Friday, August 31, 2018

NM LP & GOP sue to stop straight-ticket voting

Justin Amash: 'Straight-Ticket Voting Makes it Prohibitive to Run Outside of the Major Parties' - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch:

August 30, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of New Mexico has joined the state Republican Party's lawsuit to block yesterday's decision to reinstate the 'straight ticket' ballot option. With straight-ticket voting, [registered party voters] can choose a political party's entire slate of candidates by filling in just one blank.

"Critics have derided the move as a brazen attempt by an elected Democrat in a heavily Democratic state to blunt a historic challenge by the Libertarian Party's U.S. Senate candidate, Gary Johnson.... New Mexico L.P. Chair Chris Luchini called the change an 'abuse of power via executive fiat'....

"The move was also criticized by Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican, who serves in one of the nine straight-party states in the country. 'Straight-ticket voting makes it prohibitive to run outside of the major parties,' Amash told me....

"Libertarians, independents, and other third-party candidates face a blizzard of obstacles in getting on ballots, into polls, and onto debate stages. Straight-ticket states add the wrinkle of simplifying the voting process for their major-party competitors, particularly in down-ballot races. Registered Libertarians in New Mexico are outnumbered 66 to 44 to 1 by Democrats and Republicans, respectively, while the 22 percent of registered voters there without a party affiliation have to go through the trouble of selecting each candidate rather than voting just once for their entire team....

"New Mexico Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver, who made the decision to reinstate straight-ticket voting, is running for re-election against Republican nominee Gavin Clarkson. In a statement today, Clarkson pointed out that [Oliver is] reversing a legislated repeal of the practice that was signed into law by none other than Gary Johnson....

"'Maggie Toulouse Oliver's unilateral and likely illegal straight-party ballot decree is an attack on our democracy and the rule of law. Sadly this act of voter suppression is just another cynical example of the abuse of power in the service of extreme partisanship....

"'Straight-party voting was repealed in 2001 by a Democratic legislature and a Republican governor, Gary Johnson. Specifically, House Bill 931 repealed Section 1-9-4 of the Election Code, which permitted each voter 'to vote a straight party ticket in one operation.' That was the only law authorizing straight party voting in New Mexico, and it has been gone for nearly two decades.

"Since then, the people's elected representatives in the legislature have refused to reinstate it..... Legally speaking, the Secretary of State simply doesn't have the authority to unilaterally make laws, especially against the expressed will of the legislative branch as she is now attempting to do.'"

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ontario should junk cannabis wholesale monopoly too

Doug Ford almost got it right on cannabis - The Globe and Mail - Ian Irvine:

August 22, 2018 - "Ontario Premier Doug Ford should be congratulated for improving Ontario’s marijuana market structure last week. He decided to privatize the retailing of marijuana in the province. That decision represents a reversal of the previous government’s choice to place retailing in the hands of a high-cost government monopoly. This is good news.

"However, he also decided to leave a government agency front and centre in the wholesaling of cannabis. Having gone some way to free up entrepreneurial energies and create an expansive marketplace, he balked at the idea that this market could function well without a monopsony, or a single buyer, at its core.

"For the benefit of Ontarians, the government should ... look at successful and safe cannabis market models that have been developed south of the border.... In Colorado for instance, the present combination of moderate taxes, multiple retail outlets and extraordinarily active laboratory testing has led to the virtual elimination of the illegal market....

"A wholesale monopoly ... suffers from an excess of power.... It is also less complex for a single buyer to deal with a small number of suppliers than a large number. Consequently, small producers and product variety will be the losers.... 'Big Cannabis” will gain from this structure, and small artisanal marijuana will live a hazardous existence. If the latter were to have direct access to retail, we could be sure that a vibrant industry composed of hundreds of small producers would survive....

"Second, the positioning of an additional agency will add to the cost of distribution and ultimately to the price paid by the end user. It is a universal 'given' that if the price charged to the user is much above the street price then the illegal market will continue to thrive....

"Third, there is little to justify the existence of a monopoly wholesaler from a safety standpoint. A report from the Colorado Department of Revenue (Marijuana Enforcement Division) indicates that, in 2017, about 150,000 tests on content and potential contaminants were carried out. Unsurprisingly, this system has resulted in a high-quality, low-variance product....

"The craft brewing industry in Canada has been an enormous success. Imagine the outcome if, at some point in the 1990s, the Ontario government had decided that 'in the interests of a safe supply' all sales would have to transit through a government wholesale monopoly, and that monopoly, staffed by bureaucrats, would decide which products would reach the consumer and which would not.

"Mr. Ford, for the benefit of all Ontarians ... should take a second giant step in producing a vital and successful market: by eliminating the Ontario Cannabis Store monopsony and replacing it with a system of rigorous quality testing."

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rand Paul endorses Gary Johnson for Senate

Huge News: Rand Paul Endorses Gary Johnson for Senate - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch:

August 28, 2018 - "In a surprising move that could have dramatic impact on third-party politics and Capitol Hill's balance of power, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) today endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson for the U.S. Senate over Republican nominee Mick Rich.

"'Gary Johnson is a true fiscal conservative,' Paul said in his endorsement statement. 'As Governor, he reduced the size of government while improving services. He cut taxes, and he set what may be a record by vetoing more than 700 unnecessary pieces of legislation.

"'His leadership on issues of government overreach, protecting Americans' Fourth Amendment rights against mass surveillance, and common sense foreign policy is sorely needed in the United States Senate, for New Mexico and the nation. He will be an important ally and a critical independent voice.'

"Paul's endorsement is sure to add pressure on Mick Rich to step aside and give Johnson, the two-term former governor of the state, a clear shot at challenging what until now has been considered a safe Democratic seat. In the only poll taken since Johnson officially entered the race two weeks ago, the Libertarian was up on the Republican 21 percent to 11 percent (versus Heidrich's 39), and even held a slight edge among registered Republicans....

"[T]oday's announcement could mark a watershed moment in which the Republican Party's once-ascendant, now-embattled 'Liberty Movement' rump breaks ranks to make selective common cause with a competing political party that has 'Libertarian' right there in the name."

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

LPC leader Moen rules out joining Bernier's party

Libertarian leader responds to calls for Bernier alliance - The Post Millennial - Dean Tea:

August 25, 2018 - "In a video posted to his personal Facebook page late Thursday night, Libertarian Party [of Canada] leader Tim Moen addressed queries as to whether he would consider joining and running for Maxime Bernier’s newly announced political party, or whether a merger of the Libertarian Party and that of Maxime Bernier's is possible....

"Earlier this year, following Bernier’s narrow loss to Andrew Scheer in the Conservative leadership race, Moen and the Libertarians ... adopt[ed] Mad Max’s leadership platform wholesale, and Moen promis[ed] to step aside and hand the reins to Bernier if he would join the Libertarian Party. According to Moen, the two had a handful of polite conversations, but Bernier remained noncommittal.

"In his video statement, Moen expressed his misgivings regarding the possibility of a Conservative party offshoot achieving lasting reform and adopting libertarian values in a meaningful way.... 'Conservatives tend to be rudderless. They’re driven by panic and fear of the Liberals...They abandon principles for votes ... [to] avoid the Liberals getting power, and in doing so become the very thing they fear the most.'

"In a clear reference to the Reform and Alliance experiments ... he predicted that another political experiment of the sort is likely to end the same way.... 'They break down and split into competing factions, only to have fear of the Liberals reunite them again under some banner of reform so they can go ahead and lose their soul again.'

