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Category Archives: Libertarianism

An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere – Modern Diplomacy

Posted: May 14, 2020 at 5:57 pm

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has become the articulate, compassionate political face of government competence in fighting a pandemic.

Thats quite an achievement for a man who as late as early March 2020 trumpeted: Excuse our arrogance as New Yorkers We think we have the best healthcare system on the planet right here in New York. So, when youre saying what happened in other countries versus what happened here, we dont even think its going to be as bad as it was in other countries. We are fully coordinated; we are fully mobilized.

New York was neither fully coordinated, nor was it fully mobilized.

In fact, it became the pandemics prime hotspot in the United States, accounting for the highest number of infection cases and the highest mortality rate. Its hospitals were overwhelmed, its stockpiles depleted, its frontline workers perilously exposed to risk of contagion. Many of the deaths could have been prevented had Mr. Cuomo opted to lock down the Big Apple earlier.

For now, that recent history has largely been forgotten. Mr. Cuomo thrives in his element, a rising star on Americas political ferment. His sober but empathetic, fact-based daily briefings project him as a man in command with a mission to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of his state.

If Mr. Cuomo, a veteran of dealing with the aftermaths of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, learnt anything from his delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic, it was that an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere.

Unlike other epidemics in recent years such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS in the early 2000s, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012 or the eruption of Ebola in West Africa in 2014, the coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, left no corner of the globe untouched.

It is a lesson that goes to the heart of all that is wrong with global, regional, and national healthcare governance. It is a lesson that calls into question social and economic policies that have shaped the world for decades irrespective of political system.

It is also a lesson that goes to the core of the relationship between government and the people. It positions social trust as a pillar of an effective healthcare policy in a time of crisis.

In an era of defiance and dissent as a result of a breakdown in confidence in political systems and political leadership that kicked off with Occupy Wall Street and the 2011 Arab popular revolts and led to the rise of populists, mass anti-government demonstrations and in 2019 the toppling of leaders in Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq, lack of trust complicated government efforts to counter the virus.

Distrust persuaded many Iranians to initially refuse to heed public health warnings to maintain social distancing, stay at home and install an Android app designed to help people self-diagnose and avoid rushing to hospital.

Pakistanis put their faith in religious leaders who rejected government demands for a halt to congregational prayers. So did many Russians as bans on mass gatherings split the clergy and threatened to undermine the Russian Orthodox Churchs key support for President Vladimir Putin.

Post-mortems of governments handling of the crisis once the coronavirus has been contained could increase the trust deficit.

Moreover, in an indication of pent-up anger and frustration that could explode, the imposition of curfews and stay-at-home orders failed to prevent incidental outbursts, including protests in mid-American states, quarantined Egyptian villages and poorer Tunisian and Moroccan hamlets.

In an echo of the Tunisian vendor who sparked the 2011 Arab revolts, 32-year-old unemployed and physically disabled Hammadi Chalbi set himself alight in a town 160 kilometres southwest of Tunis after authorities refused to license him as a fruit seller. In Lebanon, a taxi driver set his vehicle on fire while fruit vendors dumped their goods in the streets in expressions of mounting discontent. The protests suggest a universal corollary with the pandemic: an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere.

Protesters in 2019 went beyond demanding the fall of a leader. They sought the fall of political elites and radical overhaul of failed political systems. The pandemic called an abrupt halt to the protests. Protesters like the rest of the population went into temporary hibernation.

When they re-emerge, they are likely to put government leaders who prioritized political advantage above their health and economical well-being at a cost that surpasses that of the 1929 Great Depression on par with crimes committed against humanity during times of war.

Social, economic, ethnic, and sectarian fault lines are likely to be hardened in countries like Pakistan and Iraq where militants stepped in with healthcare and other social services to fill voids created by lack of government capacity.

The pandemic further painfully illustrated the economic cost of not only failing to confront a health crisis in a timely fashion but also the risk inherent in policies that do not ensure proper healthcare infrastructure in every corner of the globe, guarantee equal access to healthcare, make sure that people irrespective of income have proper housing and nutrition, turn a blind eye to the destruction of healthcare facilities in conflict situations like Syria, Yemen, Libya, Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabakh, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, tolerate millions of refugees existing in sub-standard living and hygiene conditions, and disregard environmental degradation and climate change.

The pandemic casts a spotlight on the deprivation of populations of proper healthcare as a result of politically motivated discriminatory social and economic policies.

The non-discriminatory nature of the coronavirus forced the Israeli government to ramp up testing in communities of Israeli Palestinians which had been described by public health experts as a ticking time bomb.

The experts warned that Israeli Palestinians, who figured prominently among frontline doctors and nurses treating Jews and Palestinians alike, were an at-risk group, many of whom suffer from chronic diseases, live in crowded conditions, and are socially and economically disadvantaged.

