Saturday, February 29, 2020

2nd Amendment sanctuary movement spreading

The Second Amendment sanctuary movement: Why now? | Press of Atlantic City - Michelle Brunetti Post:

February 24,2020 - "All over New Jersey and the nation, gun rights groups are asking local and county officials to designate the land within their borders 'Second Amendment sanctuaries.' The designation is strictly symbolic, they acknowledge, with no legal ability to change state or federal law. But it sends a message to lawmakers, supporters say, to stop infringing on the rights of lawful gun owners. The resolutions vary from one jurisdiction to the next, but most declare the intention of local officials to oppose any 'unconstitutional restrictions' on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

"'This idea has kicked around since about 2013 — especially in more rural areas,' said John Froonjian, executive director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University. Froonjian said the movement was energized last year after Democrats took control in Virginia and proposed gun reform.

"'In my mind it’s really different (than other grassroots movements) because ... when people organize for change it’s usually to create reform. This is actually to prevent reform,' Froonjian said. 'This is more akin to the sanctuary cities on immigration. The cities said basically, "We are not going to help the federal government enforce its immigration laws."'

"In just the past two months, the issue has gained traction in South Jersey, with Cape May and Salem county freeholders passing resolutions in favor of gun rights, and Atlantic County freeholders working on a similar resolution....

"Sandy Hickerson, of Absecon, who is organizing the Atlantic County 2A group ... said a couple of people concerned about gun rights in New Jersey started asking on Facebook for volunteers to organize the movement in December. 'Within two weeks, we had a representative in every county in the state of New Jersey,' she said..... So far in the state, three counties and 24 municipalities have passed supportive resolutions, Hickerson said....

"Mark Cheeseman, 55, of Gloucester County, was one of the two men who got the movement started in New Jersey. 'The first town in New Jersey to actually do this was West Milford in Sussex County,' said Cheeseman, who said he grew up around guns and started shooting at age 7. 'Nobody knew about it. Nobody saw it coming.... We’d go to establishments like gun ranges, breweries, diners, anybody that would have us.' They’d talk about gun rights in New Jersey and ask people to take the resolution to their municipal and county legislators, then follow up in person at meetings....

"Cheeseman ... cited the 2018 law that made 15-round magazines illegal, legislating 10 as the largest capacity allowed. 'I am now a felon and looking at a $13,000 fine and three years in jail for every one I have. Yet I purchased them back in 2008 when it was OK.” Cheeseman said. 'Now they are talking about going down to five bullets'....

"But the 'red-flag law' may have caused the most concern for gun owners.... 'Family members, friends, neighbors can turn you in if they feel threatened by you,'  Cheeseman said. 'Granted in a number of cases of domestic violence or abuse, police do need to intervene. But the law is way too broad. It leaves way, way too much room for mistakes — room for innocent people to get caught up. People [can] have firearms taken away just on hearsay.'"

Read more:

Friday, February 28, 2020

Vermont House votes to legalize cannabis sales

Bill To Legalize Marijuana Sales Officially Passes Vermont House Of Representatives | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

February 27, 2020 - "The Vermont House of Representatives finalized its approval of a bill to legalize the retail sale of marijuana on Thursday, but Gov. Phil Scott (R) said he’s not happy with at least one key component of the legislation. Though the House cast a strong initial vote in favor of the legislation on Wednesday, the measure required one additional vote to formally clear the chamber. Members gave third reading passage to the bill in a voice vote....

"Vermont legalized the possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use in 2018, but there is currently no way for consumers to legally purchase marijuana. The current bill would resolve that by establishing a commercial cannabis market in the state, creating various categories of business licenses, and setting tax rates on legal sales.

"Because the Senate already approved S. 54 — with a veto-proof majority — last year during the first half of the two-year legislative session, House and Senate leaders are now expected to appoint members to a bicameral conference committee to reconcile differences between the two bodies’ versions of the legislation....

"It’s not exactly clear what Scott will do when the final legislation arrives on his desk. He had initially vetoed a noncommercial legalization bill lawmakers passed in 2017 but, after garnering concessions on certain provisions, signed a revised version into law early in 2018. Following the House vote on Thursday, the governor said he’s not satisfied with how the legislation that emerged from the House would require police to obtain a warrant before doing a saliva test....

"That said, top lawmakers and an administration official recently indicated that the governor is “at the table” in discussions about the latest reform move and would be open to using cannabis tax revenue to fund an after-school program he’s pushing. During Wednesday’s earlier floor consideration, an amendment was approved to explicitly provide funding for such an initiative.

"'The House has bent over backwards to address the various issues that Gov. Scott has raised with the legislation,' Dave Silberman, an attorney and pro bono drug policy reform advocate, told Marijuana Moment. '“It appears the only remaining area of disagreement is the governor’s insistence on a warrantless saliva test that would blatantly violate the people’s rights enshrined in Vermont Constitution,” he said. “I hope that as the governor learns more about our Constitution, he will see why his position is untenable.'"

"Vermont residents are strongly in favor of the general reform move, according to a poll released earlier this month by the Marijuana Policy Project. That survey showed that about three-in-four Vermonters support allowing adults to purchase marijuana 'from regulated, taxpaying small businesses.'

"In neighboring New Hampshire, the House approved a bill last week that would create a policy similar to what Vermont currently has, allowing adults to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use without a retail component."

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Hornberger wins LP Minnesota caucuses

Libertarian Party Results for Caucus Night 2020 | Libertarian Party of Minnesota:

February 25, 2020 - "Though the major parties insist that the 2020 Presidential election will be the most important election of our lifetime, many Minnesotans refuse to accept this repeated lie and showed up to vote at the Libertarian Party caucus on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020. The LPMN does not have a virtual, absentee, or early voting process, therefore every vote was cast in person.

"Each of Minnesota’s eight Congressional districts conducted their own gathering for a ranked choice vote of 17 Libertarian candidates to be the LP Nominee for President (including None Of The Above).....
  • CD 1 – Jacob Hornberger
  • CD 2 – Jo Jorgensen tie Jacob Hornberger
  • CD 3 – Jacob Hornberger
  • CD 4 – Jo Jorgensen
  • CD 5 – Jacob Hornberger
  • CD 6 – Jacob Hornberger
  • CD 7 – Vermin Supreme
  • CD 8 – Lincoln Chafee
"After tallying all 98 votes accumulated statewide, the winner was Jacob Hornberger in Round 7, followed by Jo Jorgenson, and then Vermin Supreme to round out the top three.

"Political Director for The Libertarian Party of Minnesota Jill Galvan said, 'It’s been a really exciting time for the party. Getting the word out about the unfairness of the ballot access laws here in Minnesota has really brought attention to our cause and spurred people to come out and vote for an alternative here tonight.'

"LPMN Chair Chris Holbrook added, 'Despite the struggles Minnesota now faces to turn people out to caucus due to switching to a super Tuesday primary, we thank all of our conveners and attendees. After seeing empty rooms or none attempted for other political parties in this state, we are proud to be active Libertarians.'"

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Iowa registered Libertarians up 84% since 2016

February 17, 2020 - "In 2016, Libertarian Gary Johnson earned nearly 4.5 million votes nationally in the presidential election, and since then, the party whose ticket he led has seen tremendous growth in Iowa....

"Myra Matejka, co-chair of the Libertarian Party of Iowa ... said part of the party’s rise has come from people who aren’t satisfied by either of the two main parties and want to install a more hands-off government. 'There’s other ways that we can solve problems for people without necessarily getting the government involved,' Matejka said.

"The party held its first-ever presidential caucus last weekend, which was attended by nearly 300 participants across 23 different sites around the state, according to party officials. 'Because we know what it takes to be a major party, we’re going to try to mirror the other major parties in a similar way just so that it’s comfortable for Iowans to get into the Libertarian Party,' Matejka said.

"Libertarians claim to be the 'fastest-growing party in Iowa,' and numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office back that up. According to state registration records, the number of registered Libertarians has increased at least 84% over the last four years, a much greater increase than the percentage of new Republicans (3.0%) and new Democrats (4.9%), as well as the overall growth of all active registered voters (3.6%). However, the overall number of registered Libertarians in the state right now, around 14,000, is still well behind both of those parties....

