Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Montana Libertarian: "No, I am not dropping out"

Despite Donald Trump Jr. Retweet, Libertarian Senate Candidate Rick Breckenridge Did Not Drop Out - Hit & Run : - Brian Doherty:

October 31, 2018 - "Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a tweet this morning saying that Libertarian Party Senate candidate Rick Breckenridge of Montana had dropped out and endorsed Republican challenger Matt Rosendale to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester....

"But as Breckenridge clarified in a phone interview this morning, it is not true. The reporter on the original tweet misunderstood the meaning of Breckenridge declaring he had more trust in Rosendale on a particular issue bugging him this week: the use of political 'dark money' to send anonymous mailers; in this particular case, one slamming Rosendale for wanting 'to use drones and patrols to spy on our private lives,' while seeming to endorse Breckenridge as 'a true conservative' who 'opposes government intrusion into Montanans private lives.'

"'No, I am not dropping out' Breckenridge says, though he grants he used the word 'endorse' to reporters regarding Rosendale over Tester, but only on the issue of rooting out dark money, which this anonymous mailer has now made personal to him.... Breckenridge says he doesn't want voters thinking he actually supported something he sees as an unsavory direct public attack on his political opponents, neither of whom he views as an enemy, and both of whom he agrees with on certain issues....

"But he stresses this morning he is still running and wants people to vote for him. 'I did not say "do not vote for me, vote for Matt." I'm a Libertarian through and through, I'm not a Republican. I'm not going to be campaigning for [Rosendale], won't be on stage with' him. He characterizes his statement about Rosendale regarding dark money as 'an issue bigger than my candidacy, and I had to do something from a citizen standpoint.'

"He says he's known Rosendale and his family for over 10 years and appreciates his character, but 'I'm for liberty and the cause of liberty.' Breckenridge says he agrees with Tester on the Fourth Amendment and the Kavanaugh Supeme Court appointment (Tester was opposed to Kavanaugh's appointment and confirmation), and he disagrees with both men on the border wall (Tester and Rosendale are both for it). He also notes, regarding the anonymous pamphlet that tried to paint the Libertarian as a 'true conservative,' that he's 'very socially liberal.'"

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Libertarian Senate candidate drops out in MT

Libertarian candidate drops out of Montana's U.S. Senate race to back Rosendale | 406 Politics | - Helena Independent-Record - Matt Brown, Associated Press:

October 31, 2018 - "The Libertarian candidate in Montana's U.S. Senate race threw his support behind Republican Matt Rosendale on Wednesday in response to an election mailer from an unknown group that appeared aimed at undermining Rosendale's support among conservatives.

"Rosendale, Montana's state auditor and insurance commissioner, is in a tight race against two-term Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, with the balance of power in the closely divided Senate potentially at play.

"Libertarian Rick Breckenridge has virtually no chance of winning. But his participation has threatened to peel away votes that might otherwise go toward the Republican and boost Tester's chances next week.....

"Breckenridge said in an interview that he doesn't know the source of the mailer, which promoted him as a 'true conservative' and claimed that Rosendale supports using drones to spy on private citizens.

"He said it appeared to be an attempt by so-called dark money groups to influence Montana's election.... Federal election laws require campaign materials to disclose their funding source. He said he disagreed with Rosendale on some issues, particularly the Republican's support for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and shared Tester's concerns about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's stance on privacy issues. But dark money in elections is more important, Breckenridge said.

"The mailer is reminiscent of tactics used by Democratic-friendly groups in Tester's 2012 race to promote Libertarian candidate Dan Cox and siphon Republican voters from Rep. Denny Rehberg. Tester won the race by 4 percentage points, and Cox captured more than 6 percent of the vote....

"Rosendale said during a Thursday conference call with Breckenridge hosted by the Republican's campaign that he was honored to have the Libertarian's backing. Rosendale alleged that the flier was distributed by 'Jon Tester's allies' but offered no definitive proof."

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Montana Libertarian: "No, I am not dropping out"

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Boston Globe endorses Fishman for state auditor

Editorial board endorsement: Dan Fishman, a Libertarian, for auditor - The Boston Globe

October 29, 2018 - "The office of the state auditor could do so much more for Massachusetts, but not under the leadership of Suzanne Bump. The unfolding payroll scandal at the State Police — which somehow escaped the incumbent Democratic auditor’s notice — is a good example of the sort of waste and abuse that a real activist in the job might ferret out on behalf of taxpayers. An auditor without any partisan axes to grind could shake up the state.

"In that spirit, the Globe endorses Daniel Fishman of Beverly, the Libertarian candidate, in the Nov. 6 general election....

"The state auditor’s job is to root out fraud and misspending by periodically auditing state agencies. In a state with a Republican governor and an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature, Fishman, a software architect, makes a good case that an auditor from either party is inherently compromised. 'Why would you elect a Republican or a Democrat to audit Republicans and Democrats?' he asks.

"Events this year have helped make his case. Not only did Bump miss what appears to be rampant payroll abuse at the State Police, she gave the office a black eye in September with an embarrassingly partisan audit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. She accused the agency of issuing licenses to licensees after their date of death, a charge that fell apart when the RMV determined the drivers were still alive.

"It’s part of a pattern for an auditor who has politicized the office, failed to complete the required number of audits, and pursued audits of overly narrow scope. Bump should not serve a third term....

"Fishman ... has worked at start-ups companies and in IT at Massachusetts General Hospital. A former colleague described him as a “math geek,” adept at managing large amounts of data. Government waste in the 21st century hides in databases like payroll records, and although Fishman isn’t a CPA (neither is Bump), he has an intriguing background for a modern auditor.

"Fishman wants to step up payroll audits and post information on the Web for citizens and journalists to scrutinize. And he wants to meet the legal requirements of auditing each agency once every three years....

"There are two other candidates in the race ... but [we] don’t feel either candidate is quite as ready to run the office as Fishman.... Fishman would bring a sorely needed independent streak to the office. Give this Libertarian a shot."

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Cannabis initiatives on 4 state ballots

4 More States Could Legalize Medical or Recreational Marijuana Next Week - Hit & Run : - Jacob Sullum:

"Proposal 1 would allow adults 21 or older to possess 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana in public, transfer that amount to other adults "without remuneration," possess up to 10 ounces at home, and grow up to 12 plants for personal consumption. The initiative also would establish a licensing system for commercial production and distribution.... Support for Proposal 1 averaged 54 percent in six polls conducted from late February to early October....

North Dakota
"Measure 3 would go further than any initiative enacted so far by ... legalizing 'any nonviolent marijuana activity, except for the sale of marijuana to a person under the age of 21'.... The North Dakota initiative is also unique in requiring 'automatic expungement of the record of an individual who has a drug conviction for a controlled substance that has been legalized'.... North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana by a 28-point margin in 2016, but  ... [s]urveys conducted in February and August put support for legalizing recreational use at 46 percent and 38 percent, respectively....

"Proposition 2 would authorize the production and distribution of marijuana for medical use by patients with any of 10 qualifying conditions and recommendations from their doctors. As of 2021, state-approved patients would be allowed to grow up to six plants at home if they do not live within 100 miles of a licensed dispensary. Support ... averaged 68 percent in nine polls conducted from mid-February to mid-October. Even after the LDS church joined the coalition opposing the initiative, two polls put support at 64 percent....

"Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C would all authorize production and distribution of marijuana for medical use....The measures differ mainly in the way they define qualifying conditions, ... maximum amounts ... home cultivation, ... tax rates ... limits they would impose on the number of dispensaries, and the power they would give local governments to ban them. A poll conducted in August found that 54 percent of Missouri voters think the medical use of marijuana should be permitted."

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

U.S. third parties marginalized in midterms

How Third Parties Are Getting Screwed This Election Season - Matt Walsh & Alexis Garcia:

October 26, 2018 - "The 2018 midterms have been chock full of two-party shenanigans, all too often aided and abetted by journalists, pollsters, and the voters themselves.

