Monday, September 30, 2019

Komar running for LP of Canada in York-Simcoe

York-Simcoe Libertarian Party candidate Keith Komar says "government is upside down" - Natasha Philpott:

September 13, 2019 - "Keith Komar is a Barrie resident representing the Libertarian Party for the York-Simcoe riding in this election. Originally from British Columbia, Komar is a bricklayer by trade, travelling ... between BC and Ontario.... His start in activism started in the early '90s, fighting for gay rights. His brother was gay and one of the first men to be married in Ontario. Since then, [Keith] has become an advocate for equality and human rights and joined the BC Libertarian party in 2016....

"He believes it’s time for the government to look at the root cause of the problems in our country. 'That’s the problem with politics today, no one talks about the root problems. We’re talking about these surface issues,' he said. He is aware that his party may not have the numbers to win the election, but his goal [is] for their message to be heard among the politicians in power...

"The ideal role of federal government for the Libertarian Party would be a small one.... Military, currency and trading within the provinces are the only issues the Libertarians believe the federal government is needed for, with everyhing else being handled on a provincial and municipal level.  In terms of the economy, Komar says there are too many layers of government that need to be taken out in order to give people more control over their money....

"The Libertarian Party would also re-evaluate victimless crimes and in the federal criminal code: sex work and the war on drugs. Their plan would be to repeal the cannabis act. 'It makes [cannabis] more illegal now than it was when it was illegal,' he explained.

"Privacy rights are another pillar of the Libertarian platform. They believe the government has no right to be in the bedrooms of Canadian citizens. They would put an end to warrantless searches and repeal Bill C-51, which gives the government authority to share private information about individuals.... Regulatory agencies are also a point of contention with the Libertarian Party. They would like to repeal the powers of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)....

"In their platform, the Libertarians would make responsible gun possession legal for hunting, self defence and recreation.

"Environmental issues are also a major concern for the Libertarians. They would enforce property rights so owners would be made responsible for all the land and natural resources on and below it. And any damage done to property through pollution would be dealt with in the judicial system. .... They would like to end all restrictions and obligations on indigenous territories and replace the Indian Act with a guarantee of sovereignty for all indigenous people."

"Komar is confident that he will be the leader of the Libertarian Party of Ontario. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer for the provincial party and is running against two other candidates for the title. The vote takes place on Nov. 2, 2019."

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Free Staters make Keene NH a 'crypto mecca'

Keene New Hampshire Is Not Only a Libertarian Enclave - It's Also a Crypto Mecca - Bitcoin News - Jamie Redman:

September 6, 2019 - "New Hampshire is well known for having a large number of libertarian residents since the Free State Project (FSP) started a movement of political migration in 2001 [to] the low-population New England state. Libertarians in the region promote free markets, stand against war, and are either completely anti-state (anarchism) or believe in a very limited government (minarchism). Many of these activists who migrated to New Hampshire are strewn across the state but there are dense regions of libertarian proponents in places like Keene, Portsmouth, and Manchester. Due to the vast amount of free market believers, there’s a slew of businesses in places like Keene that accept digital currencies like bitcoin cash. The liberty loving blog, Free Keene, revealed that the Monadnock Decentralized Currency Network managed to persuade a bunch of mom-n-pop shops to accept cryptocurrencies over the years.

"In fact, throughout the lifetime of the Free State’s activism spent bolstering the concepts of liberty and voluntaryism, the people living there have created a cryptocurrency mecca. Free Keene blog author, Ian Freeman (also the co-host of Free Talk Live) explained ... that ... Keene has a wide variety of digital currency-accepting businesses and lots of them use the Anypay payment processor.

"Freeman details that according to data stemming from the Anypay and Marco Coino merchant map there are 15 bitcoin cash-accepting businesses in the region. This works out as a ratio of 'one business for every 1,533 people,' Freeman explained. The Anypay merchant map not only shows people where crypto merchants are located, but also displays when someone purchases something with cryptocurrency....

"The Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire located in Keene is also well known for its Bitcoin radio advertisements that promote the benefits of cryptocurrencies and free markets. Starting in 2016, the commercials were syndicated on 'The Peak' (101.9 WKKN-FM Keene, 100.7 WTHK-FM Wilmington, VT, and 104.7 W284AB Jamaica, VT) seven days a week from 3pm-6am EDT. 'Bitcoin is a powerful local currency that can also be used internationally. It’s Keene to buy local, and Bitcoin empowers local business owners to keep more from each sale, rather than sending 3% outside of the area to credit card companies,' the radio ad’s message said.

"More recently, due to the frictionless and low network fees on the Bitcoin Cash network, activists in Keene have been opting to use and promote BCH regularly. Last summer, Freeman helped launch a new website called that creates cryptocurrency tips from bitcoin cash (BCH) and dash, making it easier for residents to tip people in sound money.... The cryptocurrency Dash has a decent-sized following in Keene too and many Dash supporters live in the FSP region.

"The ... Free Keene blog explained ... that 'Keene and Portsmouth, New Hampshire are two hotspots in the world of cryptocurrency'.... Alongside being a crypto mecca, Keene and New Hampshire also have a lot more to offer to people who are interested in libertarianism and plan to join the ongoing NH Freedom Migration."

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Government shutdowns of internet fuel violence

Shutting down social media does not reduce violence, but rather fuels it - Jan Rydzak, The Conversation:

April 29, 2019 - "In the wake of a series of coordinated attacks that claimed more than 250 lives on April 21, the government of Sri Lanka shut off its residents’ access to social media and online messaging systems, including Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat, and Viber.... Some commentators applauded the move, suggesting the dangers of disinformation on social media justified shutting down communication networks in times of crisis. Five years of research on the impact of shutdowns and other information controls on societies worldwide have led me to the exact opposite conclusion.

"A diverse community of academics, businesses, and civil society groups share my view. The blackouts deprived Sri Lankans of impartial news reports and disconnected families from each other as they sought to find out who had survived and who was among the dead and injured. Most strikingly, recent research suggests that the blackouts might have increased the potential for protest and violence in the wake of the attack....      

"Overall, since the Arab Spring began in 2010, governments have carried out at least 400 shutdowns across more than 40 countries.... Egypt’s disappearance from the global internet in 2011 backfired spectacularly, spreading protesters away from Tahrir Square and into numerous decentralized pockets of resistance. Coordination of the demonstrations swiftly moved from Facebook event pages to individual efforts in each neighborhood. This proved impossible for security forces to subdue. Ten days later, the Mubarak regime fell.

"In the Syrian Civil War, the government used shutdowns as a weapon of war, following up with increased violence against civilians. In Africa, authoritarian governments that own the communication infrastructure and leaders who rule in virtual perpetuity are more inclined to pull the plug, but there is no evidence to suggest that shutdowns are effective in discouraging street protest or violent unrest. Indeed, official explanations for shutdowns ... are often at odds with their likely true motivations, which include silencing opposition figures and ensuring a state monopoly on information during contentious elections....

"In India, state governments have faced thousands of peaceful demonstrations, as well as episodes of violent unrest. The country has become by far the world’s most prolific executor of deliberate internet blackouts over the last several years. To find out the role of internet access in these events, I used precise, daily-level data on thousands of protests that occurred in the 36 states and Union Territories of India in 2016, as well as data tracking the location, timing and duration of shutdowns from a variety of cross-referenced news sources and civil society groups.

"The results were striking: Under a blackout, each successive day of protest had more violence than would typically happen as a protest unfolded with continued internet access. Meanwhile, the effects of shutdowns on peaceful demonstrations, which are usually more likely to rely on careful coordination through digital channels, were ambiguous and inconsistent. In no scenario were blackouts consistently linked to reduced levels of protest over the course of several days. Instead of curtailing protest, they seemed to encourage a tactical shift to strategies that are less orderly, more chaotic, and more violent.