"Moen doesn’t seem to think that anything will be different for the new party of Maxime Bernier, who unabashedly spouts libertarian talking points, regularly quoting revered libertarian theorists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman .'I suspect it would be a watered-down version of our party principles and platform..... Are we going to see any discussion on meaningful restrictions on government? An end to Health Canada, a restriction on military interventionism?... Is he going to get on stage like Ron Paul and say, "End the Bank of Canada, end the income tax, legalize all the drugs."? I have my doubts.'

"Furthermore, he questions the staying power of a new party beyond the personal popularity of Bernier himself.... 'My guess is that this party is going to be a flash in the pan and fizzle as soon as Max looses his seat or retires.... I’m not going to merge the Libertarian Party with Max’s new party. Max’s party is likely to burn bright and then flame out and I’m not going to let our party die by hitching it to his.'

"He emphasized his party’s long track record of sticking to principled libertarian messaging, in an effort to steer conservative and other mainstream parties in their direction.

"'Western civilization is built on ideas; primarily the idea of individual liberty. Our party has been standing on those principles ... for over 45 years. We have been unflinching.... As far as I can tell, we’re making a difference. Libertarianism is on the rise. I don’t think [Mad Max] would have got 49% in the leadership election had it not been for the work our party has been doing for the last 45 years.'"

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Man beaten for carrying U.S. flag to OR protest

This Liberal Carried an American Flag to Protest Fascism in Portland. Antifa Cracked His Head Open With a Bat. - Hit & Run : - Robby Soave:

August 21, 2018: "Paul Welch is ... a liberal who voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary, and for Hillary Clinton in the general election. On August 4, he attended a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon, as a counterdemonstrator intent on signaling his opposition to the 'tacitly fascist event,' he told The Oregonian....
"The right and certainly a lot of smaller groups like Patriot Prayer might rush to things like the flag and try to take it up as, 'This is our symbol exclusively,'" [Welch] said. "Part of my thinking was to take it back."

Aside from a few odd looks, Welch did not encounter any problems when he joined hundreds of other counter-protesters who gathered at City Hall late that morning.

In fact, Welch said, he saw several other people with American flags sprinkled among the group of progressives, union members and social justice activists.
"But then, two members of Antifa confronted him and demanded he hand over the flag, which they characterized as a 'fascist symbol.' When Welch resisted, they attacked him. The concussion landed him in the hospital for two days.

"It was, of course, wrong to attack Welch regardless of his political views. Even if Welch had been a Trump-worshipping alt-right troll, the masked man still had no right to try to take Welch's flag and club him over the head when he resisted. This was an ill-founded and immoral initiation of violence, full stop.

"But it's also a good reminder of why Antifa's resistance strategy, punch Nazis in the streets, wherever and whenever they appear, is deeply misguided. Not everybody who attends a protest is a Nazi. Not everyone who waves an American flag is a fascist.... A broad endorsement of violence as a resistance tactic is certain to result in innocent people getting hurt, and to turn the moderate masses away from whatever it is Antifa supposedly represents. As a general matter, civil resistance works and violent protests backfire."

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Limited government as framework for utopia

Why Robert Nozick was a libertarian | Big Think - Scotty Hendricks:

August 13, 2018 - "Robert Nozick ... was a philosopher at Harvard.... After the publication of his colleague John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, which brilliantly argues for social democracy, Nozick was inspired to use similar arguments to promote his political positions. Appearing three years later, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (ASU) was Nozick’s only political philosophy book.

"He begins by advancing a straightforward premise, 'Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights)'.... Nozick’s idea of rights are protections against harm to us or our property. In this way they are negative rights; they assure us that other people won’t bother us and that we can claim compensation when they do, but they don’t obligate anybody else to do anything for us....

"Our having these rights means that it is wrong to hurt people or take their property for any reason unless they consent to such action, excepting when we are correcting for a previous violation of rights. Nozick argues that this premise leaves us with only one option when we’re deciding what kind of state is justified. He calls it a 'minimal state' or the 'night watchman state' and it is much, much, smaller than any functioning state is today.

"Nozick explains that the night watchman state is 'limited to the functions of protecting all its citizens against violence, theft, and fraud, and to the enforcement of contracts, and so on.' There would also not be any taxes in this state, as that would be forcing people to hand over their property with or without their consent. It also would not be able to enact laws preventing people from making their own life choices or that force people to make ones that they don't want to make....

"Nozick ... asks how we can build a society that works for a very diverse group of people.... [H]is stance is that you can only build a 'meta-framework' that allows for a variety of people to pursue a variety of life plans. Because of this, the 'utopia' that Nozick alludes to in the title is not one but many.

"In the minimalist state, it will be possible for people to form utopian communities on their own without outside interference. Nozick claims that this is one of the greatest perks of a minimalist state, as it will allow people to choose communities that fit their lifestyle, create new ones, leave ones they don’t like, or avoid utopian dreams altogether without hassle.

"Such utopian communities could be puritanical, hedonist, communist, capitalist, dedicated to eating cheese, or whatever else people think will make them happy. The minimalist state only assures that nobody is forced into these living situations, that nobody is forced to pay for these communities other than the people living in them, that any contracts signed are adhered to, and that nobody tries to harm or defraud the members of such groups."

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Cato report questions U.S. dietary guidelines

Spectrum News Pure Politics  - Libertarian group calls on public to question federal dietary guidelines - Eva McKend:

July 19, 2018 - "Should the American government get out of the business of giving dietary advice? For decades, the USDA and Health and Human Services has been telling us what the best foods are for our bodies but a new report suggests the government should just stay out of it....

"Many of us may have grown up being told to eat our fruits and veggies but one clinical biochemist warns it was bad nutrition advice from the federal government that has long put our health out of whack.

"'Ever since 1977 when the American government through the Senate Committee told us to stop eating fat and start eating carbohydrates, we know now that was bad advice,' said Terence Kealey, Cato Institute Senior Fellow....

"Kealey ... says there is a reason the now disbanded Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs issued those guidelines. 'There was a real epidemic of heart attacks. In 1977, a third of all deaths in this country were caused by heart attacks, twice as many people were dying from heart attacks as from cancer....

"'The increase in carbohydrates consumption in this country caused almost immediately the increase in obesity and the increase in Type 2 diabetes,' said Kealey.

"According to decades of his research, the government is too influenced by corporate interests to continue being involved in telling the American public what foods to eat and what to avoid....

"The USDA/HHS guidelines are issued every five years. At nearly 150 pages, many aspects of it are not very controversial including limiting calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reducing sodium intake. Kealey wants Congress to direct the agencies to stop issuing the guidelines but if they stop doing it, who should?

"'There are dozens of medical schools, Departments of Nutrition and other really authoritative bodies in this country that can and should give dietary advice and we should leave it to a free market of ideas,' said Kealey."

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Bernier quits 'morally corrupt' Conservative Party (video)

MP Maxime Bernier quits 'morally corrupt' Conservatives, plans to start new party | CBC News - Catharine Tunney:

August 23, 2018 - "Divisive Quebec MP Maxime Bernier made a scorched-earth exit from the Conservatives today, while announcing plans to start his own federal party. Bernier, who represents the riding of Beauce, made the announcement Thursday in Ottawa as the party's policy convention kicks off in Halifax.

"'I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed,' he said.... 'I know for a fact that many in the caucus privately oppose supply management, but buying votes in a few key ridings is more important than defending the interests of Canadians.'

"Bernier said he plans to talk to Elections Canada on Friday and his goal is to head a party that runs candidates in all of Canada's 338 federal ridings."