"It all starts with ballot access. If a state government considers you a 'major party,' getting on the ballot is a snap. Worst-case scenario, you need to collect signatures from a tiny fraction of your own registered voter base. Best case, you just show up.

"Third-party and independent candidates, on the other hand, have to collect tens of thousands of signatures in some states – 15,000 to run for governor in New York, for example, including at least 100 in each congressional district. Arizona Republicans ... changed the law to say that Libertarians need to collect signatures not just from their own members but from registered independents as well. And by the way, the Green Party is subject to a less stringent set of rules.... Some states push their filing deadlines all the way back to a year before the election....

"New Hampshire this year herded all third parties under the same ballot line, confusingly titled 'Libertarians and Other Candidates.' New Mexico tried — and thankfully failed — to institute a 'straight party' ballot, meaning voters in this 3:2 Democratic state could automatically vote for all the candidates in one party by checking off just one box....

"Getting your name on the ballot doesn't mean it will be included in the polls. The Nevada race for U.S. Senate is universally rated a tossup, and yet the first three independent polls released this October failed to include Libertarian Tim Hagan...

"How about debates? Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dale Kerns was assured of a spot on stage, then uninvited. Texas gubernatorial candidate Mark Tippets was told he didn't have enough qualifying press, in part because his coverage in the Spanish-language media didn't count.... Iowa governor candidate Jake Porter, who's polling higher than any other L.P. statehouse contender, says his debate invitations were rescinded, in part because he refused to buy commercials.

"'The freer and more general the competition,' Adam Smith wrote in 1776, the more 'advantageous' it will be to the public. Competitors, he warned, will 'always' try 'to widen the market and to narrow the competition.' For too long we have allowed our system of government, that other glorious achievement from 1776, to be controlled by the market-rigging forces Smith warned us about. It's about time to make American politics competitive again."

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

CNN: Johnson campaign "could change America"

2018 election: 14 midterm races that could change America (opinion) - CNN:

October 2, 2018 - "The midterm elections, a little more than a month away, are a national drama -- with voters deciding whether Republican control of the House and Senate will give way to Democrats, who have been hankering for a chance to challenge the priorities and actions of President Donald Trump. But they are also an intensely local story as voters get ready to make their choices in 435 House and 35 Senate races and in 36 gubernatorial contests. We asked commentators to tell us which race they are watching most closely and why. The views expressed are solely their own....

"Robby Soave: New Mexico Senate race:

"Those who aren't on board with President Donald Trump's agenda but just can't bring themselves to support the Democrats have a sliver of hope in New Mexico, where former Gov. Gary Johnson, a libertarian, has entered a three-way race for a US Senate seat.

"As the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in the 2016 election, Johnson earned 3% of the vote, the best finish for a national third-party candidate in 20 years. Still, the outcome was something of a disappointment for Johnson, who had hoped to capitalize on historic levels of dissatisfaction with the two main party candidates, but instead became a punchline after a series of gaffes. (Remember, "what is Aleppo?") Afterward, he swore he was done with politics.

"But now Johnson is mounting an unlikely but far from impossible challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich. A former Republican governor of the typically blue state, Johnson is still popular in New Mexico: A recent poll showed Heinrich leading the race at 39%, with 21% for Johnson and 11% for Republican Mike Rich. Some 30% are still undecided.

"Johnson is an economic conservative known for vetoing hundreds of bills during his first term in office. But he's also a social liberal who supports abortion rights, immigration and drug legalization. And he's no fan of the President; in fact, he said Trump's election 'could be the end of the republic as we know it.' A good showing for Johnson would be a win for the Libertarian Party, while also proving that centrist liberals, independents and Never Trump Republicans can find a compromise candidate.

"Robby Soave writes for the libertarian magazine Reason. Follow him on Twitter"

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Libertarian Metz gets into GA governor debate

Predicting a runoff, Libertarian wants protest vote - Jill Nolin, CHNI - WALB 10 News:

October 25, 2018 - "Tired of two-party politics? The lesser-known third-party candidate in the closely watched Georgia gubernatorial race says he wants your 'protest' vote.

"'This is going to be a runoff anyway,' Ted Metz, who is running as a Libertarian, said during the first televised debate. 'If you’re tired of the two-party system and the two-party tyranny of the oligarchs running the planet, then a vote for me is a protest vote to show them that you are sick and tired of the same ol’ stuff.'

"Metz, a Mableton retiree who worked in the insurance industry, used candidate-to-candidate questions during Tuesday night’s Atlanta Press Club debate to highlight the flaws of both Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. The debate aired live on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

"Abrams and Kemp are running neck and neck with just a couple weeks left before the Nov. 6 election, according to recent polls.... Metz has lagged far behind ... mustering just 1 or 2 percent of support from likely voters in recent polls. And he’s raised just $6,000 in a race that has smashed state fundraising records.

"But if Metz cobbles together enough votes to deny Abrams and Kemp the votes needed for a majority, the race to name Georgia’s next governor could run into December....

"Metz used his time on screen to laud the usefulness of industrial hemp, call for smaller government and decry the two-party political system.

"He said lower voter turnout – which he attributed to disinterested independent voters – is a bigger issue than voter suppression, which has become a major election issue in the homestretch of the race.

"'They’re trying to pull us apart [to] vote for one of the two teams,' Metz said. 'There are more people that are more interested in hearing a third voice than voting for team red or team blue.'"

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Teen toking not affected by shops near schools, California study finds

Pot Shops Near Schools Do Not Lead to Increased Teen Use, New Study Says - NEWS - Merry Jane:

August 21, 2018 - "Across America’s legal weed bastions, strict zoning regulations have often pigeonholed pot shops in sparsely-populated industrial regions and designated zones. If you listen to regulators tell it, local zoning rules are necessary to keep the adults-only plant away from schools, daycares, public parks, and other child-friendly spaces. In Detroit and Denver, youth-focused zoning regulations have lead to the demise of multiple cannabis businesses.

"In practice, though, teenagers who walk by dispensaries on their way to chemistry class are no more likely to light up a joint than their counterparts in a city or state that has banned retail pot sales.

"Looking at responses to California’s annual Student Tobacco Survey from more than 40,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, UCSD researchers keyed in on specific schools, comparing student cannabis use habits to the location of nearby medical marijuana dispensaries. After examining the tendencies of students living within three miles of a dispensary to those outside of those zones, the study’s authors concluded that there was no connection between pot shop placement and teen use.

"'The distance from school to the nearest medical marijuana dispensary was not associated with adolescents’ use of marijuana in the past month or susceptibility to use marijuana in the future, nor was the weighted count of medical marijuana dispensaries within the 3-mile band of school,' the study’s authors wrote. 'Neither the product price nor the product variety in the dispensary nearest to school was associated with marijuana use or susceptibility to use. The results were robust to different specifications of medical marijuana measures.'

"The UCSD research is the latest in a string of studies that has rebuked prohibitionist claims that legalization will lead to more red-eyed students than ever before. Time and again, university researchers have crunched the numbers and found stagnant or decreasing rates of adolescent pot use in the years after states legalized.

"'We did not find empirical support of the associations of medical marijuana availability, price, and product variety around schools with adolescents' marijuana use and susceptibility to use,' the UCSD study concluded. 'Efforts should be taken to monitor changes in contextual environments of marijuana use in the new scheme of recreational marijuana legalization and examine the causal effects of these contextual factors to better inform policy making.'"

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Larry Sharpe excluded from NY governor debate

Larry Sharpe Excluded from NY Gubernatorial Debate · 71 Republic - Ryan Lau:

October 22, 2018 - "The New York race for governor has been a vicious battle thus far. Democrat incumbent Andrew Cuomo ... faces off against a number of opponents: Republican Marc Molinaro, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, Independent Stephanie Miner, and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins. However, only Molinaro will get to debate live with Cuomo.

