ceremony — despite a state law barring same-sex marriage — were surprised by the owner’s refusal. They filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguing that the owner, Jack Phillips, had violated the state law forbidding discrimination by businesses on the basis of sexual orientation....

"The Civil Rights Commission ruled that he had violated the law, a decision upheld by a Colorado appeals court. But on Monday, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to strike it down — not because of the conclusion the CCRC reached but because of how it addressed Phillips’ objections.

"One commission member, the court noted, accused Phillips of 'despicable' claims, using his 'religion to hurt others' in the same way defenders of slavery once did. Another said he should put aside his religious beliefs 'if he decides to do business in the state'....

"The justices concluded that the commission’s handling of the dispute 'has elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.' And that animus conflicts with the state’s obligation to act in a fair and neutral way on religious matters.

"This decision does not mean bakers can refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex unions — or that they can’t. It leaves that question to the future.... 'The Supreme Court' ... noted Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman “... said nothing that will prevent a new panel from ruling against the baker, as is the likely result under Colorado law.'

"But the court upheld a vital principle.... A government body can’t skew its treatment according to whether it likes a particular religious group or belief."

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Mark Sanford loses primary to Trump pick

Mark Sanford Is a Libertarian Republican Who Took on Trump. He Just Lost His Primary. - Hit & Run : - Eric Boehm:

June 12, 2018 - "A primary challenger backed by President Donald Trump successfully unseated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) tonight just hours after Trump took to Twitter to attack Sanford for — of all things — the congressman's marital infidelities. First-term state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Dorchester) defeated Sanford, earning more than 51 percent of the vote to Sanford's 46 percent....

"In an interview with Politico last weekend, Sanford suggested that a loss in his re-election bid could cause other Republicans to think twice before speaking out against the Trump administration.... 'I think it's entirely appropriate to say "I agree" when I agree and "I disagree" when I disagree,' Sanford told Politico's Alex Isenstadt. 'That's the American way. That's what our entire political system is based on, ... the fact that we can have dissent'....

"Sanford's dissent to Trump's takeover of the GOP dates back nearly two years.... Sanford has accused Trump of fanning 'the flames of intolerance,' criticized Trump's use of the word 'shit-hole' to describe some third world countries, and most recently called the president's plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports 'an experiment with stupidity.' He's also criticized Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) for not taking a hard enough line against the Trump White House.

"Trump appears to have taken notice. As voters were heading to the polls Tuesday, the president took a shot at the incumbent congressman.
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!
"Yes, that reference to Argentina is the thrice-wedded president (who may have had an affair with a porn star) accusing Sanford of being bad at marriage, apparently without a hint of irony....

"It's true that Sanford's six-day disappearance during July 2009 — when he was ... having an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, María Belén Chapur — changed the course of his political career.... Prior to [L'Affaire] Argentine, Sanford was regarded as a possible White House contender. Following Ron Paul's 2008 dark horse presidential run, he and [former] governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson (along with, of course, Rand Paul) were often identified as the heirs apparent to the libertarian wing of the GOP....

"Will there be a third act for Sanford? One can hope. Whatever you may think of his personal foibles, he's been a consistently principled voice for liberty and limited government. He opposes bailouts, loves Atlas Shrugged, and disdains political tribalism. And in the age of Trump, a history of adultery is hardly political suicide anymore."

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Porter wins Iowa Libertarian primary for governor

Jake Porter wins Libertarian Iowa governor primary:

June 5, 2018 - "Jake Porter won the Libertarian nomination for governor Tuesday, defeating opponent Marco Battaglia.

"According to the Secretary of State's unofficial election results, Porter earned about 54 percent of the vote over Battaglia's 38 percent. About 7 percent of Libertarian primary voters opted for a write-in candidate....

"Porter is a business consultant from Council Bluffs and a former retail manager. He has associate's and bachelor's degrees in business from AIB College of Business. He said he’s been a member of the Libertarian Party since he was 16 years old and helped establish the party in Iowa"

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Arizona's campus cannabis ban struck down by state Supreme Court

A Libertarian on the Bench - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

June 4, 2018 - "In the recent case of Arizona v. Maestas, ... [at] issue was the 2014 arrest of an Arizona State University student named Andre Lee Juwaun Maestas. Under the terms of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), a voter initiative passed in 2010, Maestas was a valid medical marijuana cardholder. That meant that he was legally allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of 'usable marijuana.' Yet Maestas was arrested after university police found 0.014 ounces of marijuana in his dorm room.....

"They arrested him because in 2012 the state legislature amended the AMMA to forbid all medical marijuana use and possession on state college and university campuses....