“Megan Goldberg, assistant professor of American politics at Cornell College ... said the country’s political system keeps the Democratic and Republican parties strong, especially when it comes to the Electoral College. 'Even if you had something like 10 or 15% of the popular vote, you could still end up with zero electoral votes'.... She said they might find more success running candidates with their values within one of the two main parties....

"Matejka said some Libertarians do see running as Democrats or Republicans as a more viable option to being elected, but for the party to grow, she’d rather see Libertarians run as Libertarians. 'We need all of the strong voices that we can within our own umbrella, and it’s a big umbrella. We can fit lots and lots of people under it,' Matejka said.

"The Libertarian Party of Iowa said one of its main goals right now is to regain major party status by earning at least 2% of the general election vote in a statewide election. The party did this in the 2016 presidential election but then lost major party status after the 2018 gubernatorial election. Matejka ... believes they can regain this status in this year’s presidential election."

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Coronavirus threat to Chinese Communists' power

Why Chinese Communism Could Be the Final Casualty of the Coronavirus | Foundation for Economic Education - Doug Bandow:

February 22, 2020 - "The Maoist totalitarian state is being reborn in China under Xi Jinping.... However, the response of the Chinese government to the COVID-19 virus has undermined the CCP’s credibility — and ultimately may threaten the party’s hold on power....

"The worst pandemic in recent years was Ebola between 2014 and 2016: there were about 28,600 cases and 11,300 deaths.... SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, infected almost 8,100 and killed roughly 800 people in 2002 to 2003. SARS ... also was a coronavirus that originated in a Chinese 'wet market' that featured the sale of live and wild animals. Beijing’s response to that health crisis was heavily criticized.... The regime was more concerned about presenting an atmosphere of calm and stability during a leadership transition than preventing the spread of a disease of unknown potency and transmissibility....

"However, the Chinese government is making similar mistakes in its response to what is now being called COVID-19.... As of mid-February, the number infected exceeds 73,000, with some 1,900 deaths, assuming Beijing’s statistics are accurate. Some doctors and outside researchers estimated that 100,000 or more Chinese actually have been infected.... Nevertheless, the government’s response has fallen short of that necessary to slow if not stop the disease’s spread.... [T]he Wuhan provincial government. ... failed to report a single infection during the first half of January, which coincided with a local party congress, so as not to discourage attendance.

"Beijing decided to lock down the entire city of 11 million. But the Xi government gave advance notice that it was closing the airport and train station, enabling a flood of people to escape.... Five million Wuhan residents ended up elsewhere in China and beyond.... [T]here currently are more than 80 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen, as well as several provinces, under some form of lock-down/quarantine/isolation — more than 45 million people.

"Lack of transparency and honesty may be the regime’s greatest weakness in fighting COVID-19. The CCP previously gained a reputation for covering up the party’s role in disasters, such as earthquakes and train accidents. The regime also lost credibility attempting to limit the political fall-out during the SARS crisis.

"Current skepticism exploded after the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who sounded the alarm when he observed the rise in suspicious infections. He was detained by the police and accused of spreading 'false information'.... He then treated patients, catching the virus and dying at age 34. The government sought to defuse public hostility by claiming that he was still alive and being treated even after his death.... Li’s death set off a social media explosion ... millions of comments poured in through Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, and other social media platforms.... Many posts declared 'I want freedom of speech,' which the government removed as quickly as possible. Even some Chinese inclined to trust the government went online to express their anger over his treatment....

"In late January the government relaxed control of private reporting, but that ended quickly as Beijing took control of the disease narrative and especially infection statistics. Accounts of doctors, video bloggers, and ad hoc reporters were deleted. Some bloggers, such as lawyer Chen Qiushi, welder Fang Bin, and human rights activist Hu Jia, were detained.... The regime also distributed its new media line: 'Sources of articles must be strictly regulated, independent reporting is strictly prohibited, and the use of nonregulated article sources, particularly self-media, is strictly prohibited.' Social media providers were told they were under “special supervision'....

"This self-serving censorship has highlighted the more fundamental problem of tyranny. Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer and human rights activist who escaped to the US, wrote: 'The Chinese Communist Party has once again proved that authoritarianism is dangerous—not just for human rights but also for public health.' He charged that the CCP 'has succeeded in turning a public health crisis into a health rights catastrophe'....

"A successful conclusion to the epidemic—if infections and deaths soon plateau and start to fall—might minimize memories of the Xi government’s inadequate preparation and slow response. However, economic losses already are huge, in the tens of billions of dollars. And there appears to be no early end to the crisis.... Beijing’s reputation and prestige have suffered.

"Xi and the CCP justify an increasingly authoritarian, even totalitarian regime on the basis of caring for the Chinese people. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed that claim to be a lie. Popular skepticism toward other self-serving government claims will rise in the future.... Ironically, Mao likely would understand the regime’s peril: 'A potentially revolutionary situation exists in any country where the government consistently fails in its obligation to ensure at least a minimally decent standard of life for the great majority of its citizens.'"

Monday, February 24, 2020

Max Abramson wants to ban sanctuary cities

NH rep. wants to ban sanctuary cities. He put question on WHS school ballot. | - Max Sullivan:

February 13, 2020 - "A Seabrook state representative is bringing the debate over sanctuary cities to the local polls this March with a petition on the Winnacunnet Cooperative School District ballot. The non-binding citizen petition put forth by Libertarian state Rep. Max Abramson asks voters to agree that 'no school district nor town official shall establish "Sanctuary Cities" policies that prevent immigration laws from being enforced.' It seeks to see that police officers be permitted to enforce federal immigration laws and comply with detainer requests.

"The petition required 25 signatures to be placed on the ballot, which will go before voters March 10 in Hampton, Seabrook, North Hampton and Hampton Falls. Abramson has drawn criticism from opponents of the petition who said they wished the article could be removed from the ballot for being out of place.

"Abramson co-sponsored a bill that was killed in the Legislature last year seeking to ban sanctuary cities in New Hampshire. He said he chose to poll local voters with an intentionally non-binding article on the school ballot because it would reach a wide swath of residents across four towns. 'Immigration is one of the issues that affects you more than probably any other single one policy issue,' said Abramson, who is also seeking the Libertarian nomination for president. 'I felt it was worthwhile to just open the issue up and let people talk.'

"The issue of sanctuary cities protecting undocumented immigrants from federal authorities has remained a heated debate across the nation. U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced this week there would be a 'significant escalation' from the government against sanctuary communities across the nation.

"In New Hampshire, the city of Manchester, Cheshire County and other communities have been identified as sanctuary cities by the Federation for American Immigration Reform for their policies on how law enforcement handles undocumented immigrants, according to the Union Leader....

"Hampton Police Chief Richard Sawyer said New Hampshire law gives local police chiefs ultimate authority over their department’s enforcement action.... He said from his interpretation of the law, New Hampshire still needs to pass legislation that even allows municipalities to become sanctuary cities. He said New Hampshire is not a 'home rule' state and municipalities cannot enact their own laws without enabling legislation from Concord. 'I’m not aware of any legislation that would permit a designation of a sanctuary community in this state that would be enforceable,' Sawyer said."

Sunday, February 23, 2020 promotes free society with free videos

Videos used by schools question minimum wage, climate change | Toronto CiryNews - Matthew Barakat, Associated Press:

February 5, 2020 - "The federal judge’s message to an assembly of social studies students at a Virginia high school seemed straightforward: Courts too often meddle in the affairs of private commerce. The senior appellate judge, Douglas Ginsburg, was talking about the Constitution, telling students how the courts got it wrong by ruling that the commerce clause gave the federal government authority to regulate the cats that roam author Ernest Hemingway’s former home in Key West. 'The Framers didn’t design an almighty federal government that could reach down right into your backyard,' the conservative judge said on a video shown during the presentation.

"Ginsburg’s appearance at Justice High School was a collaborative project between Fairfax County Public Schools and a group called, which provides educational materials and videos to students across the country. Izzit’s materials have a decidedly libertarian outlook, though that’s not always immediately apparent to the teachers who download their free content. A video that questions the rationale for minimum wage laws is under math, for example.

