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Category Archives: Libertarian
Construction Accidents and Personal Injuries, Everything You Ought To Know – The Libertarian Republic
Posted: March 24, 2020 at 7:48 pm
The construction sector is among the largest industries in the world. It has the highest number of employees as well as the most intensive labor activities. There are also lots of machines, high voltages of power, toxic chemicals, a lot of off-ground activities, and many other hazards. Its for these reasons that the construction industry has lots of accidents, most resulting in fatal injuries and even death. Research has shown that the construction industry loses nearly 1,000 personnel a day to work-related deaths. If you work in this industry, then its essential to understand the accidents that can occur, preventive measures to take, and what to do in case it happens to you.
According to research, four common accidents occur in the construction sector. These four hazards include:
As a construction worker, you often have to work from high points such as roofs, ladders, and scaffoldings. It puts one at the risk of falling and sustaining injuries. Research shows that about 39.2% of deaths are due to fall majorly because safety rules for heights are often overlooked.
Falls from heights are more common in construction but also preventable. Here are some ways to minimize falls:
Usually, a building under construction does not have doors, trails, or other protective measures installed. You can ensure the environment is well lit, and there are safety measures protecting you against every hole and openings on the site.
Ladders are mostly used to work on areas that are slightly off the ground. You need to use the ladder properly to avoid falls. It should be well-positioned and stable on even ground. Additionally, check the ladders regularly to ensure they are free from damages and defects.
In addition to ensuring site safety, personal protective equipment is also essential. It includes items such as non-slip shoes, boots, helmets, etc. The gears vary depending on your line of work and are necessary since they reduce construction risks by a higher percentage.
You can also be hit by anything from a truck to rolling or falling objects. Most cases of struck-by accidents include cranes or truck accidents. Well, many other objects can also result in fatal accidents that may lead to permanent disability or death. When doing masonry work, for example, there is an additional risk that involves lifting equipment used to position a slab or wall. In this case, a site manager or supervisor needs to ensure that materials used can handle the weight or force hence minimizing the risk of the slab or wall falling on the workers. Additionally, when working near suspended equipment or loads, ensure that the operator is fully aware of your presence.
Protective equipment reduces these risks quite significantly. Use gear like hard hats, face shields, and heavy-duty work gloves, etc. You also need to be careful and ensure your team members are aware of your location.
Electrocution is also quite common in construction sites. Workers will often be in contact with power lines or electrical materials that can pose a danger to them. That said, the most affected workers are the electrical power line installers. Most sustain fatal injuries and may die due to power leaks and other power-related failures.
Beware of power lines
Do not go near high power lines unless you are an electrical professional. Even if you are, you should beware of electrocution, thus ensuring you are protected.
Beware of ground faults
Watch out for ground faults. That is why it is necessary to have proper footwear in the construction site. The ground faults can result in burns, fires, and explosions. You also need to ensure that the ground fault protection is the acceptable electrical standards.
Watch out for equipment errors
Regardless of your role in the construction site, you must understand how the machines operate and be on the lookout for faults. Ensure you also know the dangers of the equipment, which can cause electrical shock.
This accident is also known as trenching. It could be due to being exposed to harmful chemicals or being trapped in between objects. The objects may squeeze, pinch, or crush you.
-Wear protective clothing
-Avoid loose clothes, hair, and Accessories-Ensure your hair is tied neatly and not hanging. Do not wear hanging accessories as they can be caught in the machines.
Now, construction accidents can cause:
-Spinal cord injuries
Due to the labor-intensive nature of the construction site, there is a chance that you or a colleague might be hurt at some point. The damage might be mild or fatal and can result in permanent disability or death. When this occurs, you should report it to the supervisor and get medical attention immediately. It is also vital to contact a construction accident attorney to assist you in getting compensated for severe injury cases. The attorney will guide you throughout the process of getting compensated and also represent you. Here are some of the steps you will need to follow to get compensated after a construction site accident.
Workers compensation is a form of insurance that gives benefits to employees when they get hurt at work. It is a requirement for employers to cover their workers at construction sites. This compensation will cover wage loss, medical expenses, and other damages incurred.
You can also sue your employer for compensation in case the accident occurred as a result of negligence on their part.
You can also sue a third party for the accident that occurred on the site. In this case, you file a workers compensation claim and a separate third-party lawsuit against the individual. To win this lawsuit, you need to prove that the injury caused was as a result of negligence on the part of the party.
This form of insurance allows the family to claim on behalf of the deceased employee. In this case, the death must have been caused by an injury that the employee sustained while working on the site or on duty.
The nature of work in the construction industry exposes you to numerous risks and dangers. These dangers can result in fatal conditions. It is, therefore, crucial to have sufficient knowledge of the industry as well as the emergency response steps to take in case of an accident. You should also know that the law protects you from these types of accidents. Thus, you ought to speak to a reputable and experienced construction accident attorney to fight for your rights.
Posted: at 7:47 pm
Review by Brian Lowry, CNN
People who own big cats are unusual, we're told near the outset of "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," which proceeds to prove that -- and then some -- over seven jaw-dropping episodes. Netflix has made a lot of noise with unscripted programming, but it's going to roar with this beyond-bizarre docu-series distraction, which demonstrates that outlandish people who love filming themselves are a formula for TV that's grrrr-reat.