"The Monday night move comes after a number of polls showed that the third-party candidates have very low name recognition. Specifically, a whopping 84 percent of voters had not heard of Larry Sharpe. Figures were similar for Miner and Hawkins, at 77 and 86 percent, respectively. Of the voters who had heard of Sharpe, one-third of them had a positive opinion....

"Most of the polls excluded the third-party candidates entirely.... Sharpe’s performance in a Gravis Marketing poll was the highest of the three candidates: even so, he received only 13% in this poll.

"Third parties, such as the Libertarian Party, have faced exclusion from debates in the past. Most notably, the 2016 Presidential debates did not feature Gary Johnson, who then launched a major lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates.... Johnson now is running for New Mexico Senate.

"Sharpe took to Twitter Monday, condemning the media’s decision to exclude the third-party candidates. He strongly believes that with fair coverage, he could win the race.
(1) My poll numbers prove that I could easily walk away with 30% of the vote and win if my name recognition were equal to that of Cuomo. That tells you that people want change, but they are kept in the dark by the media that is paying to play with Cuomo.
"Monday night’s debate, which will be live on Tuesday night at 7 P.M. EST, is the only scheduled discourse between the two candidates before the election. Thus, Sharpe and the other third-party candidates have lost a key opportunity to increase their low name recognition."

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Maine adopts ranked-choice voting for midterms

Maine Voters Prepare to Rank Their Congressional Candidates to Choose Winners - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

October 23, 2018 - "In just a couple of weeks we're all going to see an election experiment that could perhaps change the way votes are counted.... November's election will be Maine's first use of ranked-choice voting to determine the winners of three elections — for one U.S. senator and two U.S. House seats. And with the way polls for at least one race are going, independent-minded voters are going to affect the outcome in a manner that can actually be tracked.

"In ranked-choice voting, people are asked not to just select one candidate for office, but to rank the candidates by order of preference. If there are four candidates, for example, you can choose the candidate you prefer the most and also rank the others second, third, and fourth....

"[F]or a candidate to win, he or she must have a majority of the votes, not just a plurality. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated from the race.... The ballots are tallied again, and for those who voted for the eliminated [candidate], their second choice is counted instead. And so it goes, until one candidate has a majority....

"The point of ranked-choice voting is to try to enfranchise voters by making it possible to vote for third-party or independent candidates without actually 'throwing their vote away.' Proponents of ranked-choice voting see it as a tool of making candidates reach out to a larger pool of voters rather than just playing to their voting bases.... Ranked-choice voting doesn't necessarily make it easier for third-party candidates to win, but it makes their voices and their voters harder to ignore.

"Several cities in the United States have ranked-choice voting for local races... Maine, as a result of a couple of state ballot initiatives, will be implementing it for the first time....

"Now attention is focused on Maine's 2nd Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin is fending off a challenge from Democrat Jared Golden, and two independents [with] almost no chance of winning, getting less than 10 percent of the vote between the two of them in most polls. But the polls also show pretty much a dead heat between Poliquin and Golden.... Therefore, what's going to determine the outcome of this race may very well be who voters for the two independents selected as their second choice — or even their third.....

"[I]ndependent voters will determine the outcome of the race in a way that doesn't make them 'spoilers'.... They can vote for their favorite and then select the Democrat or the Republican as their second choice. Or they may not. Voters aren't required to rank their choices. It's an option....

"Partisans often whine that third-party voters end up helping their opponents. On a fundamental level, this is political entitlement nonsense that improperly treats voters like they belong to the political parties instead of the other way around. But it's also often not entirely true. Polling often shows third-party voters split between the main parties. In this election, we'll get to be able to track where independent votes actually go."

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Pro-Paul PAC invests $2M in Johnson campaign (video)

Protect Freedom PAC Endorses Gary Johnson for U.S. Senate in New Mexico & Launches Statewide TV & Digital Ad Campaign - Protect Freedom PAC:

October 5, 2018 - "Protect Freedom PAC is announcing its endorsement of Gary Johnson for U.S. Senate in New Mexico. The organization has launched a $2 million statewide campaign on broadcast, cable, and satellite TV, as well as on digital.

"Protect Freedom PAC consultant and spokesman Michael Biundo stated:
Gary Johnson is the independent, conservative voice that Washington needs. Gary has a strong record as New Mexico's Governor of keeping his promise to cut taxes, shrink state government, and reduce spending. He will be an effective ally to Senator Rand Paul in the United States Senate at a time where voters are hungry to defeat the Washington machine, drain the swamp, and take back our country. We are excited to endorse Gary today and look forward to working towards victory in November.
[The Protect Freedom PAC was founded in 2017 to support 'current and future allies' of U.S. Senator Rand Paul. Paul endorsed Johnson in August 2018. - ed.]

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Thoughts on Canada's cannabis legalization

by George J. Dance

On October 17 I got an early birthday present - well, early because my birthday is a week away, but in fact something for which I had been wishing and waiting for almost 50 years: cannabis prohibition ended in Canada.

This is a huge step for liberty, which must be acknowledged. Canada is only the second nation in the world, and the first in the developed world, to have taken this step. Due credit has to be given to the Young Liberals who have called for prohibition's repeal for decades, and to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who successfully pushed repeal through his caucus. If Trudeau does nothing else of value, history will remember and thank him for that.

We should also remember, of course, that Trudeau is no libertarian, but a pragmatic "progressive liberal," who was convinced by one libertarian argument: that prohibition leads to an illicit black market with all of its attendant problems. He championed legalization, not from any belief in personal liberty, but simply for the "public good."

Consequently, there is little that is libertarian in prohibition's replacement. A libertarian would like to see growing and smoking marijuana treated, under the law, as little different from growing and eating lettuce. While the law can arguably constrain some marijuana use (from DUI to public smoking), that has nothing to do with the basic right to treat one's own body the way one prefers (at least when no one else is harmed). Instead of that, we have a highly regulated regime, with many harmless actions still criminalized, as a recent CTV report reminds us.

Growing cannabis is banned outright in two provinces. In all the others, growing five or more plants in one's house or garden is illegal. It is even illegal to transport budding or flowering plants to or from one's home: "For example, if someone is moving, they must make sure the plants don’t have any buds or flowers on them before they transport them. Those caught with a budding or flowering cannabis plant in their possession in public could be sentenced to up to five years in prison."

Possessing more than 30 grams of dried marijuana, outside one's home, is also "punishable by up to five years in prison." Possessing any amount at all, when leaving or entering Canada, is illegal: "Anyone found guilty of importing or exporting cannabis without authorization could face fines or up to 14 years in prison."

While you may grow marijuana (in the other 8 provinces), do not try selling any of it: "Unless they’re a licensed retailer, any individual who sells cannabis to others can face steep fines and possible jail time." You may give it away, but only up to the prescribed 30 grams; give someone 31 grams, and the penalty is the same as if you sold it: you "could be charged under Bill C-45’s distribution laws and face up to 14 years in prison."

That last should give Canadian cannabis users pause. For years, if not decades, we bought marijuana from reliable, trusted private dealers, and in recent years, from public dispensaries. All those dealers and dispensaries faced jail time just for the crime of honestly meeting our needs – and all of them still do. The entire network of marijuana sales that Canadians relied on before October 17, all of it illegal, remains just as illegal, and just as criminalized, today.

Some provinces ban cannabis sales except by the provincial government. Others, like Ontario, allow private dispensaries, but require those to buy from the provincial government. Cannabis cannot be bought online, except from a single website. (No, one cannot even buy from another province's website). Even if one successfully bought cannabis online from another source, it still could not be shipped to them: "although it’s permitted to give less than 30 grams of cannabis to an adult friend, it’s not OK to send it to them via the mail or a courier because organizations can’t legally possess or distribute the drug without explicit authorization."