Ramping up testing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 constitutes an immediate effort to stem the tide but does little to structurally prepare Israeli and Palestinian society for the next pandemic.

Pre-dominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem is gravely neglected in every possible way in terms of the infrastructure. Most neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem dont have sewage systems. Just about every possible public service you can think of is underbudgeted and lacking in East Jerusalem. The only thing they get a lot of is parking fines and (punitive) housing demolition orders, said left-wing member of the Jerusalem municipal council Laura Wharton.

A Monopoly board centred on Jerusalem given to her by Moshe Lion, the citys mayor and a former economic advisor and director general of prime minister Benyamin Netanyahus office, illustrates the political calculus that potentially puts not only Jews and Palestinians but populations elsewhere at risk in a future pandemic.

You have here the City of David, the Mount of Olives, the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), the Montefiore windmill, the markets, (the ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of) Mea Shearim. Al Aqsa (the third holiest Muslim site) is not here, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is not here. Basically what you have is a bunch of Jewish sites and various illusions to other things. Its not a very balanced picture of Jerusalem, Ms. Wharton noted pointing at various landmarks on the board.

African Americans, Hispanics and native Americans tell the story, They have fallen disproportionately victim in the United States to the coronavirus.

US surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams, a 45-year old African American vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, one of Americas eight uniformed services, pulled out his inhaler at a White House press briefing in April 2020, saying hes carried it around for 40 years, out of fear of having a fatal asthma attack.

Looking fit and trim in his dark uniform, Mr. Adams said he also had a heart condition and high blood pressure. I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America. And I, and many black Americans, are at higher risk for COVID.

The surgeon general said that its alarming but not surprising that people of colour have a greater burden of chronic health conditions. African Americans and native Americans develop high blood pressure at much younger ages and (the virus) does greater harm to their organs. Puerto Ricans have higher rates of asthma and black boys are three times (more) likely to die of asthma than their white counterparts. People of colour are more likely to live in densely packed areas and multi-generational housing, situations which create higher risk for the spread of a highly contagious disease like COVID-19. We tell people to wash their hands, but a study shows that 30 percent of homes of the Navajo nation dont have running water, so how are they going to do that?

What goes for one of the wealthiest nations on earth goes for the rest of the world too, particularly with the last two decades suggesting that pandemics occur more frequently and are likely to do so going forward.

What started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 had by April 2020 brought the world to a virtual standstill. Millions across the globe were infected, tens of thousands did not survive, economies shut down and the prospects for recovery and return to what was normal seemed a mere hope in a distant future.

Andrew Cuomo may be the exception that confirms the rule. There is little in the response of leaders from Chinas Xi Jingping to Russias Vladimir Putin, Turkeys Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald J. Trump that suggests that the lesson that an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere has persuaded them to think in terms of structural change.

If the first six months of the coronavirus are anything to go by, the name of the game has been jockeying for political positions, ideology trumps science, and everyone for him or herself in a race to the bottom rather than apolitical banding together globally, regionally and nationally to fight a dangerous and debilitating common enemy.

The response to the pandemic reflected the crumbling of the post-World War Two international order that is in the grips of a struggle by big and medium-sized powers to shape global governance in the 21st century.

The struggle has already crippled the United Nations and politicization of the coronavirus and healthcare threatens to undermine the World Health Organization, the one, albeit flawed, structure capable of coordinating a global response.

Complicating the response, was the rise of civilizationalists like Mr. Xi, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban and Mr. Trump who think in civilizational rather than national terms.

They conceive of their nations as civilizations in which Hans, Hindus or Christians rule supreme and there is no equal place for minorities rather than nation states defined by legally recognized borders, population, and language.

Theirs is a world of neglect for international law, increased conflict, political violence, and mass migration that promises to be even less prepared for the next pandemic. It is also a world in which early warning systems are weakened by muzzling of a free press.

Former US president Barak Obama, in his opening blast against Trump in the run-up to the November presidential election, put his finger on the pulse.

What we are fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided and seeing others an enemy, that that has become a stronger impulse in American life. And by the way, you know, we are seeing that internationally as well. And its part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anaemic and spotty It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of whats in it for me and to heck with everybody else when that mindset is operationalized in our government, Mr. Obama told a virtual gathering of his former staffers.

The pandemic demonstrates the need for coordinated policies ranging from global, regional, and national stock piling, international cooperation in medical research and development, conflict mediation, protection of minority rights, environment, absorption of refugees and robust but diversified supply chains.

It also highlights the importance to healthcare of eradication of poverty and proper social security nets, housing, hygiene, and access to water in a world in which an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere.