"Recent events only seem to confirm these dynamics. The regimes of Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria and Omar al-Bashir in Sudan both resorted to shutdowns before imploding. The drastic measures did nothing to rein in the protests in either country. Instead, shutting off internet access may have accelerated their downfalls.

"Even if shutdowns are ineffective, they can be tempting for governments that need to be seen taking action. Vague and often antiquated laws let them implement drastic measures like shutdowns easily and quickly, with a written order or even a simple phone call. But ... [t]he evidence shows that this takes a heavy toll on their citizens, both economically and in terms of human rights, without offering them any additional protection or safety."

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Canandaigua GOP vice-chair joins Libertarians

Political Roundup: Is Ontario County red, blue or Libertarian gold? - News - MPNnow - Canandaigua, NY - Julie Sherwood, Canandaigua Daily Messenger:

September 26, 2019 - "Eric Cooper, vice chairman of the city of Canandaigua Republican Party, has left the GOP to join the Libertarian Party. The announcement during a press conference last Saturday drew a number of county Libertarian Party officials as well as notables Larry Sharpe, Libertarian candidate for New York governor in 2018, and Andrew Hollister, 2018 Libertarian candidate for New York lieutenant governor.

“'Anybody who has lived in New York for a number of years will tell you the pessimism that regular people feel is incredible. It shouldn’t be that way,' said Cooper from the steps of the Ontario County Courthouse. 'The Republican Party and the Democratic Party have been complicit in the deterioration of New York state for a long time. The Libertarian Party is the only one that has real choices, options, and the principle to get things done. I’m happy to change my party to the Libertarian Party. It’s exciting for me to join the people working so hard to make these changes. I think it’s inevitable that something good happens in New York state.'

"The Libertarian Party of New York gained ballot access last November when Sharpe made history by tallying 90,739 votes in his bid for governor — surpassing the 50,000-vote threshold to secure the Libertarian line on the ballot in New York for the next four years. The result: Pursuit of serious Libertarian candidates to challenge ... the two-party system, and to gain members.... Sharpe spoke at other events in upstate New York last weekend, where several candidates announced their switch to Libertarian....

“'People often ask why in the world would I still be coming to towns and villages across upstate New York when I’m no longer running for anything,' said Sharpe, a Marine Corps veteran and native of New York. 'I’m doing this because I want to change this state. This state has so much potential. Think of New York state like a business. If I’m running a business and I’m losing over 100,000 customers every single year for nine years in a row, I’m doing something wrong. There’s something wrong with how they’re running New York state. Last year, I covered every single county in New York state. I found a lot of Democrats and Republicans who believed what I was saying, but they were afraid to leave their party and join the effort. I want to be sure New Yorkers know there are other people out here who are bravely leading the way.'

"On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation making it easier to change party enrollment ahead of a primary election.... Voters now have until Feb. 14 to make changes to party enrollment and still vote in the April presidential and June congressional and state primaries."

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Scott runs for Libertarians in Sherwood Park AB

Federal election kicks off | Sherwood Park News - Lindsay Morey:

September 12, 2019 - "All MP seats are officially up for grabs across all of Canada’s 338 electoral districts and that includes ... the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan constituency.

"Come October 21, voters should expect the following candidates on the ballot; incumbent Conservative MP Garnett Genuis, Joe Pound (Green Party), Preston Scott (Libertarian), Aidan Theroux (NDP), and Darren Villetard (People’s Party of Canada).... [A]  local Liberal .. candidate was not yet confirmed ....

"Along with his wife and daughter, Libertarian candidate Preston Scott has lived in Sherwood Park since 2014, when he relocated from Red Deer to expand the security company he was working for across the Edmonton area. Since 2017, he works as a branch office manager for a staffing agency and he has seen first-hand the struggles of workers getting back into the workforce with the downturn in the economy. He landed on the Libertarian Party after being turned off by Stephen Harper-style bully politics and not favouring “horror stories” of how Pierre Trudeau treated Alberta back in his parent’s time, he couldn’t align with Liberals.

“'No taxes, less government, free markets, and more liberty for the people to have the freedom to do what they want rather than having a government babysit them is more in line with what I believe in,' Scott explained.

"He acknowledges he doesn’t have much political experience other than running for student council in junior high, but he believes being a common, everyday person offers a candidate that’s more relatable for voters.

“'Don’t vote for the party, vote for the candidate that aligns with your views the most… Vote for someone you can relate to. People don’t find politics as sexy as it used to be,' Scott said. 'There are a lot of undecided people out there, so to those people, why don’t you give the Libertarian Party a chance? People who are tired of the rinse and repeat with the Liberals and Conservatives, why not give the Libertarian Party a chance to prove what they can do? People I’ve spoken to are tired of politicians, they want somebody they can relate to, someone who they can understand and speak to on a level playing field and know their voices are being heard.'”

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cannabis use, cultivation legalized in Canberra

Canberra becomes the first city in Australia to legalize marijuana - CNN - Julia Hollingsworth:

September 25, 2019 - "The Australian capital Canberra will become the country's first city to legalize marijuana following a landmark vote Tuesday night. Lawmakers in the Australian Capital Territory voted to pass a bill allowing people aged 18 or over to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. The new law is set to come into effect from January 31, 2020, state broadcaster ABC reported.

"Under the new regulations, residents in the territory -- which is home to the capital -- will be able to legally possess up to 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of marijuana and cultivate up to two plants per person, or four per household. The change makes the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) the first of Australia's six states and two main territories to legalize marijuana for personal use....

"According to the Australian government, marijuana is the country's most widely-used illicit drug. In the 2017-2018 financial year, there were over 72,000 cannabis-related arrests made in Australia -- and 92% of those arrested were consumers.

"ACT's new law conflicts with national drug laws enacted by Australia's Parliament which prohibit the possession of marijuana. According to the ABC, it could be possible for those laws to overrule ACT's new law.... In 2013, the ACT legalized same-sex marriage -- but it was struck down by a decision by Australia's highest court, which ruled that the ACT legislation was inconsistent with the national law.

"But attitudes are changing. In 2016, the Australian Parliament passed an amendment allowing marijuana to be legally grown for medical and scientific purposes for the first time in Australia.

"In neighboring New Zealand, possessing marijuana for personal use is still illegal, although the country is set to hold a referendum on legalizing it next year. If New Zealand does legalize marijuana, it will be only the third country in the world after Uruguay and Canada to do so. Nine states in the United States and the District of Columbia also allow recreational marijuana use, and the drug has been decriminalized in many parts of Europe."

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Rob Ferguson withdraws from federal election

Libertarian candidate withdraws from federal election | Brantford Expositor - Vincent Ball:

September 24, 2019 - "Libertarian Rob Ferguson is withdrawing as a candidate in Brantford-Brant for the Oct. 21 federal election. Ferguson, 44, cited health reasons in announcing his withdrawal Tuesday.

"'I have to put my health first,' he said. 'I had a massive heart attack after the last federal election (in 2015) and recently I was starting to feel fatigued and seeing some of the signs of ill health. I spoke with my family and my physician and we all agreed that it’s probably best that we sit this one out.'

"He said running for office is stressful because candidates must knock on a lot of doors, attend all-candidates meetings and be prepared for questions from voters.

"'I’m thankful for the support I have had over the years from the public groups and the inclusion of Libertarians here in Brant surpasses any riding across the county,' ... Ferguson said. 'Once my health is better I plan to return to fight for the cause.

“'The riding of Brantford-Brant has been good to me as a candidate.'

"The Brantford resident received 515 votes in the 2015 federal election. He has also run municipally and provincially and has served as interim leader and deputy leader for the Ontario Libertarian Party."

