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Libertarian 2020 candidate appears on podcast tied to boogaloo movement – The Guardian

Libertarian party presidential candidate, Jo Jorgensen, has appeared on a podcast associated with the anti-government boogaloo movement just days after an adherent of the movement was arrested for allegedly murdering two law enforcement officers.

One of the other people on the podcast also runs a Facebook page which is strewn with memes that reference insurrectionary violence, and appear to invoke white nationalist and neo-Nazi imagery and subject matter.

The Libertarian party is one of the largest political parties in the US, outside the dominant pairing of the Democrats and Republicans. Although the partys vote is still comparatively small, it has finished third in the last two presidential elections, and has increased its share of the vote in four successive elections, going from 0.4% of the vote in 2004 to 3.3% in 2016, when it fetched almost 4.5 million votes

On the Roads to Liberty podcast, Jorgensen was quizzed on her policy proposals by a group of men who were introduced as some of the head admins for some of the most influential pages in the so-called boogaloo movement.

The word boogaloo refers to the prospect of a second civil war in the US by playing off a reference to a movie sequel, Breakin 2: Electric boogaloo. For some in the anti-government boogaloo movement, any such civil conflict carries the possibility of an insurrection against an overbearing state and the law enforcement officers who serve it, particularly agencies tasked with enforcing restrictions on gun rights. But others who use the term conceive of the boogaloo as a race war.

Apart from the podcast host, who broadcasts under the name Hobbs, and the producer, Ben Backus, the questioners included a man identifying himself as Rick, an administrator of the North /K/arolina Facebook page; a man identifying himself as Justin, an administrator of the now-absent Thick Boog Line Facebook page; and Cameron Purser, a North Carolina man who runs Flytrap Firearms Consulting, a firearms training business.

Also questioning Jorgensen was a man identifying himself as Squid, an administrator of the Patriot Wave: V 2.0 (PW2) page, which currently has 10,000 followers. A group associated with a previous, since-banned incarnation of that page were responsible for the first high-profile public appearance of the boogaloo movement, when they paraded masked and armed at a large pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, in January.

While some boogaloo adherents articulate a racially inclusive, universalist form of anti-government ultra-libertarianism, the PW2 page features dozens of memes which reference fascist, white nationalist, and accelerationist neo-Nazi imagery.

Several memes featured on the page venerate white soldiers of the Rhodesian army who fought to maintain white supremacist minority rule in that country before it became Zimbabwe.Several other PW2 memes positively couch images of Nazi Germany and second world war German soldiers.

Other memes feature a reference to Marvin Heemeyer, aka Killdozer, a Colorado businessman who demolished several buildings with a modified bulldozer in 2004 before taking his own life. The Heemeyer incident was referred to by Steven Carillo, the accused double killer and apparent boogaloo sympathizer who allegedly scrawled a Heemeyer quote in blood on the hood of a police cruiser before his arrest on 6 June.

Alex Newhouse is the Digital Research Lead at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute, and has recently published two research papers on the boogaloo movement.

Upon viewing a selection of PW2s memes, Newhouse wrote in an email: While Patriot Waves memes do not explicitly promote Nazi ideologies, they are clearly evocative of more fringe and extreme Nazi accelerationist communities, and the allusions to Rhodesia and South Africa are clearly racist dog whistles which attempt to stoke fears of white displacement and genocide.

Cassie Miller, a senior researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center who has written on the boogaloo movement, said: Patriot Wave reflects the overlap between the so-called boogaloo movement and the racist far-right.

The questioners ask Jorgensen about a range of policy areas, including taxes, veterans affairs, and second amendment issues.

Squid, however, asks about Jorgensens views on the boogaloo movement as a whole.

Jorgensen replies, Oh, can you please explain that to me again?, and appears not to know about the movement, despite recent arrests of alleged violent extremists who identified with the movement.

Squid explains the purpose of the movement as basically liberty and justice for all.

Well, I am definitely for liberty and justice for all, Jorgensen replies.

On Jorgensens appearance on a boogaloo related podcast, Newhouse, the extremism researcher, says: When politicians make outreach to boogaloo communities, they are mainstreaming this explicitly revolutionary, anti-government movement that has already been linked several instances of real-world violence.

He adds: Boogalooers routinely celebrate and call for deadly violence against journalists and government officials, which means that politicians who ally with them may tacitly legitimize anti-democratic actions, such as armed intimidation and confrontation of political opponents.

In an email, after being given examples of troubling images on the PW2 page, Jorgensen declined to specifically repudiate the support of the boogaloo movement, writing: I welcome the support of anyone who will reject violence and bigotry in favor of non-aggression, peaceful persuasion, and voluntary cooperation.

Asked if the boogaloo movement were anti-government extremists, Jorgensen wrote: The media tend to lump together peaceful protesters and those who advocate violence, and paint the entire group as being violent.

She added: The boogaloo movement is highly decentralized and comprises both those who are aligned with the principle of nonaggression, and some who run counter to it.

Squid, the PW2 administrator, denied that the group were racist in an email, writing that they were constitutionalists.

Dozens of boogaloo groups, including many of the largest ones, have been promoting Jorgensens candidacy in recent days, and a dedicated Jorgensen meme group involves many self-identified boogaloo adherents.

Facebook, meanwhile, banned hundreds of boogaloo-related accounts, pages, and groups on Instagram and Facebook on 30 June, explaining the move as designating a violent US-based anti-government network as a dangerous organization.

The Libertarian party formally condemns racism in its platform. However in 2017, after the Unite the Right rally, the partys leadership had to issue a public denunciation of white nationalism.

This was necessary because lawyer and recently accused domestic abuser, Augustus Sol Invictus, was a featured participant, having previously run in a primary to be the partys Florida senate candidate.

Asked about how the Libertarian party will keep extremists at a distance in future, Jorgensen wrote: The Libertarian Party is the only political party that favors non-aggression as a fundamental principle. Every Libertarian Party member has signed a pledge that they oppose the initiation of force for the purpose of achieving social or political goals.

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Libertarian 2020 candidate appears on podcast tied to boogaloo movement - The Guardian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: COVID-19 infects the presidential ballot – Martinsville Bulletin

1928. That was the last presidential election Virginia voters were left with only two options to choose. Nearly a century later, that statistic is in jeopardy of being repeated.

COVID-19 is making it nearly impossible for minor political parties to gather the required signatures to be able to appear on the ballot.

Petitioners and would-be signers are scared to be exposed to the virus. Popular spots to petition, like the DMV, are closed until further notice.

The two major parties have a free pass from petitioning. If they don't wish to nominate their candidate by primary, they can choose to do so by convention. The VA GOP chose to forego petition-required primaries in order to nominate their presidential and Fifth Congressional District candidates. They only had three out of seven candidates make the June primary even after a Richmond judge lowered the ballot access requirement 65%, from 10,000 to 3,500 signatures.

Potential alternatives to ease the insurmountable hurdle for minor parties include allowing electronic signatures, lowering the overall requiremen, and/or extending the deadline.

The Libertarian Party is the third-largest political party in the United States. Its presidential candidate was on the ballot in all 50 states in 2016. Nearly 200,000 Virginia voters voted for a third-party candidate that year. The last presidential election Virginia voters didn't have the option to vote for the LP presidential candidate was in 1984.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: COVID-19 infects the presidential ballot - Martinsville Bulletin

Maine GOP Primary Is Becoming a Proxy Fight Over War, Saudi Arabia – The Intercept

As an anti-war Republican wages an aggressive and well-funded campaign in the July 14 primary for Maines 2nd Congressional District, a mysterious dark-money super PAC has spent $345,000 in the last three weeks attacking him.

The Cook Political Report rates the district as one of just 15 Democratic-held toss-up seats in the nation. As the Republican Party faces a raucous and often acrimonious debate between Rep. Thomas Massie and Sen. Rand Paul on one end and former national security adviser John Bolton, Sen. Tom Cotton, and Rep. Liz Cheney on the other, the race in Maine provides an up-close look at the divisions inside the party and the financial backing of each side.

On one end of the race is Paul-endorsed former state Sen. Eric Brakey, who is, like Paul, a libertarian who is highly skeptical of U.S. militarism and has been an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia. When it comes to foreign policy, I want us to be realistic, Brakey told the Washington Examiner in 2017. I think that its crazy that we have our troops in 177 different countries, that were in Afghanistan 16 years later, when the youngest soldiers currently going in there were two years old when we went in there in the first place.