It's hard to know, frankly, where to begin with all the strange twists and turns, but directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin rightly assume that it's easiest to work backward from the (almost) end: Joseph Maldonado-Passage, an eccentric keeper of tigers, lions and other big cats in Oklahoma who goes by the name "Joe Exotic," allegedly having orchestrated a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin, a woman who runs a facility called Big Cat Rescue, who had lobbied to shut down operations like his.
After that, though, there's a whole lot to chew on. Big cats, it turns out, are a kind of aphrodisiac, inspiring what can only be described as cultish devotion -- including Joe's marriage to not one but two men; another big-cat owner, Bhagavan "Doc" Antle, who is basically a polygamist; and Jeff Lowe, who comes into Joe's orbit later and brags about using exotic pets as a come-on to find partners for threesomes.
But wait, there's more: The colorful characters that Joe attracts to work for him (including one who loses a limb to a tiger attack); Joe's desire to create his own media kingdom, enlisting a former "Inside Edition" correspondent, Rick Kirkham, to oversee his TV efforts; and finally, Joe's forays into politics, running for president before mounting a libertarian bid for governor of Oklahoma, despite being a little unclear on what a libertarian actually is.
Finally, there's Baskin, who would seemingly be the voice of reason in all this, objecting, as she does, to people housing and trading in dangerous cats. Still, she finances those efforts largely through the fortune she inherited from her late husband, who disappeared under the kind of mysterious circumstances that even a "Dateline NBC" producer might consider too good to be true.
Because the big-cat owners are showmen (beyond the zoo, Joe fancies himself a country-and-western singer), there's a whole lot of vamping for the cameras. They also tend to document their actions extensively, which makes the occasional use of reenactments here feel especially gratuitous.
Still, even by the standards of reality TV -- a genre populated by exhibitionists and those seeking their 15 minutes of fame -- "Tiger King" is so awash in hard-to-believe oddballs that lean into their image it genuinely feels like a Coen brothers movie come to life, the kind of thing any studio would return to the writer saying the screenplay was too over the top.
During the final chapter, one of Joe's employees says there's "a lot of drama in the zoo world." That's about the only thing that's understated in "Tiger King," which -- even amid the current glut of true crime -- is the kind of juicy morsel that's almost impossible to resist.
"Tiger King" premieres March 20 on Netflix.
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Posted: at 7:47 pm
By Abram Brown with Chris Helman
In his corner of the Texas oil patch, Bud Brigham has kept things going as much as he can in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the employees at Brigham Minerals, which he founded and currently chairs, are working from home. Brigham is also the chairman of Atlas Sand, whose plants are still going full throttle, he says, processing the sand that gets sold to frackers.
As the name of that company hints, Brigham is a libertarian, and he once financed a movie trilogy of Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged. I do wonder, are we overreacting? he says, doing his best Dagny Taggart imitation. Is the cure worse than the ailment?
That sentiment has spread widely in the last 48 hours. Tweets and email chains, many penned by desperate small-business owners, found their way to the Fox News punditry set. Just as the spread of coronavirus creates a curve of the number of people infected, this economic shutdown is creating a curve of the number of people affectedlosing their jobs, their homes, their businesses, Fox host Steve Hilton said Sunday night, asking viewers if they were familiar with that famous phrase: The cure is worse than the disease. It was then only a matter of time before the Tweeter-in-Chief weighed in. WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM, President Trump, caps lock emphatically on, wrote shortly before midnight Sunday. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO. He doubled down yesterday morning, retweeting those who agreed with himand finished by retweeting his own late-night tweet.
By yesterday, Trumps notion had become a mainstream talking point, as prominent observers including Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Fox News Laura Ingraham and Brit Hume and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis all insisted that an economic crash will kill more people than the virus, and we should therefore let those who are purportedly less at riskthe young and middle-agedgo back to producing and consuming.
All of which has scientists, doctors and other health-care professionals aghast. Their consensus: Stay home and dont go within six feet of anyone. We have to hunker down, says Vincent Racaniello, who teaches microbiology and immunology at Columbia University. He doesnt think its safe to resume normal life until the country reports no more than 10 new cases in a day. (The U.S. is currently reporting thousands per day.) Look at all the people dying in huge numbers on a daily basis in Italy, he adds. We need to prevent that. When Dr. Anthony Fauci, the governments leading expert on infectious diseases, didnt appear at yesterdays circus-like press briefing, Trump was asked if Fauci agreed with him on the need to ease social distancing to speed the reopening of the economy. No, he doesnt not agree, the president responded, his use of a double negative only muddying the waters further.
Does this standoff represent yet another culture war, this one with hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars on the line? This is probably unprecedented, says Greg Wawro, chair of Columbias political science department. It is bleak. Its bleak.