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Mayoral candidates in CT & NY join Libertarians

Hartford mayoral candidate Aaron Lewis changes party affiliation from Democrat to Libertarian - Hartford Courant - Rebecca Lurye:

September 18, 2019 - "Aaron Lewis, a candidate for Hartford mayor, is changing his party affiliation from Democratic to Libertarian, he announced this week. The publisher and ghostwriter said that historically, 'the Democratic Party has posed itself as the party for African Americans and minorities throughout the United States.' 'After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that is untrue and that the loyalty that people of color [have] had to the party has been counterproductive,' Lewis said Tuesday.

"Lewis is the founder and director of The Scribe’s Institute, a literacy organization, and president and CEO of The Scribe’s Ink, a ghostwriting service. He said he was primarily driven to leave the Democratic Party by the state of Hartford Public Schools, which lag far behind the state but also trail Connecticut’s other urban districts.... Democrats, in leadership in Hartford since 1971, are responsible for the city’s educational failures, Lewis said....

"Lewis was unsuccessful in gathering enough signatures to participate in the Democratic primary earlier this month.... However, Lewis did collect enough signatures to participate in the Nov. 5 general election."
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Liuzzo Joins Libertarian Party - WFRA 107.9:

September 23, 2019 - "Jamestown City Councilman At Large and 2019 mayoral candidate Andrew Liuzzo has left the Republican Party to join the Libertarian Party. The announcement was made during a press conference Sunday morning with county Libertarian party officials present, along with an appearance by Larry Sharpe, 2018 Libertarian candidate for New York Governor....

"Liuzzo was elected to the city council during the 2017 election when he ran as a Republican candidate. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican Party’s endorsement for mayor earlier this year [but] after losing the primary he accepted the Libertarian party’s nomination to run as mayor under their party line on the ballot. This is the first year where a local election will feature the Libertarian Line on the ballot. The addition comes after Sharpe received at least 50,000 votes during his failed run for governor in 2018.....

"'I am grateful that the Libertarian Party recognized me as an individual that cares about the residents and holding our elected officials accountable,' Liuzzo added. 'Because of their support, I can now represent all parties and all people that want to work hard to restore a community that is one city.'”
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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Frank Meyer's "fusionism"

Just Don’t Call it Fusionism - Ben Lewis, Austro-Libertarian Magazine:

August 15, 2019 - "Frank Meyer ... a prominent figure in postwar American conservatism, is best known for his attempted 'fusion' of traditionalist conservatism and libertarianism. Even today, Meyer’s name is nearly synonymous with 'fusionism.' But ... the term most commonly associated with Meyer was not his creation, but rather came as something of a pejorative from his colleague and critic, L. Brent Bozell.... Meyer ... disavowed the fusionist label, saying that he was not attempting to fuse two disparate elements together, but was simply attempting to show that 'although they are sometimes presented as mutually incompatible, [they] can in reality be united within a single broad conservative political theory, since they have their roots in a common tradition and are arrayed against a common enemy'....

"[F]ollowing World War II, conservatism was as much a gathering place of opposition to contemporary political and social trends as it was a coherent movement. Two strains of this opposition, however, quickly took form: libertarianism and traditionalism. The libertarians deplored the growth of the state and the collectivization of individuals that was so common in Progressive, socialist and totalitarian societies. The traditionalists, no less concerned about the growth of the state, lamented more the obliteration of traditional society and its methods of communicating enduring values. As these two lines of thought developed, their differences of emphasis led to a tension over which was the true conservatism and the true enemy of liberalism....

"It was this tension to which Meyer devoted much of his writing.... Can the traditionalist emphasis on the attributes of a healthy society – virtue, duty and a rootedness in tradition – be combined with political philosophy that emphasizes the freedom of the individual? For Meyer, the question was not can these emphases be combined, but how they can. His answer began with understanding the proper relationship of the individual to society.

"Meyer believed that 'society is not a real entity'....  What this statement means is not that society as a framework of interrelating individuals, associations, and institutions does not exist, but that it does not exist as an actual entity that can be considered in the same manner as an individual.... 'Society and the state were made for individual men,' he wrote, 'not men for them'....  To Meyer, society is comprised of and made for individuals. It owes its existence to them, and they are its end. All social activity is oriented, fundamentally, towards the individual. Echoing Ludwig von Mises, he concluded, 'Truth has meaning only for persons; beauty illumines the consciousness only of persons; virtue can be pursued only by persons'....

"Meyer was no less concerned about the development of personal and social virtue than were the traditionalists, but he believed that ... virtuous actions could not be truly virtuous if they were not freely chosen.... 'Men cannot be forced to be … virtuous. To a certain extent, it is true, they can be forced to act as though they were virtuous. But virtue is the fruit of well-used freedom. And no act to the degree that it is coerced can partake of virtue – or vice'....

"Meyer’s position on coercion and virtue appears mostly correct, although with some clarification. As Meyer said, it seems that all coercion can do is cause people to act virtuously, not to actually be virtuous.... But the mere appearance of virtue is not the aim of the good society, rather it is actual virtue instilled in the thoughts and voluntary behavior of men.... Whatever the case, even those who have historically accepted a role for the state in the enforcement of virtue must by now admit the truth of Meyer’s statement that, 'If the state is endowed with the power to enforce virtue, the men who hold that power will enforce their own concepts as virtuous'....

"[Murray] Rothbard placed Meyer squarely in the libertarian camp, pointing out that Meyer’s case for the necessity of voluntary choice in the pursuit of virtue not only didn’t clash with the libertarian prohibition of the initiation of force, but was perfectly compatible with it. To Rothbard, Meyer’s appreciation for community and tradition, for the necessary traits of a virtuous society, were not deviations from libertarianism, but were healthy components of the holistic worldview of a thinker who took both political theory and culture seriously.

"Meyer could, perhaps, have made his arguments more appealing to traditionalists by expounding how the moral order could enforce standards of virtue.... Even so, his case against the state performing this task [was] well-argued. In a modern political society, rife with centralization, there is nothing more dangerous to virtue than for its proper defenders to relinquish their duties to the state."

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

'Fake news' section of Elections Act challenged

Canadian Constitution Foundation launches constitutional challenge against elections censorship law - Canadian Constitution Foundation:

September 18, 2019 - "On Monday Sept 16th, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) served documents on the Attorneys General of Canada and Ontario challenging the constitutionality of section 91 of the Canada Elections Act (CEA), which prohibits certain types of 'false statements' during a federal election period. This provision allows the government to censor what it considers to be 'fake news'.

"The CCF is deeply concerned about the harm that this law has on freedom of expression in Canada, particularly the freedom to engage in political speech, as guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 91 of the CEA violates the right of Canadians to express their political views freely, particularly during an election period, without fear of reprisal....

"These provisions, which were recently amended, make it an offence to attempt to influence an election by making or publishing certain types of 'false' statements about political candidates and other public figures during the election period. The prohibition leaves important words like “false”, “public figure”, and “associated with” undefined. Further, the state need not prove knowledge of falsity: a person or entity who made or published an allegedly 'false' statement, such as by posting or re-posting a comment on social media, can be prosecuted even if they honestly believed the statement to be true, and even if there was a reasonable basis for this belief....

"Violating this law carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and five years in prison. As a result, the law forces Canadians into an unacceptable choice: they can soft-peddle their expression or self-censor their views in an attempt to avoid saying anything that the state may deem to be “false”, or they can exercise their right to express themselves and risk prosecution and severe punishment. Too many Canadians will choose the former. This chilling effect will lead to a muted social and political discourse and, in turn, serve only to undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the democratic election process.

"Inevitably, false information is, intentionally or not, disseminated during an election. The constitutionally permissible response to this inevitability is not to sanction speech, but to promote media and information literacy and foster open discourse so that Canadians can make up their own minds about what to believe and who to vote for. Censoring and punishing free speech is not a constitutionally acceptable solution in a free and democratic society....