Indeed, the police can still raid your home, confiscate your cannabis, and arrest you if they suspect you are buying from an unlicensed source: "if someone purchases pot from an unlicensed seller, they would be in possession of illegal cannabis.... Individuals found guilty of possessing illicit cannabis can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years."

Unfortunately, many more steps remain for us to take on this trek. Fortunately, we do not have to take them alone. Social attitudes to cannabis have changed drastically, and will do so even more now that the stigma of illegality is removed. Cannabis activists will become more prominent and more respected. As well, we have a potent ally in the Charter of Rights, which our courts have invoked over and over to strike down laws and regulations regarding medical cannabis, and will no doubt do so for the recreational stuff as well.

So the fight for the freedom to use cannabis is only beginning. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to celebrate this sign of progress.

Reference: Jackie Dunham, "10 Things that are Still Illegal after Pot Legalization," CTV News, October 18, 2018. Web, Oct. 21, 2018.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Students tased & beaten in the name of 'safety'

The Other Side Of School Safety: Students Are Getting Tasered And Beaten By Police | HuffPost US - Rebecca Klein:

September 8, 2018 - "Jalijah Jones, then a freshman at Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan, remembers the punch of thousands of volts hitting his slight frame.... He remembers four school security guards officers pushing him up against a hallway wall before a school police officer arrived and Tasered him. He remembers a feeling of intense cold as if his high school hallway had just turned into a walk-in freezer. He remembers falling to the ground....

"Jones ... had never been in a physical fight at school before. It was just a teenage drama. He owed another kid a small amount of money. Angry words were thrown back and forth, then a push and a shove and some swinging. But no one had been hurt until a school police officer Tasered the teen....

"Jones ... remembers being cuffed a few seconds later, and the school cops dragging him through the hallways and out of school. His body shook furiously as he was loaded into a police car, before being escorted to the hospital in an ambulance. He was charged with resisting arrest....

"The police officer who stunned Jones is one of over 80,000 currently stationed in public schools around the country, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education, covering the 2015-16 school year.... The number has risen sharply in the past few years and will continue to grow. Amid the recent spate of deadly school shootings, there has been an increase in federal money funding school police officer positions. This is true at the state level as well...

"Over the past few years, there have been several high profile instances of police brutality in schools. Still, there are no official data sources tracking how often students are subject to intense physical punishments at the hands of law enforcement....

" For the past several months, HuffPost has been tracking how often students in schools are Tasered or shot with a stun gun, pepper sprayed or intensely physically punished. We found:
  • Since September 2011, students have been Tasered or shot with a stun gun by school-based police officers at least 120 times;
  • Since January 2016, students have been pepper sprayed by school-based police officers at least 32 times;
  • Since January 2016, students have been body slammed, tackled or choked by school-based police officers at least 15 times.
"These numbers represent a minimum. Not every incident is reported in the local news. And there is no agency that systemically tracks these numbers."

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Friday, October 19, 2018

League of Women Voters drops Senate debate in Pennsylvania over 3rd-party exclusion

Televised U.S. Senate debate loses co-sponsor over exclusion of Green, Libertarian candidates - Reading Eagle:

October 16, 2018 - "The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania withdrew as co-sponsor of a televised debate this weekend between candidates in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race because the Green and Libertarian party nominees were not invited to participate.

"Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr. and his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, are to debate Saturday at the studios of WPVI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia....

"Reason magazine cited a WPVI-TV spokeswoman as explaining that only Casey and Barletta were invited because no other candidates reached the station's criterion of showing at least 10 percent support in 'multiple reputable statewide polls'....

"In a news release late Monday, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania explained that it wants any candidate who makes the ballot to be included in the debates it sponsors."

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

95 years of cannabis prohibition over in Canada

The NSLC has sold marijuana to its very first customer | CBC News:

October 17, 2018 - "A Halifax massage therapist was the first person in Nova Scotia to legally buy recreational marijuana, picking up some rolling papers and pot at a Halifax store Wednesday morning as Canadians finally discovered what legalization looks like after 95 years of prohibition.

"Alicia Wright was handpicked by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. to be the first person to buy legal weed at the Clyde Street location before the official opening. She jumped the queue ahead of the handful of people lined up since around 7 a.m....

"NSLC stores selling marijuana opened at 10 a.m.... By 5 p.m., NSLC reported it sold $393,000 worth of cannabis....

"Musician Ashley MacIsaac lined up outside Cape Breton's only NSLC store selling pot starting at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was joined by a Glace Bay man shortly after midnight and a few more people Wednesday morning.

"Shortly before 7 a.m., there were just a few people lined up waiting for the province's only cannabis exclusive NSLC location on Clyde Street. Joseph Brown was first in line.

"'I think it's ... a historical moment.... It's like a crack in ... the puritanical ideals of like the past ... [w]here ... you're going to tell an adult what they can and can't put in their body,' he said....

"As the sun rose at the Joseph Howe Drive location in Halifax, Daniel Moore and his friend were the first two people in line. 'I'm here for this historic day in Canada. It's very exciting,' he said....

"In Nova Scotia, legal cannabis can be purchased at 12 locations, or online through the NSLC's website using a cannabis card.... [U]nder provincial legislation, Nova Scotians aren't currently allowed to order recreational pot from online retailers out of province.

"The Liberal government first announced its marijuana legalization plan on April 20, 2016. The Senate passed the contentious legislation on June 19 to legalize cannabis Oct. 17, several months after the government's initial target date."

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See also: Thoughts on Canada's cannabis legalization

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Stossel: Larry Sharpe brings new ideas to NY (video)

Libertarian Larry Sharpe Brings New Ideas to New York - - John Stossel & Maxim Lott:

 October 17, 2018 - "In New York, Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo wants to raise taxes. But John Stossel interviews an interesting candidate with a different plan – Libertarian Larry Sharpe. He proposes alternative ways to raise money.

"One idea is to lease naming rights on public infrastructure. 'The Triborough Bridge could be called the Staples Bridge, or the Apple Bridge,' Sharpe explains to Stossel. 'Hundreds of thousands of vehicles pass by, and see that big sign. That's valuable!'....

"Sharpe says it's necessary, 'You can shake your fist and say "this doesn't sound good" if you want to. And you're going to wind up in a place where the tax burden is insanely high.' That, he points out, would lead to more businesses and people leaving New York.

"Although Sharpe is the Libertarian candidate, he's doing well for a third-party. A recent poll has him getting 13 percent of the vote. And after survey respondents hear his campaign pitch, that number goes up to 25 percent."

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

PA Libertarian's debate invitation revoked

Pennsylvania's Libertarian Senate Candidate Gets Invited, Then Snubbed From Televised Debate - Hit & Run : - Eric Boehm:

October 9, 2018 - "Dale Kerns says he was promised a spot in an October 20 senatorial debate in the Philadelphia media market — only to have the invitation rescinded as the debate neared.... Kerns, an electrical contractor from the Philadelphia suburbs, is the Libertarian candidate in a four-way Senate race that also includes incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton), and Green Party candidate Neal Gale. All four candidates have qualified for the ballot in Pennsylvania.

"Emails obtained by Reason show that Kerns' campaign was twice assured of a spot in a televised debate by executives at the state's chapter of the League of Women Voters, which typically plays a role in organizing debates. In March, Suzanne Almeida, the then-executive director of the group, told Kerns' campaign manager that Kerns would 'certainly' be invited to 'participate in candidate forums after the primary.'

"In late August, the campaign again contacted the League of Women Voters seeking information about planned debates. Jill Greene, who had taken over as executive director in July, responded on August 29 to say that she was currently trying to plan a Senate debate with the League's media partners and that she would 'be sure to include Mr. Kerns and Mr. Gale.'