The pandemic positions an approach towards healthcare that is integrated into sustainable social and economic policies as a matter of global and national security on par with regional and national defense and security policies and investments.

It also raises the question of what role major non-governmental institutions like the Clinton Initiative, George Soros and the Gates Foundation can play.


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Libertarian Party To Choose Its Presidential Ticket in Virtual Vote Over Memorial Day Weekend – Reason

Posted: May 11, 2020 at 11:37 am

The Libertarian Party's National Committee (LNC) decided by a 134 vote today, after a tortuous 8-hour Zoom meeting, to divide the party's convention business into two parts.

The first will be an online meeting over the same Memorial Day weekend during which the scotched in-person convention was supposed to occur in Austin, Texas. At this online meeting, "nomination and balloting for party candidates for President and Vice-President" will occur.

Then a follow-up physical convention will be held in Orlando, Florida, from July 812. While the LNC did not formally commit yet to a contracted venue, they received a presentation from the Rosen Shingle Creek resort that seems to be a favorite.

The realities of the pandemic led the original convention hotel to cancel the party's reservation. Some expected that last Saturday the LNC would commit to a non-physical option, but instead, they voted to give themselves another 10 days to set up an alternate physical convention to occur before July 15.

Lots of debate stormed in the week between about parliamentary, legal, and physical possibilities and impossibilities. That debate continued during today's marathon LNC meeting.

Some insisted the word "place" in the party's bylaws (Article 10), had to mean a physical place, and thus conducting official convention business online would violate those bylaws. A vast amount of time today was spent on the metaphysical question of "what is a place?" and the proper reasonable meaning of "impossible."

Others insisted that Robert's Rules of Order was making new adjustments for the pandemic reality of electronic meetings; some argued that regardless of whether some electronic meetings are allowed under Robert's, Article 12 of the party bylaws did mention that "Boards and committees may conduct business by teleconference or videoconference." Yet! Article 10 did not specify that a convention could. Some believed that notmentioning virtual specifically as possible for conventions meant such online conventions were prohibited.

Some believed that if Robert's Rules and the Libertarian Party bylaws prevented the organization from performing the very purposes that bylaws and Robert's Rules are supposed to help with (not prevent), such stringent interpretation was perverse and unnecessary. Some mocked the idea that any available physical place could possibly hold nearly 1,000 people and conduct business with safe social distancing, but Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek thinks it can.

Some worried, during the meeting and in online chatter, that the progress of the law or the pandemic might make the party have to eventually cancel the in-person portion in July later anyway. Many also worry that the combination of the pandemic and the presidential vote having already occurred will encourage lots of would-be delegates to not show up in Orlando even if an in-person event does happen, leaving whoever wins the party officer positions (and other issues settled) at that in-person convention under a shadow moving forward.

Lots of back and forth happened today about whether it mattered much that it was merely difficult or inadvisable for people to travel to an in-person convention during a pandemic; after all, there is always somereason a delegate a state party picked might not make it to the actual convention. Some thought it made the party look criminally irresponsible to encourage 1,000 people to travel across the country to descend on a city, then scatter; some thought it made them look like they were kowtowing to tyrannical fears and supportive of shutting down American business to notdo that.

Outgoing LNC chair Nicholas Sarwark (he is not running for re-election) said in a phone interview before the meeting that he believed "the best [thing] for the party to do would be to set the national convention for Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend" (to honor the commitments of time already made by delegates), but hold it "in an online venue like Zoom, and have prepared a motion to modify the convention agenda" to move most convention business outside "LNC, judicial, presidential, and vice-presidential elections" to some later, potentially in-person convention, since most other business and motions would be difficult to do online. This is more or less what happened, though today's recommendation has LNC and judicial votes pushed to the later in-person meeting.

Daniel Hayes, head of the convention oversight committee, said in a phone interview before the meeting that an in-person convention was vital for media attention; this is likely so, though shifting the presidential vote into the virtual earlier convention likely will drain some media interest from the physical followup. Out of an abundance of caution over whether some entity might later decide the decision of a virtual presidential vote was technically against the rules, the outcome of the Memorial Day online vote will need to be ratified by the July in-person convention.

LNC Secretary Caryn Ann Harlos was one of the leading voices, at first, for an in-person convention only, but was key in offering a version of the "presidential vote electronic, rest in person later" compromise. Overarchingly, she thinks talk of evading inconvenient bylaw interpretations for whatever reason is violating the "contract with members," since she sees the bylaws as a contractual agreement the LNC has made with the party's members.

Harlos thinks, though, that since their very purpose as a party is to run national candidates, a compromise that allows that and only that business to be done electronically was acceptable, as waiting much longer would conflict with certain state's ballot access deadlines. However, she believes "merely being scared of a virus" was not a good enough reason to mess around with the bylaws' clear language.