"CCF Executive Director, Joanna Baron, stated... 'To take just one example, Canadians may disagree about whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau obstructed justice in his handling of the SNC-Lavalin prosecution. But the Charter gives every Canadian the right to allege that he committed that crime without fear of punishment. That’s why the government’s attempt to criminalize "fake news" must be declared unconstitutional.'"

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Friday, September 20, 2019

18 Libertarians cut from ballot in Erie co. NY

Erie County Libertarians knocked off ballot after nomination certificates invalidated | WBFO - Tom Dinki::

September 19, 2019 - "Libertarians finally gained automatic ballot access in New York state last year, but you won’t see any Libertarians on the ballot for Erie County races this November. The Erie County Board of Elections invalidated the entire party line’s certificates of nomination earlier this month, saying there were deficiencies on the forms that violate state election law.

"Four of the 18 would-be Libertarian nominees challenged the Board of Elections in a validation proceeding Wednesday, but state Supreme Court Justice Frank A. Sedita III upheld the decision, saying the Board of Elections simply followed state election law.

"Erie County Libertarian Party Chairman Duane Whitmer told WBFO the deficiencies were technicalities that should have not been held against the party. He alleged Erie County Democrats and Republicans conspired to knock Libertarians off the ballot.

“'This is an example of the two parties coming together and suppressing the third parties,' he said after Wednesday’s court proceeding. 'They have the time and resources. The (elections) commissioners are paid $120,000 a year in taxpayer funds to make sure that third parties can’t compete.' Whitmer specifically accuses Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner, who’s faced renewed criticism in recent months for also serving as chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee....

"Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr said Libertarians met most of the requirements under state election law 6-128, which deals with new party’s certificates of nomination, but did not meet two of what he called the most important requirements: a certified copy of the party’s rules and sworn affidavits from party officials.

"Mohr previously met with Libertarian Party officials to show them what was wrong with their certificates, and even gave them a copy of a correct certificate to follow. However, he said the forms were still not valid when the party submitted them a second time. The deadline to submit validated certificates of nomination was Sept. 3....

"Many of the 18 would-be Libertarian nominees are already cross-endorsed by the Republican Party, like county executive candidate Lynne Dixon, but some ... were counting on their Libertarian nomination to get on the ballot. The Libertarian Party of New York State gained automatic ballot status after Libertarian Larry Sharpe earned more than the required 50,000 votes in last fall’s gubernatorial race."

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bernier makes it into leaders' debates

Maxime Bernier invited to participate in official commission debates | CBC News - Aaron Wherry:

September 16, 2019 - "The official Leaders' Debates Commission has decided to invite Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, to participate in the English and French debates that will be televised next month. 'You have satisfied me that you intend to field candidates in 90 per cent of ridings and, based on recent political context, public opinion polls and previous general election results, I consider that more than one candidate of your party has a legitimate chance to be elected,' David Johnston, the former governor general who leads the commission, wrote to Bernier on Monday.

"Bernier was not initially included among the leaders invited to participate in the debates. Instead, he was asked to provide more information as the commission considered his case.

"'Canadians will be able to see all the options before voting the 21st of October. And it is important,' Bernier told supporters at a meeting in Saint John, N.B. 'I must say to Mr. Johnston that he took the right decision for the future of our country....'

"'I think it's wrong to give Mr. Bernier the platform to spread his hateful and divisive message," NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said during a campaign stop in Montreal....

"'It's no big surprise that Justin Trudeau's hand-picked debate panel used a Liberal-friendly pollster who attacks Andrew Scheer to ultimately justify Mr. Bernier's attendance at the debate,' said Daniel Schow, press secretary to the Conservative leader — apparently referring to Frank Graves of Ekos....

"The commission was charged with considering three criteria as it decided on a final list of debate participants: whether a party is represented in the House of Commons by an MP who was elected as a member of that party; whether a party is planning to run candidates in at least 90 per cent of ridings; and whether a party has a "legitimate chance" of electing more than one MP. To be included in the debates, a party must satisfy at least two of those criteria.

"Bernier and the People's Party have nominated candidates for more than 90 per cent of the country's 338 ridings, but the party has not yet elected an MP under its banner (Bernier was elected as a Conservative MP in 2015). That left the commission to decide whether the People's Party had a 'legitimate chance' of electing multiple MPs this fall....

"In addition to Bernier's riding of Beauce, the commission reviewed opinion polling results for the Ontario ridings of Nipissing-Timiskaming, Etobicoke North and Pickering-Uxbridge, and the Manitoba riding of Charleswood-St.-James-Assiniboia-Headingley. The results of those riding-level polls, conducted for the commission by Ekos, showed that between 24.5 per cent and 34.1 per cent of respondents said it was 'possible' that they would vote for the People's Party candidate."

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Ukraine gov't plans 'economic revolution'

Ukraine’s libertarian revolution - Atlantic Council - James Brooke:

September 10, 2019 - "Kyiv is ground zero for the most significant economic revolution in the region today. In a libertarian reshaping of Ukraine’s post-Soviet system, the new government plans to approve the largest farm land market in Europe, the biggest post-Soviet privatization fire sale in a generation, and the opening of roads, railroads, ports, airports, oil and gas to private investment. Casino gambling and amber mining are to be legalized. Foreign exchange controls are to be lifted. Labor laws are to be liberalized.

"In a whirlwind of legislative activity reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s First 100 Days, Ukraine’s new government is creating opportunities for billions of dollars of foreign and national investment in the 2020s. In a move bound to unleash years of pent up investment, the central bank promises to cut interest rates in half by the end of next year. Putting small government in practice, Ukraine’s new Prime Minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk last week cut the number of ministries by one third — from 25 to 17....

"Volodymyr Zelenskyy won an open, multiparty presidential race, emerging with ... 73 percent of the final presidential vote in April. Three months later, in parliamentary elections, he won a clear majority — 60 percent of Rada seats. In late August, Zelenskyy’s trust rating was 70 percent, according to a survey by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. On the campaign trail, Zelenskyy was short on promises and short on interviews. Voters elected a black box. Last week, he jumped out of that box and proved to be a 41-year-old libertarian.

"Part of the shakeup is a generational turnover. The post-post-Soviet generation now run Ukraine. With the youngest cabinet in Europe, average age 39, Ukraine’s cabinet members order their food online, order their taxis online, order their vacations online, and pay in stores with contactless bank cards. Faster adapters to new technology, Ukrainians bought 56 percent of their railroad tickets online this summer....

"Creating the 'state in the smartphone,' is the task of Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s new deputy prime minister and minister for digital transformation. At 28, he shares the title of Europe’s youngest minister with Virginius Sinkevicius, Lithuania’s economy minister. Encapsulating Kyiv’s ambitious plans to create Estonia-style e-citizenship, Fedorov tells the Kyiv Post: 'Eventually, people will stop noticing the government. They’ll be using it like they use Uber or — only when they need it.'

"Press reactions range from ho hum to skeptical to hostile. 'Vulgar libertarianism,' sniped one Kyiv economist. Traditional political scientists, trained to identify a revolution as a worker-peasant alliance taking over the telegraph office, do not see anything special going on. Many Ukrainian free marketers are sulking in the sidelines because they misread the Zelenskyy movement last spring. But with the government’s goals and deadlines clearly set, the prime minister reports that more and more Maidan-era talent are signing up to help."

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

People's Party loses a candidate

B.C. candidate expelled from PPC asks Maxime Bernier to denounce racism |

September 11, 2019 - "Brian Misera was the PPC candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam until Wednesday, when he received an email explaining that his status as an approved candidate has been revoked. His name no longer appears on the party’s website, which no longer links to his Twitter and Facebook profiles.