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Farmers for Free Trade run anti-tariff ads in ND

Farmers for Free Trade Purchases Billboards, Radio Ads in North Dakota Ahead of Commerce Secretary Ross’s Thursday Visit | KTIC Radio:

August 22, 2018 - "Farmers for Free Trade purchased billboard and radio ads to send a clear message to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who will visit North Dakota this Thursday with Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky.... For the week of August 20, eight billboards throughout Fargo will rotate with the message, 'Secretary Ross, Tariffs Hurt ND Farmers.'

"The billboards are running now.... Radio ads that highlight the impact of tariffs on North Dakota farmers will run on Thursday, August 23rd in the Fargo market.

"'Farmers and manufacturers have been patient, giving time to the president to see if these will work. But prices are plummeting and export markets have been taken over by foreign competitors. We hope that Secretary Ross hears from North Dakota farmers, manufacturers and workers that it’s time to end the trade war, so America’s heartland can start thriving once again. It’s past time that we open new markets to American exports instead of erecting new barriers,' said Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade.

"Soybean exports are a core component of North Dakotan farmers’ bottom lines. North Dakota exports roughly two-thirds of its annual $2 billion soybean crop to China. Already this year, Chinese buyers have cancelled all of their orders for food-grade soybeans, valued between $1.2 to $1.5 million. If the United States and China don’t resolve the trade dispute, farmers may not be able to meet their payments and could lose financing to plant next year’s crop. These slashes to the bottom line are unsustainable, and farmers want to see the president focus on open access to international markets for their products."
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Farmers for Free Trade:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Gary Johnson places second in Senate poll

Poll finds Libertarian Senate candidate running ahead of GOP in New Mexico | TheHill - Megan Keller:

August 20, 2018 - "Libertarian Party Senate candidate Gary Johnson is polling at 21 percent in New Mexico, behind Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) but with nearly twice the support shown for GOP candidate Mick Rich in the poll.

"An Emerson College poll released Monday showed Heinrich winning 39 percent on the sample ballot while Rich only took 11 percent. Thirty percent of those polled were undecided.

"Johnson has high name recognition in the state. He's a former governor and won attention for his presidential run in 2016....

"A 21 percent showing would mark the second-highest vote total a Libertarian Senatorial candidate has ever received, Reason reports. Joe Miller garnered 29 percent of the vote in 2016 while running for the Senate in Alaska.

"The Emerson poll also found that New Mexico Republicans slightly favor Johnson above Rich, at 27 percent to 25 percent respectively. However, Johnson's advantage is within the poll's margin of error.

"The numbers are especially difficult for Rich as Johnson only announced his candidacy on Tuesday....

"'What a crazy, wacky world we live in,' Rich told the Santa Fe New Mexican last week, arguing that Johnson is 'more in sync with [Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders] than he is with Republicans.'

"Emerson College's poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points and was conducted ... Aug. 17-18 with a sample of 500 registered voters."

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tennessee Libertarians must run as independents

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate talks ballot access | Candidate2018 | - John Gullion, Morristown Citizen Tribune:

August 20, 2018 - "Vinnie Vineyard is a lot of things. Professional wrestler... Musician. Owner/operator of a small taxi cab business. What Vineyard is not, is a political independent but that’s the only description of him voters will get when they make their choice for Tennessee governor this November.

"Vineyard is a Libertarian, a philosophy that can basically be summed up by the idea that an action should be legal as long as it doesn’t harm others directly. 'We’re anti-crony capitalism. We don’t like corporations running the country,' he explained. 'We like smaller government. We think people should govern their own bodies ... healthcare needs to be opened up to the free market ... and pro-medical marijuana....'

"It’s a lot of information carried by a single word, but unless they’ve heard of him through his grassroots campaign, voters across the state will have no idea about Vineyard’s party affiliation.... And that’s the issue Vineyard and other Libertarian 'independents' across the state are trying to raise: Ballot access.

"In Tennessee, it is significantly easier to get on the statewide ballot as a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent than as a Libertarian or a member of the Green Party. Republicans, Democrats or independents only need 25 signatures on their petition to qualify for the ballot. To be listed as a Libertarian or Green Party member, the party itself would have to qualify as a 'minor' political party and the number of signatures required for that is nearly 40,000....

"'They want to limit Tennesseans choices, want to limit competition,' Vineyard said. 'Withholding that right to be identified hurts the voter, takes away their freedom and limits their choices'....

"And the labels are important, he said. When a voter goes to the ballot box, even if they know little about the individual they’re casting their ballot for, they know generically what a Republican believes, what a Democrat believes. Independent, however, carries no such brand recognition....

"While Vineyard knows improving ballot access won’t lead to a Libertarian wave this November, he did note that four Libertarian candidates won offices in the state in August and that he received more votes in the Republican Primary, in which he wasn’t running, than ... a longtime Republican who has run several long-shot campaigns for state and national office.

“'It’s planting seeds. There’s a new way to think, there’s not just two ways to think …,' he said. 'You don’t have to be assigned to one of two camps. I don’t like either one of them. They’re both terrible. They’re both full of hypocrisy and lies.'"

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Civil forfeiture unconstitutional, federal judge rules

Judge Rules Albuquerque Civil Forfeiture Law Unconstitutional, Upholds Innocent Until Proven Guilty - Forbes - Nick Sibilla, Institute for Justice:

August 1, 2018 - "In a landmark decision, a federal court ruled that Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture program 'violates procedural due process' because it forced hundreds of property owners to prove their own innocence.... Judge James Browning also found that the city’s 'forfeiture officials have an unconstitutional institutional incentive to prosecute forfeiture cases'.…

"Back in 2014, the Institute for Justice and The New York Times exposed a vehicle forfeiture conference where New Mexico law enforcement officials made a series of startling statements, including calling civil forfeiture a 'gold mine' that offered 'little goodies.' Spurred in part by those Kinsley gaffes, lawmakers unanimously approved legislation to abolish civil forfeiture throughout the state. When the law took effect in July 2015, New Mexico became the second state (following North Carolina) to only allow criminal forfeiture, which requires a criminal conviction to forfeit property. Yet Albuquerque refused to comply with the new state law, and continued to seize cars under its municipal forfeiture ordinance....

"Arlene [Harjo] had to fight to save her car from civil forfeiture, almost a year after New Mexico had abolished the practice.... Unlike criminal cases, where defendants are presumed innocent and the government must bear the burden of proof, under Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture ordinance, Arlene had to prove her innocence....

"Arlene joined with the Institute for Justice and sued the city in August 2016 to win back her car. Just a few months after she filed her lawsuit, Albuquerque returned her car [but] her challenge continued, culminating in her legal victory on Saturday....

"Judge Browning declared that the city’s forfeiture program was unconstitutional for two main reasons. First ... Albuquerque’s forfeiture program 'violates due process by depriving car owners of their property unless they prove their innocence,' which creates an 'unconstitutional risk of an erroneous deprivation.' He cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Nelson v. Colorado, which invalidated a Colorado law that required criminal defendants whose convictions had been overturned to prove their innocence in order to recover court costs and fees.....

"Second ... the city has 'an unconstitutional institutional incentive to prosecute forfeiture cases because, in practice, the forfeiture program sets its own budget and can spend, without meaningful oversight, all of the excess funds it raises from previous years'....