The LNC has been experimenting this week with Zoom meetings that emulate the functions of a normal convention, though some participants have found them lacking, subject to both technical glitches and giving presiding officers more power to control how delegates can communicate than in an in-person meeting.

The LNC doesn't have the power to tell the actual delegates assembled that they can only do specific things at a convention, so the choice to only do the presidential vote at whatever electronic meeting commences will ultimately have to be made by the convention body itself.

Rep. Justin Amash (LMich.), the newly minted Libertarian congressman who is certainly a frontrunner, if not now the frontrunner, for the party's presidential nomination said in an interview with The Fifth Column podcast this week (starring Reason's Matt Welch) that "For my partI want every candidate to feel that they got a fair shot, including our campaign. We all want to be treated fairly under this process and that's what's important, that nobody feels like this was some kind of a setup one way or the other either for my candidacy, or against my candidacy, and every other candidate feels the same way about their own campaign." Amash added, "I think it's important that we not postpone it too late because if you postpone it too long, it makes the calendar more challenging and we want to make sure we get on the ballot in all these states too.A campaign has to get up and running and it would be better if it doesn't go all the way to July or something like that."

The matter is important because some state ballot petitioning rules require the actual named candidate, so the later the candidate is named, the harder it will be to meet those requirements. Candidate Jim Gray, former California Superior Court judge and former Libertarian vice presidential candidate in 2012, said in a phone interview this week that while it "would be much more preferable to have an in-person convention, for our campaign, for the party, for the country, since there will be less excitement and less give and take [likely online]having said that, it's a tradeoff." If waiting for a reasonably safe and doable face-to-face meeting "would likely result in us losing ballot access in too many states," then he understands.

Joe Bishop-Henchman, a candidate for LNC chair this year and a leader in the "online presidential vote" faction said in a phone interview before the convention that he worried if the party didn't settle its presidential candidate question sooner rather than later that some state party affiliates might see it necessary to "defy [the national party] and go it alone." In that case, he would not "hold it against them," but he thinks the compromise reached today will "prevent that from happening, the danger of different presidential tickets in different states."

While this question was not settled, many on the LNC seemed to think that if certain state delegations were prohibited by their own state's travel restrictions from making it to Orlando, some allowance would likely be made by the delegates at that convention to allow them to participate in votes and debates virtually.

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Johnson address shows he has been swayed by hawks in his cabinet – The Guardian

Posted: at 11:37 am

Boris Johnson famously dislikes disappointing the people around him.

The result is this weekends barrage of confused messaging over whether the lockdown is ending, as he tries to please both sides in the battle raging within the Tory party about how to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

On the one hand, the rightwing hawks in his cabinet have been pushing him towards a swift return to business as usual to save the economy, setting out a roadmap to lifting the lockdown sooner rather than later. On the other, the more centrist doves, including the health secretary, Matt Hancock, have been pulling him in another direction, urging caution for fear of a second peak and more lost lives.

The received wisdom is that Johnson is now on the side of the doves following his brush with death during a four-day spell in intensive care suffering from Covid-19.

The start of his address on Sunday was cautious: he insisted that there was no immediate end to the lockdown and would allow only a gradual shift to unlimited exercise within household groups from Wednesday.

However, his overall shift in tone, ditching the stay at home message in favour of a stay alert slogan, told a different story. That new message appears designed to appease some of his critics within the Conservatives mostly on the Brexit-backing libertarian right of the party, who want to see more emphasis on people being trusted to take their own decisions about risk.

The decision to set out an ambition to reopen schools and some shops in June and some hospitality venues in July without the epidemic in care homes and hospitals yet under control also shows he has also been swayed by the hawks in his cabinet.

And a renewed emphasis on asking people to get back to work, even if they cannot observe social distancing, is another move that will please Tory MPs worried about the furlough scheme while alarming trade unions concerned about the safety of their workforces.

It is clear from the scathing reaction of Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, that there are serious worries in the devolved administrations about the risk of lifting the lockdown too soon and the chaotic messaging that is accompanying it.

Supporters of Johnson argue that he is trying to strike a careful balance between setting out a roadmap for reopening the economy and making no promises about exactly when schools, shops, cafes and restaurants would reopen.

He insisted that the government would ultimately be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity, [but] [by] the science, the data and public health.

However, sooner or later Johnson is going to have to pick a side in the argument over whether the threat of a crashing economy requires taking some risks with public health unless the epidemic starts to clear more quickly than scientists anticipate.

And in the meantime, the public has been left with some of the biggest questions unanswered especially about when they will be able to freely see their family and friends again.