"Another video, called 'Unstoppable Solar Cycles,' downplays man’s role in climate change. The video comes with a quiz in which the correct answer is that man 'plays a small part in global warming.' Another, called 'I am Human,' questions 'America’s historical obsession with race' with criticism of former President Barack Obama for choosing to identify as African American rather than biracial.

Fairfax County schools, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., defended its collaboration with Izzit. 'Izzit is an educational non-profit that specializes in creating free, standards-aligned content for educators that fosters critical thinking and respectful debate,' the school system said in a statement....

"Samantha Parsons, who works for UnKoch My Campus, said Izzit’s work fits with the agenda of the Charles Koch Foundation, which has given hundreds of millions of dollars to colleges in recent years to bolster what Parsons and others have said is an effort to promote right-wing ideology on campuses. She said Izzit, like the Kochs, uses words like 'liberty' and 'freedom' to mask its right-wing agenda....

"Izzit President and Chief Executive Rob Chatfield said Izzit advocates a distinct philosophical perspective. He was reluctant to categorize it as conservative or even libertarian, because he said those terms carry a political connotation that Izzit has no interest in promoting. 'It’s that people who are free tend to be happier, wealthier,' he said. 'If that’s the underlying theme that students pick up on, we’ve done our job.'

"Tax records show the Koch Foundation gave $83,000 in 2016 and 2017 to Izzit’s parent company, the Erie, Pennsylvania-based Free to Choose Network, according to tax documents. Chatfield, though, said Izzit itself has never received direct funding from the Koch network and primarily gets its funding from 'self-made entrepreneurs.'

"Izzit, founded in 2006, says its goal is to 'help educators teach the next generation about the ideas, institutions, and benefits of a free society.' More than 300,000 teachers — most in public schools — across the country use its materials, Chatfield said."

Read more:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

A look at John Monds

Million-Vote Man | Florida Courier:

February 21, 2020 - "A stay-at-home dad living in a rural Georgia [c]ounty made a recent presidential campaign announcement ... in Talbot County, ... Georgia. The 2010 Census population there: 6,865. You probably missed it. But other people are paying attention.

"John Monds ... made history in the 2008 Georgia Public Service Commissioner race when he became the first Libertarian Party candidate to receive more than 1 million votes [and] again in 2010 when he became the first African-American candidate to appear on the ballot for governor in the state of Georgia. In his various campaigns, Monds has earned more than 1.8 million votes as a Libertarian candidate in Georgia.

"Monds lives in Cairo, Ga., about 140 miles south of Talbot County. He earned a degree in business administration from Morehouse College with a concentration in banking and finance before getting what he calls 'his dream job' – homeschooling his children.... He has been married to Dr. Kathaleena Monds for 21 years. They have four children.... Two ... have already earned their college degrees. Monds has been active in his community through various organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the NAACP....

"He has been an active member of the Libertarian Party for 15 years, and has run for four races as a Libertarian candidate. He joined the party after reading the platforms of all the political parties in Georgia ... because in his opinion, the Libertarian Party is 'serious about freedom.' ... Monds says. “I espouse a Freedom Agenda; getting government out of peoples’ lives'....

“'One thing that I espouse to Black audiences is that the government is not your friend,' he intoned. 'Go back 400 years in this country alone. Almost every problem the African American community has suffered has been at the hands of government. I don’t believe you should go to the perpetrator of your problem for the solution. Whether you were looking at slavery, Jim Crow, poor schooling, segregated housing, discrimination on all levels, those problems, and the problems that Black farmers had with the theft of Black land and Black wealth, all those things are tied to the government.'

"Monds maintains that his message is about 'empowering individuals to be able to guide and control their own lives. And I don’t think I have a right to decide what should be done for you, or to you, even if I win an election. In fact, I think government makes things worse just as often as they make things better'....

'Would a vote for John Monds be wasted? 'It depends on what you believe,' he explained. 'If you believe in freedom, you’re not going to get that from the Democratic Party; you’re not going to get that from the Republican Party. If you believe in freedom, voting for either of those parties would be a wasted vote'....

"Monds will be in Orlando this weekend for the Libertarian Party of Florida state convention.... The party’s national convention will be held in May in Austin, Texas. Until then, Monds will be traveling from one state convention to another vying for support. How is he financing his campaign? 'Bootstraps,' he laughed."

Friday, February 21, 2020

NH House passes cannabis legalization (again)

New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill | Marijuana Moment - Ben Adlin:

February 20, 2020 - "A bill to legalize the personal use, cultivation and gifting of marijuana in New Hampshire is one step closer to becoming law. The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved the legislation on a 236-112 vote, advancing the measure to the Senate.

"The proposal would not legalize commercial production or sales of cannabis. Instead, adults 21 and older would be allowed to grow a limited number of plants at home and legally give up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana to other adults. The measure resembles neighboring Vermont’s 2018 cannabis law, which legalized low-level possession and home cultivation but does not allow for sales.

"Legalization is tremendously popular in the famously independent state, as one lawmaker acknowledged before a House committee voted last month to advance the bill to the floor. 'I think that the legalization of cannabis is more popular than the legislature itself or the governor or any other political entity in the state of New Hampshire,' House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Chairman Renny Cushing (D) said. 'This is something that the people of the state of New Hampshire want. They don’t want to be treated like they’re criminals if they have a plant.'

"A full tax-and-regulate marijuana legalization bill was passed by the House last year. But after receiving a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it ultimately stalled and died in the chamber. [The NH House passed its first legalization bill in 2014 - ed.] Advocates believe the new scaled-down approach has a better shot of being enacted.

"The current bill has sponsors from both sides of the aisle, but even if it’s passed by the legislature, it could still be vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who has said he opposes commercial legalization and has killed other cannabis bills in the past. He signed a limited decriminalization measure into law in 2017, but last year vetoed a bill to allow medical marijuana patients to grow the plant at home.... Cushing told Marijuana Moment in an interview last month that legislators 'don’t know how the governor will respond' to the adult-use legalization measure if the bill makes it to his desk.....

"If New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization proposal does become law, it could open the door to later commercial sales. That process is unfolding next door in Vermont, where lawmakers are considering expanding the current policy allowing possession and home cultivation by passing a bill to establish a commercial marijuana industry subject to taxes and state oversight. A recent MPP survey found 76 percent of Vermont residents are in favor of allowing adults to purchase marijuana 'from regulated, taxpaying small businesses.'"

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Thursday, February 20, 2020

LP county chair charged with perjury in PA

Valley Libertarian chair turned down ‘really sweet deal,’ maintains he didn’t commit perjury - - Rudy Miller

January 17, 2020 - "Northampton County’s libertarian party chairman was offered a 'really sweet deal' to take a plea bargain in his perjury case, according to his attorney. But Jake Towne turned down the deal because he did nothing wrong, according to attorney Gary Asteak.

"Towne on Thursday was ordered to stand trial on five criminal counts for signing a nomination petition for a Libertarian congressional candidate even though Towne wasn’t the person who collected the signatures. That person was Amber Correll ...  charged with forging 25 of the signatures.... Towne paid Correll $2 per name to collect the signatures for ... Tim Silfies ... [who] ran for U.S. Congress as a libertarian in 2018....

"The government hasn’t accused Towne of forging signatures, but says he broke the law by signing as the circulator of the nominating petition even though Correll was the circulator. After a preliminary hearing Thursday, District Judge John Capobianco ordered Towne to stand trial for perjury, making false statements, tampering with records, making an unsworn falsification and tampering with public records.

"Asteak said it’s common practice for party officials to sign off as 'circulators' of nominating petitions even though they didn’t physically circulate the petitions. He said Towne looked over the sheet, matched the names to the addresses and was satisfied they were authentic. Asteak said he’s never heard of anyone charged criminally under these circumstances. If authorities believe the signatures are forged, they could be invalidated, he said. But it’s a stretch to charge Towne, he said. He also questioned five criminal charges for just one signature from Towne. The allegation might merit a charge of unsworn falsification, but not perjury, he said....

"Towne, 40, of Easton, ran for Congress in 2010 and ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2018....