"Per the Arizona Constitution, the state legislature may only amend a voter initiative if 'the amending legislation furthers the purposes of such measure.' The question before the Arizona Supreme Court in the Maestas case was whether the 2012 criminalization law was at odds with that provision from the state Constitution.

"The Arizona Supreme Court held that it was. 'Criminalizing AMMA-compliant marijuana possession or use on public college or university campuses plainly does not further the AMMA's primary purpose,' the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. Maestas. 'We hold [the 2012 law] unconstitutional as applied to the student/cardholder in this case'....

"According to the state of Arizona, the judiciary owed total deference to the lawmakers here. In the state's view, the legislature alone enjoys the power to establish and maintain "a general and uniform public school system.' Criminalizing marijuana use on public campuses, the state insisted, should be immune from judicial review because it is a non-justiciable 'political question'."

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Canadian Libertarians going to Ottawa (for convention)

Libertarian Party of Canada - Parti Libertarien du Canada - Posts - Facebook:

May 9, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of Canada's 2018 National Convention is just around the corner, and we want you to be there!

"Attending the convention is an important, fun and rewarding experience that is open to all party members. Not only is it a chance to meet and network with other Libertarians and listen to great speakers, but it provides an opportunity to attend training workshops and seminars to augment the political skillset of members so that they have the tools they need to succeed in spreading the message of liberty in their home ridings.

"As a grassroots organization, all members attending also have the opportunity to take part in the decision-making process by altering our current policies, introducing new ones, running to serve on the party's national board of directors and more.

"The Convention is July 6th and 7th in Ottawa with an evening meet-up for those who arrive in town July 5th. We will post more information including speakers as we firm up the details over the next couple of months.

"Head to to register!"
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Friday, June 8, 2018

Ontario vote result may be a win for libertarians

Marni Soupcoff: The real winners of Ontario’s election? Libertarians! (Wait, what…?) | National Post:

June 8, 2018 - "Thursday’s election may prove to be a hidden victory for libertarians. I’m not saying that because ... the Ontario Libertarian Party won any seats (I’m sober, and it hasn’t). And I’m not saying that because ... Doug Ford ... is a principled champion of freedom.

"To me, the hope comes from the recoiling I’ve been watching, especially on social media.... Ford has won the hearts of about 10 per cent of the people I follow on Twitter and perhaps even fewer media commentators and columnists. The rest of them are horrified, repelled or at the very least disheartened by the notion of Doug Ford as premier of Ontario, and not without good reason. But having people with influence and prominence horrified, repelled or disheartened by a political leader can be a very healthy thing....

"For every bill that gets tabled that gives government room to overreach, there’s a warning from a cranky libertarian about all the terrible things that could result. Then there’s always a patronizing rejoinder from the bill’s supporters about how no leader or government would ever do those terrible things. It would be unthinkable. They just wouldn’t.

"While Doug Ford is an entirely different man and phenomenon from Donald Trump (operating in an entirely different political system), one virtue Ford shares with the U.S. president is that he evokes such visceral negative reactions in establishment types that they’re forced to rethink their hypotheticals. Suddenly the terrible things no leader would ever do ... have to be revisited with the reviled actual leader in mind. And so, the instinct to limit and balance government power — which so often lies sadly dormant in academics and mainstream policymakers and Toronto Star columnists — is suddenly awakened."

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Toronto Guardian gives 2018 Libertarian platform

Libertarian and Green Party 2018 Ontario Election Guide:

May 28, 2018 - "Whether it is being excluded from debates or not spoken about in the news, less known candidates should have an equal voice to allow citizens to vote the party that they most agree with. Two of these parties that are often pushed aside are the Ontario Libertarian Party and less so the Green Party....

"A recent Maclean’s article allowed each of the 3 main parties to showcase their standings on several topics. We are going to add to that with responses we received by the Ontario Libertarian Party....

· we intend to Reduce the Size and Scope of Government
· we intend to reduce spending within government where possible
· initiate a balanced budget and debt repayment plan over 30 years....
· we would end all Government subsidies....

· end Corporate income taxation, of course Corporations will still collect and remit HST
· Reduce the Ontario Land Transfer Tax to be a flat fee of $275....
· we will repeal the job-killing Cap & Trade Carbon Tax and opt out of any National carbon pricing scheme....

· repeal the Green Energy Act
· eliminate time of use billing
· end discriminatory delivery charges crushing rural residents
· remove all subsidized power from the grid....

"Health Care
· Patients will be able to choose the OHIP system or a non-government alternative
· average per person healthcare funding will be attached to the individual and not to OHIP
· allow non-Government insurance options in addition to OHIP....

· allow existing (and new) private operators (Pot Shops) to operate competitively within Provincial regulations not unlike the way that cigarettes are currently sold in Ontario
· Ontario government should NOT be involved with retail distribution of marijuana....