On the other end is former state Rep. Dale Crafts, who said during a debate with Brakey in February that the U.S. economy would absolutely collapse tomorrow if the U.S. reduced its presence in 800 military bases scattered around the globe, saying, China and Russia would overtake the world. Al-Qaeda and ISIS would go rampant and Israel would be wiped off the face of the earth.

Craftss campaign is teamed up with Eaton River Strategies, owned by a registered foreign agent of the government of Saudi Arabia.

Also in the mix is Adrienne Bennett, a former spokesperson for Maine Gov.Paul LePage, who isnt running on any particular set of foreign policies. A poll released Wednesday shows a tight race, though Maines instant runoff voting makes prognostication difficult. Crafts is currently polling in first place at 37 percent, Bennett in second at 25 percent, and Brakey third at 19 percent. Its troubling that a registered foreign agent being paid by Saudi Arabia is working to defeat a candidate that is critical of Saudi Arabia, said Ben Freeman, a researcher at the Center for International Policy.

Crafts, the establishment candidate, has received many more endorsements from his former Republican colleagues in the Maine legislature than Brakey.

Incumbent Rep. Jared Golden won the seat in 2018 from two-term Republican Bruce Poliquin. The district provided Donald Trump his only electoral vote in New England in 2016, under the semi-unique system that Maine shares with Nebraska that allows the state to split its electoral votes by congressional district. Though less brash than Crafts, Golden has closely hued to the mainstream foreign policy agenda, voting last week with a majority of Democrats and Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee for the Cheney-Crow amendment aimed at continuing the war in Afghanistan.

Brakey began his career in politics by running Ron Pauls 2012 presidential campaign in Maine. As a member of the Republican platform committee in 2016, Brakey sought to add language to the platform that would guarantee the declassification of the famous 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report, an effort fiercely fought by Saudi Arabia and its lobbyists in Washington. Brakey also sought to have language included in the platform that would have unequivocally condemned U.S. intervention in Libya. After serving two terms in the Maine Senate and then being the Republican nominee against Angus King in 2018, Brakey announced his campaign in September.

Three weeks later, Crafts announced his candidacy with the support of LePage, a close ally of Trump. Crafts spent four terms in the Maine House of Representatives and owns a small chain of self-storage locations. His donors are mainly Maine business owners but donors from the most recent fundraising quarter have not been disclosed yet.

The super PAC spending against Brakey, the American Policy Fund, incorporated recently, and as a result does not have to disclose its donors until after the election. So far, it has spent over $340,000 against Brakey, hitting him on past opposition to Trump while tying him to the Squad of four progressive congresswomen. The super PACs treasurer, Cabell Hobbs, has close ties to the Republican establishment. He was the treasurer for Boltons super PAC, which attracted controversy for allegedly illegal collaboration with Cambridge Analytica in the 2014 North Carolina Senate race, as well as for several other Republican super PACs. He currently serves as treasurer for the Republican State Leadership Committee. A spokesperson for Bolton said Trumps former national security adviser is not involved with the PAC. The American Policy Fund did not respond to a request for comment.

Another super PAC, the Club for Growth Action, has endorsed Brakey, and the group and its affiliates have spent over $800,000 supporting the candidate. The largest donors to Club for Growth Action are Richard Uihlein of the Uline shipping company and Jeff Yass of the Susquehanna International Group; the largest donor to the Protect Freedom PAC, also spending in support of Brakey, is also Yass. The Club for Growth typically adopts a militant libertarian posture in Republican primaries. Since the election of Rand Paul, the group has grown more comfortable with heterodox foreign policy views, after spending heavily to defeat anti-war moderate Wayne Gilchrest, a Maryland Republican, in his primary in 2008.

Eaton River Strategies, which is working with the Crafts campaign, is a firm owned by Kathie Summers-Grice, a George W. Bush Department of Labor official. Summers-Grice is a registered foreign agent for Saudi Arabia, and receives $10,000 per month as a subcontractor for the Saudi government. Summers-Grices firm has received over $33,000 from the Crafts campaign for consulting and direct mail services. The Federal Election Commission prohibits foreign nationals and governments from making contributions in U.S. elections, so Saudi Arabia cant actually pay for Grices work to defeat Brakey, said Freeman. But, at the very least, $10,000 per month gives Grice ample reason to want to defeat someone critical of the folks writing her those checks.

Summers-Grice told The Intercept that that while her company is working with the Crafts campaign, she has no involvement and doesnt even live in the 2nd district. The Crafts campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

This is a clear alignment between the Saudi lobbying complex and a politicians campaign that is supportive of and defending American militarism abroad, said Eli Clifton, the research director of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Militarism which has certainly been beneficial to Saudi Arabia, but not beneficial to taxpayers or the economy outside of the military industrial complex.

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Maine GOP Primary Is Becoming a Proxy Fight Over War, Saudi Arabia - The Intercept

We’re a cashless society now and the libertarians are nervous – Assiniboia Times

Libertarians want absolute freedom in all circumstances, even if this means reducing governmental amenities and retracting technological advances.

Libertarians by nature detest impositions by governments and financial institutions.

Right wing libertarians such as Ron Paul dislike complex economic systems and have called for a return to the gold standard a financial arrangement removed in the 1930s.

The gold standard was system where the value of a currency was defined in terms of the amount gold represented by the exchange of paper currency a system discarded by many countries in the Depression era.

These days, bankcards and computer-generated apps are replacing cash and the libertarians are typically upset.

Bankcards and ATMs have a long history in Saskatchewan dating to the 1970s.

Saskatchewan and Alberta had the first financial institutions on the Canadian Prairies to use card-based, networked ATMs beginning in June 1977.

Later, credit unions in Saskatchewan introduced debit cards, which were usable wherever credit cards were accepted in 1982.

By the 1990s, most of us were carrying bankcards in our wallets and purses. Bank websites were supplanting personal interactions with tellers at regional branches since the early 2000s.

Digital payments gained partiality over banknotes in the 2010s, as recorded in article by the Independent in May 2015.

PayPal, digital wallets like Apple Pay, contactless and NFC payments by electronic cards and smart phones are preferred for transactions in 2020.

Electronic payments can be insecure, mismanaged and data can be easily stolen.

Yet, the convenience of electronic cash is obvious, even if the libertarians dont agree.

Security measures for electronic payments are improving, as we buy groceries, gas, cigarettes and other goods with bankcards and apps, instead of pulling out masses of coins and bills from our pockets to spread over shop counters.

Electronic cash transfers are the bedrock of modern personal finance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when cash is considered grimy and disease-bearing.

Although COVID-19 is a genuine threat, the growing apprehension over physical cash is ridiculous.

According to SCOOP Business in June 2020, There is no evidence linking cash to the transmission of COVID-10. Cash is sanitized before being delivered by cash companies to venues and ATM operators.

To have cash as an option for buying goods and services, instead of being solely reliant on electronic payments, will always be desirable.

Sometimes, cash is the only option with services such as coin laundromats.

Cash is defended by a libertarian group known as Cash is Legal Tender, but these Luddites are more than champions of banknotes and coins.

From reading several posts, these libertarians on the far right share French philosopher Michel Foucaults ideal of personal ethics in favour of the collective a development founded upon Nietzschean self-creation.

Foucault believed all human-led organizations had grown far beyond the needs of the individuals who were engaged with them.

Thus, Foucault decided the participants in society were trapped in games of power.

But the pro-cash libertarians arent gathering online to discuss French poststructuralism and German nihilism. More exactly, the online, anti-bankcard sect are using social media to disperse the views of American pop culture paleoconservatives like Tucker Carlson, who once shared their libertarian ideas on economics long before he became a Trumpist.

The Cash is Legal Tender sect are right in defending cash but their denunciation of organized societies is alarming and meaningless.

Society funds libraries, schools, roads, electrical grids and other public aims. Without communities, weve returned to the Hobbesian age of fear, loathing and self-interest.

Governmental organizations on all levels often misrepresent society but the outright rejection of society is short-sighted and founded on ignorance.

Critical theorist Jrgen Habermas accused Foucault and other like-minded postmodern libertarians as uncaring individualists disguised as philosophers who disdained the constraints of governments, but in turn scorned progressive ideals such as emancipation and equality in a 1981 paper he wrote titled Modernity versus Postmodernity.

Habermas disliked Foucaults libertarianism but like Foucault, the German philosopher and sociologist hated dictatorships. Habermas promoted the idea of a public sphere, where societies were occupied in public debates and where every citizen had access to forming public opinions a superior ideal compared to Foucaults nihilistic individualism.