"Six weeks later, after the debate had been scheduled for October 20 on Philadelphia's ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV, Greene emailed Kerns' campaign manager John Odermatt to deliver the bad news. The League had asked to include Kerns and Gale in the debate, she said, but 'other organizers' did not 'feel as if current polling warranted an invitation'.... On Tuesday, Greene told Reason that any questions regarding the decision not to invite Kerns or Gale to the debate 'should be referred to WPVI, as it was their decision.'

"Niki Hawkins, director of community affairs for WPVI-TV, ... defended the station's decision on the grounds that Kerns had failed to meet eligibility criteria including 'significant voter support for the candidacy as reflected in polling numbers'.... It's true that Kerns has fallen short of the 10 percent threshold that serves as the only objective standard in WPVI's criteria.... But it's also true that Kerns wasn't officially on the ballot until August, so WPVI's decision to rely on polls conducted earlier in the campaign skews against the inclusion of third party candidates....

"'Make no mistake, this is cronyism: big media corporations colluding with big government political parties to keep out competition,' says Kerns. 'The mainstream media screams about Russia stealing elections, but behind the scenes they pull the strings to keep the duopoly in control.'"

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Libertarian political prisoner exiled from Venezuela

Libertarian prisoner Lorent Saleh released from cell, exiled to Spain – Instituto Mises-Mambí de Cuba via Boundless Liberty:

October 14, 2018 - "The 2017-2018 crisis in Venezuela is far from the first time there was popular opposition to the PSUV’s one-party dictatorship.... 2014 was the most recent protest cycle before the current one. During the 2014 cycle, ... student and dissident organizer Lorent Saleh had fled to Colombia. He was arrested and extradited by the friendly Santos government to Venezuela, where he spent the next four years in a cell at the National Intelligence Service HQ.

"Saleh was released from solitary confinement on Friday and immediately put on a plane to Madrid, where other Venezuelan exiles waited to give him a hero’s welcome.

"Venezuelan dissidents widely claim that this is the regime trying to keep the lid on public anger after the October 8 murder of a Caracas city councilman that the National Intelligence Service covered up to look like a suicide.

"'It’s important to mention that Saleh was "freed" by orders of the National Constituent Assembly almost immediately after the assassination of Fernando Albán,' says Adriana Flores Márquez, a heroine living in exile in Argentina, where she still directs Venezuelan dissident operations. Like Saleh, Márquez had to flee in 2014....

"María Oropeza, National Youth Coordinator for Vente Venezuela, has spent years denouncing her friend’s arrest and illegal imprisonment in what Venezuelans call 'The Tomb.' Regarding Saleh’s release, Oropeza said...
I know you finally saw the dawn after 4 years and 1 month of unjust imprisonment. Today you can see the night, breathe fresh air, and talk with your fellow citizens and partners in the struggle. Today you’re free in other borders, but fighting intensely as the first day. It won’t be long before you, Villa Fernandez, and all who have emigrated [or been] exiled against their will, can return to this land and begin the function of freedom and prosperity.

Let there be not one more political prisoner. Not one more murdered dissident. Not one more slave. Not one more exile....
"Oropeza has long since been sharing Saleh’s unjust imprisonment.

"While the Institute celebrates that Lorent Saleh is out of danger, we would like to remind the world of three political prisoners in Cuba: ... libertarians Ubaldo Herrera and Yanet Padrón, and ... innocent bystander Lianet Guerra, who is the niece of a libertarian." 
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Sunday, October 14, 2018

US LP staffs new Youth Engagement Committee

Libertarian Party Establishes Youth Engagement Committee · 71 Republic - Spencer Kellogg:

October 9, 2018 - "In September, the Libertarian Party’s National Committee ... established the Libertarian Party’s first ever Youth Engagement Committee. Members of the LNC voted on a list of nearly 50 candidates for four positions and among the selected is 71 Republic’s CEO, Matt Geiger.... [T]he other new members are Aeris Stewart, Matt Long and Dustin Nanna. The committee will be headed by LNC region 2 alternate Victoria Paige Lee....

"71 Republic’s Spencer Kellogg reached out to the new members for information....

"Aeris Stewart ... 'I’ve been involved in YAL chapter leadership for 2 years and just started as a CC with SFL. Before that, I was an at-large for the LYC, am currently the whip for the LPCaucus, and have volunteered/interned at a couple of campaigns'....

"Matt Long ... 'I only started thinking I might be a Libertarian after hearing Bill Weld speak at the CNN Town Hall. That was a life-changing moment for me politically because I ended up volunteering for the campaign. Highlighting the issue of Intersex Human Rights (and other LGBT+ issues) is definitely something I want to promote as a Libertarian.'

"Matt Geiger - 'I am the chairman of the Carroll County Libertarian Party. I was the national vice chair of the Libertarian Youth Caucus and I am the CEO of 71 Republic. I’ve engaged hundreds of young libertarians and helped them build their writing abilities and prepare them to be real libertarian activists'....

"Dustin Nanna - 'I’m 24 years old and I live in Delaware, Ohio... I am the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Ohio and am ... a Central Committee member in Ohio in the 12th Congressional District. I have been active with the Libertarian Party since I was 21 and I consider myself a Jeffersonian Minarchist. I ran for City Council in Delaware in 17 and got 14% of the vote in a 5-way race. Now I’m running for Secretary of State in Ohio'....

"Congratulations to the selected members of the new committee!"

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Free Thought Project hit in FB's 500-page purge

Libertarian and Police Accountability Pages Deleted in Facebook Purge - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

October 12, 2018 - "'Facebook announced Thursday that it was deleting 559 pages and 251 accounts that it claims were breaking Facebook's rules against spam and 'inauthentic' behavior. The Free Thought Project was one of the demolished pages, along with another of [Jason] Bassler's efforts, Police the Police. Both pages ... produced content — stories, memes, and videos — that focused on government behavior and were shared widely among fans, particularly libertarians.

"Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, and Oscar Rodriguez, a Facebook product manager, have explained the purge by writing that they don't think these sites were really trying to engage in political debate but were in fact spam factories.... "Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites [or] to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was'....

"Bassler has editing privileges on a bunch of pages that were affected by the ban ... the result of networking between pages of similar interest.... Many of them, like Bassler, used networking to build a community to reach a larger audience — a normal sort of organizing that Facebook now deems 'inauthentic.'

"The Free Thought Project had 3 million followers and Police the Police nearly 2 million.... Bassler describes himself as a libertarian anarchist, but he says he's tried hard not to push an ideological agenda onto his pages, focusing instead on government accountability....

"The Free Thought Project also ran afoul of fact-checkers, particularly Snopes, which has accused them of misrepresenting stories on several occasions and which frequently describes them as a conspiracy site.... Bassler says he's had four stories pulled from Facebook after fact-checkers deemed them inaccurate. He has had two of those decisions reversed.....

"[B]ut even though Facebook is turning to Snopes to assist with fact-checking what gets shared on the platform, Facebook's latest round of page deletions makes no mention of fact-checking problems as a justification. Reason has reached out to both Facebook and Snopes to see if this fact-checking fight played any role [in] the decision to shut down The Free Thought Project's page or any others affected by the purge. We have not yet gotten a response....

"Bassler says he's going to 'fight tooth and nail' to try to get his Facebook pages restored. The Free Thought Project has officially responded to having its Facebook page deleted here."

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Canada's cannabis packaging rules disturbing, says Consumer Choice Center

CNW | Federal Government Plain Packaging Regulations Completely Disregard Consumers and Limit Product Choice (press release) - /CNW Telbec/:

October 12, 2018 - "The Federal Government of Canada is enacting strict branding and packaging restrictions on the legal cannabis market. More specifically, Health Canada has taken the framework of plain packaging tobacco products including cigarettes and cigars, and applied many aspects of that legislation to how legal cannabis products must appear. This mandate from Health Canada limits consumer choice, according to the Consumer Choice Center, and more importantly, prevents consumers from selecting products based on their personal choice.