"Asteak said Republican officials brought the matter to the attention of law enforcement. The case went before an investigative grand jury which recommended charges against Towne and Correll. Asteak called the case a 'Republican hit job' to try to get Libertarian candidates off the ballot. He said an official with the state Republican Party sent a letter to local Libertarian leaders warning them 'to pull your names off the ballot or we’re going to the authorities.'

"'This prosecution should never have happened,' Asteak said. Messages left with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Northampton County Republican Committee weren’t returned Friday."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Santa Cruz decriminalizes natural psychedelics

Santa Cruz decriminalizes natural psychedelics – Santa Cruz Sentinel - Jessica A. Yorke:

January 29, 2020 - "Following in the footsteps of Oakland and Denver, Colorado, city leaders unanimously agreed Tuesday night to decriminalize adult use, possession and cultivation of entheogenic psychoactive plants and fungi. Known in one of its more popular forms as “magic mushrooms,” the substances remain illegal on a federal level, but city law enforcement has been directed to not spend resources on its criminal enforcement locally.

"The Santa Cruz City Council decision, first championed last year by Mayor Justin Cummings and Councilmembers Sandy Brown and Drew Glover, came after a vulnerable outpouring of community testimony, many sharing personal mental health struggles and efforts to successfully treat their symptoms....

"Denver voters passed a ballot measure in May [that] decriminalized psilocybin, and in June, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution decriminalizing entheogenic plants in general. Santa Cruz’s resolution this week, making it the third city in the U.S. to take such a step, declares city resources will not be expended on the investigation and arrest of persons 21 years of age and older 'solely for the personal use and personal possession of entheogenic plants and fungi listed on the Federal Schedule 1 list and that such activities should be considered among the lowest law enforcement priorities for the City of Santa Cruz.' Sale to, use and cultivation by those younger than 21, however, are not protected....

"Decriminalize Santa Cruz co-founder Sean Cutler, who, along with Julian Hodge, successfully lobbied for the change in city criminalization of psychedelics over an eight-month period, ... ... said after the meeting that the council vote represented forward movement.

“'The drug war needs to be ended in small deliberate steps,' Cutler said. 'We acknowledge that the U.S. government has spent 50 years indoctrinating Americans to believe that alcohol is good and everything else is bad, evil, for poor people. They have stigmatizing everything but alcohol and cigarettes'....

"Santa Cruz’s resolution cites the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s October 2018 decision to grant 'breakthrough therapy' designation for studies on psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression, and refers also to the use of the plants in traditional natured-based healing therapies."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sanders campaign expropriates YAL brand name

Libertarian group accuses Bernie Sanders campaign of stealing door-knocking brand - Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner:

February 14, 2020 - "A libertarian organization is threatening to sue Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, claiming his campaign stole its intellectual property. Young Americans for Liberty, a nonprofit student activist organization, sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Sanders campaign, accusing it of stealing the organization's brand 'Operation Win at the Door' by calling its door-knocking operation the same thing.

"'YAL launched Operation Win at the Door in 2018. Operation Win at the Door has knocked on over 1.5 million doors and secured 56 election victories,' writes Dan Backer, counsel for the libertarian group. 'YAL has expended substantial resources in developing the name and goodwill associated with Operation Win at the Door. Your bastardization of our clients’ intellectual property and flagrant attempt to redistribute their hard-won goodwill — a product of tremendous labor on the part of our client — is unauthorized and un-American.'

'The Washington Times obtained text messages from someone claiming to represent the Sanders campaign that encouraged people to join 'the largest grassroots campaign in the country — Operation Win at the Door.'

"YAL claims that the Sanders campaign is able to mislead the public into believing it has endorsed the socialist's campaign, something it says is antithetical to the organization's belief system.... 'This bald-faced deceit violates laws that prohibit such deceptive solicitations and protect donations for their intended use as well as infringes on the intellectual property rights of YAL,' the letter said.

"The group plans to pursue legal action unless the Sanders campaign discontinues its use of the brand.

"The Washington Examiner reached out to the Sanders campaign but did not receive a response for publication."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Monday, February 17, 2020

VT governor endorses Weld for GOP nomination

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott endorses Bill Weld for Republican presidential nomination - POLITICO - Evan Simones:

February 15, 2020 - "Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Saturday said he'll back Bill Weld for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination, an endorsement the Weld campaign touted as the first sitting Republican governor to publicly oppose President Donald Trump's reelection. In a press conference, first reported by Vermont's WPTZ, Scott announced his decision to back the fellow Republican and former Massachusetts governor.

“'I've met with him before, I think a lot of him and his platform so I would be supporting him,' Scott said.

"Weld, who was the vice presidential nominee on the 2016 Libertarian Party ticket with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, took to Twitter soon after the announcement to thank Scott for his support.

“'I’m a great admirer of @GovPhilScott of Vermont, and am delighted to have his endorsement in the Republican presidential primary on Super Tuesday,' Weld said. 'VT has been well served in the past by Republican governors, and Gov. Scott admirably extends that tradition.'

"Scott, a frequent critic of Trump, said in January that Trump 'abused his powers' and shouldn’t be in office after the Senate voted to acquit the president on the two articles of impeachment brought against him by the House....

"The former Massachusetts governor — now the only remaining Republican vying to unseat Trump after former Reps. Joe Walsh and Mark Sanford ended their campaigns — has received several endorsements from within his party, including ... former New Jersey Gov. Christine Christine Todd Whitman."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The dawn of English 'classical liberalism'

from A History of Libertarianism | - David Boaz:

"English opposition to royal absolutism created a great deal of intellectual ferment, and the first stirrings of clearly proto-liberal ideas can be seen in 17th-century England. Again, liberal ideas developed out of the defense of religious toleration. The great poet John Milton published Areopagitica in 1644, a powerful argument for freedom of religion and against official licensing of the press. Dealing with the relationship between freedom and virtue, an issue that vexes American politics to this day, Milton wrote, 'Liberty is the best school of virtue.' Virtue, he said, is only virtuous if chosen freely. On freedom of speech, he wrote, 'Who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?'

"During the Interregnum, ... when England was between kings and under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, ... the Levellers began enunciating the full set of ideas that would come to be known as liberalism. They placed the defense of religious liberty and the ancient rights of Englishmen in a context of self-ownership and natural rights.... Leveller leader Richard Overton argued that every individual has a 'self-propriety'; that is, everyone owns himself and thus has rights to life, liberty, and property. 'No man hath power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man’s.'

"Despite the efforts of the Levellers and other radicals, the Stuart dynasty returned to the throne in 1660, in the person of Charles II. Charles ... and his brother James II again tried to extend royal power. In the Glorious Revolution of 1688 Parliament offered the crown to William and Mary of Holland (both grandchildren of Charles I) ... [who] agreed to respect the 'true, ancient, and indubitable rights' of Englishmen, as put down in the Bill of Rights in 1689. We can date the birth of liberalism to the Glorious Revolution.

'John Locke is rightly seen as the first real liberal and as the father of modern political philosophy. If you don’t know the ideas of Locke, you really can’t understand the world we live in. Locke’s great work The Second Treatise of Government was published in 1690.... Locke asked, what is the point of government? Why do we have it? He answered, people have rights prior to the existence of government — thus we call them natural rights, because they exist in nature. People form a government to protect their rights. They could do that without government, but a government is an efficient system for protecting rights. And if government exceeds that role, people are justified in revolting. Representative government is the best way to ensure that government sticks to its proper purpose....

"Locke also articulated clearly the idea of property rights.... People have an inalienable right to life and liberty, and they acquire a right to previously unowned property that they 'mix their labor with,' such as by farming. It is the role of government to protect the 'Lives, Liberties, and Estates' of the people.

"These ideas were enthusiastically received. Europe was still in the grip of royal absolutism, but thanks to their experience with the Stuarts the English were suspicious of all forms of government. They warmly embraced this powerful philosophical defense of natural rights, the rule of law, and the right of revolution. They also, of course, began carrying the ideas of Locke and the Levellers on ships bound for the New World."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A look at Lincoln Chafee

University alum, longtime RI politician Chafee enters presidential race - Benjamin Pollard, Brown Daily Herald, Brown University:

January 24, 2020 - "During his four years on College Hill preceding his political career, former governor and senator Lincoln Chafee ... spent his time in a different arena: the wrestling ring.... Today, he is wrestling for a new title: President of the United States. Chafee — Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat — announced his candidacy for president Jan. 5, this time as a libertarian....