"As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled almost 40 years ago in Marshall v. Jerrico, 'A scheme injecting a personal interest, financial or otherwise, into the enforcement process may ... in some contexts, raise serious constitutional questions'....  Directly quoting from the Marshall decision, Browning concluded that there is a ‘realistic possibility’ that forfeiture officials’ judgment ‘will be distorted by the prospect of institutional gain'."

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Polity is libertarian space opera done right

The Polity Is Libertarian Space Opera Done Right | WIRED:

July 28, 2018 - "The Polity series by English science fiction author Neal Asher is a limitless thrill-ride of grotesque aliens, badass hardware, rogue AIs, and deadly secret agents. It’s got everything a science fiction fan could want from an action-adventure story, and that’s definitely by design. 'I wanted a universe — a future history, if you like — big enough to tell just about any science fiction story I’d want to tell,' Asher says.... 'And that’s how The Polity came about.'

"The series is set hundreds of years in the future, when humanity has expanded throughout most of the galaxy, and a benevolent civilization called the Polity has brought peace and stability to thousands of worlds. The stories are mostly set on the periphery of this civilization, where Polity agents struggle to exert control. ''Stories are conflict, and inside the Polity there isn’t so much of that,' Asher says. 'Within the Polity it’s pretty much utopian.'

"In contrast to progressive visions of the future seen in Star Trek or the Culture series, the Polity is a libertarian utopia where all paternalistic laws have been abolished and the free market reigns supreme. But Asher says he’s not interested in sending any sort of message in his fiction. 'I just wrote it as I saw it,' he says. 'I’ve never thought that much about it. My aim is to tell a story and to entertain.'

"He’s more outspoken on Twitter, where he regularly posts about politics. He says that social media has made him acutely aware of just how unwelcome his views are in the overwhelmingly liberal world of science fiction, to the extent that he simply avoids science fiction conventions altogether.

“'I look around at the writers that I know of, that I see on Twitter, and the political opinions and all this kind of thing, and I’m just not one of the herd in that respect, so I keep out of it,' he says. 'I can’t see myself sitting on a panel on anything like that and keeping my mouth shut, so it’s probably best if I don’t go.'"

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Free speech and social media

Free Speech in the Age of Digital Platforms - Foundation for Economic Education - John Samples, Cato Institute:

August 17, 2018 - "Last week Facebook, Google, and Apple removed videos and podcasts by [a] prominent conspiracy theorist.... Many people are debating these actions, and rightly so....

"The tech companies have the right to govern speech on their platforms; Facebook has practiced such 'content moderation' for at least a decade.... The managers of the platform are agents of the shareholders; they have the power to act on their behalf in this and other matters. (On the other hand, if their decision to ban ... was driven by political animus, they would be shirking their duties and imposing agency costs on shareholders). As private actors, the managers are not constrained by the First Amendment. They could and should remove [someone if] they reasonably believed he drives users off the platform and thereby harms shareholders....

"I see two limits on business logic as a way of governing social media: free speech and fear.

"Elites in the United States value free speech in an abstract sense, apart from legal limits on government. Platform managers are free of the First Amendment, but not of those cultural expectations.

"Fear informs online struggles over speech. The right believes that platform managers are overwhelmingly left-leaning and ... trying to drive everyone on the right off their platforms and into the political wilderness.... The left fears people like [the banned guy] having access to a mainstream audience leading to electoral victories by authoritarians....

"The platforms need legitimacy for their governance. In other words, they need for users (and others) to accept their right to govern (including the power to exclude). Legitimacy would confer authority on the decisions of the platform managers.... What [Max] Weber called rational-legal authority seems to be the only choice for the platforms. In other words, they need a process (or due process) that looks like the rule of law (and not the rule of tech employees).

"Facebook seems to be trying to establish rational-legal authority. It set out Community Standards that guide governing speech.... But do the Community Standards respect the culture of free speech?... Their basic law ... contravenes American free speech legal doctrine. Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, but not by Facebook.

"I conclude that either Facebook’s standard violates the culture of free speech or it reflects a difference between the culture of free speech (which does not include hate speech) and American First Amendment legal doctrine. If the latter, Facebook’s recognition of the difference will foster a greater gap between culture and law.... This asymmetry between inside the companies and outside is not good for the freedom of speech. It is also not good for the legitimacy of content moderation.

"As a legal matter, social media companies have broad discretion to police their platforms. That is how it should be. But they need to make their authority legitimate. If they do not, elected officials may one day act to compel fairness or assuage fears. As always, that will not be good news for the freedom of speech or limited government."

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Austin Petersen loses Missouri Senate primary

Bitcoin-Friendly U.S. Senate Candidate Austin Petersen Loses Republican Primary -

August 8, 2018 - "Pro-bitcoin U.S. Senate candidate Austin Petersen has lost his Republican primary bid to challenge incumbent Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in the upcoming mid-term election.

"Petersen, who accepted the largest single bitcoin donation in federal election history and was also forced to return several six-figure cryptocurrency contributions due to campaign finance regulations, was soundly defeated by Attorney General Josh Hawley, who received 58.6 percent of the 663,553 votes...

"Despite garnering endorsements from several state-level Missouri politicians, Petersen finished a distant third, receiving 8.2 percent of the vote and coming in just behind Tony Monetti, who had been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"Petersen’s candidacy was always a longshot, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) had already begun campaigning for Hawley long before last night’s primary. Hawley had also won endorsements from major local newspapers, including the Kansas City Star, who said that many of Peterson’s ideas are “best left to theoretical discussions in academia, or ignored altogether'....

"For cryptocurrency supporters, Petersen’s candidacy marked an opportunity to add another pro-bitcoin voice to Congress.... As CCN reported, some legislators — such as Congressional Blockchain Caucus members Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) — have embraced the burgeoning field, while others, perhaps most notably Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), have called for the government to pursue an outright ban on cryptocurrency.

"Previously, Petersen ran for president as a Libertarian Party candidate during the 2016 presidential election, finishing second ... to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who ultimately received 3.28 percent of the popular vote."

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

NH Libertarian state rep. resigns from legislature

Keene's lone Libertarian representative resigns from Legislature | Local News | - William Holt, Keene Sentinel:

August 15, 2018 - "State Rep. Joseph P. Stallcop, L-Keene, submitted his letter of resignation to the N.H. House Clerk’s Office Aug. 6, according to House Communications Director James E. Rivers.

"Stallcop, 22, represented Cheshire District 4, which covers Keene’s Ward 1.

"The Libertarian was elected to the House in 2016 as a Democrat during his junior year at Keene State College. He ran unopposed.

"In an interview Tuesday, Stallcop said he’d intended to stay for just one term, noting that those two years coincided with the remainder of his time at Keene State. After graduating in May, Stallcop said he moved to Dover because of better job opportunities in the Seacoast region.... He said he hadn’t been aware he needed to submit a letter of resignation until recently, believing that his term had come to a close with the end of the normal legislative session on May 23....

"In May 2017, Stallcop announced on the steps of the Statehouse in Concord that he had changed his political affiliation, saying he no longer felt welcome in the Democratic Party. The change did not affect his ability to serve out his term, which was set to end later this year.

"Stallcop did not file for re-election in June. Democrat David Morrill and Libertarian David Crawford are both running for the seat."

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gary Johnson declares for U.S. Senate

Former Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson running for U.S. Senate - CBS News:

August 14, 2018 - "Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson began his campaign Tuesday to unseat New Mexico's junior Democratic senator, seeking political opportunity in the space between Democrats and voters loyal to President Donald Trump.

"Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico, was added to the state's list of Senate candidates as final paperwork was being filed with election officials. His campaign manager said a formal announcement would come soon.