Cash is Legal Tender are spot-on for defending banknotes and coins we still need cash for payment alternatives, but the groups libertarian-based fears about governments, societies, technology and globalism are mistaken and conspiratorial.

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We're a cashless society now and the libertarians are nervous - Assiniboia Times

What would it take for Kanye West to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania? – WHYY

This story originally appeared on PA Post.

Musician Kanye WesttweetedSaturday night that he intends to run for president in 2020. He has not formed a campaign committee, filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission,or, for that matter, done anything since Saturday to indicate he will follow through on the announcement.

But, just hypothetically, what would it take for him to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania?

Thanks to arelatively recent court settlement, not as much as it used to.

After six years of litigation, Pennsylvanias minor parties the Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties reached a settlement with the Department of State in 2018 to lower the threshold for ballot access to 5,000 signatures for presidential candidates and 2,500 signatures for all other statewide offices (except governor and U.S. senator, which would require 5,000, but are not on the ballot this year).

Previously, third party and independent candidates needed to get enough signatures to amount to two percent of the statewide electorate, a number that often reached into the tens of thousands. That was a barrier to candidates from outside the two major parties.

If Im not spending months on end trying to fight to get on the ballot, well then we can spend all of our time campaigning and talking about the ideas with voters and debating with each other, so that the election is actually what its supposed to be, Dale Karns, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018,toldThe Philadelphia Inquirer.

Before the 2018 settlement, a federal judgeruled in 2015that the Commonwealths ballot access requirements violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by placing an unequal burden on non-major party candidates. The court then imposed interim guidelines that, in some cases, required signatures to come from multiple Pennsylvania counties. Under the settlement the parties reached in 2018, however, no such county-based requirements exist.

For presidential candidates, the candidatemust also name 20 electors(as well as their occupations and place of residency) at the time their petition is filed.

The deadline to submit paperwork for the 2020 general election is August 3. The filing fee is $200.

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What would it take for Kanye West to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania? - WHYY

Cook: Megaphones, everywhere: how to find silence in loud times – Chattanooga Times Free Press

We have reached the end of privatized prisons in Hamilton County.

The governor wants to take down the Capitol's Nathan Bedford Forrest statue.

Area leaders continue to call for the resignation of county Sheriff Jim Hammond.

And, in a mandate I never imagined in my lifetime, the county mayor declared citizens must wear a mask in public or risk jail time or a $50 fine.

All this in the last seven days.

There is so much to discuss, applaud, criticize.

Today, however, I want to talk about something else.

Nothing.

Today, I want to say nothing.

***

These feel like Tower of Babel times.

There are so many different voices saying so many different things.

We hear medical experts who say one thing.

We hear more medical experts who say another.

We hear conspiracy theorists, politicians, libertarians, activists, Trump supporters, Democratic Socialists, researchers, anti-maskers, mask-wearers, pundits, preachers and fools.

They all say different things.

Like this:

In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said every American should wear a mask.

Days later, the World Health Organization said masks aren't necessary for healthy people.

Who do we listen to? What do we believe?

Each day, we are buffeted by a dozen winds.

It is exhausting. Everywhere, megaphones. Everywhere, noise.

***

Recently, I have been thinking about this Gospel scene:

Jesus stands before Pilate, his executioner. He is hours away from crucifixion.

Pilate asks Christ: what is truth?

Jesus doesn't answer.

He just stands in silence.

Why?

Why not speak out? Why not answer?

Why say nothing?

***

Jesus could have criticized him. Converted him. Tried to change his heart. Cut him down to size. Even begged for his life.

Christ wasn't a church mouse. His voice his non-silence put him on death row. You don't challenge The Man like he did and get away with it.

He stood before Pilate the head of the region's systemic injustice.

Think of all he could have said. He could have gone viral.

Instead, he goes quiet.

What is truth?

Tell us.

Silence.

***

"Silence is violence," protesters chant.

This is true. The cold violence of silent complicity encourages hot violence to occur.

Picture the coward. He's afraid. He won't speak. His silence allows violence to remain unchallenged.

Yet also picture the monk.

Her silence is different. It's rooted not in fear, but contemplation and reflection.

By staying silent, does she also say something?

If silence can lead to violence, can it also lead to peace? Can silence become justice?

Or truth?

***

Years ago, my mind was so troubled, I began doing something strange: I sat in silence.

With my body.

My thoughts.

My emotions.

Not as they should be.

But as they are.

This is meditation.

My mind? I saw it is often like a housefly on acid: darting this way, that way, inventing, imagining, never resting.

My emotions? I want the world to be a certain way, but it was often another. The result? I feel anger, fear, rage, elation, excitement, deflation.

Oh, my opinions! My beliefs! I have so many, all of them connected to judgment, criticism, wanting the world to be like this. And not like that.

Sitting in silence, I began to see beyond opinions and beliefs.

"Go beyond right and wrong," my teacher says.

But how?

***

Think of a ping pong game. The ball goes back and forth, back and forth.

Now think of your opinions and beliefs.

And someone else's.

Your opinion.

Theirs.

Back.

And forth.

All opinions and beliefs create an opposite: you believe this, I believe that.

Right.

And wrong.

Beliefs and opinions can be beautiful things: they help us envision the world as it should be. Justice, fairness, love for neighbor and self all these come with a set of beliefs about how life should be.

If only Trump

If only my neighbor

If only my body

That's the allure. The trap.

We get lost in thinking, judging, wishing how the world should be.

We stop experiencing the world as it is.

Our lives become daydreams, fantasies, all giant desires: please, world, be like this and not like that.

What happens when we step away from the ping pong table?

What happens when we move beyond right and wrong?

***

I could tell you my opinions about privatized prisons, mask mandates or Confederate statues.

In doing so, I would pick up the ping pong ball.

Our game would begin all over again.

But the game isn't life.

It sure as hell isn't truth.

I'm so tired of megaphones. So tired of ping pong.

How do we speak about things that matter without adding to the noise?

How can silence lead to peace?

David Cook writes a Sunday column and can be reached at dcook@timesfreepress.com.

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Cook: Megaphones, everywhere: how to find silence in loud times - Chattanooga Times Free Press

John Roberts Just Annoyed Everybody. Is He the New Anthony Kennedy? – Reason

When Anthony Kennedy retired from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, he enjoyed the unique distinction of having been denounced by every major political faction in the country. For conservatives, Kennedy was the activist judge who "invented" a right to gay marriage. For progressives, he was the corporate shill who authored Citizens United. For libertarians, he was guilty of both enabling eminent domain abuse and squashing the rights of local medical marijuana users in favor of a national drug control scheme. At one point or another, it seemed like everybody had cause to hate on Anthony Kennedy.

John Roberts is the new Anthony Kennedy. As the Supreme Court's 2019-2020 term came to its dramatic close this week, the chief justice not only solidified his role as a swing vote in highly charged cases, but also managed to annoy practically everybody along the way.

Will the religious right ever forgive Roberts for siding with the Court's Democratic appointees to strike down an anti-abortion law? In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), the chief justice dissented when the Court overturned a Texas statute that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. But in this term's June Medical Services v. Russo, Roberts did the opposite, concurring in a decision that voided a nearly identical abortion regulation from Louisiana.

"I joined the dissent in Whole Woman's Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided," Roberts wrote in a lone concurrence. However, "stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike," he continued. "The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana's law cannot stand under our precedents."

Plenty of progressives praised Roberts for that. But their cheers quickly turned to jeers when the chief justice delivered a huge victory just one day later for both school choice and religious liberty advocates in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. "A State need not subsidize private education," Roberts wrote. "But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious." The Court has "long recognized the rights of parents to direct 'the religious upbringing' of their children," he observed. "Many parents exercise that right by sending their children to religious schools, a choice protected by the Constitution."

And then there was Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in which the chief justice led the Court in declaring the single-director structure of the Elizabeth Warren-invented Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to be unconstitutional. "The CFPB Director has no boss, peers, or voters to report to," Roberts wrote. "Yet the Director wields vast rulemaking, enforcement, and adjudicatory authority over a significant portion of the U. S. economy. The question before us is whether this arrangement violates the Constitution's separation of powers." Roberts held that it did. Not exactly a happy outcome for supporters of the so-called administrative state.

Libertarians, of course, were criticizing Roberts before it was cool. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012), Roberts characterized his vote to uphold Obamacare as an act of conservative judicial restraint, invoking the early 20th century jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who once declared, "if my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them. It's my job." Here's how Roberts put it: "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." To say the least, that deferential approach is the antithesis of the libertarian legal movement's vision of the proper role of the courts in our constitutional system.