"Chafee comes from a long line of Rhode Island politicians. His great-great grandfather was Henry Lippitt, the 33rd governor of Rhode Island; his great-great uncle Charles Warren Lippitt was the 44th governor. His father, John Chafee, served as the 66th governor and served in the U.S. Senate....

"Lincoln Chafee served as mayor of Warwick as a Republican for seven years following his election in 1992. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate — again, as a Republican — following his father’s death in 1999, before being elected to serve a full term in 2000.... 'I left the Republican party back in 2007 because of the changes the Republicans were making,' Chafee said, criticizing the party for aggressive foreign policy, facilitating an increase in the deficit and 'their obsession with social issues.' He was, for example, the only Republican senator to vote against authorizing the Iraq War in 2002....

"Following Chafee’s tenure in the Senate, he joined the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs ... until his successful election to the office of governor in 2010 as an independent. Navigating the political landscape as an independent was challenging.... So in 2013, Chafee made his third party shift to the Democratic Party, then running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. He ended his campaign within a few months, after failing to garner significant support. ... characterizing the Democratic nomination process as 'biased against Hillary Clinton’s opponents.'

"Following his Democratic presidential bid, he moved to Wyoming ... and switched his party affiliation a fourth time to libertarian. Stressing the importance of avoiding 'foreign entanglements' and 'endless wars,' the Libertarian Party’s anti-war platform was a big draw for Chafee. He views contemporary public distrust in government as a consequence of the actions of the Bush administration in Iraq.

"Chafee is unlikely to face opposition from libertarians on his anti-war stances, which have remained more or less constant throughout his entire career. But there are other policy areas where members of Chafee’s newly adopted party may push back on his views. One such issue is gun control. 'We are very pro-Second Amendment,' said Pat Ford, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island. Chafee, on the other hand, 'has a history of being very pro-gun control,' Ford added....

"Ford ... is not surprised that the current political climate is prompting people to turn from the two major parties in search of another solution. 'People are looking for answers,' Ford said. 'I welcome Lincoln to the race.' This does not mean that Chafee’s path will be devoid of obstacles, Ford added. 'There is no coronation for our candidates. He will have to travel to every single state convention to convince our delegates that he can give voice to the Libertarian Party.'

"The presidential hopeful is doing just that, said Christopher Thrasher, Chafee’s campaign manager. 'Each weekend, from now until the first weekend in May, Governor Chafee will be traveling to Libertarian Party state conventions (as many as three per weekend),' Thrasher said. Delegates of the U.S. Libertarian Party will choose the party’s nominee at the Libertarian National Convention in Austin, Texas May 21."

Read more:

Friday, February 14, 2020

Senate votes down military action against Iran

Senate Passes Bill Stopping Further Military Action Against Iran Without Approval – Scott Shackford:

February 13, 2020 - "With the support of eight Republicans, the Senate today passed a bill forbidding President Donald Trump (or really, any president) from taking further military action against Iran without the expressed permission of Congress.

"By a vote of 55-45, the Senate approved a resolution by Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Virginia) that states Congress did not authorize military actions against Iran when it passed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) legislation in 2001 and 2002. That AUMF allowed the president to invade Iraq and also to hunt down al-Qaeda and those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. The resolution orders the president to 'remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military' within 30 days of the resolution passing.

"The bill was pushed forward after Trump authorized the drone-strike assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Though the administration claimed that the strike was necessary to prevent an 'imminent' attack against Americans in the Middle East, there was little to support this claim, and a couple of Republican senators, including Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah), were upset by the unapproved actions. They announced plans to cross the aisle and join Democrats to pass the resolution.

"In the end, the resolution got the support of not just Lee and Paul, but also Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Todd Young (Ind.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), and Bill Cassidy (La.).

"The bill heads now to the House, which passed a similar, but non-binding resolution. If the House signs on to the Senate version (which seems very likely), it will head to Trump's desk.

"Despite saying regularly he'd like to see less military intervention in the Middle East, Trump is signaling that he opposes this bill. Yesterday on Twitter, Trump called on Republicans to vote it down, claiming it would 'show weakness' to restrain his war powers. The bill is likely to face a veto, and if this vote is any indication, the Senate lacks enough Republican votes to overrule him."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cannabis possession decriminalized in Virginia

Virginia Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession | Grizzle - Martin Green::

February 12, 2020 - ""Virginia is on the brink of decriminalizing marijuana after both chambers approved the proposed legislation. The House passed HB 972 in a 64-34 vote on Monday, just a month after it was pre-filed. It would decriminalize simple marijuana possession and impose a civil penalty fine of no more than $25....

"A companion bill, SB 2, then went to a full vote in the Senate on Tuesday after successfully clearing the Judiciary Committee and Appropriations Committee. Senators voted 27-13 in favour of decriminalization.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk to be signed into law. Northam ran on support for decriminalization during his 2017 election campaign and he used his annual State of the Commonwealth speech last month to reiterate calls for removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession, so there is no chance of him fighting the legislation.

"Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has spearheaded the campaign to liberalize the state’s approach to marijuana. He immediately issued a press release welcoming the passage of the decriminalization bill in both chambers, but urged marijuana advocates to keep going, because 'the work is not done'.

"Herring estimates that the state spends $81 million enforcing cannabis laws on an annual basis. Analysis shows that around 20,000 Virginians were convicted of simple marijuana possession in 2018, and more than half were African American, despite the fact that African Americans make up just 19% of the state’s population.

Current legislation imposes a maximum of 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500 for someone convicted of simple possession in the first instance. The Attorney General said that Virginia’s approach to cannabis has needlessly saddled people with criminal records for far too long, and it has disproportionately affected African American communities. He now wants the state to head towards full legalization of adult-use cannabis sales.

"Herring is running to replace Northam in 2021. The current governor has not yet declared support for full legalization, but Herring is confident he will back it if he is presented with all the facts."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Iowa, New Hampshire, and soft libertarians

by George J. Dance

As a political junkie, I eagerly turned to the news this morning to see the New Hampshire primary results. Not for the winners: I expected Trump and Sanders to win. (They both had won the earlier  Iowa caucuses.) I was looking further down, to see how the 'soft libertarian' candidates in the major parties would perform.

What is a 'soft libertarian'?, I hear you ask. I can best explain that term by pointing to the Nolan Chart [pictured at right], that classifies voters into four quadrants: liberal (or progressive), conservative, libertarian, and statist (authoritarian or, at the very bottom point, totalitarian). A 'hard' voter is totally committed to one of those four ideologies; a 'hard libertarian,' for example, is someone whose political beliefs put them up at the top point of the diamond. A 'soft libertarian' would be anyone else, whose political beliefs are less extreme (or less consistent, or more independent) but still land them inside the libertarian quadrant.

Depending on how they are measured, soft libertarians make up as much as 25% of voters. Traditionally the Republican Party has owned that vote: since the 1970s at least, soft libertarians have been voting GOP, by margins as high as 75%. However, Ross Perot's candidacies cracked that party's hold on many of those voters; and while George W. Bush brought them back, he didn't hold them long. A large number of soft libertarians voted Democratic in 2006 - I don't know the number, but it was a big factor in the Dems taking both houses of Congress that year. Obama's two terms, and the Tea Party movement, brought many back to the GOP, but whether they'll stay with it this time is frankly questionable.

In 2012 and 2016, the only candidate appealing to soft libertarians was Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. And, to the extent he was heard, they responded. Johnson got the LP its two highest vote totals, over 1 million in 2012 and over 4 million in 2016. After that, one would think, the larger parties would have tried to capture those voters by offering them something. Instead, both parties have tacked toward one or another variety of statism: Democrats have flirted with socialism, the Sanders wins being enough said. Meanwhile, the GOP is shedding its libertarianism, replacing the Reaganist ideology of fusionism (which specifically included and appealed to libertarians) with corporatism, or as some call it, "economic nationalism".