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Dershowitz Defends and Criticizes Flynn by Railing Against Entrapment and Fair-Weather Civil Libertarians – Law & Crime

Posted: at 11:37 am

Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz came out fighting for Michael Flynn in a column published early Friday morning by the conservative think tank the Gatestone Institute.

Titled: Flynn Was Innocent All Along: He Was Pressured to Plead Guilty, Dershowitz reiterates his longstanding belief that the former lieutenant general and national security advisor should never have pleaded guilty because he did not commit a crime.

Per the largely pro-Flynn piece (emphasis in original):

For a lie to be a crime under federal law, it must be material to the investigation meaning that the lies pertain to the issues being legitimately investigated. The role of the FBI is to investigate past crimes, not to create new ones. Because the FBI investigators already knew the answer to the question they asked himwhether he had spoken to the Russian Ambassadortheir purpose was not to elicit new information relevant to their investigation, but rather to spring a perjury trap on him. When they asked Flynn the question, they had a recording of his conversation with the Russian, of which he was presumably unaware. So his answer was not material to the investigation because they already had the information about which they were inquiring.

This territory is well-trod for the famous legal analyst.

Dershowitz was roundly criticized on Twitter in late 2018 after telling Fox News that lying to the FBI is not a crime.

I hope the judge understands when he has the case tomorrow that Flynn did not commit a crime by lying, Dershowitz told Bill Hemmer at the time. Because the lie has to be material to the investigation. And if the FBI already knew the answer to the question and only asked him the question in order to give him an opportunity to lie, his answereven if falsewas not material to the investigation.

Earlier this year, and well after a high-profile defense team shakeup, Flynns attorney Sidney Powell appeared to repay the public attention paid to her client by approvingly paraphrasing Dershowitz in a bid for probation.

Still, Dershowitzs column also calls Flynn out for hypocrisy:

There must be a single standard of justice and civil liberties including the presumption of innocence that transcends partisan politics. This message has been forgotten by both parties. Flynn himself was among those who shouted, Lock her up, regarding Hillary Clinton. Then when the Justice Department tried to lock him up, he got religion.

But Mondays column doesnt hone in too deeply on the details of Flynns case. Rather, Dershowitz appears to mainly be using Flynn as a cautionary tale to explain his perspective on law enforcement excess and the value of consistently prizing civil liberties.

Some may wonder why an innocent man would ever plead guilty, Dershowitz tees. Anyone who knows how the system works in practice would understand why an innocent manor a defendant in a close casemight be coerced into pleading guilty. The cruel reality is that if a defendant pleads not guilty and is found guilty, the sentence will be far greater than if he had pled guiltyperhaps even 10 times greater.

These are the kinds of pressures routinely used by prosecutors, the column continues. Civil libertarians have long been critical of these pressures, but fair-weather civil libertarians refuse to object when these improper tactics are used against Trumps associates. Partisan hypocrisy reigns.

The points raised in the column are particularly salient for criminal defendants in the country that locks more people up per capita than any other country. Over all, there are now more people under correctional supervision in Americamore than six millionthan were in the Gulag under Stalin at its height, The New Yorkers Adam Gopnik noted in 2012.

Law&Crime asked Dershowitz if he thought police routinely over-charge and if his admonishment for federal law enforcement to stop creating crimes bears any applicability to the overall criminal justice system.

To which he replied: Yes and yes.

[image via screengrab/ The View]

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Analysis: Reeves tries to balance concerns of health, jobs – Associated Press

Posted: at 11:37 am

JACKSON, Miss (AP) Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is having to balance his libertarian-leaning instincts with public health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Its been his job the past several weeks to order some businesses to temporarily close and to restrict peoples face-to-face interactions to try to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. His statewide shelter in place order remains in effect until May 25.

Reeves is gradually letting businesses reopen even as numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise.

Restaurants could start serving food and drinks their dining rooms and patios Thursday, after more than a month of being limited to carry-out service or deliveries. Barbershops, beauty salons and gyms are allowed to start reopening Monday. They all must meet safety standards such as limiting customers and taking extra steps for sanitation.

The governor has said repeatedly that people should use their own best judgment.

If you are in the vulnerable category, if you are over the age of 65, if you have pre-existing conditions, getting out of your home has risks, Reeves said Friday. Going to a salon has risks, but were trying to put measures in place to minimize those risks. We recognize also that the spread of the virus has risks. The spread of the economic collapse has risks.

Reeves spent eight years as state treasurer and eight as lieutenant governor before being inaugurated as governor in January. He has consistently advocated a limited role for state government. Legislators cut several thousand jobs from the state government workforce when Reeves had a big role in writing budgets as lieutenant governor.

Fairly early in the pandemic, Reeves said hes concerned about people facing abject poverty because of job losses. Its a phrase he has not often used in speeches or interviews during 16-plus years of serving in public office in a state that has been one of the poorest in the U.S. for generations. During news conferences about COVID-19, Reeves often mentions people who are having to file unemployment claims for the first time in their lives.