Both sides come armed with statistics. The science-first side argues in terms of sickness and mortality, citing a worst-case scenario that projects 160 million to 214 million Americans infected with COVID-19 and a death toll of 200,000 to 1.7 million. These models factor in the past few weeks in Europemodels that in fact seem optimistic given the pathetic state of testing in the U.S. so far, as well as government mandates far less draconian, even in New York and California, than in Italy and Spain.
The business-first side, meanwhile, cites lost dollars. On the positive end of things, Bank of America thinks the economy will slide 12% in the second quarter; Deutsche Bank predicts 12.9%. This would represent collapse, BofA economists wrote in a recent research report. Goldman Sachs forecasts a 24% drop. Global recession in 2020 is now our base case, Morgan Stanleys chief economist, Chetan Ahya, concluded in a recent report. Those estimates would likely translate to between 5 million and 8 million vaporized jobs. One Federal Reserve official, Mercer Bullard, said yesterday that unemployment could reach 30%, the highest in American history. (During the Great Depression, joblessness peaked at 24.9% in 1933.) These numbers feel like an almost self-inflicted wound given that just four weeks ago, the economy seemed headed to another year of healthy growth amid the longest expansion in American history.
I would love to see life going back to normal, says Luciana Borio, a physician who served on Trumps National Security Council. However, I do not think thats going to be by the end of this week.
To the science side, economic speculation is irrelevant. The most important thing here is to save peoples lives, and there is no value you can put on a persons life, right? says Columbias Racaniello. Especially if its someone who means something to you. Recognizing the potency of this argument, the business-first types have cobbled together dubious estimates of the lives taken by recession and poverty.
Theyre also trying to compare potential coronavirus deaths to those from heart disease (650,000 deaths annually), cancer (600,000) or automobile crashes (1.3 million), knowing that no one would advocate shutting the economy to stop such losses. Negative effects on the economy create lots of misery for people, says Harvard professor Jeffrey Miron, a former fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. Adds David Friedman, a retired Santa Clara University professor and son of free-market apostle Milton Friedman: The government shutting down the economy or freezing the economy or printing $2 trillion to give to people doesnt make a whole lot of sense.
But the winning argument, on economic terms, belongs to the scientists. The idea that economy versus lives is a zero-sum game is false. The most vexing potential problem with COVID-19 isnt the death rate. Its the risk of a surge that collapses the U.S. health-care system, with most cities already preparing for triage and carnage on a scale never seen in peacetime America. That alone would cripple both the biggest player in the American economy and undermine whatever consumer and corporate confidence could be imbued with a business-as-usual attitude. Its why even President Trump was imploring everyone to flatten the curveat least until this weekend.
I would love to see life going back to normal, says Luciana Borio, a physician and the former chief scientist at the FDA, who served on Trumps National Security Council, planning for worst-case scenarios like these until she left when the president dismantled the groups team of health experts. I think we should try to do everything we can to bring it back to normal as soon as is feasible and responsible to do so. We shouldnt sit and wait a second longer than its needed. However, I do not think thats going to be by the end of this week.
Or next Monday. March 30 looms large, as Trump began urging distancing on March 15, for a suggested 15 days. Despite all the friendly PSAs, though, only a handful of states have imposed the kind of stay-at-home mandates that could actually stem this scourge. Most of the country is still congregating, which means most of the country will start getting sick only on or around March 30when the death counts in places like New York, judging by the experience of Europe, will start to become staggering.
Its all a false dichotomy. Business and science arent zero-sum, the same way that solving climate change should be viewed as an extraordinary investment opportunity rather than a cost. Great science blossoms under entrepreneurial capitalism. Great business is based on reason and data.
Data, or lack thereof, is the biggest culprit behind this catastrophe. Americas inability to amass enough test kitsmuch less masks and ventilators to protect health-care workersmeans were flying blind. Thats the biggest difference between the United States and a coronavirus role model like South Korea, which opened 600 testing centers and is now producing 100,000 testing kits per day.
It might be reasonable to gambleand try to restart thingsif you actually understand [the scope of the problem], says Borio. We dont.
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Posted: March 22, 2020 at 1:44 am
Vermin Supreme has been running for president for over 30 years. His two most recent bids polled at third and fourth in the 2012 and 2016 New Hampshire Democratic primaries, respectively. But now, the boot-bonneted boomer is running to win.
When I spoke to Supreme in January, he had just triumphed in New Hampshires Libertarian presidential primary. Now hes runner-up in the LPs primaries, with a chance to be on every Americans ballot come November.
This is my first legitimate, actual, bona fide, real campaign, he said. In the past, I ran as a Democrat and was not a Democrat, I ran as a Republican and was not a Republican. Right now, I am a Libertarian and seeking the Libertarian party nomination.
Its notable that I was recruited as a candidate. Supreme described how his now-campaign manager, Desarae Lindsey, approached him about seriously running, which hes been doing for about a year. His campaign staff now has at least 30 members.
Supreme said, This is a campaign that is unlike any other campaign that Ive run. It has strategic considerations.
For example, he told me, In the past, I loved to get on the New Hampshire primary ballot and get a lot of my publicity from that stunt. The Libertarian party of New Hampshire, however, did not want any fusion candidates, so I had to forego that.
He also feared that sore loser laws which forbid a defeated primary candidate from making a third-party run in the general might keep him off the ballot in some states.