As this month's featured post (from the London School of Economics' US Centre) explains, soft libertarians could be kingmakers this year. However, rather than attract soft libertarians, both Democrats and Republicans seem intent on driving them away. 

Hence the importance of the New Hampshire results, as the first test of where the soft libertarian vote would go. Because of the Free State Project, that state has an outsize proportion of libertarians both hard and soft. New Hampshire also has an open primary, where anyone - Democrat, Republican, other party, independent, or even a habitual non-voter - can vote in either the Democratic or the GOP primary.

There was a soft libertarian, Bill Weld and Tulsi Gabbard, running in either party. Both are strong opponents of interventionism, the surveillance state, the drug war, and the imperial presidency; while both also have held non-libertarian positions, most notably on gun control. Both were counting on soft libertarian support in New Hampshire. So how did they do?

Gabbard's campaign, with its strong opposition to an interventist foreign policy, was endorsed by libertarians from Ron Paul to Gary Johnson. She ended up with under 4% of the vote, nowhere enough to make her a contender. She will be gone from the race in a month, and with her will go most of her party's appeal to soft libertarians.

Weld's campaign is more problematic. He beat expectations, but fell short of the 10% he was hoping for. (He received 9%.) He is wealthy enough to fund his own limited campaign, so he will stay in and hope for a breakthrough somewhere else. But, so far, his campaign is not resonating with soft libertarian voters, either.

That leaves a better-than-ever opportunity for the Libertarian Party, if they cared to reach out to those voters with another 'soft libertarian' campaign like the Johnson ones. However, many LP members seem determined to run anything but. Libertarians didn't vote in New Hampshire yesterday; but based on last weekend's Iowa caucus vote, a plurality just shy of a majority is backing Jacob Hornberger, a thinktank founder and director, who wants to run to 'educate' Americans with a hard libertarian message.

To repeat, the soft libertarian vote could be key to deciding this election. If faced with the alternatives of statism (either the more progressive variety of socialism or the more conservative variety of corporatism) versus hard libertarianism, where will they turn?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

CO initiative to reimpose cannabis prohibition

Colorado Marijuana Legalization Would Be Overturned By New Ballot Measure | Marijuana Moment- Ben Adlin:

February 7, 2020 - "A newly filed proposed ballot initiative would repeal the section of the Colorado Constitution that says cannabis 'should be legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.' The measure, submitted to state officials for review last month, would not change Colorado laws concerning medical cannabis or industrial hemp, both of which are also legal in the state.

"The long-shot effort seems unlikely to pass, at least in its current form. The proposal as submitted last month is four sentences long and appears to leave key questions unanswered. But the would-be initiative is nevertheless an indication of the ongoing frustration felt by those who believe communities would be better off under prohibition....

"The initiative was submitted to the state last month by Mary Lou Mosely of Denver and Willard Behm, a lawyer in Rocky Ford. Neither responded to telephone messages left by Marijuana Moment on Thursday morning.

"Legalization advocates are downplaying any threat posed by the measure, saying there’s no evidence to support the idea that voters want to reverse course.

“'We view this initiative as a deeply misguided and futile attempt to roll back a successful legalization policy that Coloradans firmly support,' Matthew Schweich, deputy director of Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Marijuana Moment..... 'But we will not be complacent. If this initiative qualifies for the ballot, the marijuana reform movement will make sure that there is a strong and well-funded campaign to defeat it.'”

"A 2016 poll commissioned by MPP found that only 36% of voters supported reversing legalization in Colorado.... Nationally, support for marijuana legalization has never polled higher than it does now. A Pew survey published in November found that two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans support legalization, extending an upward trend that stretches back to the late 1980s. A majority of those polled (59 percent) said they support both medical and adult-use legalization, while a third of respondents (32 percent) said only medical use should be legal."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Monday, February 10, 2020

Hornberger wins LP Iowa caucuses

Libertarian Party of Iowa Presidential Caucus Winner and Results - Libertarian Party of Iowa - Joseph Howe::

February 8, 2020 - "The Libertarian Party of Iowa is pleased to announce the results of our first ever Libertarian Presidential Preference Poll. Libertarians gathered across the state at county level caucuses and conventions to elect officers, build county committees and select delegates to the 2020 LPIA State Convention. Additionally, The LPIA conducted a Virtual Caucus, ensuring the greatest possible participation and inclusion for Libertarians across the state.

"The LPIA, in the tradition of the Iowa Caucuses, held a Presidential Straw Poll to signal registered Libertarians preference for our Presidential nomination. We are pleased to announce the winner: Future of Freedom Foundation founder Jacob Hornberger, who took a commanding 47.52% of the vote. Rounding out the top five are former Rhode Island Governor and U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee, 1996 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee Jo Jorgensen, Veterans Against the Iraq War founder Adam Kokesh and software engineer and entrepreneur Daniel Behrman....

"About Jacob Hornberger, from his website:... 'Jacob is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation a non-profit educational foundation whose mission is to present the principled case for the libertarian philosophy (and which, as a non-profit foundation, does not endorse his candidacy or any other candidacy). On November 2, 2019, Jacob announced his candidacy for the 2020 Libertarian Party nomination at the South Carolina state convention.'

"Iowa state delegates will select our national delegation at the 2020 LPIA State Convention and Presidential Forum at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, on February 29th. These delegates, while not bound to these results, will give thoughtful consideration of these results. The candidates in attendance of the Presidential Forum will discuss the issues that Iowa Libertarians hold dear. Jacob Hornberger, Iowa Caucus winner, will be a participant along with nine other candidates, click for information on Forum and Convention."

Candidate - Total - Percent

Jacob Hornberger - 134 - 47.52%
Lincoln Chafee - 36 - 12.77%
Jo Jorgensen - 18 - 6.38%
Adam Kokesh - 17 - 6.03%
Daniel Behrman - 14 - 4.96%
John McAfee - 10 - 3.55%
Vermin Supreme - 9 - 3.19%
Other (Write In) - 8 - 2.84%
None of the Above - 8 - 2.84%

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Most Important Election (a poem)

The Most Important Election

Every U.S. presidential election
we always hear:
"This is the most important election
We heard it last time, in 2012,
2008, 2004,
2000, and back,
and they're saying it again this year.

Do you realize what that means?
Presidential elections
are becoming more
and more
and more important.

And it's true.
Science has proved it.
For decades, scientists
have been measuring and recording
presidential election importance
which they found
has been rising
every four years
in an ever-more-rapidly
ascending curve.

Here is what they have discovered:

The 1980 presidential election
was more important
than Kennedy's assassination.

The 1984 presidential election
was more important
than the moon landings.

The 1988 presidential election
was more important
than the eradication of polio.

The 1992 presidential election
was more important
than World War I
and the 1996 election more important
than World War II.

The 2000 presidential election
was more important
than the American Revolution
and the 2004 election more important
than the industrial revolution.

The 2008 election was more important
than the agricultural revolution.

The 2012 election was more important
than the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The 2016 election was more important
than the emergence of human life.

This year's election is more important
than the formation of the earth.

If nothing is done
scientists warn
the 2024 presidential election
will be more important
than the beginning of the universe.

- George J. Dance, 2020

Saturday, February 8, 2020

GOP's new non-libertarian conservative ideology

GOLDBERG: Conservative divide pits anti-left against anti-state | Toronto Sun  - Jonah Goldberg:

January 25, 2020 - "For most Americans, conservatism basically means the stuff Republicans are for.... I don’t mean this as a criticism.... One of the great things about America is that politics – never mind political philosophy – isn’t a big part of most people’s lives. Associating a body of ideas with the institutions (political parties) that are directly charged with putting ideas into action is a pragmatic way to cut to the chase. Paying attention to what the eggheads and theorists of the left and right want the parties to do is only worthwhile if you’re especially interested in politics.

"The challenge for conservatives these days is that the Republican Party really doesn’t know what it’s for, beyond defending President Trump and opposing Democrats and socialism. While the fight over impeachment sucks up all of the oxygen in public, there’s a robust battle behind the scenes about what it means to be a conservative.