To be sure, Roberts is not the only swing vote on the Supreme Court these days. Justice Neil Gorsuch actually had a record that was more "liberal" than Justice Kennedy's when the two sat on the Court together in 2017-2018. In this term's Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Gorsuch led the Court in extending federal anti-discrimination protections to gay and transgender employees. That ruling was widely celebrated as a liberal victory, though Gorsuch did base his reasoning on the textualist principles championed by the late Antonin Scalia, a conservative legal icon.

Still, it was Roberts who was truly at the center of the SCOTUS storm, having cast key votes on some of the most contentious issues in modern American life, from COVID-19 lockdowns to the subpoenaing of President Donald Trump's financial records.

Like it or not, it's the Roberts Court now.

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John Roberts Just Annoyed Everybody. Is He the New Anthony Kennedy? - Reason

JCPS tax hike likely to be on ballot after opponents gather thousands of signatures – Courier Journal

LOUISVILLE, Ky.A tax increase for schools appears poised to face Louisville voters this November.

A group behind apetition to put a Jefferson County Public Schools tax increase to a vote says it has nearly 5,000 more signatures than needed likely clearing the bar to get on the November ballot.

The Jefferson County clerk will validate the signatures within the next 30 days and ultimately determine if the petition was successful. JCPS then has 10 days to appeal.

The petition needed at least 35,615 signatures by Friday to force a vote. The group said itturned in 40,320 signatures.

School board members, on a split vote, approved a 7-cent property tax increase in May about an extra $70 a year for a $100,000 home.

Kentucky school boards can raise property taxes enough to boost property tax revenue 4%. Since the increase would raise district revenue past thatcap, it was subject to a voter recall an ultimately successful effort.

Other news: Colorado superintendent to be next Kentucky education commissioner

"We still have a lot of work to do, but I hope we will be able to look back on this effort and say this was a turning point, when the citizens of Jefferson County stood up and demanded that JCPS do the job it is paid to do, which is to provide a good education to every student," Theresa Camoriano wrote on the No JCPS Tax Hike Facebook page Friday. "No more excuses!"

Camoriano, who lives in Anchorage, spearheaded signature collection for weeks. She reserved the website NoJCPSTaxHike1.com ahead of the school board vote and managed multiple Facebook pages updating supporters and explaining their rationale.

In the weeks before signatures were due, libertarian advocacy groups including the Bluegrass Institute and Americans for Prosperity backed the petition. Kentucky Secretaryof State Michael Adams, who lives in Jefferson County, also encouraged voters to sign the petition.

JCPS, which has around a $1.65 billion budget, should better manage the money it already has, Camoriano and others opposing the increase said. Raising taxes during a pandemic is not ideal, they've said.

Reducing transportation spending by ending "busing" the district's practice of creating diverse classrooms by assigning West End kids to schools across the county would be one way to save money, some opposing the tax increase argued.

JCPS is proposing a student assignment model that would allow West End students to go to school closer to home effectively ending its lauded and criticized diversity plan but it said it would need about $139 million to build new schools in the West End to make it happen.

Read more: Mandatory masks could mean 'a shot' at schools opening, Beshear says

And that money is supposed to come from the tax increase, district officials have said.

In the final days before signatures were due, one of the most vocal pro-JCPS groups Dear JCPS said it also wanted the tax increase to be put on the ballot.

While understanding the money is expected to go to the district's high-needs students and classrooms, Dear JCPS said the coronavirus may have shifted budget priorities. The district needs more time to determine how the money should be spent, it said.

"Giving our community until November to have these necessary but difficult conversations will not only increase community buy-in as solutions are developed, but it will increase the likelihood that new tax revenues will be spent in the best ways possible," the group wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

New revenue would help the district provide more supports for its most disadvantaged students, who often find themselves on the losing end of academic gaps, and the schools they attend, JCPS said.

It could also help to make up for past opportunities in which school boards did not take the full tax increase they could, shortchanging kids in the process, officials argued.

JCPS' property tax rate, 73.6 cents for $100 of assessed value, is among the lowest in the area. An increase to 80.6 cents would bring it closer to peer districts like Fayette County that serve large groups of students living at or near poverty.

What dostudents want?Parents, teachers have been vocal about reopenings

Reach Olivia Krauth at okrauth@courierjournal.com or 502-582-4471, and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth. Support strong local journalism by subscribing: courier-journal.com/subscribe.

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JCPS tax hike likely to be on ballot after opponents gather thousands of signatures - Courier Journal

Letter to the Editor: The Choice – Door County Pulse

Letter to the Editor:

The Choice

Since the 2008 election, American voters havent been choosing business as usual. We are fed up, sick of the status quo of the state and its never-ending hunger for more power and control.

Obama in 2008 and 2012 provided that choice. He was a community organizer and a young, inexperienced senator who campaigned on a platform of hope and change. I think Americans were desperate for this message after eight years of homeland terror, financial turmoil and foreign disputes.

After Obamas first term, and in my opinion not fulfilling his promises, I believe many voters deviated from him but could not vote for Republican Mitt Romney and were disaffected enough to become independent, third-party or nonvoters.

In 2016, Trump for many voters seemed to provide that choice. He was a rich businessperson and a blunt, transparent, red-blooded American with a platform of Make America Great Again. Americans were desperate after eight years of eroded individual liberties, soaring poverty in small communities and the amplified, continuing foreign entanglements.

Now, after seeing how Trumps policies have led to further erosion of liberty and justice for all, perpetual deficit spending, continuing foreign disputes and an authoritarian approach to everything, many are looking for another way.

This year, the Libertarian Party offers that choice. Dr. Jo Jorgensen a business and leadership psychologist, is intelligent, educated and rational. Her platform All Your Freedoms, All the Time aligns strongly with the core Libertarian principles of a smaller government held accountable for and by the people.

She stands with all people and communities, meeting with members of many of Americas most vulnerable communities to work toward better solutions together. We are desperate as a nation for all our voices to be represented and for all of us to live our best possible lives, free of oppression and arbitrary control. We are desperate for our government to respect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Jorgensen offers everyone that chance. We can win this November, and together, we can take back our nation from those who have been deceiving us into submission for generations.

Tony Moen

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

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Letter to the Editor: The Choice - Door County Pulse

Less government is the solution – Pueblo Chieftain

In a political first, Pueblo County delegates played a part in the Libertarian Party's first online convention recently.

This convention marked the first time that any American political party that is organized and active in all 50 states has held all or part of its national nominating convention online.

About 1,000 Libertarians from across America convened in the first 3-hour session to determine who will be the Libertarian presidential candidate in the November election.

I am John Pickerill, one of the registered Coloradans from the area who took part.

Some parts of this session were difficult since the whole online process was entirely new to all of us, but today, we established our schedule and procedures for the rest of the weekend and got to practice how to interact with each other online.

Everything was uncharted territory -- all of our partys previous 20 national conventions since 1971 were conducted face-to-face.

I am a Libertarian because I want people to be left alone to live their lives peacefully in whatever manner they choose. A vote for a Libertarian is a way to tell the world that you dont consent to the theft of your liberties or wallets by the parasitic political class.

Whenever our ideas are given a fair hearing, we win. Thats why the Democratic and Republican parties never allow Libertarians into debates -- because they know that on the day the philosophy of limited government is allowed to be heard, that is the day their grip on the American voter will slip away.

The daunting odds dont deter Libertarians. There are two times as many Libertarians now than five years ago. There are now almost half a million voters registered Libertarian across the country.

In another five, years we will be even bigger.

The big-government parties will eventually have to deal with us. And when they do, they will lose.

We will continue to persuade more of their supporters that less government is always better. The contributors and voters they depend on are going to continue abandoning them to join us.

In the last century, all of the ancient ideas for governing societies with huge, bloated, bossy, expensive governments have been tried. They have all failed.

Big governments dont protect their own people very well; nor can big governments and their teeming bureaucracies be trusted to mind their own

business. In the last century, governments were the biggest killer of people -- with about 200 million deaths to their credit -- most of those being their own citizens.

Its time to turn away from that Leviathan. Time has proven that only a frugal, limited government that is asked to do almost nothing is the only kind that brings about more justice, more peace, and more prosperity.

Only Libertarians are working toward those things.

Voters interested in learning more about the Libertarian Party are invited to visit the website at http://www.LP.org.

Those interested in finding out more about libertarianism in general can find several bibliographical resources at https://lpedia.org/wiki/List_of_Books.