I am making an offer to the Libertarian party, he said, an offer predicated on my internet celebrity, vast reservoir of political capital and good will, my experience as a seasoned campaigner, and of course, the power of the magic boot.
As you know, Supreme said, the boot is magic. It allows me to communicate with the media and millions of people from around the flat earth.
The magic boot is not all fun and games. According to Supreme, his public persona has helped him develop some simple, elegant, yet very effective techniques that are essentially a communications strategy.
My fanbase goes from far-left to far-right, it creeps into places where Im not even comfortable having fans, quite frankly, he said. But I cant really help that, except denounce their ideologies from time to time.
During our conversation, he expressed qualified optimism that this strategy would translate into success in the Libertarian primaries and even the coveted five percent of the national popular vote needed for a third party to receive federal funding. No Libertarian candidate has yet reached that threshold, but Gary Johnson captured 3.28 percent in 2016, the partys best-ever performance.
This expectation might not be unreasonable. More than just the American counterpart to the UKs Lord Buckethead, Supreme has long stood out among Americas perennial presidential candidates.
Some of his most famous policy proposals range from the pony pledge free ponies for all to the zombification of Americas political class, who would then operate power-generating treadmills. His endearing and memorable antics include the glitter-bombing of Randall Terry, another obscure candidate in the 2012 Democratic primaries.
But behind his political persona lies an incisive satirist and impassioned activist. A committed libertarian, Supreme has built up street cred as a cop whisperer in the rioters community.
I have been actively exercising the First Amendment to use my bullhorn to break the tension in some very intense police-demonstrator situations, he said. I like to read excerpts from crowd control manuals to the riot police to make sure they are trained up and aware of necessary public safety information. I help avoid crowd panic, which can be really dangerous.
Supreme believes that this background strengthens his credentials with people, especially young people, across the political spectrum.
Ive gotten TikTok famous all of a sudden, he said, discussing how he joined the platform after his campaign hashtags started trending. Essentially, Im the voice of a new generation, though its not my generation. Im a vessel, if you will.
I dont have any ambition about consolidating political power within the party or something of that nature, he said. But of course, theres a potential pay-off for the party and for myself. Thats the synergy.
Everybodys got their own motivations for running for president. Selling more books and college tours were never mine. With a chuckle, he added, But, eh, now they are a little bit.
Posted: at 1:44 am
Within the Jewish Community, much attention has been drawn to the 2020 Presidential Race.
The 29 major Democratic candidates stances on Jewish issues have all been examined and inspected. While the race for both Democratic and Republican nominee is beginning to wind down, the race for the Libertarian nominee heating up.
In 2016, Americas third-largest party was led by former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who received 4.5 million votes and was just under the cusp of gaining 5% of the vote nationwide.
A 2018 Gallop poll found that 57% of Americans say there is a need for a third party in America, and a 2019 poll by Gallop found that 42% of Americans identify as Independents. The Libertarian Party may not win the White House in 2020, but they certainly have the potential to play a role as a kingmaker.
Below are there are stances on Jewish issues by the top Libertarian candidates for President in 2020.
Chafee is the most notable candidate running for the Libertarian partys nod. The former Republican Senator and Independent Governor became a Libertarian in July 2019 and announced his candidacy for the partys nomination six months later.
Out of every Libertarian candidate, Chafee has the most explicit record when it comes to Jewish issues.
As a Senator in 2007, Chafee spoke at Brown University and said, I am unmovable on the point that the security of the state of Israel is paramount. Everything I have said and will say on the subject has as its ultimate aim the long-term security interests of our ally Israel.
That said, many Pro-Israel activists were upset with Chafees record on Israel as a Senator. Chafee was a critic of Israels expansion of settlements and called on the Bush administration to have a more balanced approach towards Israel.
Stephen Laffey unsucesffuly challenged the incumbent Chafee for Senate in the Republican Primary in 2005. Laffey was supported by Pro-Israel groups, including the Washington Political Action Committee and CityPAC.
Today, Chafee is a member of J Streets Advisory Council, which advises the liberal, Pro-Israel organization on issues pertaining to the two-state solution. Other notable members of the council include former Colorado Senator Gary Hart and Matt Duss, a policy advisor to Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign.
Chafee has an established record with Rhode Islands Jewish Committee. In 2014, he visited and met with seniors at a Jewish Community Center in Providence
Hornberger is the current front-runner for the Libertarian Primary winning five out of the eight non-binding Libertarian Primaries. He is the founder and President of Future of Freedom Foundation.
Hornberger is outspoken about his position to end all foreign aid to all nations, including Israel. At the same time, Hornberger has said he does not have a problem with fundraising drives across America that raise money for both the Israeli government and private Israeli groups. In 2018, Hornberger accused Israel of committing a massacre against Palestinians, and in 2019 he said the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel was in response to the longtime mistreatment of Palestinians.
In a 2019 op-ed, he stated that he supports open borders and believes that if America had open immigration in the 1940s, then the Holocaust would not have occurred. Hornberger has previously claimed that Hitlers anti-semitism was the result of an abusive father.