"Misera tells Global News the email came as a shock, and believes it was sent after he called out Bernier and the party for not disavowing the support of racists and far-right groups. He says he sent an email to Bernier directly, asking him to 'please do more to help us disassociate from far-right groups that really have no place in our society.' 'I wanted him to do more to make it very, very clear that we don’t represent them, we don’t want their support,” he said.

"Soon afterwards, he says he received the email from the party, which Misera shared with Global News. 'You will not be allowed to participate further in the electoral process as the PPC Candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam,' the email reads. 'We hope you will continue to support the People’s Party of Canada.'

"Misera, who has a business degree from Simon Fraser University, says he ... supported Bernier’s platform and ideas.... But he says he regularly heard from people on the campaign trail who called him a 'Nazi' and 'racist' when they found out he was a PPC candidate. He received similar comments after becoming more active on social media, posting videos of his time meeting with voters. He became further troubled after seeing people with ties to far-right groups and ideologies either express support for the party or become members themselves, to which commenters also alerted him....

"After following up on the comments and doing his own research, Misera said he wanted to ensure the party he was running for didn’t support people with views to which he says he’s very much opposed....

"In an email to Global News, PPC executive director Johanne Mennie said Misera’s candidacy was revoked after he admitted to acting as his own financial agent, a violation of Elections Canada rules. Misera says that’s not true, arguing he doesn’t have any team at all to help him collect donations.... Further questions to the PPC, including why those issues weren’t addressed before Misera was acclaimed as the candidate for the riding, have not been answered. The party has also not responded to whether Bernier received a message from Misera, or if the party leader has a response to Misera’s criticisms.

"[I]n Edmonton in July ... Bernier said people who don’t share the PPC’s values aren’t welcome. 'People who are racist and anti-Semitic, they’re not welcome in our party,' he said. Also in July, five Winnipeg PPC members left the party over allegations the federal party is harbouring racists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists."

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Monday, September 16, 2019

BC Libertarian welcomes PPC competition

Burnaby Libertarian sees Bernier's People's Party as allies, not a threat | Burnaby Now - Dustin Godfrey:

September 15, 2019 - "New Westminster-Burnaby’s Libertarian Party candidate says there are no existential questions for his party with a competing libertarian-leaning brand with broad coverage in the upcoming election. Neeraj Murarka, New West's B.C. Libertarian Party candidate 2017 and B.C. director of the federal Libertarian Party, is replacing Rex Brocki in New West-Burnaby, with Brocki set to run up against NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby South under the Libertarian banner.

"Brocki tallied 2.6 per cent of the vote in New West-Burnaby in 2015, which Murarka admitted will be a challenge to meet.... His own name recognition won’t be the only challenge to the Libertarians in New West-Burnaby, though. The People’s Party of Canada, run by former Conservative Party leadership contender Maxime Bernier, has received significant press coverage in the year since its September 2018 formation. That’s particularly true, given the PPC hasn’t even breached the five per cent mark in either CBC’s poll tracker or fellow poll aggregate 338Canada since the party’s creation.

"That name recognition could steal what little sway the Libertarians wield. But although the Libertarians considered a merger with the PPC last year, Murarka said the party doesn’t have any question about where it stands with a competing libertarian brand in the mix.

"Murarka called the People’s Party a more 'practical' rendition of his own party. Where the PPC could conceivably snag a seat or two in October, Murarka sees his party as the more principled libertarian brand. 'They’re basically doing whatever is necessary to get into office,' Murarka said.

"While he said the PPC concedes parts of a libertarian platform to get into office, Murarka says the party could push libertarian ideals into the mainstream.... 'If they manage to disrupt things, just manage to get a seat, I would be, honestly, very happy,' Murarka said. I don’t see them as the enemy; I’m not going to vote for them because I’m running, myself. But I think that both of our parties are kind of on the same level'....

"Murarka said his main issue this election is getting more voter involvement in the choices of government – more referendums and more decentralized control of Parliament. 'I want ,,, the voters to get to make those decisions, whether it relates to taxes, foreign policy, foreign intervention, military, spending, welfare – all those things.'”

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Five rap beats for liberty

Five Hip Hop Beats For Reppin Liberty in Your Hood - Caleb Shumate, Libertarian Republic:

August 20, 2019 - Are you an OG libertarian who loves rap music and hates government overreach? If so, here are five tunes with a message that anyone who reps liberty can enjoy.

1. "The Ancap Rap Part 1" by Eric July. This freestyle rap over the beat to 'You Should Know' by the frontman of the libertarian rap/metal band BackWordz hits all the main issues libertarians care about in four-and-a-half minutes. From the out-of-control national debt to government extortion through taxation, July ... hits on how both major parties are warmongers that exploit their constituents through pandering to gain power and then turn their backs on the same people who put them in office....

2. "F[*]ck the Police" by N.W.A. This classic protest anthem against police brutality speaks on everything from abuse of power by the police department to racial profiling..... The song resulted in N.W.A. being put on the FBI watch list and their album 'Straight Outta Compton' being banned from airplay by some radio stations.

3. "Changes" by 2Pac. This tune is a deep one, covering a wide range of issues which are important to those of us who care about personal liberty – from the broken communities created by the Welfare State to the federal government’s war on drugs. He speaks on America’s terrible foreign policy while the black community hurts. He also speaks on the need for prison reform and how “We the People” need to learn to practice a little more love and understanding when dealing with each other....

4. "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West ... talks about people struggling day to day in the ghetto, trying to survive their own hell from personal struggles to the problems facing the community at large created by bad economic policy.... Mr. West talks about how Jesus loves everyone no matter who they are and where they come from. He even takes a stab at media censorship, talking about how his record won’t get played in the mainstream for mentioning Jesus.

5. "Good Cop, Bad Cop" by Ice Cube. Much like 'F[*]ck the Police' by N.W.A., this bagging beat shines a spotlight on police brutality and the wrongful incarceration of citizens by corrupted law enforcement. Ice Cube explained in an interview with Bill Maher that his song was not anti-police, but instead was an appeal to ... turn in the bad cops who are causing his community to hate the police....

"All these jams address problems that lovers of liberty care about in a raw and uncensored way that only hip hop can. This alone should command the attention of anyone who wants freedom to reign in their hood."

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mark Sanford enters GOP primary race

Mark Sanford 2020: Former Congressman Says Running Against Trump - Bloomberg - Hailey Waller:

September 8, 2019 - "Mark Sanford said he’s running for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination against President Donald Trump.... Sanford joins former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and syndicated talk show host and former one-term Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh in challenging Trump at a time some states are poised to cancel their Republican primaries altogether.

"The former U.S. representative from South Carolina made the announcement on “Fox News Sunday,” calling for 'an earnest and real conversation on debt and deficits and government spending'....

"Sanford, 59, finished his second term as South Carolina governor under a cloud after the revelation of an extramarital affair -- something Trump has reminded him of at campaign rallies and in Twitter messages. Sanford disappeared for days in 2009, supposedly to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail, but was instead in Argentina with a girlfriend....

"Asked how his clouded personal history might affect his primary bid, Sanford said he’s atoned for his past actions. 'In contrast to the president, where he says there’s not a single thing that he regrets or apologizes for, I profoundly apologized for that,' he said.... Asked whether his bid to take the Republican nomination from Trump is personal, given the president’s comments about him, Sanford said, “It’s not personal, but it’s indicative of the way the president makes too many things personal'....

“'The world of Trump is personal loyalty,' Sanford said. 'I believe as the Republican party our loyalty should be to ideas and ideals.'

"Trump’s popularity among Republican voters remains high in polls, typically between 80% and 90%. His challengers argue that if presented with a choice, at least some GOP supporters would back away. Trump has termed his challengers the 'Three Stooges' and said of Sanford: 'One is "Mr. Appalachian Trail" who was actually in Argentina for bad reasons.'