"Johnson remains popular in New Mexico.... [His] 2016 presidential bid as a Libertarian sputtered after a live-television gaff on foreign policy. Democrats saw the presidential run, with currents of social liberalism, as a bane to their party, even as Johnson criticized Trump for his treatment of women and border-wall proposal.

"Elected and re-elected governor of New Mexico as a Republican, Johnson stayed true to a small-government philosophy while vetoing more than 700 bills. His open advocacy for legalized marijuana broke mainstream 1990s political taboos and made him a national curiosity....

"Rod Adair, a Republican political strategist and former state senator, said Johnson's reputation for disciplined, business-savvy governance and as an independent thinker ... 'seems to be right in the wheelhouse of measurable disgust with both the left and the right. He may be the perfect third-party option right now.'

"Johnson, a 65-year-old fitness enthusiast who has summited Mount Everest and this summer completed a grueling 2,700 mile (4,350 kilometer) bicycle race along the Continental Divide, says Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty of deficit spending and military overreach that he says limits economic freedom.

"A campaign ad rolled out Monday by the Elect Liberty PAC touts Johnson's image as a self-made businessman who is disciplined and competitive....

"Registered Libertarians make up a tiny sliver of the New Mexico electorate — less than 1 percent of registered voters..... Democrats dominate voter registration rolls, but the state has swung back and forth between Republican and Democratic governors for decades."

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Gelineau wins historic MI Libertarian primary

Bill Gelineau leads in Michigan Libertarian governor primary | Bridge Magazine - Lindsay VanHuffe:

August 8, 2018 - "Bill Gelineau, a title insurance agent from Lowell and a former chairman of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, had a wide lead late Tuesday in the state party’s first ... gubernatorial primary.

"John Tatar, a former U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and a retired teacher from Redford, [was] Gelineau’s primary opponent.

"Minutes before midnight Tuesday, with 68 percent of precincts reporting, Gelineau had captured 58.4 percent of the Libertarian vote and Tatar had 41.6 percent. Combined, the two candidates had collectively collected fewer than 6,000 votes in a state dominated by the Democratic and Republican parties.

"Tuesday’s results are historic because Libertarians in Michigan have never before appeared on a state primary ballot. But the party’s presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, did well enough in Michigan in November 2016 that the Libertarian Party earned a spot on Tuesday’s primary.

"To qualify for the primary ballot, Johnson needed to earn slightly more than 154,000 votes; he received more than 172,000, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.

"Libertarians generally favor limited government. Tatar, for instance, has called for eliminating the state Senate, while Gelineau has advocated for cutting the Michigan Strategic Fund, through which the state awards economic development incentives."

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Twitter shuts down the Proud Boys' accounts

Twitter Shuts Down Accounts of Libertarian Gavin McInnes, Proud Boys - Petr Svab, Epoch Times:

August 12, 2018 - "Twitter suspended the account of libertarian commentator Gavin McInnes, as well as the accounts of his fraternal organization, the Proud Boys.

“'We can confirm that these accounts have been suspended from Twitter and Periscope for violating our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups,' a Twitter spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email on Aug. 11.

"When prompted, the spokesperson declined to specify what McInnes or the Proud Boys did to merit the banning. Proud Boys’ typical online content consists of mocking communism, socialism, and the Democratic Party. The Epoch Times reviewed posts on the Proud Boys’ Facebook page, as well as several incidents cited in media, but couldn’t find anything that could be identified as 'violent extremism.'

"McInnes endorsed the Proud Boys [fighting] back when physically attacked, such as by members of the far-left extremist group Antifa. While scuffles and fistfights involving the two groups have been captured on video, it’s often difficult to discern who initiated the violence.

"The Proud Boys group’s core tenets focus on minimal government, individual rights, closed borders, entrepreneurship, and the traditional family. They relish in defying political correctness and in touting the Western culture as the best in the world.

"McInnes said the Twitter ban is part of a coordinated effort to damage right-of-center prospects for the midterm elections.

“'All this stuff is part of the conservative purge, getting the right off social media, to try to stop Trump from getting re-elected. He’s already won; the ship has sailed,' he said, according to BuzzFeed. 'I think it will have zero effect on my reach or on the Proud Boys. We’ll always come back.'”

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Anthem Festival premieres libertarian films

A FreedomFest Report | Liberty Unbound - JoAnn Skousen:

July 23, 2018 - "FreedomFest, LasVegas, July 2018.... We wanted this year’s event to involve our attendees more directly — not just sitting in chairs listening to speakers, but participating actively in the discussion. So we lengthened our Q&A times, reduced the number of breakout sessions, created a scavenger hunt ... added 'conversation circles' in the evenings [and] expanded our “FreedomFest after Dark” activities with Karaoke ... and clubbing at a local night spot....

"Others found their way to the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival — and some never left.... We had the best films and the best attendance in our eight-year history, with four world premiere films, five SRO screenings, 11 hard-hitting panels, and films that inspired us even as they told stories that outraged us. Libertarian films can be depressing when they’re set in dystopian futures or focus entirely on the hopelessness of big government; what I loved about this year’s lineup is that they offered hope for a brighter future through greater freedom, greater courage, greater understanding, and greater technology. And the production values of our films this year were top notch.....

"One of my favorites was the Best Comedy winner The Inconsiderate Houseguest (Rob and Letitia Capili), which offers a subtle (Rob claims 'unintended') and unexpected theme about immigration beneath its quirky story about an uptight, rule-oriented roommate. 'Subtle' is the key here; messages don’t need to shout if they are presented well. Storytelling can be more powerful than a lecture because of the emotional connection it creates with the audience....

"The $2,500 Anthem Grand Prize went to Skid Row Marathon (Mark Hayes, director), an inspiring documentary about L.A. Judge Craig Mitchell who, troubled by the outrageous mandatory sentencing he was forced to impose, started a running club to help former felons regain their self-confidence and restart their lives.... Club member Rafael Cabrera was on hand for the Q&A following the screening. The film also won the $500 AnthemVault Prize for Best Original Score, featuring music composed by club member Ben Shirley. I defy you to watch this film with a dry eye.

"Saber Rock (Matt and Thomas Locastro, directors), about a young Afghan interpreter for the American military who was targeted for assassination by the Taliban when he began teaching children about the principles of freedom, won the Anthem award for Best Short Documentary. The real Saber Rock attended the festival and gave an impassioned opening night speech to the FreedomFest crowd.... He was awarded Anthem’s Special Jury Prize for heroism and received a standing ovation from the audience.

"Festival judge Gary Alexander argued at the judges’ meeting that America Under Siege: Antifa was one of the most important films at the festival because it reveals the truth behind the rising violence against free speech. Meanwhile, the gentle tone of Off the Grid with Thomas Massie won the hearts of festival attendees, who awarded it the Audience Choice trophy. Director Matt Battaglia follows the brilliant MIT graduate and inventor around the Kentucky farm that he built and maintains with his own hands as he talks about the priorities in his life and why he went to Congress.... A second Audience Choice trophy was awarded to Jimmy Morrison for his film The Housing Bubble, which features interviews with FreedomFest regulars Doug Casey, Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, Gene Epstein, Tom Palmer, and others....

"The Anthem Libertarian Film Festival is one of the fastest-growing features of FreedomFest, and also the best kept secret. Film aficionados can purchase a FilmLovers Pass for all four days [that] includes all the films, plus film panels featuring top FreedomFest speakers and entrance to the exhibit hall. You can’t attend the FreedomFest general sessions or breakout sessions with it, but come on — with films and panels like these, who needs FreedomFest?"