In the same 2019 op-ed, he inferred that the state of Israel was created because of the Holocaust. That opinion does fail to take into account the early Zionist Movement by Herzl, which began in the 1890s.
Supreme is a perennial satirical candidate and a performance artist known for wearing a boot on his head. Surprisingly, Supreme has gained support and has won two non-binding Libertarian primaries.
In the past, he has joked on Twitter about moving Israel to Arizona or the middle of Utah. He describes himself as supporting a no-state solution.
In 2013, Supreme Tweeted Ron Paul Doesnt Hate Jews, He Just Speaks To Groups That Hate Jews.
Kokesh is a military veteran, anti-war activist, and radio talk show host.
Kokesh is Jewish and his grandparents were forced to flee to Canada because of Europes anti-semitism.
Kokesh has claimed that he was a victim of anti-semitism by those who did not like his coverage of Occupy Wall Street. Kokesh has stated his distaste that anti-semitism is more acceptable than other forms of racism.
Kokesh describes himself as being an anti-Zionist and has been a vocal critic of Israel. He has accused Israel of being an apartheid state and of mistreating Palestinians. Kokesh opposes foreign aid to Israel and is against Israels policy of military conscription. He has defended Ilhan Omar from accusations of anti-semitism.
Behrman is a software engineer and podcaster who is notable for his position that taxation is theft. Behrman has made limited statements on Jewish issues.
In 2019, he criticized former Republican Congressman and 2020 Republican candidate, Joe Walsh, for supporting Israel.
Armstrong is a former NATO contractor and former member of the Honolulu County, Hawaii Neighborhood Board. He has not made any public statements directly about Jews or Israel.
Armstrong has expressed his opposition to the idea religions must teach certain subjects for them to get financial benefits from the government. He is against the government defining religion.
Blake is an 11th Grader at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA. He most recently served as a Congressional District Lead (PA-4), a volunteer and Jewish Liaison for Andrew Yang's 2020 Presidential Campaign.
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Posted: at 1:44 am
President Donald Trump and Senator Tom Cotton in the White House in Washington, D.C., August 2, 2017(Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Charles Fain Lehman has written an assessment for the Washington Free Beacon of the policy divide among congressional Republicans on how best to confront the economic dimension of the coronavirus outbreak. He argues that the debate maps at least partly onto pre-existing political struggles within the Republican Party, pitting those open to greater government intervention, such as senators Mitt Romney, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, against more libertarian-leaning members.
This is true, to some extent. One can quibble somewhat with certain aspects of this analyis, however. Certainly, libertarians might resent being stuck with Senator Lindsay Graham as their ostensible philosophical representative. And when a policy expert at a think-tank Lehman describes as libertarian-leaning helps design the plan of one of the supposedly anti-libertarian members, one wonders how severe and serious the distinctions his assessment focuses on are, at least amid coronavirus. (Even if Samuel Hammond isnt exactly a libertarian.)
Theres something meaningful to the fact that no one in Congress is really arguing for the federal government to do nothing, which is not what most libertarians would be on board with now anyway. Instead, theyre arguing over the best way to increase government involvement. This is an extraordinary crisis. Government does often grow in such times in ways that linger afterward. But we have no way of knowing at this time if the attitudes and policies that emerge now will carry on into the future (or if they should). Right now, we dont even know whats going to happen next week.
Or in 2024. Yet Lehman writes:
Cotton, Hawley, and Rubio are all considered potential contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential primary. A successful run by any of them could shift the balance of power in the party away from its more libertarian, business-oriented wing and into the hands of the nascent populist, worker-focused tendency awakened by, among other things, the electoral success of President Donald Trump.
Whether this framing is correct or not, the amount of things we know for certain is, at this time, incredibly low. We dont know what Congress is going to do, whether America will successfully limit the spread of coronavirus, or how it will impact the 2020 election (or if it even will). Lehman may be right that politics isnt stopping completely during this extraordinary event, even if its singular nature suggests caution regarding its utility as a reference point for politics beyond. But whatever happens, speculating about the 2024 presidential primary seems genuinely impossible right now.
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Posted: at 1:44 am
People who own big cats are unusual, were told near the outset of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, which proceeds to prove that and then some over seven jaw-dropping episodes. Netflix has made a lot of noise with unscripted programming, but its going to roar with this beyond-bizarre docu-series distraction, which demonstrates that outlandish people who love filming themselves are a formula for TV thats grrrr-reat.
Its hard to know, frankly, where to begin with all the strange twists and turns, but directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin rightly assume that its easiest to work backward from the (almost) end: Joseph Maldonado-Passage, an eccentric keeper of tigers, lions and other big cats in Oklahoma who goes by the name Joe Exotic, allegedly having orchestrated a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin, a woman who runs a facility called Big Cat Rescue, who had lobbied to shut down operations like his.
After that, though, theres a whole lot to chew on. Big cats, it turns out, are a kind of aphrodisiac, inspiring what can only be described as cultish devotion including Joes marriage to not one but two men; another big-cat owner, Bhagavan Doc Antle, who is basically a polygamist; and Jeff Lowe, who comes into Joes orbit later and brags about using exotic pets as a come-on to find partners for threesomes.