"Republican leaders in Sanford’s home state voted on Saturday to skip a presidential primary in 2020, CNN reported. That would allow Trump to capture all of the state’s delegates without competition. Other states, including Nevada, Arizona and Kansas, are considering similar actions."

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Minnesota LP launches 1st ballot-access suit

Libertarian Party in court for easier path to Minnesota ballot -

September 12, 2019 - "Minnesota’s Libertarian Party wants to make it easier for third-party candidates to get on state general election ballots, launching the first in an expected series of lawsuits taking aim at laws restricting minor-party ballot access.

"The Libertarian Party, one of three recognized minor parties in the state, is first setting its sights on statutes that govern how minor-party candidates petition to get on the ballot.

"Under state law, minor-party candidates must collect 500 signatures for state legislative races and 2,000 signatures for statewide offices. Signatures must be collected during a 14-day period in late May. Those who sign the petitions for Libertarian general election candidates must swear not to vote in the primaries for those offices. Violators can be prosecuted for perjury, something Libertarian Party leaders allege has created confusion and chilled support from would-be signatories in the past.

“'Primary voters should not be excluded from the primary election process just because they saw fit to provide all voters a greater choice of candidates than the major parties provide,' wrote Erick Kaardal, a former Minnesota GOP official representing the Libertarian Party in the litigation. The first suit, filed last month, names the county attorneys in Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey counties.... The officials have yet to file formal responses in court.

"A separate lawsuit is expected to challenge the state’s 14-day window for collecting signatures.

"Bipartisan legislation introduced last session in the Minnesota House and Senate sought to change the thresholds for major-party designation and make changes to the minor-party petitioning requirements. Those provisions did not receive a hearing. Chris Holbrook, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, said the party is instead going to court to change the laws.

“'We believe it is unconstitutional because it limits your First Amendment right to free speech,' he said.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ferguson running for LP of Canada in Brantford

Candidates off and running! | Brantford Expositor - Vincent Ball:

September 11, 2019 - "Voters in Brantford-Brant will have plenty of choice when they cast their ballots on Oct. 21. With the official start of the federal election campaign on Wednesday, there are five candidates so far challenging incumbent Conservative Phil McColeman.... Sabrina Sawyer, of the New Democrats, Danielle Takacs, of the Liberal Party, Bob Jonkman, of the Green Party, Dave Wrobel of the People’s Party of Canada and Rob Ferguson, of the Libertarian Party....

"Ferguson has run unsuccessfully at the municipal level, as well as provincially and federally. He said he intends to talk a lot about leadership during the campaign.

“'When I look at the leaders of all the other parties, I see a sad state of affairs,' said Ferguson, who is the Ontario Libertarian Party leader. 'I don’t think any of them have earned the trust of Canadians. We’re offering Canadians something different, a different platform and clearly Tim Moen, our leader, is the only one to lead our country.'

"Nationally, the Libertarian Party has been hurt by the emergence of the People’s Party of Canada, Ferguson said. But he noted that the Libertarian Party has been around for a long time and is not a populist movement."

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Cannabis legalization bill introduced in Mexico

Mexican Senator Files Marijuana Legalization Bill Ahead Of Supreme Court Deadline | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

September 3, 2019 - A Mexican senator introduced a bill to legalize marijuana on Tuesday ... just one month before a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to end prohibition. Sen. Julio Menchaca Salazar of the government’s ruling MORENA party filed the legislation, which would provide for the legal possession, cultivation and consumption of cannabis for personal use by adults.

"The legislation would amend two sections of Mexico’s federal drug laws and includes provisions concerning medical cannabis and the use of hemp in textiles, according to a press release.

"During a floor speech, Salazar, who is the head of the Senate Justice Committee, argued that prohibition has only played into the hands of criminal enterprises. He also pointed to state-legal marijuana markets in the U.S. as examples of effective regulatory schemes....

"The bill’s introduction comes a week after the Senate announced a new series of events meant to foster dialogue about the objectives and challenges of implementing a legal cannabis market. That includes a panel that will be led by a former Obama White House drug czar who once said that the word 'legalization' is not even in his vocabulary....

"While talk of legalization has been ongoing in Mexico, efforts to create and pass reform legislation have increased since the country’s Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the ban on personal use and cultivation of cannabis is unconstitutional. Salazar said in April that lawmakers would be working on legalization legislation over the summer recess.

"President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration also backs legalization."

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

News: Police don't shut down a lemonade stand

Cops called to shut down children's lemonade stand buy drinks instead | Lifestyle from CTV News - Jackie Dunham:

August 29, 2019 - "A pair of New York police officers is earning praise after they were called to shut down a neighbourhood lemonade stand.... Whitney Glover said her two children and a few other kids in her neighbourhood of Newburgh, located 107 kilometres north of New York City, decided to set up a roadside lemonade stand during rush hour on Monday evening.

“'We were probably out there for an hour and a half when I noticed the cop car pull up,' Glover told local station News 12 Westchester on Wednesday. It seemed someone in the neighbourhood had called the police about the children’s lemonade stand. However, when Officers Clayton Dubois and Thomas O’Connell of the Town of Newburgh Police Department approached the group, Glover said they received an unexpected greeting from them.

“'His first words were, "Can you believe someone called the cops on kids selling lemonade?"' she recalled. The two police officers then proceeded to buy some lemonade and pose for a photo with the children, which Glover posted on Facebook....

"Since Glover posted the photo of the police with the children on Facebook, she said dozens of customers have stopped by for lemonade and the children ... made hundreds of dollars in only three days."

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Gene Balfour declares for Ontario LP leadership

by Gene Balfour

'Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results' is the definition of insanity - Albert Einstein 

I have been a libertarian candidate in six elections (2 by-elections) and have never attained more than 1.36% of the popular vote. Until December of last year, I planned to run my seventh for the Libertarian Party of Canada.

Today, I am one of 312 candidates for the People’s Party of Canada in the federal election. I have also registered for the November 2nd election for Leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party. I have been enormously inspired by the accomplishments of Maxime Bernier and the book Right Here, Right Now by Stephen Harper.

Max is a “minarchist” (Less Government) Libertarian like me. I am aligned with his policies and can confidently speak to the public about them. I see no conflict in being a Libertarian and running for the PPC.

Last month, I attended the first People’s Party of Canada Convention which hosted nearly 500 candidates and their riding association executives from across Canada. This event was superbly organized! The election training and workshops were excellent. The speakers were fabulous. Max’s closing speech was historic! He delivered it with such skill and passion that I got goosebumps. Every person I met  at the Convention was positive and energized to succeed. Max has convinced me that he is the best choice for Prime Minister of Canada by far.

So, why am I writing about my personal experience with the PPC and Max?

Speaking as an OLP member since 2007, I know clearly now what kind of leader I wish to follow going into the next provincial election. My wish list is a tall one, but I like the advice of Norman Vincent Peale: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”

I want the next OLP Leader to inspire me to reach beyond my own limits in an effort to bring Libertarian principles and values to the residents of Ontario.

This Leader must:
  • Lead by example - to demonstrate consistently that he or she has thoroughly  embraced our Libertarian Constitution and ByLaws,  and is committed to interact with every one of our OPM Members and the public in accordance with them. 
  • Unite  all OLP members under a political platform of ideas that will inspire a commitment to Party goals. It is urgent that we put aside our differences and approach the next election in solidarity as ‘one voice’. 
  • Inspire others to join the OLP Executive and Ethics Committees. Vitally important is the need for the Leader and Executive Committee Chairman to work closely and effectively in order to achieve consistent and steady progress towards preparing the OLP for its best ever showing in 2022.
  • Build a large and engaged Membership community. To this end, the OLP Leader must become a recognized public figure. This means being publicly visible, attracting media attention, Internet followers and crowds of people at regular public events. 
  • Become an expert fundraiser and magnet for volunteers. Every election campaign is constrained by funding and help. We can change this.
As of this writing, our Convention delegates will have 4 choices for Party Leadership as presented by Rob Ferguson, Keith Komar, me and NOTA (‘none-of-the-above’ has always been a valid option for electing OLP Party Officers).