"Speaking at [a] news conference yesterday held in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, David Clement, North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) said the Federal Government seems committed to treating adult consumers like children. The branding restrictions placed on tobacco products, and now cannabis products, shows a disturbing trend of paternalism creeping further into the lives of adult consumers. It's a dangerous precedent and raises the question of what products will be targeted next.

"'What we've seen is that Health Canada and our federal government are regulating products with complete disregard for consumers, and complete disregard for a continuum of risk. Our worry now is what started with tobacco has moved to cannabis, and now will move to other products, such as soft drinks, alcohol and various other food items,' said ... Clement....

"CCC has launched the Smokers Vote initiative where consumers of cannabis, tobacco products and cigars can raise their concerns about plain packaging regulations directly with their elected representatives and engage in direct democracy....

"The Consumer Choice Center is a global advocacy group focused on consumer choice and market access. The CCC monitors regulatory trends around the world, works with consumers in over 100 countries, and engages with policy makers to highlight how certain regulations impact consumer choice."

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ex-UKIP MEP joins UK Libertarian Party

Bill Etheridge joins Libertarian Party days after UKIP exit | Express & Star - Annabel Bagdi:

October 8, 2018 - "West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has joined the Libertarian Party just days after quitting UKIP. He has joined as deputy chairman after claiming he could no longer serve under the leadership of UKIP's Gerard Batten.

"His move comes amid his desire to support a system with less government interference, lower taxes and individual empowerment, the party said.

"Mr Etheridge said: 'I have always campaigned on libertarian values. UKIP has turned its back on those values, but I never will. I am excited to get to work with a truly libertarian party and hopefully introduce libertarian ideas to the great debates of our time especially Brexit.'

"The politician brought an end to his seven years with UKIP last week, citing his 'despair' at the extremist direction of the leadership. In his resignation letter to Mr Batten, he claimed the leader had 'changed the party beyond all recognition'....

"[UK Libertarian] Party leader Adam Brown said: 'We are delighted to have Bill join us. We often speak to members of other parties who consider themselves Libertarian and have become increasingly dissatisfied with politics within these parties.... It is great to be able to give this Libertarian a voice in our party and we welcome those from other parties, who consider themselves Libertarians, to do the same'....

"Party chairman Andrew Withers said: 'I see this move as a sea change in our profile and welcome Bill’s campaigning expertise and also thank him for his hospitality in Brussels last month.

"'The Libertarian Party advocate a written constitution similar to that of Switzerland, where state control ends and the rights and responsibilities of citizens begin.'"

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Debate exclusion hits NH Libertarians too

NH Libertarian Party Candidates Excluded from WMUR’s Debates via Insurmountable Rules? | Free Keene - Ian Freeman [NH Senate district 10 Libertarian candidate]:

October 7, 2018 "Despite attaining major party ballot access in New Hampshire for the first time in twenty years, the Libertarian Party of NH has been unfairly excluded from the biggest debates – those hosted by WMUR-TV. How? According to the rules the ABC affiliate announced last month, in order to be invited to their debates, the candidate must be polling at over 12%.... There have been no polls that have included the libertarian candidates.... Oh yeah, and they want the candidate to have $25,000 in the bank....

"Thankfully, many of NH’s local media like newspapers and radio have been fair to the libertarian candidates, like the Keene Sentinel, whose editorial board recently interviewed [Libertarian candidate for governor] Jilletta Jarvis.

"According to Jarvis, if she’s invited to a debate, the other candidates will protest. She told me that North Country Community Radio recently invited all three gubernatorial candidates to debate. Incumbent republican Chris Sununu responded and declined the station’s invitation and democrat Molly Kelly ignored their invite entirely. Instead of the planned debate, the station gave a two hour interview to Jarvis and reminded their audience of the major candidates’ conspicuous absence.

"Though Jarvis was told personally by WMUR’s Political Director Adam Sexton that the Libertarian candidate for governor WOULD be invited to debate, News Director Alisha McDevitt later told Jarvis that Sexton was not authorized to make that promise on behalf of WMUR. Sexton by the way, HAS been fair to the Libertarians in his various coverage – kudos to him for that.

"If you’re upset by these blatantly biased rules, please reach out to the debate organizers at WMUR and the Union Leader and let them know how you feel.... Jarvis ... has set up a page from which you can send an email to ... Alisha McDevitt.....

"Jarvis’ campaign has raised more than any other LP candidate for governor since 1994, but she’s still $16,000 short of WMUR’s $25,000 campaign finance goal. [Americans] can donate to her campaign here."

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

LPC deputy leader, executive director join Bernier

Why I left the Libertarian Party and am now calling on others to follow suit - The Post Millennial - Trevor Schmidt:

October 5, 2018 - "This week I resigned from my position as Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Canada (LPoC) in order to join the People’s Party of Canada (PPC). Now I am calling on all federal political party members who know a desperate change is needed in Ottawa to do the same.

"When I left the CPC to join the Libertarians in 2014 I did so because I saw in that small party the reflection of what I felt, and what I believed others felt, was a burning desire for a return to principled politics. Canadians desire this not for the sake of romance and not just for the sake of transparency, but because they’ve become acutely aware that it takes principled politicians to stand firm against all the lobbyists and special interests in Ottawa that will lead them astray from those that elected them.

"The strong showing by Maxime Bernier in the CPC leadership contest and the rise of the PPC have shown me that my belief likely had some merit.

"The difference between the PPC and the Libertarians is that Max enjoys popular support and the desire to build a broad coalition of voters that could actually see the party become a force for change on Parliament Hill. There are good ideas shared by good people across the political spectrum that have so much in common if only united by the understanding that the job of the public servant is not to get re-elected, but to, well, serve the public....

"Those paying attention know that Bernier has an avenue to success. Already, in only a few short weeks, PPC Electoral District Associations – the main bodies responsible for the recruitment, nomination process and fielding of local riding candidates – are being organized all across the country....

"[N]o movement against an entrenched established interest can be successful without people behind it. This is why I have, along with Deputy Leader Darcy Gerow* and other regional Libertarian leadership members, resigned from the Libertarian Party in order to unite with others who understand the urgency of returning principled leadership to Ottawa.

"This is also why I’m calling on Conservatives, Libertarians, and all Canadian party members who believe in principled politics to shed their previous party affiliations and help build the People’s Party of Canada into an effective federal option that leads with its ideas and seeks to govern for all Canadians, not just special interests."

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Exclusive debates are campaign contributions, Ohio Libertarians ask Election Commission to rule

Libertarians file complaint over three Ohio gubernatorial debates :: - Cox newspapers:

September 25, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of Ohio has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission over being excluded from three gubernatorial debates, including the first one held last week at the University of Dayton [UD] between Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine.

"The 23-page complaint alleges that the university and the DeWine and Cordray campaigns excluded other qualified gubernatorial candidates from planning and participating in the debate.

"'No pre-existing objective criteria -- other than the participants being Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine -- were published, documented or in any way made available to the public, the press, the two minor political parties, or the two minor political parties' qualified gubernatorial candidates,' the complaint says.

"Libertarian Party of Ohio nominee Travis Irvine and Ohio Green Party nominee Constance Gadell Newton will also appear on the statewide ballot as candidates for governor.

"Two other debates between Cordray and DeWine [were held] Oct. 1 at Marietta College and Oct. 7 at Cleveland State University.

"The Libertarian Party's complaint alleges that hosting the Sept. 19 debate amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to DeWine and Cordray from UD.

"A university spokesperson said the week before the debate that it had set a 10-percent polling requirement for candidates to participate in the debate. The Libertarian complaint said there is no evidence they have seen that the criteria was set before the debate was announced....