The governor says his top adviser during the pandemic is the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs. He is also listening to business executives and to people who express concerns about the economy.

Reeves frequently says that restarting Mississippis economy is not like flipping a light switch from off to on but like using a dimmer switch to go from dull to bright.

He emphasizes the role of personal responsibility, saying that people should mostly remain home and that they should wear masks in public, keep distance between themselves and others and avoid taking the whole family to the grocery store if possible.

If we do not want to return where we were several weeks ago, with more businesses closed and more shelter-in-place I have to ultimately make that decision, Reeves said last week. But the thing is, the people of Mississippi can make that decision first if the people of our state will be smart, if theyll stay safe.

Reeves said city and county law enforcement officers have done a fantastic job of enforcing safety orders during the pandemic, and state law enforcement officers are available to help them. As more businesses reopen, Reeves said the best enforcement of safety standards will come from within.

The number one person that it is going to enforce this is the person that is actually opening the business. Its the employees. Its Mississippians. Its people who care about not only themselves, but about their fellow man, Reeves said. I am convinced that the industries that we are reopening are going to do a better job of monitoring it themselves than any governmental entity ever will.


Emily Wagster Pettus has covered Mississippi government and politics since 1994. Follow her on Twitter:

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Originalism, Common-Good Originalism, and Common-Good Constitutionalism – Reason

Posted: at 11:37 am

Last month, Adrian Vermeule wrote an essay titledBeyond Originalism. The Harvard Law Professor contended that originalism had already served its purpose, and our polity should shift to what he called "common-good constitutionalism." Co-blogger Randy Barnett responded to Adrian, and warned about the risks of any non-originalist approach to the Constitution.

Last week, my friend Josh Hammer wrote another reply to Vermeule that seeks to stake out something of a half-way position. He calls it "common good originalism." Here is a snippetthough I encourage you to read the entire essay.

Common good originalism should adopt the conservatism of Hamilton, Marshall, and Justice Joseph Story as its jurisprudential lodestar. The interstices naturally permitted by a more expansive constructionism will, assuredly, provide ample room for jurists to deploy substantive moral argumentation along the lines favored by scholars like Jaffa and Arkes. Furthermore, by rejecting hyper-literalist free speech absolutism, common good originalism permits (within reason) natural law-undergirded arguments about the moral worth of one's speech, such as Alito's dissent inSnyder: "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case."

Common good originalism also rejects natural law-subversive "originalist" claims aboutconstitutionally mandated marriage redefinitionthat would undermine the common good, risible anti-sovereigntist "textualism" claims aboutconstitutionally mandated open bordersthat would wreak havoc upon the common good, and so forth.

This is only a bare-bones beginning. And I know, of course, that I will not persuade Vermeule himself. But my aim is to lay out a framework upon which to build an assertive, moralistic, Burkean/Hamiltonian conservative jurisprudence. This jurisprudence is also legitimate, from a positive law perspective, because it is rooted in (an expansive construction of) the constitutional text and thereby avoids the "oath-breaking problem" posed by Article VI of the Constitution.

Vermeule has now responded to Hammer.

JoshHammer has written a characteristically thoughtful and engaging response toCommon-Good Constitutionalism, arguing for an approach he calls "Common-Good Originalism." I see Hammer's approach as a laudable development, a movement half-way to the right approach. But as with many half-way positions, it is unstable. The structure built of originalism and the common good fits together poorly, for the former is a positivist approach and the latter a nonpositivist one. Thus nothing at all guarantees that the original understanding will necessarily or even predictably track the common good (however the latter is defined), and conversely it is always possible, indeed likely, that the common good (however defined) will prescribe an interpretation that cannot be justified in originalist terms.

Adrian adds that Hammer's position may become something of a middle-ground:

To be sure, even if originalism and the common good cannot be combined in a stable manner, a house with shaky foundations may happen to be shored up by external buttressing. I wouldn't be wholly shocked to see a position like Hammer's become a new political equilibrium, one that supersedes the currently reigning libertarian originalism, and theoretical coherence be damned. But that contingent political dimension is not my concern here. My point is one of theory: common-good originalism, whatever its political appeal, has an inherent tendency to break down into one or another of two distinct views, one which subordinates the common good to originalism, and the other which subordinates originalism to the common good.