Here are the top seven Libertarians who have been seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for president:

Jim Gray http://www.GraySharpe2020.com/

Jacob Hornberger https://JacobForLiberty.com/

Jo Jorgensen https://JOJ2020.com/

Adam Kokesh https://KokeshForPresident.com/

John Monds https://Monds2020.com/

Vermin Supreme https://VerminSupreme2020.com/

Arvin Vohra https://www.VoteVohra.com/

John Pickerill is a Pueblo County resident who has run for public office.

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Less government is the solution - Pueblo Chieftain

The truth about ‘I’m with her’ – CNN

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COMMENTARY: A pandemic prompts the return of the tea party – The Daily World

By Rich Lowry

Its 2009 again, or feels like it.

That was when spontaneous, grassroots protests against overweening government sprang up and were widely derided in the media as dangerous and wrong-headed.

The protesters then were inveighing against Obamacare; the protestors now are striking out against the coronavirus lockdowns.

The anti-lockdown agitation shows that, despite the revolution in Republican politics wrought by President Donald Trump, opposition to government impositions is deeply embedded in the DNA of the right, and likely will reemerge even more starkly if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected president.

The tea party that was so powerful in the Obama years, roiling Republican Party politics and making stars out of the likes of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, sputtered out and was subsumed by the Trump movement in 2016.

The emphasis on constitutionalism, opposition to deficit spending, and American exceptionalism gave way to an emphasis on American strength, opposition to immigration, and nationalism.

The differences shouldnt be exaggerated the tea party was opposed to amnesty for undocumented immigrants and Trump has faithfully nominated constitutionalist judges. The tea party, like Trump, hated the mainstream media with a passion. But the shift from an overwhelming focus on fiscal issues to Trumpian cultural politics was very real.

The change was exemplified by the House Freedom Caucus, founded in 2015 and defined by its hard line on government spending, reliably lining up behind Donald Trump who has pursued a notably expansionary fiscal policy with huge budget deficits even before the coronavirus crisis.

The intellectual fashion among populists and religious traditionalists has been to attempt to establish a post-liberty or post-liberal agenda to forge a deeper foundation for the new Republican Party. Instead of obsessing over freedom and rights, conservatives would look to government to protect the common good.

This project, though, has been rocked by its first real-life encounter with governments acting to protect, as they see it, the common good.

One of its architects, the editor of the religious journal First Things, R.R. Reno, has sounded like one of the libertarians he so scorns during the crisis. First, he complained that he might get shamed if he were to host a dinner party during the height of the pandemic, although delaying a party would seem a small price to pay for someone so intensely committed to the common good.

More recently, he went on a tirade against wearing masks. Reno is apparently fine with a much stronger government, as long as it never issues public-health guidance not to his liking.

Reno has published vituperative attacks on the conservative writer (and my friend and former colleague) David French, supposedly for having a blinkered commitment to classical liberalism. But it is the hated French who has actually tried to thoughtfully balance liberty and the common good during the crisis, favoring the lockdowns at first and favoring reopening now that the lockdowns goals have been achieved.

Whats happened during the lockdowns is that the natural distrust that populists have of experts has expressed itself in opposition to government rules. Being told what to do by epidemiologists and government officials wielding all-caps SCIENCE as their authority has been enough to bring tea party-era liberty back in vogue.

Weve also seen a return of the glue that has held moral traditionalists and libertarians together in the conservative coalition for so long the belief that big government is a threat to traditional institutions. Hence, the focus on resuming church services.

In retrospect, the tea party wasnt as much a purely liberty movement as it seemed at the time. A populist anti-elitism was an enormously important factor, which is why it faded into the Trump movement so seamlessly. On the other hand, Trumpian populism has a big streak of liberty to it.

All it has taken to bring it to the fore is extraordinary government intrusion into our lives. If Biden is elected president, theres more where that came from.

Rich Lowry has been the editor of National Review since 1997. Hes a Fox News political analyst and writes for Politico and Time. He is on Twitter @RichLowry.

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COMMENTARY: A pandemic prompts the return of the tea party - The Daily World

There Is No Such Thing as Safe – Competitive Enterprise Institute

My colleague Iain Murray has a great essay up at Law & Liberty today on why some groups of Americans are perceiving quarantine policies so differently from others. The reason is largely because different Americans have different value hierarchiesthat is, they prioritize different values when it comes to public policy. Some consider order and tradition most important (hierarchists), some consider equality to be number one (egalitarians), and some prefer to maximize freedom and individual autonomy (libertarians). As Iain writes:

When these values clash, we see political polarization at its worst. When they align, we see consensus and reform. Today, when consensus is probably most needed, they are clashing hard.

Egalitarians think an end to the lockdowns would hurt the vulnerable. Libertarians view the lockdowns as threatening freedomand even contact tracing as threatening civil liberties. Hierarchists particularly oppose restrictions on religious gatherings.

Persuading groups of people with different value orientations to agree on a single best policy is often a difficult enterprise. But we should still do the best we can to seek out the most relevant facts. When our friends and neighbors values lead them (and us) to focus only on certain factors and ignore others, good communicators should supply the perspective that our cognitive orientations are disposed to ignore. Sometimes that means being made aware of factors we failed to educate ourselves about entirely, but sometimes it means introducing nuance to a false binary. Iain again:

In thinking through this, we need to remember that risks are often relative. If we focus exclusively on the risks we are most concerned about, we can miss the other risks that obtain should our demands be met. It requires a degree of humility about the importance of our values to recognize this.

Nothing in life is entirely risk-free, but as human beings we have an unfortunate tendency to put things in safe and unsafe mental buckets. Were likely to think of driving a passenger sedan with multiple airbags a few miles to the nearest grocery store as being categorically safe, but driving a motorcycle all the way from Sturgis, South Dakota, to Daytona Beach, Florida, as being terribly risky. But of course there are hazards and pleasures to be found in each experience. One could get into a fatal accident pulling out of ones driveway on the road to Safeway or end up perfectly healthy after a cross-country bike tour as you turn onto Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona. Its a matter of chance, driving skill, and many other factors ranging from the weather to traffic conditions.

Thus, it was fascinating for me to read this article from Politico this morning that polled Americans on certain common behaviors during the coronavirus quarantine. They didnt just ask respondents and public health experts whether they thought something was safe or not, they asked how safe (or unsafe) they thought it was. So, on a scale from one (extremely low risk) to 10 (maximum risk), Americans thought that going for a run outside without a mask on was a 4.3 out of 10. The public health experts, on the other hand, thought that running without a mask was more like a 2.9 very low risk. On the other end of the spectrum, Americans thought attending a baseball game in a stadium full of people was a 7.7 out of 10, while the health experts scored it all the way up at 8.6.

These relative risk scores tell us a lot about both public perception and (assuming we respect the credentials of the health experts recruited by Politico), actual disease transmission hazards. This is, to put it lightly, much more useful and informative than simply being subject to a quarantine order with a long list of forbidden behaviors.

Any cityor household for that matterhas limited enforcement bandwidth, and when it comes to phased reopening plans, which most state and cities have embraced, we need to know which behaviors are less risky so that they can be permitted, while only continuing to restrict the very highest risk behaviors and activities.

But in most public policy and law enforcement cases, we never receive an explicit acknowledgment that there is anything like a risk spectrum or hierarchy; there are only permitted and forbidden categories. When activities that are actually low risk are included on lists of forbidden activities, it brings the entire enterprise into suspicion and disrepute.

Witness decades of government anti-drug propaganda that suggest that every illegal substance is equally hazardous. Anyone who has ever smoked marijuana knows that it doesnt immediately lead one into a soul-destroying Reefer Madness-style spiral of doom, countless televised public service announcements to the contrary. A widespread realization of this kind makes every other public health message issued by a government agency that less believable.

This doesnt mean that the government should publish a recreational drug shopping guide, but it does mean that public policy should acknowledge the relative risks of various behaviors, substances, and products, as well as the varying risk tolerances of its citizens.

If Americans knew that one thing they wanted to go out and do during the pandemic was four times more dangerous that another similar thing that they also wanted to do, I believe that the vast majority of them would voluntarily choose the activity that put their families and neighbors at less risk. But when we only have a long unranked list of do not activities, people are going tothe longer quarantine and stay-at-home orders stay in placeincreasingly disregard the entire list. And that makes us all less safe.