"The Ohio Elections Commission is expected to give the complaint a preliminary review at its Nov. 1 meeting."

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

White Boy Rick shows underside of Drug War

Casualties of the Drug War | Liberty Unbound - Jo Ann Skousen:

September 28, 2018 - "White Boy Rick is a rough and complex biopic based on the story of Richard Wershe, Jr., the youngest (at 14) undercover drug informant ever to be recruited by the feds to help them go after the kingpins in the drug trade. At times touching, ... at times enraging, the film shows the dark underside of the war on drugs in all its ugly glory: corrupt cops, heartless investigators, violent turf wars, strung-out druggies, and the poverty and despair that often lead people into the trade.

"The story is set in mid-’80s Detroit, against a backdrop of empty factories, rat-infested playgrounds, and worn-out homes in worn-out neighborhoods. Richard Wershe Senior (Matthew McConaughey) is a hustler with a gun dealer’s license.... He loves his family, but he can’t provide a good life for them. He has a license to sell registered guns at a meager profit, but the real money is in the 'upsell' — the illegal homemade silencers he offers along with them. 'The gun is the burger — but these are the fries,' he tells Rick, explaining how fast food servers are trained to make you think you want something you don’t really need. 'Now go out and sell you some fries.'

"Ironically, FBI agents Snyder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Byrd (Rory Cochrane) and Detective Jackson (Brian Tyree Henry) ply Rick with a burger and fries as they enlist his services as an undercover narc, threatening to arrest his father for illegal firearms sales if the boy doesn’t comply. This scene was particularly poignant to me, because several of my students at Sing Sing have told me that McDonald’s is the drug of choice for recruiting young drug runners in the streets.... Oh, so subtly, with a burger and fries, the film equates the Feds, the dealers, and Rick’s father....

"The scenes that follow show Rick immersing himself in the drug culture, with its fast money, easy women, and useless luxuries.... Hopelessness in impoverished neighborhoods often leads people to seek instant gratification and engage in risky behaviors. It makes no sense to save for the future when there isn’t a future in sight.... It’s all a pipe dream, mostly found at the bottom of a crack pipe. So grab a few laughs and some ass while you can. There isn’t going to be any more where you’re going.

"The feds are no better than the drug lords, and probably worse, because they claim to be the good guys. Driven by moral relativism, they see no problem with getting kids high, sending them into dangerous situations in order to catch drug dealers, and then leaving them to deal with their addictions — and their incarcerations — when they’re no longer useful....

"Rick Wershe may have been the youngest teen to be recruited as an undercover informant to avoid arrest, but he certainly isn’t the only one. According to an article by Tony Newman of Drug Policy Alliance, it has become all too common to bust people for minor possession and then threaten them with decades in prison unless they provide evidence on someone else -– and for those frightened, untrained informants to end up dead. Rick didn’t end up dead, but he might as well have, when his handlers stood idly by as he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole — for selling cocaine. It was the longest sentence for a nonviolent crime ever imposed, until Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for running the Silk Road website.

"I watched the tears quietly trickle down 17-year-old Rick’s cheeks in the closing scenes of the film as he spoke through prison glass to his equally distraught father, and the tears quietly streamed down my cheeks too. I know too many of these young men — now middle-aged — who have been incarcerated since they were teens because they were enticed into a drug trade that is only lucrative and deadly because it is illegal. There are no good guys in the war on drugs. There is only bad law. And bad schools. And bad neighborhoods without hope."

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Free Richard Wershe Jr. on facebook: 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Rival foundations funding the UnKoch movement

Deep-Pocketed Donors Behind Campus Anti-Koch Movement - Washington Free Beacon - Lachlan Markay:

November 2, 2015 - "Liberal foundations financing a nonprofit news venture that is reporting on donations made by the Koch Brothers to colleges are also financing on-campus groups protesting the Kochs’ donations. The same foundations have also spent billions backing educational initiatives of their own that frequently promote left-wing policy agendas....

"The Center for Public Integrity [CPI] ... [has] detailed the Kochs’ grants to colleges and universities, that, reporter Dave Levinthal wrote, are 'now a critical part of their broader campaign to infuse politics and government with free-market principles.' According to Levinthal, Koch-backed foundations provided $19.3 million in funding for colleges and universities in 2013, a $6.6 million increase over 2012. 'Funding — as well as pushback against it — is increasing," he wrote.

"One group committed to such 'pushback' is UnKoch My Campus, which immediately picked up on and promoted CPI’s story. Its publication came just days before UnKoch’s planned 'day of action' ... to protest what it says is the Kochs’ undue influence on the curricula and staffing of those programs.... UnKoch, as its name suggests, is focused exclusively on the influence of conservative and libertarian university donors....

"UnKoch’s views reflect those of the groups backing the campaign: environmental giant Greenpeace; Forecast the Facts, a climate-focused project of the left-wing Citizen Engagement Lab; the Center for Media and Democracy, another nonprofit news venture; and the American Federation of Teachers.

"Those groups receive significant funding from the same foundations that finance CPI’s reporting. The Park Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Foundation for an Open Society have all granted money to CPI and at least one of the groups behind the UnKoch effort.

"These groups are also heavily involved in education philanthropy: Together, those six foundations have doled out more than $4.2 billion in related grants, including nearly $270 million in 2013, according to the nonprofit research service Foundation Search....

"Levinthal followed up his reporting with a story detailing the work of six foundations with ties to the Kochs. Together, the foundations reported net assets of $463 million in 2013. In comparison, the six aforementioned foundations backing CPI and the groups behind UnKoch reported combined net assets in 2013 of more than $31 billion....

"Levinthal writes that the Kochs’ giving will 'build a "talent pipeline" of libertarian-minded students.' Little attention is paid to the fact that this is exactly what the foundations backing CPI and the groups behind UnKoch are also trying to do....

"UnKoch referred questions about its activities to Greenpeace spokesman Connor Gibson, who rejected any parity between university donations from the Kochs and similarly ideological donors on the left.... Gibson for the most part declined to directly address questions about the UnKoch effort, and demanded to know whether the Washington Free Beacon is 'contracted to write defenses of [the Kochs] every time another scandal breaks.'"

'via Blog this'

Friday, October 5, 2018

Amend constitution because of Gary Johnson,
NM Democrat writes

Johnson’s super PAC: The case for campaign finance reform | My View | - Dede Feldman, Santa Fe New Mexican:

September 14, 2018 - "On Aug. 21, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson officially announced his U.S. Senate candidacy at an event hosted by the super PAC that supports him, Elect Liberty.

"Elect Liberty paid for the venue, invited guests, fundraised in support of him, and Johnson promoted their/his event on his social media channels. How can a PAC that is not supposed to coordinate with a candidate throw an announcement party for him? The answer is a United States Supreme Court case, when it ruled in favor of the conservative group Citizens United against the Federal Election Commission.

"How could Elect Liberty hold Gary Johnson’s kickoff event? The Federal Election Commission decided that candidates could appear at PAC events as long as they are labeled 'special guests.' In fact, not only can candidates attend a PAC event, but they can fundraise as long they don’t ask for more than $5,000. Then, as soon as the candidate leaves the room, a super PAC official can ask attendees for a $1 million check....

"Elect Liberty ... PAC was created and is run by Johnson’s former campaign manager and decades-long associate, Ron Nielson. Are we really expected to believe that one of Johnson’s longest-serving advisers, the man he chose to run his 2016 presidential race and is in charge of a PAC that supports him, operates independently of the official campaign?

"Optics aside, everything Johnson is currently doing is legal. But that’s one of the fundamental problems.... While it should come as no surprise that Johnson — who supports the Citizens United ruling and unlimited campaign contributions — would use these loopholes, it’s a system that encourages candidates to skate around the edges of the law.