But wait, theres more: The colorful characters that Joe attracts to work for him (including one who loses a limb to a tiger attack); Joes desire to create his own media kingdom, enlisting a former Inside Edition correspondent, Rick Kirkham, to oversee his TV efforts; and finally, Joes forays into politics, running for president before mounting a libertarian bid for governor of Oklahoma, despite being a little unclear on what a libertarian actually is.
Finally, theres Baskin, who would seemingly be the voice of reason in all this, objecting, as she does, to people housing and trading in dangerous cats. Still, she finances those efforts largely through the fortune she inherited from her late husband, who disappeared under the kind of mysterious circumstances that even a Dateline NBC producer might consider too good to be true.
Because the big-cat owners are showmen (beyond the zoo, Joe fancies himself a country-and-western singer), theres a whole lot of vamping for the cameras. They also tend to document their actions extensively, which makes the occasional use of reenactments here feel especially gratuitous.
Still, even by the standards of reality TV a genre populated by exhibitionists and those seeking their 15 minutes of fame Tiger King is so awash in hard-to-believe oddballs that lean into their image it genuinely feels like a Coen brothers movie come to life, the kind of thing any studio would return to the writer saying the screenplay was too over the top.
During the final chapter, one of Joes employees says theres a lot of drama in the zoo world. Thats about the only thing thats understated in Tiger King, which even amid the current glut of true crime is the kind of juicy morsel thats almost impossible to resist.
Tiger King premieres March 20 on Netflix.
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Posted: at 1:44 am
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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is notorious for being a principled voice for limited constitutional government. Even better, he amuses us with how swiftly he induces tantrums among the political establishments flunkies.
Aside from President Donald Trump, its Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who is usually the face of evil for liberals. But on Tuesday night, an NBC News story, based on two anonymous McConnell-linked sources, redirected the ire squarely on Paul.
What did the libertarian ophthalmologist-turned-politician do to deserve this? He did his job.
Paul proposed an amendment to the coronavirus bill being rushed through the Senate after passing the House 363-40. For those keeping track, libertarian-leaning Republican Thomas Massie didnt vote, and libertarian-leaning Independent Congressman Justin Amash voted present.
Pauls amendment, according to NBC News reporter Julie Tsirkin, was officially summarized as: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require a social security number for the purposes of the child tax credit, to provide the President the authority to transfer funds as necessary and to terminate United States military operations and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.
Twitter is littered with righteous indignation constantly, but Tuesday night, it was mostly directed at Paul. And it was mostly thanks to the NBC News story poorly co-written by Tsirkin.
Before getting into the catty tone of the article, lets consider the actual concerns people have with Pauls amendment.
First, isnt there a national emergency going on? Now isnt the time for nitpicking whats legal under the Constitution or how Congress appropriates funds. Theres no time for delay, were led to believe.
The answer to this critique is short, because there simply is no delay in voting beyond a few minutes just because an amendment is proposed. All of this drama is just political theatre, with McConnell aides directing the show.
Second, and perhaps more reasonably, it may be asked what the war in Afghanistan has to do with this coronavirus. That almost begs the question though. Why is Congress leaping to this hot new political commodity known as a coronavirus when theyve skirted their true duties for so long?
Beyond the deadly Afghanistan misadventure being a drain on financial resources, its worth investigating how human resources are wasting away, mired down in that desert. In Syria, most of the U.S. troops are from the South Carolina National Guard. Might be nice to have them here!
Here Paul is doing the job all the other senators are supposed to be doing. Unfortunately for him, it doesnt fit into the narrative most comfortable for the political and media elites.
As a result, we end up with junior high school level journalism weaponized against patriotic dissent.
Paul is notorious for forcing votes on amendments he knows will not pass, the NBC News story goes.
It concluded in a similar fashion: He even briefly caused the government to shut down in 2018, using a procedural tactic to block the Senate from meeting the deadline to keep the government open because he objected to the price tag.
Both of these statements are lies, though the authors probably believe them. Its a sure sign of the deep divisions in the country.
Whether its the 9/11 Victims bill, the Ukrainegate impeachment failure, or foreign aid, Paul consistently upsets the right people by doing the right thing. This doesnt mean Paul is perfect, but it does mean Americans should appreciate his special role in Washington, DC.
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Posted: at 1:44 am
Campaign Beat: The Pandemic, The Primary And Third Parties
Campaign fundraising is tricky during a pandemic. The June primary could be mail-in only. State auditor and congressional candidate Matt Rosendale urges Montanans to get coronavirus testing that may not be available. A well-known Republican enters the Senate race as a Libertarian. And no one knows how a global health crisis will affect the 2020 election.
Listen now on Campaign Beat, MTPR's weekly political analysis program, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.
Sally Mauk: Rob the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all our lives, and the 2020 campaign, of course, is no exception. We have at least one candidate, Mike Cooney, in self-quarantine. We have another candidate sharing pasty recipes on Facebook, and all of them basically canceling all in-person events. But meanwhile, we're being bombarded with fundraising emails from the candidates.