· Parents will be able to choose the school their children attend, government or non-government schools
· per student funding will be attached to the student and not the school...."

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Thunder Bay man runs so he can vote Libertarian

Meet the Candidates: Libertarian's Gallo wants less regulation in government -

June 2, 2018 - "Tony Gallo has a pretty good reason for jumping into the 2018 provincial election race. The Libertarian candidate for Thunder Bay-Superior North, the 47-year-old candidate said he didn’t like the other options on the ballot.

"'I wanted someone I could vote for,' said Gallo, a second-time candidate who also ran under the Libertarian banner in 2011, when he garnered 133 votes and finished fifth in a race of five....

"No fan of big government, Gallo said it’s time for politicians to stop their overreach and govern by the people and for the people, instead of what’s best for big business and other special interests.

" Take property rights, he said. 'I don’t like the idea that the government can take your property if they want to,” Gallo said....

"Gallo would also like to see a lot less red tape, which he said hamstrings businesses and individuals alike. 'There are too many regulations,' he said. “Drugs, anything – anything you want to [do to] your own body, you should be able to. People can make their own choices and do what they want.'

"Gallo would also like to see alternatives be available in the health-care field, suggesting the public isn’t best served by a fully government-run system.... 'If a doctor wants to do his own private thing and charge more, and I want to do it, I should be able to pay that,' Gallo said....

"Gallo is realistic about his chance on June 7. But the Libertarian Party is trying to build its name across Ontario and he said he figured [he'd] file his nomination papers to run to help ensure they have candidates in every riding."

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kingston Libertarian wants power returned to people

Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston candidate Steve Gebhardt | The Kingston Whig-Standard - Eliot Ferguson:

May 30, 2018 - "Among the six people vying for the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston seat, Libertarian party candidate Steve Gebhardt said he has the easiest job. In part, it's because many of the people he talks to end up seeing things as he does, he said.

"'It seems everyone I talk to about the platform, being a Libertarian, ends up self-confessing to being a Libertarian,' Gebhardt said. 'That's actually how I came to be a Libertarian.'

"The Ontario Libertarian Party is fielding its biggest ever slate of candidates, with 117 people running in ridings across the province..... Gebhardt ... said he hopes his message will resonate in the traditionally Conservative rural area north of Kingston.

"'The Libertarian mantra seems to be a good fit for the area,' he said. 'There is definitely a thirst for change, and we are hoping to capitalize on that and show the people that the change can be them as opposed to having to follow an autocratic government that dictates to them how the change is going to be. We believe the people should actually be the ones dictating the change, not their representative.'

"The Libertarian party is committed to a smaller role for government.... It advocates the elimination of almost all government programs and policies that intervene in peoples' lives.

"Instead, the party espouses a greater reliance on individual freedoms above all else.

"Prior to this election call, the Libertarian party voted to eliminate its party whip, meaning its elected members will vote as individuals and not as a block.

"'It's time to change party politics and it's time to give the power back to the people who put us there as their representative,' he said. 'It's going to be a big surprise on election day.'"

"Hand in hand with the proposed reduction of government services is a big reduction in the tax revenue the government collects and spends. Gebhardt said that when the government talks about granting money to different agencies or investing money in programs and projects, it is actually spending taxpayer money.

"'The Libertarian party is all about bringing the taxpayers' money back to the taxpayer,' he said."

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Big gov't fosters victim mentality says ex-principal

Big government fosters 'victim mentality': Simcoe North candidate | - Frank Matys, Orillia Today:

"Cynthia Sneath’s dislike of big government is rooted in her time as an educator. Now retired, Sneath, the Ontario Libertarian party’s candidate in Simcoe North, taught for 15 years in York Region before becoming a vice-principal and then a principal.

"'I really noticed a shift in the last, maybe, five or six years in some of the curriculum changes, where the Liberal government really got involved in taking over parts of education that parents used to deal with,' she said.... 'Character education, how to eat properly, being physically active … and then the sex-ed curriculum,' she added by way of example.

"The answer, as Sneath sees it, lies in smaller, less intrusive government. ''There are 380,000 regulations that govern our lives and they just keep passing more and more bills,' she said....

"If elected, a Libertarian government would remove regulations to allow for 'non-government options along with government options' in a broad spectrum of services, health care included, she said....

"Growing government involvement in people’s lives has fostered 'a victim mentality to develop in a lot of people,' Sneath added. 'Where they feel that if something goes wrong and they can’t solve it themselves, they need the government, they need a bailout,' she said."