May the words of Norman Vincent Peale guide your choice. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The most effective way to combat climate change

Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees | CBC News: - Associcated Press:

July 5, 2019 - "The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a trillion of them, maybe more, according to a new study. Swiss scientists ... say that even with existing cities and farmland, there's enough space for new trees to cover nine million square kilometres, roughly the size of the United States. Their report is in Thursday's edition of the journal Science.

"The study calculated that over the decades, those new trees could suck up nearly 750 billion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the past 25 years. Much of that benefit will come quickly because trees remove more carbon from the air when they are younger, the study authors said. The potential for removing the most carbon is in the tropics.

"'This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution' and the most effective, said study co-author Thomas Crowther, a climate change ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.... Before his research, Crowther figured there were other more effective ways to fight climate change besides cutting emissions, such as people switching from eating meat to vegetarianism. But, he said, tree planting is far more effective because trees take so much carbon dioxide out of the air.

"Thomas Lovejoy, a conservation biologist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., who wasn't part of the study, called it 'a good news story' because planting trees would also help stem the loss of biodiversity.

"Planting trees is not a substitute for weaning the world off burning oil, coal and gas, the chief cause of global warming, Crowther emphasized.... Nor is it easy or realistic to think the world will suddenly go on a tree-planting binge, although many groups have started, Crowther said.

"The researchers used Google Earth to see what areas could support more trees, while leaving room for people and crops. Lead author Jean-François Bastin estimated there's space for at least one trillion more trees, but it could be 1.5 trillion. That's on top of the three trillion trees now on Earth, according to earlier Crowther research. The study's calculations make sense, said Chris Field, an environmental scientist at Stanford University in California who also wasn't part of the study."

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

How the Bitcoin Protocol 'changes everything'

How To Understand Bitcoin If You're Over 40 - Matt Hougan, Forbes:

August 15, 2019 - "Those of us who are over 40 can remember a time when the internet stunk: When you had to look up websites in a (printed) book; when email didn’t exist; when you couldn’t do much with the internet except send files ... using something called 'FTP' [or] 'file transfer protocol.'  'Protocol' is a fancy word that means a set of insructions for how to transfer information across the internet....

"In 1982, researchers developed ... the Simple Mail Transmission Protocol, or SMTP. SMTP allowed us to send email over the internet.... In 1989, we took another big step forward with the creation of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. HTTP lets us send webpages with linked text (or 'hyperlinks'). It gave rise to the World Wide Web.

"In 1994, the Secure Sockets Layer protocol was created, better known as SSL. SSL allows us to securely enter sensitive information into the internet, like personal or credit card information. Not coincidentally, Amazon was founded later that year.... Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, created 1995, changed telecom forever; Real-Time Streaming Protocol, or RTSP, created in 1996, helped enable streaming video. And so on. From a distance, each of these advances seemed unprecedented. But in reality, they were just the next logical thing: a new protocol that expanded the way the internet can be used.

"The right way to think of bitcoin, crypto, and public blockchains is as the next step in this evolution. Just instead of sending files or email or voice or credit card data, bitcoin and crypto let us send money. Of course, there have been online banks and payment services for decades. But they’ve always been hybrids or bridges: A bank like Wells Fargo or a service provider like PayPal might put up a digital veneer, but it would actually extract each transaction and process it in the traditional, physical world....

"The Bitcoin Protocol’s breakthrough – the reason 'it changes everything' – is that it lets you send money over the internet natively, without a bank or a service provider in the middle.... If you want to wire $10 million to someone in another country today, for instance, it takes three-to-five days, they can deny your wire for any reason or create limits, and the fees are significant. With bitcoin, it takes about 10 minutes, it’s open 24/7, and is essentially free.... Instead of using lawyers and investment bankers, you can create any contract or trust or entity or set of financial instructions … for free.... That means disrupting services like escrow, debt issuance, derivatives, trust creation, fundraising, and more....

"[T]o move money around the world instantly on the Bitcoin blockchain, or to replace your investment bankers with the Ethereum blockchain – you have to own and use bitcoin or ether.... A lot of smart investors are buying up bitcoin and ether today, before everyone else figures out how valuable these new technologies can be....

"[E]very major new internet protocol has disrupted a major industry:
"By allowing money to travel over the internet, Bitcoin and crypto will disrupt the financial industry just as surely as Amazon disrupted Sears."

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Hemp legalization cut cannabis prosecutions

'I feel lucky, for real': How legalizing hemp accidentally helped marijuana suspects - Jon Schuppe, NBC News:

August 18, 2019 - "With the passage of new hemp-legalization laws over the past eight months, crime labs across the country have suddenly found themselves unable to prove that a leafy green plant taken from someone’s car is marijuana, rather than hemp. Marijuana looks and smells like hemp but has more THC, the chemical that makes people high.

"Without the technology to determine a plant’s THC level, labs can’t provide scientific evidence for use in court. Without that help, prosecutors have to send evidence to expensive private labs that can do the tests or postpone cases until local labs develop their own tests, a process that could take months.

"Rather than deal with prohibitive costs or lengthy delays, prosecutors in several states, including Texas, Florida and Ohio, are dropping low-level pot cases altogether or declining to bring new ones. Police in those states are now unsure whether their age-old pretext for searching cars ─ the smell of pot ─ is still valid. Some have been told not to make any arrests for marijuana possession, although they can issue tickets and confiscate the suspected drugs for testing later.

"There is no way to determine how many cases have been imperiled by the new laws, but they number in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, law enforcement officials say.... Some observers have described the hemp laws as de facto decriminalization, although lawmakers insist that’s not the case....

"[T]he 2018 Farm Bill, passed by Congress in December, ... made made hemp a legal crop.... In order to distinguish hemp from marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law, Congress defined hemp as having less than 0.3 percent of THC. The Farm Bill left it to states to pass their own laws on cultivating hemp; 47 states have done so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those states adopted the 0.3 percent standard....

"Before hemp was legalized, all the labs usually had to do on pot cases was conduct a relatively cheap and quick series of tests that showed whether something came from a cannabis plant.... Now, many will have to purchase new testing equipment, hire more staff, train staff on new testing methods and get the methods approved for use in court.

"In Tennessee, the state Bureau of Investigation has asked prosecutors to be selective in the pot cases they choose to pursue, and to not submit evidence from misdemeanor pot cases until labs develop new testing procedures.... Several counties in Georgia said they have stopped pursuing misdemeanor marijuana charges. In Florida, prosecutors in at least four judicial circuits have told police they won’t file marijuana cases without a lab test."

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

What do libertarians see in Tulsi Gabbard?

Tulsi Gabbard Is Not a Libertarian · 71 Republic - Peyton Gouzien:

September 4, 2019 - "For some reason, libertarians love Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has been praised for her anti-war message and honesty on a range of topics including the industrial military complex, the federal reserve, and overarching tech privacy....

"Gabbard’s list of fans includes former Texas Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul who has called her his favorite of the Democrats. This type of support has amplified ... the buzz about her campaign in libertarian and conservative circles, with many right-of-center outlets publishing glowing pieces in support of her. Libertarians willing to compromise have found a natural ally in Gabbard....

"While Gabbard has an admirable anti-war message, her foreign ... policy is far from libertarian. On the issue of foreign intervention, Gabbard still supports the War on Terror. She also endorsed the continued use of drone strikes on terrorist organizations in Syria. Though her policy positions are far less hawkish than the majority of candidates in the presidential field, supporting drone strikes on foreign nations is a direct violation of the non-aggression principle....