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Elected Libertarians making a difference

How Elected Libertarians Are Making the World More Free - - Matt Welch:

July 14, 2018 - "What exactly do Libertarians do? Wait — don't answer that. As someone who edited a small-l libertarian magazine for eight years, I know all your jokes.... But at least 169 of these exotic creatures also hold elected office across the [U.S.].... And what these critics of government power are doing once they acquire it may provide a flicker of whimsical hope in these dark and fractious times.

"Brandon Phinney, a 30-year-old Army vet who found libertarianism through Ron Paul, was elected to the 400-member New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2016 as a Republican. He then switched parties after discovering to his horror that elected GOP officials did not mean what they said about cutting the state budget.... Phinney ... pores through the ever-expanding state code, looking for laws that are anachronistic, impossible to enforce, and/or just plain wrong. [Then] he tries to remove them.

"For instance, the Live Free or Die State had on its books for more than a century a prohibition against reusing glass milk-delivery bottles for any other substance besides milk.... New Hampshire is one of the few states in the union where performers are barred from drinking alcohol on stage. Or I should say were, until Phinney tackled the problem....

"Phinney faces his first reelection with an "L" next to his name this November, which will be an important early indication of whether the L.P. is able to protect, and thus lure more of, its recent converts from the two older parties.

"Another key party switcher facing electoral challenge this year is Nebraska state Sen. Laura Ebke. Ebke, who transferred from the GOP to the L.P. two years ago over issues of civil liberties, achieved something this spring that libertarians have been talking about forever: occupational licensing reform. Like Phinney's bills, Ebke's passed with overwhelming bipartisan — nay, tripartisan — support....

"Having Libertarians play the honest, respected brokers between Dems and Repubs may seem far-fetched... But that's just what Mayor Jeff Hewitt has done in Calimesa [California].

"The swing vote on a split city council, Hewitt, a garrulous former swimming pool digger, convinced his small town to tackle one of California's biggest problems: The unsustainability of public sector pensions. Instead of contracting fire services from unwieldy Riverside County, with its top-down engine-staffing rules and defined-benefit pensions, Calimesa under Hewitt's tutelage opted out and created its own tiny fire department, saving taxpayers a bundle. Now Hewitt is running for a spot on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors....

"The Libertarian Party needs, and is finally getting, some demonstration projects about how to govern better. Getting more Jeff Hewitts in more important positions could transform the little party that couldn't into not just the country's leading third party (which it is already), but also a bloc that can at long last change the behavior of the top two."

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Raw milk sales legalized in Catalonia

Spain's Catalonia in raw milk controversy, Consumer - THE BUSINESS TIMES - AFP:

July 25, 2018 - "Catalonia is in the eye of the storm again, but not for its independence drive. This time, the controversy is all about ... raw milk.

"The Spanish region's decision last Thursday to allow the sale of unpasteurised cow's milk directly from producers to consumers after it was banned 28 years ago has caused alarm due to the potential health risks involved. Spanish media has published article after article outlining the bacteria-induced danger, health experts have come out against it and the issue has gone viral on Twitter, echoing similar vivid debates in countries such as the United States.

"Catalonia's food and agriculture regional minister Teresa Jorda argues raw milk has 'spectacular' health properties and is safe due to the 'technological improvements in farming equipment' and strict hygiene standards.... But critics are sceptical....

"On Tuesday, Spain's health ministry revealed that a decree allowing the sale of raw milk nationwide had been in the works under the previous conservative government. But the new Socialist executive has decided to suspend this until a 'full analysis' of the issue is done, it said in a statement.

"This suspension does not affect the decision in Catalonia, which has autonomy in food safety matters....

"Jorda also argues the measure will help small farmers increase their earnings as they will be selling milk directly to customers.

"Spain's UPA small farmers' union has asked for the measure to be implemented nationwide. It says Spain's livestock are in good condition which means drinking raw milk is safe, 'always bearing in mind the milk must be boiled and preserved correctly - a maximum of 72 hours from milking'....

"Further afield, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, where many states allow raw milk, warns strongly against it.... According to its most recent statistics from 2007 to 2016, '32 states reported 144 outbreaks linked to raw milk'.

"In Europe, raw milk is [also] legally available in France and Italy."

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Glenn 'Kane' Jacobs elected Knox co. mayor

Glenn Jacobs, Professional Wrestler and Libertarian, Wins His Race for Mayor - Hit & Run : - Zuri Davis:

August 3, 2018 - "The next mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, will be a Big Red Monster. Glenn Jacobs, better known to pro wrestling fans as Kane, secured a victory last night against Democratic challenger Linda Haney.

"Prior to announcing his mayoral candidacy in April 2017, Jacobs spent a long and seasoned career as a WWE star. He has also had a long and seasoned career as a libertarian writer and activist. In a 2009 open letter to Chuck Norris, he encouraged [Norris] to back measures to 'End the Fed,' mirroring Ron Paul's denunciations of the Federal Reserve....

"Jacobs' byline has appeared on several libertarian and quasi-libertarian websites, including the Future of Freedom Foundation,, and Rare. He spoke at the Young Americans for Liberty's annual conference in both 2016 and 2017, and he has made several television appearances with the likes of Kennedy and Andrew Napolitano. He also co-founded a pro-market organization called the Tennessee Liberty Alliance.

"Though he ran as a Republican, Jacobs' campaign included many libertarian-friendly messages. During a May debate, for example, he argued that the Knox County government could not simply 'incarcerate [its] way out of' the opioid crisis. After he entered the mayoral race last year, he told Rare that running for such offices is important to the liberty movement because change is most effective on the local level:"

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

3 more Libertarians elected in Tennessee

Four more Libertarian officeholders | Libertarian Party:

August 6, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party has four new officeholders, three Libertarians who won elective office in Tennessee — two new county commissioners and a mayor. In Tennessee, arduous ballot access laws make it nearly impossible to get on the ballot as a Libertarian. So, these three enterprising Libertarians ran as independents and were successful at the ballot box. A fourth Libertarian has been appointed to a library board of trustees in Texas.

"In Montgomery County, Tenn., Joshua Beal was elected as county commissioner in District 14 on Aug. 2. Beal campaigned on bucking the status quo, taking on the good-ol’-boys’ network, and never voting for a property tax increase. Beal won with 54.6 percent of the vote....

"In Smith County, Tenn., Erika Ebel was elected as county commissioner in District 4. The top three out of the six candidates for the position were elected, so Ebel’s 23 percent of the vote propelled her into office.... She and her husband Cole, who serves as chair of the Tennessee Libertarian Party, own a restaurant in the district....

"In Trousdale County, Tenn., Stephen Chambers was elected as the county’s new mayor, with 55 percent of the vote, upsetting incumbent Mayor Carroll Carman.... Chambers campaigned on more efficient provision of essential county services and questioned the need for new nonessential services....

"In Dripping Springs, Texas, Yvonne Adams Schick was appointed to fill an open position on the board of trustees for the Dripping Springs Community Library. This is ordinarily an elected position, so Schick will run to retain her seat in the future.

"The Libertarian Party is running hundreds of candidates for local, state, and federal [offices] this year. The winning is just beginning."

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Use opioids, not cannabis, Ontario government tells injured workers

Injured workers in Ontario advised to seek opioids instead of cannabis | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly - A.J. Herrington, High Times:

July 14, 2018 - "Injured workers in Ontario, Canada who wish to treat their conditions with cannabis are being forced to use opiates instead. According to the CBC, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is refusing to cover cannabis for patients licensed to use medical marijuana.