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There Is No Such Thing as Safe - Competitive Enterprise Institute

You Dont Have to Like the Decree, But Wear Face Masks Anyway – Bacon’s Rebellion

Wise King Ralph keeps a face mask at the ready.

by James A. Bacon

Im still digesting Governor Ralph Northams face-mask mandate, but my initial reaction is that it could be worse. I dislike the coercive aspect of his executive order. But requiring Virginians to wear face masks in public buildings and places of commerce is less intrusive than compelling businesses and workplaces to shut down. If ordering people to wear face masks allows Northam to feel better about loosening other restrictions, then its a net gain.

Theres an element to the face mask debate that I find curiously neglected in the conservative/libertarian commentary Ive seen. Conservatives and libertarians tout the virtue of personal responsibility. Regardless of whether or not face coverings protect you from getting the COVID-19 virus, they do reduce the chances that you will spread the virus. If we believe in personal responsibility as an alternative to government coercion, conservatives and libertarians need to live their values by acting responsibly.

I would go one step further: If conservatives and libertarians want to see Northam release his Vulcan Death Grip on Virginias economy, they should do everything within their power to ensure that the coronavirus does not spread. If Virginia sees a significant uptick in the spread of the virus, thats all the Governor needs to back peddle on his timid reversal of emergency shutdown measures.

There are good reasons to oppose the mandate. The Richmond Times-Dispatch actually gives a decent summary here:

Clark Mercer, Northams chief of staff, said health inspectors at the agency had the power to pull a license to operate if a business is found out of compliance with health regulations.

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police earlier Tuesday strongly opposed a face mask requirement, arguing that it could force businesses to enforce it, potentially exposing them to dangerous encounters.

The police chiefs association said the order turns good advice into a mandate that will be enforced with trespassing citations and by physically removing violators from businesses.

The group argued it destroys police/community relations and puts business owners in a no-win situation: either be prepared to confront people you value as customers, or avoid the risk of a potentially violent confrontation by keeping your business closed.

I fully share those concerns, and they are worth highlighting in the hope of reversing the mandate. But at the end of the day, Northam has virtually limitless power to rule by emergency decree. While we should work to limit that power legislatively and constitutionally, that is a long-term project. In the short term, we need to reopen the economy, and given Northams mindset and the fact that he has the power and we dont, that means doing what we can to drive the COVID-19 infection rate down.

Exercise personal responsibility: Wear masks and protect others from the virus.

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You Dont Have to Like the Decree, But Wear Face Masks Anyway - Bacon's Rebellion

Will: The rise of conservative authoritarians – Roanoke Times

WASHINGTON From Harvard Law School comes the latest conservative flirtation with authoritarianism. Professor Adrian Vermeule, a 2016 Catholic convert, is an integralist who regrets his academic specialty, the Constitution, and rejects the separation of church and state. His much-discussed recent Atlantic essay advocating a government that judges the quality and moral worth of public speech is unimportant as a practical political manifesto, but it is symptomatic of some conservatives fevers, despairs and temptations.

Common-good capitalism, Sen. Marco Rubios recent proposal, is capitalism minus the essence of capitalism limited government respectful of societys cumulative intelligence and preferences collaboratively revealed through market transactions. Vermeules common-good constitutionalism is Christian authoritarianism muscular paternalism, with government enforcing social solidarity for religious reasons. This is the Constitution minus the Framers purpose: a regime respectful of individuals diverse notions of the life worth living. Such respect is, he says, abominable.

He would jettison libertarian assumptions central to free-speech law and free-speech ideology. And: libertarian conceptions of property rights and economic rights also will have to go, insofar as they bar the state from enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources. Who will define these duties? Integralists will, because they have an answer to this perennial puzzle: If the people are corrupt, how do you persuade them to accept the yoke of virtue-enforcers? The answer: Forget persuasion. Hierarchies must employ coercion.

Common-good constitutionalisms main aim, Vermeule says, is not to minimize the abuse of power but to ensure that the ruler has the power needed to rule well. Such constitutionalism does not suffer from a horror of political domination and hierarchy because the law is parental, a wise teacher and an inculcator of good habits, wielded if necessary even against the subjects own perceptions of what is best for them. Besides, those perceptions are not really the subjects because under Vermeules regime the law will impose perceptions.

He thinks the Constitution, read imaginatively, will permit the transformation of the nation into a confessional state that punishes blasphemy and other departures from state-defined and state-enforced solidarity. His medieval aspiration rests on a non sequitur: All legal systems affirm certain values, therefore it is permissible to enforce orthodoxies.

Vermeule is not the only American conservative feeling the allure of tyranny. Like the American leftists who made pilgrimages to Fidel Castros Cuba, some self-styled conservatives today turn their lonely eyes to Viktor Orban, destroyer of Hungarys democracy. The prime ministers American enthusiasts probably are unfazed by his seizing upon COVID-19 as an excuse for taking the short step from the ethno-nationalist authoritarianism to which he gives the oxymoronic title illiberal democracy, to dictatorship.

In 2009, Orban said, We have only to win once, but then properly. And in 2013, he said: In a crisis, you dont need governance by institutions. Elected to a third term in 2018, he has extended direct or indirect control over courts (the Constitutional Court has been enlarged and packed) and the media, replacing a semblance of intragovernmental checks-and-balances with what he calls the system of national cooperation. During the COVID-19 crisis he will govern by decree, elections will be suspended, and he will decide when the crisis ends supposedly June 20.

Explaining his hostility to immigration, Orban says Hungarians do not want to be mixed ... We want to be how we became eleven hundred years ago here in the Carpathian Basin. Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes, authors of The Light that Failed, dryly marvel that Orban remembers so vividly what it was like to be Hungarian eleven centuries ago. Nostalgia functioning as political philosophy Vermeules nostalgia seems to be for the 14th century is usually romanticism untethered from information.

Last November, Patrick Deneen, the University of Notre Dame professor whose 2018 book Why Liberalism Failed explained his hope for a post-liberal American future, had a cordial Budapest meeting with Orban. The Hungarian surely sympathizes with Deneens root-and-branch rejection of classical liberalism, which Deneen disdains because it portrays humans as rights-bearing individuals who can fashion and pursue for themselves their own version of the good life. One name for what Deneen denounces is: the American project. He, Vermeule and some others on the Orban-admiring American right believe that political individualism the enabling, protection and celebration of individual autonomy is a misery-making mistake: Autonomous individuals are deracinated, unhappy and without virtue.

The moral of this story is not that there is theocracy in our future. Rather, it is that American conservatism, when severed from the Enlightenment and its finest result, the American Founding, becomes spectacularly unreasonable and literally unAmerican.

Will is a columnist for The Washington Post Writers Group.

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Will: The rise of conservative authoritarians - Roanoke Times

Candidates seek party nominations for Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District – The Republic

Two Republicans and three Democrats are seeking their respective parties nominations for Indianas Sixth Congressional District in Tuesdays primary.

The seat is currently held by Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, who is seeking a second term.

Pence is being challenged in the GOP primary by Mike Campbell of Wayne County, according to candidate filings.

In 2018, Pence defeated Democratic challenger Jeannine Lee Lake, winning his first term in Congress.

In Bartholomew County, Pence received 16,161 votes (60.86%), while Lake received 9,607 votes (36.18%), and Libertarian Thomas Ferkinhoff, 56, of Richmond, received 782 votes (2.95%). All sought political office for the first time in 2018.

Lake is running for the Democratic nomination again. She is being challenged by Barry Welsh of Hancock County and George T. Holland of Rush County, according to candidate filings.

The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries will face each other in Novembers general election.

The Republic reached out to all five candidates to talk about why they are running and how they would address major issues affecting voters in their district. Only Pence and Lake responded.

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Candidates seek party nominations for Indiana's Sixth Congressional District - The Republic

The Libertarian Party Critique of Justin Amash – Reason

With less than two weeks left before 1,000 or so Libertarian Party delegates select their 2020 presidential and vice presidential nominees in an unprecedented online-only vote, you could probably forgive Jacob Hornberger for being a little irritable.

Hornberger, the 70-year-old founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, has, after all, won a clear majority of the party's presidential primaries and caucuses, nonbinding though they may be. He has been in and out and back in Libertarian politics for more than two decades now. And yet ever since Rep. Justin Amash (LMich.) threw his hat into the ring on April 28, Hornberger has been all but ignored by the mainstream media, while Amash galivants on cable news networks and HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

So it came as little surprise Saturday night that when the formerly Republican and independent congressman participated in his first Libertarian presidential debate, it was Hornbergerauthor of an eight-part blog series titled, "Justin Amash, LP Interloper"who came out swinging hardest.