"Some of it has spilled out into public view, usually centering on nationalism – what it means, what it requires in terms of policy, how it differs from traditional conservatism or whether it differs at all. Sens. Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio, for example, have offered thoughtful versions of 'economic nationalism,' pitting it against libertarianism (both real and imagined) ... a common theme is the idea that government should be more interventionist in the economy: Policymakers should be more willing to overrule the marketplace on everything from big tech to child care to trade....

"Trump has now given more aid to farmers than Obama ever gave Detroit, and if an elected Republican has complained about it, I missed it. In fairness, the farmer bailouts were necessitated by the president’s trade wars. But that just demonstrates Republicans’ willingness to substitute their judgment for the market’s....

"There’s a cultural version of the nationalist project as well. Some conservative intellectuals – mostly, but not exclusively, Catholic – believe the state has a role in imposing its judgment in the marketplace of ideas....

"[T]here are those who are anti-left and those who are anti-state. For ... illustration, some people are opposed to public schools because they don’t think education is a proper task for the state. (Milton Friedman called them 'government schools.') Others on the right think public schools are fine; they just object to how progressives operate them....

"Another fault line revolves around the question, 'Which state are we talking about?'.... I’m very libertarian at the national level, mostly libertarian at the state level and pretty communitarian at the local level. Letting people live the way they want to live where they actually live, so long as basic civil rights are respected, has always struck me as the best way to maximize happiness and democratic accountability.

"This raises a final question: Can the state actually do what you want it to do? At the core of the conservative critique of the left has always been a basic skepticism that top-down planning from Washington can work. It used to be that the champions of such planning were mostly on the left. That’s not true any longer. And it remains to be seen whether top-down planning from the right works any better than it does from the left."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Friday, February 7, 2020

Monds declares for Libertarian POTUS nomination

Former Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Announces Presidential Campaign | Georgia Public Broadcasting- Sharon Rose:

February 4, 2020 - "John Monds, a 2010 Georgia gubernatorial candidate, has announced that he will seek the Libertarian nomination for president. Monds was also the first Libertarian candidate to receive more than 1 million votes at the state level during his 2008 campaign for Georgia public service commissioner.

“'John Monds has been an incredible voice for Libertarians in Georgia,' said Ryan Graham, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. 'I look forward to seeing him extend that influence to a national scale, energizing supporters of libertarian principles.'

"Monds said the decision was one he had weighed for the past several years. 'Just recently I've made up my mind that this is exactly what I want to do,' Monds said. 'This is the right time.'

"Monds said his focus right now is not about President Trump, but securing the nomination of the party.... The Libertarian Party nominates their candidate through registered delegates at their national convention, which will take place in Austin, Texas, in May. Monds said he’s open to reforming the Libertarian nomination process, but believes ballot access restrictions for third parties have been a factor in preventing that....

"He believes the biggest way the Libertarian Party can make its case in 2020 is in sticking to its core [principles]. 'I definitely believe ... we don't need to water down our message and we have to be very careful about that,' Monds said.

"The Libertarian’s 2016 presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, received 3.27% of the popular vote in the last election, but did not win any electoral votes."

Read more
'via Blog this'

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Hornberger says US government already socialist

An Interview With Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jacob Hornberger - Gary Doan, Libertarian Republic:

February 4, 2020 - "The day of the Iowa Caucuses ... I had a chance to talk to Jacob Hornberger. He’s the president and founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, and is currently running for the Libertarian presidential nomination with the backing of the Mises Caucus....

"TLR: I’m talking with you the day of the Iowa caucus, a contest that Bernie Sanders could actually win. As such, I’d like to start with a couple of questions about socialism. In your presidential campaign announcement video, you called the following things socialism: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, educational grants, farm subsidies, corporate bailouts and foreign aid to dictators. What does the US government currently do that you don’t think is socialism?

"JH: Very little, in that the primary source, the driving force in the federal government is to take care of people through the coercive apparatus of the state. It seizes money from people to whom it belongs, and it gives it to people to whom it does not belong. That is classic socialism. It embodies the Marxian principle, from each according to his ability to each according to his need.

"And many of these socialist programs came into existence as a direct result of socialists in Germany advocating them. Social Security is a primary example. The idea originated among German socialists. It was adopted by Otto von Bismarck, the so-called Iron Chancellor of Germany. It was imported to the United States and they became part of our laws in the 1930s. And it’s the same thing as socialized medicine, Medicare and Medicaid… public schooling was another German socialist idea. So whenever you have coercive redistribution of wealth or central planning [–] That’s another central feature of socialism [–]. You have socialism, even when it’s run by Americans....

"Socialism is the opposite of libertarianism, because socialism is based on coercion....

"TLR: I’d like to switch to something more specific about the nomination you’re running for and, more importantly, the purpose of running for it. What’s more important: spreading the message or getting a higher vote total?

"JH: Really, neither. I think what’s much more important is that we fight for a free society. And that’s what our goal is. We want to be free. That’s my goal.... And I’m one of those who strongly believes that there is a very realistic and distinct possibility of winning our freedom. So I see these kind of races as a way to achieve our freedom.

"Now, in the process, you have to make the case for freedom.... Reform is not freedom. You’ve got to dismantle abridgments on freedom. In the campaign ... I would be making the case for liberty ...  what we need to do to achieve a free society [and] why a free society is worth going for....  So in the process, you’re educating people."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Health Canada asked to permit psilocybin therapy

Is Canada constitutionally required to legalize magic mushrooms? — Quartz - Olivia Goldhill:

August 29, 2019 - "A Canadian therapist has asked Health Canada to permit the use of psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, for medical reasons. If denied, he’s planning to file a lawsuit, claiming the health department’s [refusal] would violate Canadians' right to 'life, liberty, and security of person' — an argument that previously convinced Canadian courts that it is unconstitutional to prohibit medical access to cannabis.....

"Bruce Tobin said he submitted an application with Health Canada in March, asking for approval to treat cancer patients’ end-of-life anxiety with psilocybin. Magic mushrooms are illegal under Canada’s Controlled Drug and Substances Act, but the law has a clause, Section 56(1), which states that the Health Minister may exempt substances if necessary for medical or scientific purposes.

"Tobin is planning to give Health Canada to the end of the year to respond and, if they don’t, will file a motion in federal court asking for a judicial review. If his argument is denied there, he plans to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

"'There have been several landmark cannabis cases in which the High Courts have delivered very explicit judgements that Canadian citizens have the right to autonomy in making healthcare decisions with regards to life and death medical conditions,' said Tobin. Early research has shown that psilocybin therapy is effective at treating end-of-life anxiety. Tobin says he has patients who’ve tried all the alternatives and are in 'abject misery,' and he wants them to have access to psilocybin.

“Tobin isn’t the only one pushing against Canada’s legal system. Dana Larsen, who founded a medical cannabis dispensary in 2007, announced he was launching a medical psilocybin dispensary in June. The dispensary is based in Vancouver and claims to mail psilocybin microdoses to people with a documented medical need; Larsen lists anxiety, cluster headaches, and pain as conditions that can be treated with psilocybin."

“Reat more:
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Weld tries to beat the odds in New Hampshire

Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump | TheHill - Jonathan Easley

January 29, 2020 - "Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R) is betting on undeclared voters in New Hampshire to fuel his long shot challenge against President Trump, believing the state’s fierce independent streak and potential for cross-over voters could turn him into a contender after the Feb. 11 primary....

"Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is as tight as ever. Over the course of 120 events Weld has attended across the Granite State over the past year, he said there’s been no evidence to suggest that Trump’s voters are warming to him as an alternative. However, Weld says he’s gaining traction among left-leaning independents and undeclared voters who are eligible to vote in either party’s primary in New Hampshire.

"Weld faces near impossible odds in his quest for the nomination. A WBUR survey of New Hampshire from last month found Trump at 74 percent support, against 9 percent for Weld. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) combined to raise more than $463 million in 2019. The Weld campaign brought in about $1.3 million in the first three quarters.... About a half-dozen states will not even hold GOP primaries this year, and the RNC has taken other steps to head off a potential primary challenger as well.