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Bans on paying for plasma put supply at risk

Bans on paying for human blood distort a vital global market - The Economist:

May 10, 2018 - "A willing buyer in a market with plenty of willing sellers, Barzin Bahardoust is finding life surprisingly hard. For years he has been trying to pay Canadians for their blood plasma — the viscous straw-coloured liquid in blood that has remarkable therapeutic powers. When his firm, Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR), tried to open clinics in Ontario in 2014, a campaign by local activists led to a ban by the provincial government on paid plasma collection. Undeterred, he tried another province, Alberta — which also banned the practice last year. Then, on April 26th, when CPR announced a planned centre in British Columbia, its government said it too was considering similar legislation. CPR has managed to open two centres, in far-flung Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Even these have faced opposition.

"The global demand for plasma is growing, and cannot be met through altruistic donations alone. Global plasma exports were worth $126bn in 2016 — more than exports of aeroplanes.... But Canadian reservations about paid plasma are shared across most of the world. America, China, parts of Canada and some European countries are among the few places that permit it....

"Only countries that pay for plasma are self-sufficient in it. (Italy, where donors are given time off work, is close to self-sufficiency.) Half of America’s plasma is shipped to Europe — 20m contributions-worth. Canada imports 80% of its plasma products from America....

"Exported plasma is used to manufacture pharmaceuticals.... Pharmaceutical plasma ... has all manner of uses. If blood fails to clot properly, as in haemophiliacs, a plasma product helps. A plasma product can restore an immune system weakened, for example, by chemotherapy. A complication known as Rhesus disease, in which the blood type of a fetus is incompatible with the mother’s was responsible for 10% of stillbirths in America as recently as the 1960s. These days plasma products can save the child.

"Plasma today is mostly collected via apheresis, a process where whole blood is extracted, spun in a centrifuge, and the plasma is skimmed off. Red blood-cells are then mixed with an anticoagulant and transfused back into the donor.... Plasma donors can give up to 800ml of plasma — and in America are allowed to do so twice a week.... In a year a plasma donor could give over 80 litres of the stuff, compared with just 1.6 litres from a whole-blood donor. Mr Bult says paid repeat donors, who have been intensively screened, help keep plasma products safe.

"But a stigma about paying for blood lingers.... Some data, for example, lend weight to the suspicion that it preys on the poor.... The other worry ... is that paying for plasma may lead to a reduction in whole-blood donation. But Peter Jaworski, of Georgetown University, is sceptical, suggesting that, anecdotes aside, the evidence shows paid plasma donation 'does not crowd out voluntary blood-donation'. Americans, for example, continue to donate as much voluntary blood per head as do Canadians.

"The aversion to paid-for plasma carries its own risks... the geographic imbalance puts supplies of plasma products at risk. At the plasma industry’s main annual conference, held this year in Budapest in March, over-reliance on imports from America was a hot topic. Representatives from several countries (including Canada) recognised they must do more to diversify their supplies. Making it legal to pay for plasma is an obvious first step."

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Sault Libertarian campaigns for jobs, health care

Libertarian candidate says he'll bring jobs back to the city - - James Hopkin:

May 16, 2018 - "Sault Ste. Marie Libertarian Party of Ontario candidate Lance Brizard says that one of the most common complaints that he heard from passengers while driving cab in the city was a lack of quality jobs. He says that one of the primary pillars of his electoral platform is to make investment attractive....

"'We basically want business investment to flow back into Ontario and bring quality jobs with them,' Brizard said via email. Brizard ... is proposing a number of ideas in order to promote business investment:
  • Cutting electricity bills by canceling contracts to subsidized energy sources getting paid way over market value regardless of generation quantities
  • Ending ‘time of use billing’ for power companies, which forces people to do chores at specific times of day or on weekends
  • Opposing carbon taxes, which the Libertarian Party believes is just a money grab and does nothing to help the environment
  • Cutting corporate tax to zero, while still charging corporations HST for the 'first year or two,' to attract business, then raising taxes 'incrementally' over time
  • Reducing redundant regulations and red tape slowing down investment
"Another common complaint amongst his cab fares had to with the delivery of health care locally.

"'We want to reduce wait times and provide better service at our hospitals,' Brizard said.... The Libertarian Party is proposing to do this by offering OHIP, but without a ‘government monopoly on provincial health care.’

"'We would allow private competition to compete with OHIP for your portion of the health care tax pool,' Brizard said. 'Ontario residents would now have the choice to remain with OHIP, or to divest from OHIP and invest in a private health insurer option that might provide better services for the same tax allotment.'

"Brizard says that under this system, OHIP would have to 'either adapt and become more efficient, or be replaced by private health insurers,' adding that the system the party is proposing would be regulated to prevent the province from slipping into a more 'American healthcare model which benefits nobody but the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.'"

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