"Even the libertarian-leaning conservative members of Congress have websites that direct children to the website of the CIAthe most evil agency in U.S. history," Hornberger charged in his opening statement, reiterating his critique of a student resource page at amash.house.gov. "Conservatives love free enterprise, but have long supported the evil, immoral, socialist, central-planning, Republican/Democratic system of immigration controls, which has brought death and suffering to countless people, as well as a brutal police state consisting of highway checkpoints and other initiations of force against innocent people."

Running as he is a "campaign of principle for the party of principle," in a cycle where many Libertarians seem particularly eager to shed their image as a refuge for ideologically alienated and/or politically opportunistic ex-Republicans, Hornberger portrayed Amash as someone merely tinkering around the edges of the welfare/warfare state.

"Conservatives love to 'reform,'" he said. "But reform of tyranny is not freedom. Freedom is a dismantling of tyranny.In this election Libertarian Party members are asked to trade away our principles for a conservative/progressive/libertarian mush, all for the sake of big publicity and the hopes of garnering votes. If we make that trade, we become like them. We become conservatives and progressives. We become the party of expediency."

Those who assume Amash will waltz to a first-ballot nomination over Memorial Day weekend should take a look at the Libertarian Party of Kentucky's post-debate voting exercise among one-quarter of confirmed L.P. convention delegates. In the first round of polling, Amash received just 33.3 percent of the vote, compared to runner-up Hornberger's 21 percent. (The party requires winning candidates to earn 50 percent plus one vote, using an instant runoff process in which the last-place finisher in each round, and everyone under 5 percent, gets lopped off for the next.)

Amash eventually won the informal vote, but it took him six rounds. Here's how the totals went, as reported:

Round 1: Amash 33.3 percent, Hornberger 21 percent, Jo Jorgensen 16.6 percent, Vermin Supreme 7.7 percent, Judge Jim Gray 6.6 percent, Adam Kokesh 6.2 percent, John Monds 5 percent, Arvin Vohra 1.5 percent.

Round 2: Amash 35.1 percent, Hornberger 23.3 percent, Jorgensen 18.5 percent, Supreme 9.3 percent, Kokesh 7.7 percent, Gray 7 percent.

Round 3: Amash 37.3 percent, Hornberger 22.4 percent, Jorgensen 21.6 percent, Supreme 10.1 percent, Kokesh 8.6 percent.

Round 4: Amash 39.3 percent, Jorgensen 24.8 percent, Hornberger 22.9 percent, Supreme 13 percent.

Round 5: Amash 43.8 percent, Jorgensen 30.5 percent, Hornberger 25.7 percent.

Round 6: Amash 55.6 percent, Jorgensen 44.4 percent.

Jorgensen, the 1996 Libertarian vice presidential nominee who caught Hornberger from behind in Round 4 and eventually elbowed him out, is campaigning in a sort of third lane between the no-holds-barred radicalism of Hornberger and anarchist Adam Kokesh, and the more pragmatic approach favored by Amash and Judge Jim Gray. "I'm offering something that's principled and practical," she said in her closing statement Saturday night.

Jorgensen was the only other debate participant to significantly challenge Amash, albeit in a much less abrasive way than Hornberger (who said that he could not commit to endorsing the congressman should he win the nomination). In her opening statement, she asked Amash a series of questions, most of which he didn't address.

"Would you use your authority as commander-in-chief to end our involvement in foreign wars, stop subsidizing the defense of wealthy allies, and bring our troops home? I will," Jorgensen said. "Would youuse your pardon power to free people convicted of exposing government corruption, violating unconstitutional laws, or committing so-called crimes when there's no victim? I will. Would you immediately stop construction on President Trump's border wall boondoggle, and work to eliminate quotas on immigration so that anyone who wishes to come to America could do so legally? I will. And last, where do you stand on one of the most divisive issues in America: abortion? Do you support the Libertarian Party platform? I do. It's not enough to be better than Trump or Biden. Our nominee must be deeply principled with a long commitment to our party."

Amash did address abortion in the debate, saying at first: "I'm pro-life. I believe that the pro-life position is a Libertarian position, and my goal is to work outside of the Libertarian Party to convince people of that. I work with pregnancy resource centers, for example, here in West Michigan, to try to get the message out and spread the message about life. I don't think that the government is most effective at doing that sort of thing. As a president, the Libertarian Party supports the idea of not funding abortion providers. So, the Libertarian Party is aligned with my position on that."

Hornberger then grilled the congressman further:

Hornberger: You of course pride yourself on being a strict constitutionalist, a supporter of the Constitution. And you supported a bill that calledI think it was in the past couple of yearsthat called for a nationwide criminal ban on abortion, in which people who were caught engaging in an abortion would be convicted of a federal felony involving a five-year jail sentence. Can you tell me where in the Constitution you rely on to support this federal felony offense for abortion?

Amash: So I'm not sure about the particular bill you're referencing, because it was in the past and I don't know exactly which bill

Hornberger: It's House bill 36.

Amash: But I can answer the question. The 14th Amendment provides the power to have the federal government address state violations of people's rights. And as someone who's pro-life, I believe that a baby inside the womb is a life. And if I believe that that person is a life, then I think it's appropriate for the federal government to tell states that it is not okay to discriminate against these lives.

Now, as a presidential candidate, as a presidential nominee, I won't be making the legislation; the legislature will decide that. Congress decides on the legislation and sends things to my desk. With the parties very divided over this issue, nothing's going to come to my desk that does that.

That's my view of it, and when I'm voting in Congress, that's how I would vote. But as a presidential candidate, with respect to people who are concerned within the party because there is a split within the party between pro-life people and pro-choice people, the president will have very little opportunity for that kind of thing, because there is a huge divide within the party. So the only thing that is likely to come to my desk as president is a bill to not fund abortion providers, no federal funding for abortion providers, and that is something that all Libertarians within the party agree on. At least, the vast majority of them agree on that.

Hornberger's most influential backers, at the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus and on the podcasting airwaves, have dinged Amash for backing the "Deep State" in the impeachment of President Donald Trump (despite Amash's lead role in nearly de-funding the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance operations back in 2013), and for potentially being another in a lengthening line of ex-Republicans who fail to ignite a lasting ideological fire.

"I even think that in some scenarios 1 percent might be better than 4 percent," libertarian comedian Dave Smith said to Hornberger on an episode of his Part of the Problem podcast last month. "I think those votes are worthless if you didn't actually convert people or introduce them to liberty or change their way of looking at the world at all."

Or as Ludwig von Mises Institute senior fellow and popular podcaster Tom Woods, with whom Smith taped an Amash-criticizing podcast last week, said at a Mises Caucus-sponsored event down the street from the 2018 Libertarian National Convention: "So yeah, we won't get the 70 million votes, but maybe we get 1 million people who say, 'I never looked at the world the same way again after I listened to those people.'"

Amash's answer to the broad critique is to remind people that most Americans are not self-identified libertarians, no matter how intrinsically libertarian they may be without knowing it, and that political actors wishing to have any kind of influence need to acknowledge the fallen world around them.

"I've been a libertarian my entire life, a small-l libertarian," Amash said Saturday. "And I believe that when you work within government, you have to make those changes that will convince people to come to your side.You have to present libertarianism to them with the issues that they care about or are concerned about right now. It can't be some kind of overnight experiment where we re-work all of society or re-work all of our government."

"In fact," Amash continued, "that's arrogance in the form of central planning of another sort, to come in and say, 'We're just going to throw out everything we have overnight and start anew.' We have to do things gradually and carefully, and we have to trust the people to make decisions through our constitutional system of government."

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The Libertarian Party Critique of Justin Amash - Reason

Libertarian Group Sues Ohio Again On Behalf Of Closed Gyms – WOSU

A group of 35 independent gyms and fitness centers is suing the state, saying they could reopen for business safely but theyre not being allowed to.

In a May 11 filing with the Lake County Court of Common Please, attorney Maurice Thompson argued that gyms "pose a significantly lower risk of harmful infections than nearly any alternative operation."

He said the gyms maintain private memberships, control who can come in and often operate by appointment. He added that, while "nearly 100% of deaths" from COVID-19 are people over 60, the same percentage of his clients' customers are under that age.

Thompson argued these gyms should never have been closed because they could have been operating safely all along.

"In prohibiting healthy behavior through exercise at Ohio gyms, Defendants continue to obstruct rather than advance Ohioans health, all the while having continuously overinflated the risk of harm to the general public," the complaint reads.