"On many issues, Gabbard says enough of the right thing but her actions don’t always back [her words] up. Domestically, Gabbard’s record is undesirable and big parts of her voting records are a giant red flag for most any libertarian. Gabbard supports Medicare for all, banning offshore drilling, and free college tuition. How these plans would be paid for and the cost to the American worker remains to be seen.

"In their attempts to show at the ballot, libertarians have often compromised on candidates who promote libertarian policy upfront, only to adopt big government positions when elected. President Trump is a great example of this. He has presided over a government whose deficit and debt have grown considerably in the span of four years. Trump has imposed reckless tariffs on China and dropped the MOAB and increased our involvement in Afghanistan

"Supporting Gabbard is no different. Though she is a strong libertarian advocate on several issues, the places where we disagree are numerous and important. Libertarianism is a message of limited government, both physically and financially. Gabbard has shown time and time again that she has no such interest."

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ban on homegrown cannabis unconstitutional, Quebec judge rules

Quebec's ban on growing cannabis at home unconstitutional, judge rules | CBC News:

September 3, 2019 - "Quebec Superior Court Justice Manon Lavoie ruled Tuesday the provincial law prohibiting Quebecers from growing cannabis for personal use is unconstitutional. She said the ban amounts to criminal legislation, which is under federal jurisdiction.

"Julien Fortier, the lawyer who led the challenge, said those wanting to grow cannabis at home can now do so legally. But he cautioned the province can still appeal the ruling, or rewrite the law to try to make the ban constitutional. Fortier called the judge's ruling 'very technical'....

"For now, residents are permitted to grow a maximum of four plants at home, as stipulated under federal legislation.

"Quebec's cannabis law, which included a ban on home-growing, was passed in June 2018 under the previous Liberal government.

"The Coalition Avenir Québec [CAQ] government ... plans to amend the law to raise the legal age of consumption from 18 to 21. A spokesperson for Lionel Carmant the CAQ's junior health minister, who is overseeing the government's cannabis legislation, said the government is studying Tuesday's ruling."

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ex-PM tells Kiwis to say yes to legal cannabis

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Backs Cannabis Legalization | Grizzle - Martin Green:

September 3, 2019 - "Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has urged Kiwis to vote in favour of recreational cannabis being legalized at next year’s referendum. She recently set up a think tank called The Helen Clark Foundation and it has just issued a report called “The Case for YES”. It recommends expunging minor cannabis convictions and ushering in a legal market that can regulate marijuana in a responsible fashion.

“'Isn’t this [the current approach] a waste of the justice system’s time and money?' she said. 'Haven’t the police got better things to do? Aren’t we better to face the reality that 80% of Kiwis are going to try this at some point in their lives?'

"Clark was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand and she led the country from 1999 to 2008. Had she been given a fourth term in office, she claims she would have sought to legalize recreational cannabis use.....

"[T]he current government has decided to ballot the people on whether adult-use cannabis should be permitted. Kiwis will vote in a general election next year and they will also be able to vote on whether or not recreational cannabis should be legalized on the same ballot.

"New Zealand has one of the highest cannabis consumption levels in the world, according to the World Drug Report. It legalized medical cannabis use in 2017....

"The Helen Clark Foundation ... claims that a 'yes vote in 2020 would advance public health objectives and promote greater social equity. It adds that prohibition does not work, it cannot eradicate consumption, it is a waste of police time and it disproportionately punishes the Māori community.

"Clark wants to see New Zealand treat cannabis use as a social and public health issue rather than a criminal one. She insists that decriminalizing it is not enough, and that New Zealand should study developments in Uruguay and North America before ushering in a commercial, regulated industry.

"She also wants to see individuals and communities that were most affected by prohibition to benefit from any changes to the law, allowing them a fair chance to become retailers and producers. Clark warned that large, profit-driven cannabis conglomerates should not be able to dominate New Zealand’s cultivation and retail trades."

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Keith Komar declares for Ontario LP leader

Longtime Libertarian Party of Canada activist, and (full disclosure) occasional GDPA columnist, Keith Komar has declared his candidacy for the position of Ontario Libertarian Party leader, up for election this November. Komar, currently running for the LPC in Bradford in the 2020 federal election, supplied GDPA with a biography, which reads in part: 

"Keith is a single father of 2 originally from Cranbrook B.C.... He is an activist for many causes and has supported marriage equality since the early 1990s.... Keith’s activism for the Cannabis industry began in 2015.... Keith is a staunch supporter of property rights and freedom of speech.

"Keith was first introduced to Libertarianism in 2008 while following the U.S. election. He was immediately captivated by Dr. Paul and his unapologetic stances on property rights and personal freedoms. Keith is well-read on many topics, has read all of Ayn Rand's books, and is a follower of Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek.

"In September 2015 Keith found Tim Moen and the Libertarian Party of Canada and supported the local candidate in Grand Prairie for the 2015 election.  In 2016, Keith became involved with the BC Libertarian Party and helped grow its membership and candidate numbers for the 2017 provincial election. Keith himself garnered the 2nd highest percentage of votes for the party in that election (2.5%) and the 3rd highest vote total (410).

"In 2018 Keith moved back to Ontario and became involved with the Ontario Libertarian Party.... Keith represented the Libertarian Party of Canada in the York-Simcoe riding in Bradford during the 2019 federal by-election, and will run there again in October for the general election."

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Film shows horror of gov't population control

One Child Nation 2019: Documentary Review - David Edelstein, Vulture:

August 12, 2019 - "You can’t fault China for worrying about the impact of overpopulation ... but the horror that its government unleashed in the name of protecting natural resources and ensuring the health of its people beggars belief. What the country’s 'one-child law' ushered in — with cheerful, propagandistic songs and posters and Chinese 'operas'  — was an ongoing totalitarian nightmare, the scale of which is rarely appreciated outside the so-called People’s Republic. That scale is chronicled by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s first-person documentary One Child Nation in infuriating, tragic, grisly detail. The policy ended in 2015 but the trauma still ripples through China and the world. It’s a devastating film, almost too terrible to contemplate.

"Wang begins with the story of her own family, which barely got away with having two children ... her father ... had to talk the village chief out of sterilizing her mother after Nanfu’s birth. The father wanted another child — a boy, of course ... and her parents admit — on camera, wincing but firm — that if he’d been female, he’d have been put in a basket and left at an outdoor market to be picked up. Or to die. The story of Nanfu’s female cousin — who was left in the market — will haunt my dreams forever....

"The uncle who left his daughter to die in the open air is interviewed. He is being eaten alive, metaphorically.... But moral judgments tend to curdle in this context. What, says the village chief, now 74, was he to do? It was policy handed down from on high.... A woman who oversaw that policy still believes that the country would have 'perished' without it, and that the well-being of the collective must always always supersede personal feelings. In contrast, a local midwife who performed 20 sterilizations a day — the women sometimes carried in kicking and screaming on poles, 'like pigs' — ... knows that, 'There’ll be retribution for me. The state gave the orders, but I carried them out'....

"How do we judge so-called 'human traffickers' who sold female babies to orphanages and made a tidy profit? Those girls were given up by families who didn’t want them. Many would have otherwise been killed at birth. It’s easier to condemn the village officials who — after China legalized international adoption, in 1992 — outright abducted babies and sold them to orphanages....

"One useful thing about One Child Nation is that it puts the work of someone like Ayn Rand in perspective. The little Jewish girl who grew up in the Soviet Union had a fierce, undying rage at collectivist repression and the corruption that followed in its wake. You can almost forgive her for going the opposite way and insisting on a society built on unbridled selfishness. Maybe you can. The movie ends on a note of bitter irony. Having lost a large percentage of its young thanks to its one-child policy, the Chinese government is now a two-child nation: 'One is too few, two is just right.'

"Ask the government if the one-child policy was wrong and they will likely respond, What one-child policy?"

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