Rob Saldin: That's right, Sally. I mean, the campaigns I think just don't seem quite as important as they did a couple of weeks ago, too, I would add. But yeah, I mean, at least for the next several weeks, quite possibly much longer than that, things like in-person meet and greets are out, and same with in-person fundraisers, obviously. But as you note, I mean, on on the other hand, we do still have all these campaign fundraising emails coming out. And I've actually been a little surprised that that all is just carrying on pretty much as usual, just because given what's going on around us, these email pleas for money just seem obtuse and petty and, more than that, you know, maybe even a little offensive. I mean, we're already seeing a lot of people being hit hard economically. And there's every reason to think that it's going to get a lot worse. And, you know, we see a lot of individuals and organizations out there trying to think through how best we can support our people in our communities who are who are going to suffer on account of this. And yet a lot of these campaigns are still sending out these e-mails begging for money. And I kind of find it off-putting.
Mauk: Of course, they're probably at a loss about what they should be doing right now, given that they can't campaign actually like they normally would, and this is the last thing they can do. But I agree with you. I think it strikes an insensitive tone to what's going on.
Rob, the Montana primary is June 2, and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, who's also running for the U.S. House, tweeted out a video saying he's considering all options about how to conduct that primary.
"But where we're at right now, we're taking a deliberate pause for the next week or so, for gathering information and we're talking to people."
The push, Rob, I think, is to move to a completely mail in ballot in the primary, right?
Saldin: Well, I think that's definitely an option. I mean, Stapleton started that message by saying, you know, he's been hearing from people and, you know, talk of postponing the election or something like that. I mean, in a democracy, I think you don't ever want to open the door on stuff like that unless it's absolutely necessary. And as Stapleton mentions in his video, we've run elections in this country under all sorts of challenging conditions. So I expect that we'll find a way to pull this one off as scheduled.
You know, it does seem to me that we're in a relatively good position here in Montana for a couple reasons in terms of approaching this primary. I mean, first, we've got a lot of time to work with compared to many other states. I mean, we saw just this week Ohio scrambling just hours before the polls opened, trying to figure out what they were going to do. But our primary, it's dead last on the calendar. So we've got time to be more deliberate and thinking through the options.
And then the other reason we're in comparatively good shape is that we have a very strong vote by mail tradition here that a lot of other states don't have, a lot of states don't have that option at all. And so we have the process in place. We have experience with it. And just culturally, it's something that's well within the bounds of what people consider normal. So we're in a position, I think, to consider, as you suggest, Sally, yeah, shifting to a system that's exclusively vote by mail, either as a temporary measure or as a permanent switch. And in fact, several states already run their elections entirely by mail.
You know, an alternative would be if you don't want to go all vote by mail for whatever reason, you know, Stapleton and others could make a big public push to try to encourage as many people as possible to opt in to the vote by mail option. And in Stapleton's video, he did just that. So the practical effect of that would be to decrease the number of people showing up to polling station. So all that said, I would certainly hope and expect that one way or another we can hold our primary on schedule.
Mauk: Holly, another Republican House candidate and current state auditor, Matt Rosendale, put out a statement announcing he too has suspended campaign related gatherings because of the pandemic. And his statement also says he's been, "busy making sure Montanans across the state have access to free coronavirus testing," and encourages Montanans with symptoms to take advantage of this testing. But the truth is, Holly, widespread testing is not available in Montana. Not even close. And not everyone who wants to get tested is able to.
Holly Michels: Yeah, that's right, Sally. I've been watching just as this has unfolded in Montana. Candidates are really, I think, some, struggling to figure out how to talk about the cornavirus as the're candidates out there and sending emails to their supporters. The quote from Rosendale I think is interesting because, you know, he does have this role as a state auditor where he is the person working with insurance companies, trying to, there's a lot of federal changes that insurance companies in Montana are following to make testing more affordable. You're waiving co-pays, waiving treatment. You need to see a primary care physician to have a test ordered. But the state has been really careful in talking about testing and trying to emphasize that there's not an unlimited number of tests available in Montana. You know, they're careful and they don't want to cause panic, making people think that there are no tests available, but there is limited capacity and doctors are trying to be pretty judicious with who is tested. They're following recommendations that look at if you're going to be in a hospital testing so that health care providers can be safe and wear protective equipment around you, but also not waste that protective equipment if you don't have COVID-19. So I think this is something that, I think, you know, I've talked to a lot of state officials; medical public health people this week have really tried to push out the message that you everyone can't just show up and get tested. And that would be great if we lived in a world like that, but that's not where we're at right now. So I think this email from Rosendale runs counter to the messaging we've seen from public health officials and state officials as well.
Mauk: Well, it's super important right now that state officials be putting out consistent messaging and accurate messaging. I'll leave that there.
Holly, there has been another late entry into the U.S. Senate race, and that's Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Susan Good Geise, and she's entered the race as a Libertarian candidate, which is interesting since she is a lifelong Republican and former chair of the state Republican Party.