The lawsuit names Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton and the Lake County General Health District as defendants.

Thompsons libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Lawfiled an earlier suit for a Columbus bridal shopclaiming it was unfairly shut down as a non-essential business. Thompson lost that case, but says this one is even stronger because the original stay-at-home order has changed.

The newStay Safe Ohio order, in basically opening80% of the economyand leaving gyms out, is much more arbitrary and much more unequal," Thompson says.

Asked about the lawsuit, Gov. Mike DeWine said he gets "sued a lot." On Thursday, the governor announced that gyms and fitness centers would be able to reopen May 26, with new guidelines developed by a state working group.

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Libertarian Group Sues Ohio Again On Behalf Of Closed Gyms - WOSU

The Government Has a Lot More Emergency Powers Than Libertarians Like, but It Still Can’t Control Everything – Cato Institute

Dont these orders go beyond the Commerce Clause, infringe the Privileges or Immunities Clause, or violate one of the other constitutional provisions Im constantly banging on about? Surely Icant approve such extreme impositions on economic liberty, the right to travel, and just the basic freedom to go about your daily life as you choose so long as you dont get in the way of others freedom to do the same?

Well, thats the rub. As Iexplained during Catos online forum on Coronavirus and the Constitution, in apandemic when we dont know whos infected and infections are often asymptomatic, these sorts of restrictions end up maximizing freedom. The traditional libertarian principle that one has aright to swing ones fists, but that right ends at the tip of someone elses nose, means government can restrict our movements and activities, because were all fistswingers now.

This isnt like seatbelt mandates or soda restrictions, where the government regulates your behavior for our own good, becausesetting aside the issue of publicly borne health care coststhe only person you hurt by not wearing aseatbelt or drinking too much sugar is yourself. With communicable diseases, you violate others rights just by being around them.

The federal government is one of enumerated and thus limited powersat least in theory, if observed largely in the breach since the New Dealbut states have police powers to govern for the public health, safety, welfare, and morals (the last one having fallen away in recent decades). Accordingly, in light of the best epidemiological data we have, state and local executives ordered shut downs to prevent people from being around too many other people and thus spreading the disease.

Interestingly, despite the infamous pictures of springbreakers and St. Patricks Day revelers, these government actions were lagging indicators. Restaurant traffic and airline travel fell off acliff before any official action. Airports are still open, even though the president has total authority to shut them down, as George W. Bush did on 9/11.

People began socialdistancing and wearing masks without any edicts. Sports leagues canceled their seasons without so much as a dont play ball from state umpires.

Not being satisfied with this largescale recognition of the threat we face and compliance with commonsense rules for the new normal, however, governors and mayors have begun to overreach. Although Ihad been telling reporters that nobody was going to get arrested for reading in the park or enjoying wildlife with her family, police were indeed telling people to move along if they were in apublic space, even if they were nowhere near anybody else.

When we got questions at that Cato forum about restrictions on the sale of nonessential products or prohibitions on fishinga right going back to Magna Carta!I thought these were farfetched hypotheticals, but it turns out they were all too real.

Then came the bans on parking at achurch and staying in your car to hear asermon, ahead of Easter Sunday, no less, which led toone of the best district court opinionsIve read in along time, reversing such an order in Louisville. (Full disclosure: Judge Justin Walker is afriend, and Im advising the Mississippi Justice Institute on one of these cases in Greenville, Miss.)

Look, this isnt about religious liberty, or any other constitutional right in particular. Assuming that socialdistancing is required to flatten the curve and fight COVID-19, such rules are fine so long as theyre applied equally everywhere, whether to yoga studios or churches, hackathons or street protests.

But theyre not fine when theyre arbitrarily targeted at some businesses and not others, as if coronavirus spreads more in gun shops than liquor stores. Theyre also not fine when they have nothing to do with socialdistancing, as with the fatwas against drivein liturgy or closing only aisles three and five of abigbox store. Or when tennis courts are closed even if the players wear allwhite masks and promise not to both go to the net at the same time. Or that video of the cop chasing that poor guy going for arun on the beach by his lonesome.

These ridiculous examples of petty tyranny led to mymost viral tweet ever: Angered by citations for being in park with nuclear family, or in car at church, or running on the beach. Or nonessential goods roped off in stores. These things have nothing to do with fighting the virus and everything to do with powerhungry politicians and law enforcement.

Just because significant restrictions on our daytoday lives are warranted doesnt mean its afreeforall for government coercion. To borrow alegal standard from adifferent context, the rules have to be congruent and proportional to the harm being addressed. As amatter of law, judges will give executives awide berth to deal with acrisis, but their enforcement measures still have to pass the constitutional smell test.

More fundamentally, any regulations that dont make common sense, that arent seen as reasonable by most people, are simply not going to be taken as legitimate, and they wont be followed. The American people will decide what restrictions are reasonable, and for how long. Just like they decided when to shut down, they have total authority to decide when to reopen.

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The Government Has a Lot More Emergency Powers Than Libertarians Like, but It Still Can't Control Everything - Cato Institute

Libertarian Illinois Policy Institute wants a timeline for reopening businesses thats just not possible – Chicago Sun-Times

The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute has tried reaching out more to Democratic legislators since Gov. Bruce Rauner lost his reelection bid. Rauner at one point was so close to the group that he fired several of his longtime staffers and replaced some of them with IPI staff, which did not work out well, to say the least.

The organizations political wing has contributed money to more than a few legislative Democrats campaign funds in recent months, and they were able to introduce some bipartisan legislation last year and this year although the spring session is now mostly a bust because, as I write this, the General Assembly has no set plans to return amid the pandemic.

An IPI staffer even posed for a picture with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and posted it on Twitter last year. Looking forward to working with his administration, the caption read. Its been on a serious mission to change its image.

If you go to its website, youll see the IPI has devoted an entire section to empathetic interviews with small business owners about how theyre faring during the pandemic. Theyre well-written, including one featuring the owner of a Chicago restaurant.

In general, everyone is standing, waiting in the wings until were allowed to open back up regularly, which obviously no one knows when thats going to be yet, the owner was quoted as saying.

The organization claimed this week in a private Facebook group it runs that it wants the state to begin planning to reopen the economy and give people visibility on what that might look like.

But then it tipped its hand in the comment section.

As an owner of 2 small businesses, one essential (radon mitigation), one a restaurant ... nothing I can say will express the absolute disdain I have for this man or his policies, a commenter complained about Pritzker.

A Policy Institute staffer replied to her comment asking if she would be open to speaking to a member of the IPI team. Weve been doing our best to give our community a voice on our site and pressure JB to reopen the states economy.

Another commenter predicted that Pritzker and his boss lori lightfoot will kill Illinois. An IPI staffer replied with the same request to speak with her about her story. Weve been featuring small business owners on our site to try to pressure the governor to reopen the states economy.

The IPIs privately admitted agenda did not go over well with the governors press secretary, as you might imagine. She let it fly.

COVID-19 has left a trail of devastation across the globe. There is no country, no city, no community that is immune, wrote Jordan Abudayyeh. Every day, we grieve with the families who have lost loved ones in this battle. And we yearn for the time when life can return to normal.

We usually ignore the Illinois Policy Institutes institutionalized and reflexive partisanship, but in this time of crisis, we cannot afford to let this dangerous ideology go unanswered. We all want the economy to reopen no one more than the Governor, Abudayyeh continued. But to suggest that should happen before the science says it is safe is not only foolish, its dangerous.

In Illinois, more than 500 people have succumbed to the virus and more than 16,000 people have been sickened. Those numbers climb every single day and because of that fact, an overwhelming majority of Illinoisans are working together to flatten the curve. The IPI has lobbied for some atrocious policies in the past, but this time their efforts could mean the difference between life and death for many Illinoisans. They need to stop lying to people about whats at stake in this crisis and own up to the public responsibility we all have to be committed to a truthful and honest conversation about our collective public health.

Yikes.

A spokesperson for the IPI said they want the governor to establish a process and timeline to safely and effectively open the economy, so we are not only protecting lives but also safeguarding livelihoods.

But a timeline simply isnt possible right now because literally nobody can say with certainty when this will all end.

The spokesperson went on to say that the governors refusal to discuss this is causing uncertainty, which is making residents wary.

Wary of what, he didnt say.

We will continue to tell their story, he said. And continuing the pressure, no doubt.

Im thinking there will be no more photo-ops with the governor.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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Libertarian Illinois Policy Institute wants a timeline for reopening businesses thats just not possible - Chicago Sun-Times


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