"Some private insurers in Canada began offering coverage for medicinal marijuana in health plans last year. And earlier this year, Sun Life Financial became the first major Canadian insurance company to pay for medical cannabis.

"David Newberry, an attorney with the Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic in Toronto, said that the WSIB often denies workers’ claims for cannabis coverage. Instead, the insurer pays for far more dangerous drugs. '“You often end up with these absurd scenarios where the WSIB is happy to pay for opiates and antidepressants that are not effective, that the worker does not want to take,' Newberry said.

"Maurice Sagle, 60, is a former carpenter who was injured in a workplace accident that left him with a compressed spine, several crushed discs, and a ruptured leg muscle. The opiates that doctors prescribed caused side effects including depression that left him homebound ... he felt that he was becoming addicted....

"Sagle decided that a strain of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC might help his condition. He consulted with his doctor and obtained his license for medical marijuana. Cannabis relieved his chronic pain without making him high.... But when Sagle filed a claim to cover his medicine, the WSIB refused.

"'They said they don’t recognize this and they sent me a paper saying no, they wouldn’t cover it,' he said. The insurer would, however, continue to pay for thousands of dollars worth of opioids.... Sagle is currently appealing the WSIB decision, an expensive process that can take as long as two years.

"Christine Arnott of the Ontario WSIB said the insurer is concerned with opioid addiction and is working to address the situation. 'We are focused on limiting exposure to the harms associated with opioid use and lowering risk of addiction. So far we have reduced the number of WSIB drug claims for opioids by 47 percent. We treat requests for coverage of medical marijuana on a case-by-case basis,' Arnott said.... And, she noted, the WSIB is 'always looking at the evolving scientific evidence around the effectiveness of pain management and updat[ing] our approach accordingly.'"

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Ron Paul endorses NJ Libertarian for US Senate

Ron Paul Endorses Murray Sabrin for US Senate - New Jersey Today:

July 16, 2018 -"Congressman Ron Paul, a three-time presidential candidate, has endorsed Murray Sabrin’s U.S. Senate candidacy....

"'Murray’s dedication to, and knowledge of, the principles of liberty will make him an effective advocate for freeing the people of New Jersey — and the nation – from excessive taxes, debt, and inflation, as well as ending the ongoing violations of our right to free speech, property, and privacy. Murray will also be an outspoken Senator for peaceful relations with other nations, and work to ensure that our immigration policies adhere to common sense solutions like his proposal to have immigrants obtain sponsors so they can assimilate and become financially independent,' said the former congressman, whose son is US Senator Rand Paul.

"Sabrin was Ron Paul’s 2008 New Jersey spokesman during the 2008 Republican presidential primary campaign.

"'I am honored to receive Dr. Paul’s endorsement,' said Sabrin. 'For more than four decades Dr. Paul was America’s leading advocate of limited government at home and a non-interventionist foreign policy. “He also was a critic of the Federal Reserve’s destabilizing policies, which have been responsible for the economy’s booms and busts'....

"Sabrin, a professor in the Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo College, was nominated by the Libertarian Party of New Jersey to compete with Democratic incumbent Robert Menendez, Republican pharmacy CEO Bob Hugin and Green Party candidate Madelyn Hoffman. Menendez is the first sitting US Senator to face bribery charges in nearly 40 years....

"As a son of Holocaust survivors, Sabrin says he is a passionate defender of the right to self-defense, civil liberties and peaceful relations with other nations. Sabrin arrived in America in August 1949 with his older brother and his parents and he became a U.S. citizen in June 1959.

"Paul previously endorsed Sabrin in 2014, when he was a contender against then-Mayor Cory Booker and arch-conservative Jeff Bell."

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sprott Money talks to LP of Canada's Tim Moen

Canada’s crazy Libertarians want to legalize lemonade stands, baby-walkers and Bitcoin - Peter Diekmeyer (21/06/2018) | Sprott Money:

June 21, 2018 - "Maxime Bernier’s near win of the Conservative Party leadership suggests that Canadians increasingly are tempted by smaller government. But maybe Bernier is in the wrong party. So says Tim Moen, the dynamic leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada....

"'Libertarians have long been a small niche in Canadian politics, which is dominated by special interests. But recent events have energized our base. Maxime Bernier's near-win of the Conservative Party leadership and his subsequent repudiation by the party’s establishment provided Canadians with a key message: those who want liberty, free markets and smaller government will be more at home in the Libertarian Party'....

"You recently provided Bernier a chance to run for the Libertarian Party’s leadership by offering to step aside. What makes you think he would do a better job than you?
"'Maxime has a national profile, well-established credentials and excellent knowledge of the threats posed by the Bank of Canada’s disastrous monetary policies. Libertarians are a party of ideas not of personalities. We work with anyone who is willing to build a better country. If that means stepping aside to take on new talent, I’d do so in a second'....

"What are the key issues on the minds of Canadians?
"'The people I talk to are all increasingly worried about their quality of life, their futures and those of their kids. Canadians trust government to resolve those issues. But governments have let them down. You can see this in three key issues: pipelines, free trade and taxes.

"'On the Trans Mountain pipeline governments at various levels created a slew of burdensome regulations that impeded the development of a promising energy resource. Then to 'solve' the problem that it created, the Trudeau administration wants to invest billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

"'As for the trade "wars" – there is an argument that they are ... just an excuse for governments to raise taxes (which they call "protective tariffs") and to pick winners and losers in the economy. For example, the Trump Administration gets to protect US steel producers and the Trudeau Administration protects dairy farmers. In short, deals are made in the backrooms and consumers lose'....

"It sounds like you aren’t a big believer in government?
"'People have a fundamental misunderstanding that government is there to help. That is only partly true. Government, like corporations, will help …but they help themselves first. That’s why we need rigid checks and balances. Sadly, these have been eroding.

"'As a result, governments in Canada and around the world have been growing both in real terms and as a percentage of GDP. Governments get away with this through their control of the public education system which, over 12 years, tells kids that governments can solve any problem.

"'However governments increasingly ARE the problem. We have all heard stories about 'dangerous baby-walkers,' bans on high diving boards and kids’ lemonade stands being shut down. These actions stifle innovation, creativity and productivity. We’d change course on all these issues.'"

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Carbon extraction becoming commercially viable

Sucking carbon dioxide from air is cheaper than scientists thought - Jeff Tollefson, Nature:

June 7, 2018 - "Siphoning carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere could be more than an expensive last-ditch strategy for averting climate catastrophe. A detailed economic analysis published on 7 June suggests that the geoengineering technology is inching closer to commercial viability.

"The study, in Joule, was written by researchers at Carbon Engineering in Calgary, Canada, which has been operating a pilot CO2-extraction plant in British Columbia since 2015. That plant — based on a concept called direct air capture — provided the basis for the economic analysis, which includes cost estimates from commercial vendors of all of the major components. Depending on a variety of design options and economic assumptions, the cost of pulling a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere ranges between US$94 and $232. The last comprehensive analysis of the technology, conducted by the American Physical Society in 2011, estimated that it would cost $600 per tonne.....

"'We’re really trying to commercialize direct air capture in a serious way, and to do that, you have to have everybody in the supply chain on board,' says David Keith, acting chief scientist at Carbon Engineering and a climate physicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"Founded in 2009, Carbon Engineering is one of a few companies pursuing direct air capture technologies. One competitor, Climeworks in Zurich, Switzerland, opened a commercial facility last year that can capture 900 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year for use in greenhouses. Climeworks has also opened a second facility in Iceland that can capture 50 tonnes of CO2 a year and bury it in underground basalt formations.