And Adrian praises Hammer's non-libertarian approach to originalism:

There is much to admire in Hammer's argument. It is a long step away from the libertarian form of originalism that has colonized the legal right at least since the second Bush administration, and that until recently dominated the scene. Justice Scalia'smodus operandi (viewed from the outside; I do not suggest that this was a deliberate strategy) was to stake out a principled position, resting on internally coherent arguments, that would expand the range of the thinkable on the Court, and then to watch his colleagues struggle part-way towards his views with positions that were uneasy compromises. In that Scalian sense, Hammer's piece,internally conflicted though it may be, amounts to an ominous sign of the times for conventional originalists. When a prominent young conservative commentator like Hammer expressly rejects "pure legal positivism and the elevation of procedure to the complete detriment of substance, most frequently associated with the jurisprudences of the late Judge Robert Bork and the late Justice Antonin Scalia," one can almost feel the winds of change freshening.

We are watching an important debate play out in front of our eyes. And the stakes are high. In the past, I have described the "libertarian" wing of the FedSoc legal movement as "ascendant." I still think that is the case, but there is movement afoot. Contrary to left-wing caricatures, we are not monolithic lemmings. There are some common grounds of agreement, and there are other areas of sharp disagreement. Randy wrote about this shift:

In particular, I have sensed a disturbance in the originalist force by a few, mostly younger, socially conservative scholars and activists. They are disappointed in the results they are getting from a "conservative" judiciarynever mind that there are not yet five consistently originalist justices.Someattribute this failing to originalism's having been hijacked by libertarians. Some have been drawn to the new "national conservatism" initiative, which makes bashing libertarians a major theme. These now-marginalized scholars and activists will be delighted to fall in behind the Templar flag of a Harvard Law professor like Vermeule.

Josh Hammer makes this point expressly, and ties it to a current case:

Within this broader context of conservatives reconsidering orthodoxies, Vermeule's proposal fits quite neatly. What Georgetown University Law Center Professor Randy Barnett calls a "disturbance in the originalist force by a few, mostly younger, socially conservative scholars and activists" could evolve into amore thorough exodusaway from originalism if, as is heavily rumored, putative originalist Justice Neil Gorsuch sides with his progressive colleaguesthis termby reading into Title VII legal protection thebiological and linguistic liethat is "transgenderism."

I agree with Josh Hammer that Adrian has shifted the Overton window. This issue warrants far more discussion.

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Libertarian, Green parties sue over Illinois election rules – The Southern

Posted: April 9, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Its normal for us to be on the ballot were good at it despite the obstacles that are put in place, Morris said. I think if there arent Libertarians, Greens or any independents allowed on the ballot in November, we do not have a democratic process and we do not have a legitimate election.

An established party candidate for president, for example, needs at least 3,000 signatures or more if someone challenges their validity. That same person would need 5,000 signatures to run for U.S. Senate.

Independents or those in a new party, including Libertarians and Greens, need at least 25,000 signatures for both positions. Whitney said candidates in his party often collect at least 40,000 signatures.

He added it is ridiculous that in both cases, candidates have 90 days to gather the required number.

What this means is that the minority parties the new parties trying to break through and become established are unfairly burdened and their campaigns are unfairly burdened. They have fewer resources because of all the time spent petitioning, Whitney said.

Illinois signature requirements were established in 1891 and were not, according to the lawsuit, substantially updated or improved ... despite the availability of less burdensome alternatives enabled by modern technology

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Lawsuit Filed by Green and Libertarian Parties Over Petitioning Issues Because of Stay at Home Order –

Posted: at 5:50 pm

The Associated Press reports that the Green and Libertarian parties in Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit claiming Gov. J.B. Pritzkers stay-at-home order has impeded the petition process necessary to get on the November ballot.

AP reports that the lawsuit, filed last week in Chicago, alleged the order intended to curb the spread of coronavirus and social distancing recommendations have made it practically impossible to collect signatures safely in person.

Under Illinois election rules, candidates not from established parties have to collect signatures from March 24 until June 22 for the general election. They also need more required signatures.

State and federal officials have recommended social distancing for weeks. Pritzker issued an order March 20, requiring most residents to stay home with few exceptions.

The parties argued that even if the order was lifted in May, little time would remain to get signatures.

According to the lawsuit, "requiring in-person contact to satisfy Illinois petitioning requirements is not presently possible and will be problematic for weeks to come after emergency measures are lifted."

The lawsuit seeks to have the signature requirements waived or suspended for this election.

The lawsuit named Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Elections. Pritzkers spokeswoman didnt return a request for comment Tuesday. An elections board spokesman said the board doesnt have legal authority to change state law.

Story by the Associated Press.

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This Libertarian Country Defeated The Coronavirus With The Free Market – Patheos

Posted: at 5:50 pm

Hail! Hail, Freedonia!

The country of Freedonia has successfully fought off the COVID-19 virus successfully. This small European nation in the middle of the coronavirus maelstrom reportedly used free market forces to keep its citizens safe.