"But Weld says the bar for success is so low that he’s set up to shock the world on primary day in New Hampshire. The 'wise guys,' Weld said, expect him to get only 1 or 2 percent in New Hampshire, so a 10 percent showing or better might be all he needs. 'If I got 20 percent, they’d be like, ... what’s happening here?,' Weld said....

"Weld, who ran on the Libertarian Party ticket with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in 2016, said if he does not win the GOP nomination, he will not run as a third-party candidate again.

"Weld said he could happily support former Vice President Joe Biden in a matchup against Trump.... [H]e likes and admires Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but would have a tough' time supporting either of them, believing their progressive politics are out of step with where most of the country is. And he’s worried about how a candidate from the left would fare in a head-to-head matchup against Trump....

"Weld also said he’d also be happy if either Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) or former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee secured the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Regardless, Weld says he wants Trump out of office at all costs....

"Weld is warning Senate Republicans that absolving Trump of wrongdoing in the impeachment trial will backfire, and that instead, the GOP will pay a price at the ballot box for not removing him from office. When asked if he thinks Republicans will lose the Senate, Weld responded: 'I think it’s quite likely.'”

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Monday, February 3, 2020

Amash raises over $500,000 in 2019 4/4

Justin Amash Outraises Democratic and Republican Opponents in Fourth Quarter – Matt Welch:

February 1, 2019 - "The fourth quarter 2019 campaign disclosure reports that were due at the end of January brought some welcome news for embattled independent Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.): Despite being abandoned by some of his biggest historical backers, the pro-impeachment libertarian raised more money and has more in the bank than any of the Democrats and Republicans gunning for his Grand Rapids seat.

"According to the Detroit Free Press, Amash raised $595,000 over the last three months of 2019, or almost as much as all the Republican contenders for the seat combined. Supermarket magnate Peter Meijer brought in $313,000 ($75,000 of which was a loan to himself), DeltaPlex Arena owner Joel Langlois netted $212,000 ($200,000 of which was a self-loan), and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis announced $113,000.

"In the cash-on-hand sweepstakes as of the end of 2019, Amash led $722,000 to Meijer's $557,000, Langlois's $333,000, and Afendoulis's $200,000.

"What about the Democrats competing in MI-3? Social worker and immigration attorney Hillary Scholten raised $124,000, and had $207,000 cash on hand, while former Barack Obama aide Nick Colvin raised $101,000 and has just $60,000. Primaries for both major parties are scheduled for August 4....

"The three-way race in this Republican-leaning but hard-to-characterize district has widely been seen by election forecasters as a toss-up or slight lean toward the GOP.... Both major parties are expected to pour money into the contest once the primaries are settled, giving a three-way scrum a chance at being among the most expensive in the country."

Read moew:
'via Blog this'

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Atlas Shrugged and the literary critics

Who Is Ayn Rand?: - Lisa Duggan, Jacobin magasine:
The following is an excerpt from Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed by Lisa Duggan (University of California Press, 2019).

August 23, 2019 - ""When Atlas Shrugged made its incendiary appearance in 1957, it cracked open the apparent political consensus in favor of the welfare state to reveal intensely warring camps. The mainstream press, leading academics, and prominent literary figures didn’t just dismiss the tome; they abhorred it. [Author Ayn] Rand herself predicted to Nathaniel Branden that her novel was 'going to be the most controversial book of this century; I’m going to be hated, vilified, lied about, smeared in every possible way.' Her characteristic grandiosity notwithstanding, she was prescient.

"Atlas Shrugged was described as 'execrable claptrap,' 'grotesque eccentricity,' and a 'shrill diatribe' comparable in its godless, heartless overwrought cruelty to Nietzschean-inflected fascism. Ex-Communist ... literary critic Granville Hicks opined in the New York Times, 'It howls in the reader’s ear and beats him about the head in order to secure his attention. And then, when it has him subdued, harangues him for page upon page. It has only two moods, the melodramatic and the didactic, and in both it knows no bounds.'

"But the most notoriously devastating review came from William Buckley’s National Review. Echoing the views of many religious conservatives, ... ex-Communist ... Whittaker Chambers wrote that Atlas Shrugged substitutes 'the Sign of the Dollar, in lieu of the Sign of the Cross,' presenting the 'Randian Man' who, like 'Marxian Man,' is at 'the center of a godless world.' Chambers continued: 'Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.... From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard from painful necessity, commanding: "To a gas chamber — go!"'

"These over-the-top negative reviews combined bitter rejection of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, from the Right as well as the Left, with attacks on ... the writing style and on the tone or sheer meanness of the novel. They were met with a much smaller number of equally over-the-top positive reviews and private evaluations, deeming Atlas Shrugged 'vibrant and powerful' and Rand a writer of 'dazzling virtuosity.'

"Economist Ruth Alexander, Rand’s friend, predicted that 'Ayn Rand is destined to rank in history as the outstanding novelist and most profound philosopher of the twentieth century.' A private note to the author from famed right-wing economist Ludwig von Mises praised the book as a political achievement:
Atlas Shrugged is not merely a novel.... It is also – or may I say: first of all – a cogent analysis of the evils that plague our society, a substantiated rejection of the ideology of our self-styled “intellectuals” and a pitiless unmasking of the insincerity of the policies adopted by our governments and political parties.....
"Despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews in the mainstream press, Atlas Shrugged quickly became a word-of-mouth best seller, generating thousands of fan letters from gushing enthusiasts. Though never regarded as serious by cultural gatekeepers, the novel nonetheless became undeniably socially and politically important, sometimes compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Gone with the Wind, and 1984."

Read more:
'via Blog this'

Saturday, February 1, 2020

LP 2020: Ends and means

by George J. Dance

This May, 1,000 or so Libertarian Party delegates will gather in Austin, Texas, to pick the party's nominee for President. It promises to be a contentious convention. LP members were divided as never before by Gary Johnson's two runs as nominee, and remain divided on whether the party should continue to run campaigns like that, or radically change direction.

On paper, the party had its most successful presidential campaign ever in 2012, and an even more successful one in 2016. Only once before 2012 had a candidate for POTUS even come close to a million votes (in 1980, the year David Koch financed the campaign from his own pocket). Gary Johnson's campaigns both topped a million votes, and the 2016 campaign - despite the most bipolarized election of this century - topped 4 million.

Yet, to many, the 2016 Johnson campaign was a disaster. In their view, Johnson was the least libertarian candidate for the nomination, and his campaign platform the least libertarian message the party could project. Delegates will be seriously questioning where the LP should go from here. That should include even revisiting the question of what a Libertarian Party is. What is it for? Why even have one?

My definition: The LP is a vehicle for accomplishing libertarian political ends by democratic means. While each libertarian has their own preferred "political ends", there is substantial agreement on those, which the LP has used to create its Platform and Statement of Principles. By democratic means, I mean attracting members and donors, and running candidates and campaigns, in order to gain sufficient votes to influence public policy. Perhaps the LP will never gain enough votes to win; but one does not need to win to change policy.

In the words of Libertarian strategist Tom Knapp:
“Winning elections” or “maximizing vote totals” are the LP’s means, not the LP’s ends.
The LP’s ends are about changing policy to match the party’s platform and Statement of Principles.
The end is not the Platform itself, but changing policy to align with it. Policy change could be either an immediate matchup (absolutism) or one of a series of incremental moves toward it (gradualism). Sometimes an absolutist policy may be best to adopt, sometimes a gradualist one. One consideration is the end: which option is closest to the platform? The other is the means: which option will let the party gain and keep the votes needed to actually influence policy?

David Bergland ran probably the most absolutist campaign in party history: great on all the ends. But he attracted just 250,000 votes: bad on the means. Gary Johnson's campaign was absolutist on maybe 3 issues, gradualist on most, and even contradicted the platform on an issue (private discrimination by race or sexual orientation): not as good on the ends. But he attracted 4 million voters: much better on the means.

It is important in 2020 that the Libertarian candidate's campaign be consistent with the ends: changing policies in line with the Platform and the Statement of Principles. But it is also important that the party keep the 4 million people who voted for it, and do all that it can to attract more. The LP delegates need to consider both the ends and the means.