"Climeworks says that capturing a tonne of CO2 at its Swiss plant costs about $600. Company officials expect the figure to dip below $100 per tonne in 5-10 years as operations ramp up. In the meantime, Carbon Engineering’s paper provides the most detailed look yet at the cost of such technology....

"In the end, the economics of CO2 extraction will depend on factors that vary by location, including the price of energy and whether or not a company can access government subsidies. But the cost per tonne is still likely to remain above the market price of carbon for the foreseeable future.... But CO2-extraction technology could gain a foothold in markets where the CO2 can be sold at a premium, or converted into a useful product like fuel....

"Carbon Engineering hopes to build a small facility that can produce 200 barrels of fuel per day by 2021, and then a commercial plant that can produce 2,000 barrels per day. 'This is completely doable industrial technology,' [Keith] says. 'We just need to begin, set up markets and see what happens.'”

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Friday, August 3, 2018

3D-printed gun software posted on internet

Cody Wilson Takes Gun Plans Offline After Judge Issues Restraining Order - Hit & Run : - Declan McCullagh:

August 1, 2018 - ""A few hours after U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik, a Clinton appointee, muzzled Defense Distributed with a court order Tuesday evening, the mirror site appeared. It's a project of the Calguns Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and other civil rights groups, and includes freely downloadable computer-aided design (CAD) files for the AR-15, AR-10, Ruger 10-22, Beretta 92FS, and other firearms.

"Soon after the court order, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson announced that his site,, was 'going dark'.... But the court order does not apply to the advocacy groups behind CodeIsFreeSpeech. They were not named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by the Washington state attorney general. Therefore, they don't need to comply with the ruling....

''We, and many others around the country, completely support Cody and Defense Distributed,' Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, tells Reason. 'Some governments and elected officials might want to censor this speech because they prefer a police state. We don't'....

"Absent from Lasnik's 7-page ruling is any consideration of the First Amendment implications of censoring information about building firearms. This has been legal since before the United States was founded....

"'s files are not only being mirrored at CodeIsFreeSpeech — they or something like them are also available on innumerable other sites.....  Look for Defense Distributed's attorneys to argue that this is yet another reason the temporary restraining order should be dissolved. A hearing is scheduled for August 10 in Seattle....

"[T]he Seattle lawsuit is one of a flurry of warning letters and legal challenges from anti-gun states aimed at forcing Defense Distributed not to publish its files. The company recently won the ability to publish after reaching a settlement with the Justice Department in its lawsuit claiming that restrictions on sharing firearm code violate the First Amendment — a clear echo of earlier litigation over encryption code nearly a generation ago."

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Koch's a joke, Trump tweets

Koch Brothers Break With Trump: 5 Things You Need to Know - - W.E. Messamore:

August 1, 2018 -"In the face of mounting criticism from the notorious libertarian billionaire industrialists, Charles and David Koch, Donald Trump flamed the Koch Brothers on Twitter Tuesday, tweeting:
The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas. They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more. I made…..
….them richer. Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn. They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed, I’m for America First & the American Worker – a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America Great Again!
Here are 5 things you need to know about the Koch Brothers and their dispute with Donald Trump:

1. The Koch Brothers are not conservatives. They’re libertarians.
"[T]he Kochs (pronounced “Coke,” not “Kautch” or “Coach”) are not conservative. They are libertarian. Really they would prefer to describe themselves as classical liberals, which means they believe in the philosophy of limited government ... and they oppose ... efforts to expand the size, role, and influence of the government into the private lives of individuals, and into the complex interactions of the marketplace. So ... the Kochs opposed the war in Iraq (which even many Democrats supported), supported gay marriage before even many Democrats (like Hillary Clinton) did, and support open borders and the free flow of people as well as goods and ideas across borders.

2. The Koch Brothers are hardly a joke in Republican circles.
"As the conservative National Review points out ... 'In 2016, seven of eight Koch-backed Senate Republicans and 96 percent of all Koch-backed candidates nationwide won on Election Day'....

3. Steve Bannon has warned GOP candidates to refuse Koch money
"Trump’s former advisor, Steve Bannon, piled on as well, warning Republican candidates in an interview with CNBC: 'You take Koch money, it’s going to be toxic. We are going to let people know that if you take Koch money there’s a punishment'....

4. But Koch money is already refusing GOP candidates
'As Bloomberg reports: 'The network’s decision Monday not to support Representative Kevin Cramer against Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota was cast as a warning to other Republicans who might be tempted to stray from the free-market, fiscally restrained approach backed by the Kochs and their followers.... The decision not to back Cramer ... was announced at a briefing for more than 500 donors gathered at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado.'

5. This ... is one more example of how the political party duopoly no longer makes any sense
"As libertarian ... Reason Magazine (which is partially funded by grants from the Koch Foundation) points out: 'Political tribalism ... demands blind loyalty. Shut up and get with the program, as Steve Bannon puts it. But the tribe that Donald Trump and the Republican Party represent is growing smaller every day. The same holds true for Democrats as well.'"

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Koch machine breaks with Trump GOP over trade

Koch group condemns ‘divisiveness’ and ‘lack of leadership’ in Washington - The Washington Post - Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

July 29, 2018 - "Top officials with the donor network affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch this weekend sought to distance the network from the Republican Party and President Trump, citing tariff and immigration policies and 'divisive' rhetoric out of Washington.

"At a gathering of hundreds of donors ... officials reiterated their plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle.... But ... network co-chair Brian Hooks lamented 'tremendous lack of leadership' in Trump’s Washington and the 'deterioration of the core institutions of society.' He called out the White House and Trump-allied GOP lawmakers, particularly over trade policy and increased federal spending, and added that 'the divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage'....

"Koch — now solely at the helm after the retirement of his ailing brother David this year — stopped short of blaming the president personally for the political divisions.... Asked about Democrats possibly retaking control of the House, he said: 'I don’t care what initials are in front [of], or after, somebody’s name'....

"In reality, the network is expected to be a powerful force for the political right during the midterm elections, particularly in states where Senate Democrats are most vulnerable. It is also heavily backing the confirmation of federal judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.... But some of Trump’s most ­controversial actions break sharply with the priorities of the libertarian-leaning network, which opposes Trump’s tariffs on foreign goods and his hard line on immigration, including the now-suspended zero-tolerance policy that saw hundreds of migrant families separated at the border....

"[N]etwork leaders pointed to their recent ad campaigns thanking Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) for co-sponsoring legislation that rolled back Dodd-Frank financial regulations, and attacking Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) — the Trump-backed candidate for Senate ... — for a vote to increase federal spending.... Emily Seidel, chief executive of the network’s political arm Americans for Prosperity, said ... 'The fact that we’re willing to do this during an election year shows everyone that we’re dead serious.... This network will no longer follow anyone’s lead or be taken for granted,' ... as donors applauded.

"The network is holding education sessions for its activists across the country to extol the value of free trade and pro-immigrant laws, and countering Trump’s approaches on both issues. They are undertaking ... 'a multiyear, multimillion-dollar commitment' to promote the benefits of free trade.....

"The network has met twice a year since 2003, when Koch ­convened a small group of like-minded business leaders to oppose increasing federal spending and steel tariffs under the George W. Bush administration. Fifteen years later, the network has grown to encompass more than 700 donors who each contribute at least $100,000 annually to Koch-linked groups. "

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