President Rufus T. Canard remarked on the remarkable story of laissez-faire economics and public health. Did you know the invisible hand of the market belongs to God? He is better than a legion of unelected bureaucrats telling you to put face masks on.

Once the government of Freedonia realized the pandemic was sweeping through its neighbors it took tough action nothing. Privately funded hospitals had all the respirators they needed because thats how capitalism works. The citizens of this nation whose motto isHail Freedonia, land of the Brave and Free!immediately engaged in complicated statistical analysis and realized they had all better start practice social distancing. And best of all no one hoarded toilet paper.

Unrestrained market forces do not create panics where people hoard items like toilet paper, remarked President Canard. You can look that up in any economics textbook.

Citizens of Freedonia are proud of their nations dedication to Ayn Rands ideals,Friedrich Hayeks economics, and a total disregard of reality. They point to how the Great Depression never depressed and their successful pay-by-the-minute education system. The world envies how each and every enrolled student has their own coin operatededu-meter,Canard quipped.

I dream of a world where people can do what they want whenever they want regardless of facts, President Canard said. And that will make the world a better place.

In related news, an American televangelist pays for a private jet with sperm bank donations.

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Is Passover the Most Libertarian Holiday? – Reason

Posted: at 5:50 pm

Short of opening a libertarian theme park ("Ride the Rockin' Road to Serfdom!"), it can be difficult to make the love of liberty a "lived experience," especially for kids. What we need is something hands-onan emotional, immersive experience that gets children and their parents totally involved.

Fortunately, this multimedia memory-maker already exists. It's called Passover.

Passover is the Jewish festival of freedom. It's an annual retelling of the Exodus story, complete with jingles, novelty foods, and cash prizes. Moses went down to Egyptland more than 3,000 years ago, yet the story miraculously manageslike last year's matzoto stay fresh as ever.

Not for nothing do some Jews jokingly call this holiday the "festival of constipation." Matzo is the corrugated cardboardlike bread substitute we are commanded to eat all eight days of Passover. The story says that when Pharaoh finally let the Jews go, they feared he might change his mind, so they fled without even waiting for their dough to rise. To this day, we eat the same thing they did: unleavened bread. The fact that it wreaks havoc on many a digestive system is actually quite clever: Our suffering reminds us of our forebears' suffering. In fact, on Passover, we can't even saythey, as in "They left Egypt." We have to saymeorwe, as in "This is to remember when God took me out of Egypt." Because, as the haggadah points out, if "they" hadn't been taken out, "we" would still be there. Touch!

This is the Passover playbook filled with stories, songs, and stage directions such as "lift the matzo and show it to everyone." What other holiday comes with its own instruction book? And since it's all right there, this is a holiday Jews basically celebrate in the same way from Texas to Tel Aviv. We eat an apple and nut mixture that reminds us of the mortar theyer,weused to build Pharaoh's temples. We eat bitter herbs to feel, well, bitter. We point to a lamb shank bone to remember how they (we!) painted lamb's blood on our doorframes so God wouldpass overus (yes, that's where the word comes from) when he got to Plague No. 10, the killing of the firstborn sons. We even spill some wine as a small sacrifice in honor of the suffering of the Egyptians themselves. Every bit of the service points back to how terrible it was to be enslaved, reminding us that our duty is to be grateful forand to work to spreadfreedom.

One particular song dominates this holiday: "Dayenu." In Hebrew,the word means "it would have been enough." As in: If God had just taken us out of Egypt, it would have been enoughbut He did so much more, which the song then goes on to list. The key here is the killer chorus, in whichdayenuis repeated endlessly. It's so simple that a toddler can sing it. Jews with Alzheimer's can sing it tooeven after they've forgotten almost everything else. (I've witnessed this myself.)Thatis a great jingle.

The freedom theme is front and center again when the youngest child at the Passover dinner is expected to ask the famous "four questions," beginning with: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" Why? Because this is the night we really try to feel what it was like to be a slave set free. Each of the four questions gets back to that point:Oppression bad. Liberty amazing! Assigning question duty to the youngest kid guarantees that every child will do it at some point, assuring a lot of buy-in. And since it's the kid's first big moment in the family spotlight, not to mention the great river of Jewish tradition, it's memorable for everyone at the table.

At the end of the meal, kids go hunting for a little piece ofyou guessed itmatzo, known as theafikomen. The winner gets a prize, often cash that he or she has to haggle for. Just like trade show organizers promising the grand prize drawing at the end, this scavenger hunt keeps people from leaving early. It also gets the kids running around, bonding (and fighting) with their cousins, assuring even more memories are made.

If the holiday just featured a special game,dayenu. If it featured a special game and a special food,dayenu. But Passover works on every level, hammering home the message: Thank God (literally!) for freedom.

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