"Gary Johnson and the Elect Liberty PAC are a textbook case for why we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Both of New Mexico’s U.S. senators support the effort, including Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., who is running against Johnson. New Mexicans should be mindful of this when deciding which candidate shares their beliefs on the role of money in politics."

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

ISP lobbies sue to stop CA net neutrality law

Entire broadband industry sues California to stop net neutrality law | Ars Technica - Jon Brodkin:

October 3, 2018 - "Four lobby groups representing the broadband industry today sued California to stop the state's new net neutrality law.

"The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of California by mobile industry lobby CTIA, cable industry lobby NCTA, telco lobby USTelecom, and the American Cable Association, which represents small and mid-size cable companies. Together, these four lobby groups represent all the biggest mobile and home Internet providers in the US and hundreds of smaller ISPs. Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Sprint, Cox, Frontier, and CenturyLink are among the groups' members.

"'This case presents a classic example of unconstitutional state regulation,' the complaint said. The California net neutrality law 'was purposefully intended to countermand and undermine federal law by imposing on [broadband] the very same regulations that the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] expressly repealed in its 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.'

"ISPs say the California law impermissibly regulates interstate commerce. '[I]t is impossible or impracticable for an Internet service provider offering [broadband] to distinguish traffic that moves only within California from traffic that crosses state borders,' the lobby groups' complaint said.... The groups asked the court to declare that the state law 'is preempted and unconstitutional, and should permanently enjoin [California] from enforcing or giving effect to it.'

"California now faces two major lawsuits challenging the net neutrality law signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday. The Trump administration's Department of Justice also sued California and is seeking a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from being implemented. California's net neutrality rules are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019.

"Ultimately, the question of whether the FCC's preemption of state laws is valid will be decided in a different lawsuit pending at the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. In that suit, state attorneys general and other litigants sued the FCC in order to reverse the repeal of federal net neutrality rules and the preemption of state laws.

"But the US District Court in California ... will decide whether California can enforce its law while the US Court of Appeals case is pending."

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

PAC backing Gary Johnson polls him at 28%

"Johnson Gaining Ground" - Media Advisory, Elect Liberty PAC:

September 26, 2018 - "Former Gov. Gary Johnson is closing the gap in the [New Mexico 2018 U.S.] Senate race, according to a recent poll. A survey conducted September 20-24 by NSON Opinion Strategy, places Johnson ahead of the Republican by 18 percentage points – and 7 points behind the incumbent. The NSON poll of 932 likely voters has Heinrich at 35%, Johnson at 28%, and Rich at 10%, with 20% undecided....

"NSON's R.T. Nielson said, 'These results, more than six weeks before the election, show the New Mexico senate race to be very much in play.... Gary Johnson now has a realistic possibility of winning this election.

"'The favorable / unfavorable results for Johnson and Heinrich are almost identical. The Republican candidate's name [recognition] is dismal, with 80% of voters having never heard of him or having no opinion.

"'Across the country, primary elections have shown voters to be very engaged and motivated, a factor some polls have failed to capture. Millenials and independent voters tend to be "under-counted," and those are both groups with whom Governor Johnson appears to be doing very well.'

"Data collection was conducted by Lux Research of registered voters.... Data was balanced according to age, gender, ethnicity, congressional district, and party."

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh and due process

The Constitutional Reasons to Oppose Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court - Foundation for Economic Education - Brittany Hunter:

October 1, 2018 - "After two days of political theater, the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to delay the vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court for a week. In that time, the FBI will conduct an investigation surrounding the allegations made against him.... And the real losers, unfortunately, are the American people, who are being diligently distracted from Kavanaugh’s actual policy record.

"To be sure, claims of sexual misconduct should certainly be brought to the public’s attention, especially when they involve a nominee for a position as powerful as a Supreme Court Justice. And in the #metoo era, failing to take these allegations seriously would be most unwise. But losing ourselves in this political circus and the subsequent media frenzy surrounding Kavanaugh’s sexual past glosses over another aspect of his professional career that should concern every single individual: his promotion of the national security state....

"The years of 2001-2003 were ... the years that Brett Kavanaugh served as associate White House Counsel for then-President George W. Bush.... One of the most egregious acts perpetrated against the American people at this time was the PATRIOT Act. And one of its greatest supporters was Brett Kavanaugh [who] referred to the PATRIOT Act as a 'measured, careful, responsible, and constitutional approach' in an email sent to a colleague....

"The PATRIOT Act obliterated the Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to privacy and due process by giving the federal government sweeping new powers to conduct surveillance on the American people.... But [Kavanaugh's] support of the legislation that signaled the downfall of American rule of law does not simply end with his favorable comments. Kavanaugh was also one of the individuals tasked with its drafting....

"The 2013 Edward Snowden leaks were arguably one of the most significant events to occur over the last decade.... In many ways, the Snowden situation drew a line in the political sand. Those who stood for freedom believed in the people’s inherent right to privacy and in upholding the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.... However, in a ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh ruled that 'the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.' He also later stated that 'that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program'....

"Due process is a staple of our American legal system. And ... there is more to due process than allowing Judge Kavanaugh to have his day in court. If the government would like to gain access to the private communications of American citizens, it must do so by going to a judge and obtaining a warrant. This warrant must specifically state what property is being searched and what is being searched for, as is specified by the Fourth Amendment.

"Requiring law enforcement to go through the proper channels to secure a warrant before violating the privacy of American citizens is part of due process..... [D]ue process is not meant for one class of people; it is meant for every American citizen whether they are nominated for the Supreme Court like Kavanaugh, or happen to have a radicalized parent like sixteen-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was targeted and killed by the U.S. Military without any semblance of due process."

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See also : Libertarian makes SCOTUS case for Kavanagh

Monday, October 1, 2018

Debate exclusion jeopardizes Iowa LP's status

Without media attention, Libertarians might lose status as official political party – The Daily Iowan:

September 25, 2018 - "As three debates between Iowa’s gubernatorial candidates fell into place this month, members of the Libertarian Party fear their candidate’s absence could derail a quest to renew their recently acquired status as an official political party in Iowa.

""The first of three gubernatorial debates will occur on Oct. 10.... Libertarian candidate Jake Porter will not be included in this debate nor in the following two.... The second debate will be broadcast ... Oct. 17, and the third debate will take place on Oct. 21....

"Porter said his biggest concern was earning enough votes in November to remain a state political party, a status that he believes could become precarious if voters are not exposed to Libertarian candidates and their platforms.

"'That is a big media opportunity to be in the debates; it gives a lot of credibility,' Porter said. 'Obviously, if we’re shut out of that, we’re probably not going to get a lot of coverage from that debate, and [we’re] not going to be able to share our views with a lot of Iowans.'

"This is the first election cycle since the Libertarian Party gained ballot-eligible status in 2016, following Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign. Iowa law states that to be considered a political party, an organization must have had a gubernatorial or presidential candidate who received at least 2 percent of votes cast in the preceding general election. The last time a third party became viable as a major party was in 2000, when Green Party candidate Ralph Nader garnered 2.2 percent of the vote....

"The first debate will be cosponsored by KCCI, a Des Moines television station, and the Des Moines Register.... Porter said he was expecting treatment of this kind from his opponents rather than members of the press....

"Joseph Howe, the state chair of the Libertarian Party of Iowa, said Porter’s absence from the debates could make the Libertarians’ position as a ballot-eligible party more precarious by limiting total audience exposure to candidates. If turnout for Porter fails to meet the required 2 percent threshold, then Libertarians will be relegated back to minor- or non-party status, as the Iowa Green Party was after a lackluster performance in 2002....

"There is a peaceful protest being organized for debate night at KCCI by Porter and others to draw attention to what they perceive to be unfair and damaging practices on the part of the sponsors. Simultaneously, a volunteer viewing list is being circulated among supporters to collect advertising data on KCCI. Libertarians are also taking to various social-media platforms to express their distaste for the exclusion."

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