Michels: She was not holding back any punches this week. What happened is the Libertarians had a candidate up for the U.S. Senate who withdrew on the filing deadline, and a piece of state law let the Libertarian Party nominate someone else to run. And Susan Good Geise, she was that person. She really lit into Republicans, saying that she's tired of being called a RINO, which stands for Republican in name only. She said she's been a faithful party member since 1988, but that Republican leadership, she said, profanes what the party once stood for and said she just can't stomach that anymore. She went after Senator Steve Daines pretty directly for not holding in-person town halls, pointing out as a county commissioner, she's meeting with the public twice a week. She also said that she really doesn't support President Trump and she's pretty frustrated with Republicans that are just backing him, sort of what she's saying, is blindly. So it's pretty a interesting candidate. She didn't really talk much about why she's a Libertarian. It seemed like it's mostly that she's just really not with the Republican Party anymore.
Mauk: Rob, third party candidates in a tight election can actually sway the outcome.
Saldin: Yeah, sure. You know, this strikes me as another little piece of bad news for Steve Daines. Obviously, it was just recently that Bullock decided to jump into the race on the Democratic side and now looks like there's going to be a reasonably well-known Libertarian candidate running to. And, you know, Libertarians have often gotten, you know, somewhere around 4 percent of the total vote, and in a in a close election, that absolutely could make a difference. And you would assume, of course, that the Libertarian candidate would be pulling votes from the Republican. Of course it's never exactly a one to one thing. I mean, some people who would vote Libertarian would otherwise just not show up. And then some people probably would vote for the Democrat for one reason or another. But having a strong Libertarian candidate on the ballot is certainly not what Daines would have liked.
Mauk: Speaking of third party candidates, Rob, Montana Democrats have filed a complaint with the state commissioner of political practices, asking him to investigate who is behind the successful effort to get the Green Party on the ballot. They're running a bunch of candidates. We've mentioned before that the Green Party of Montana says it's not them. And a new law requires that groups spending more than $500 to qualify a minor party must register with the commissioner. But no group has. That's the complaint.
Saldin: Yeah. And obviously, what the Democrats think is going on here is is a cynical ploy on the part of Republican affiliated groups to go out and qualify the Green Party for the ballot on the assumption it's the exact opposite of where we were just talking about with the dynamic between the Republicans and the libertarians, right? The idea here is that the Greens would pull away votes from the Democratic Party. And so to the extent you have people on the ballot who are to the left of the Democratic Party, that's helpful, beneficial to Republican candidates. And we do see this kind of thing from time to time. I mean, I remember back in 2012 we saw some efforts on the part of supporters of Jon Tester to help fuel the campaign of a Libertarian running for Senate that year, presumably with the goal of harming Denny Rehberg, the Republican candidate. And that was a pretty close election. The Libertarian did pretty well. And so these things can matter.
Mauk Finally, Holly and Rob, none of us can really predict how the crisis of the pandemic is going to affect this election and voters' behavior. But it seems to me it could either suppress voting as people just try to focus on staying both physically and economically healthy. Or it could rally people to vote for change if they become convinced that the current people in power are failing them. What do you guys think?
Michels Yeah, I'm really curious to see how it goes. I mean, a lot of people that I've been talking to, you know, are talking about amping up, encouraging people to vote by mail, really, you know, pointing out the options in Montana that you have if you don't want to go to a polling place, and kind of trying to capitalize on, you know, if you don't like what you're seeing your government do right now, if you don't think they responded quick enough, that's a way that you can voice your concern in both the primary and the fall election. But I'm also hearing a lot of concerns about, when you look at people who staff polling places, they're typically those people who are kind of in those higher risk categories. They tend to be older Montanans. I think the term the governor used this week was legacy Montanans, which I thought was a nice way to say that. But I'm hearing concerns about that too from people who normally go to a polling place and that's what they're comfortable with and they're not quite sure about the risks associated with that this year.
Saldin The honest answer is I have no idea. It's very hard to figure out where we're going to be a week from now, let alone in November. Things are changing so quickly.
Mauk There are so many unknowns in the current situation. But Rob and Holly, please take care and we will continue our discussion from a safe distance next week.
You've been listening to Campaign Beat, a weekly political analysis program produced by Montana Public Radio. Campaign Beat features University of Montana political science professor in Mansfield, senior fellow Rob Saldin and Lee Newspapers Capitol Reporter Holly micheal's and host Sally Mauk. Join us next week for more analysis of Montana politics.
Campaign Beat, is a weekly political analysis program produced by Montana Public Radio featuring University of Montana Political Science Professor and Mansfield Center Fellow Rob Saldin, Lee Newspapers Capitol Reporter Holly Michels and host Sally Mauk. Join us next week for more analysis of Montana politics.
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The Right to Assemble Not Erased By Government Emergency Libertarians to Continue Meeting in Keene Sundays at 5pm – Free Keene
Posted: at 1:44 am
New Hampshires Longest Running Regular Libertarian Social Meetup
Its an outrageous order and contrary to a basic right of humans, which is the right to assemble. Its also a violation of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In order for many humans to be happy, they need to be around other people. We are a social animal. Now the people calling themselves the state or the government have decided to threaten everyone with violence if they dont do as they are told and OBEY for their own good, of course.
Normally, libertarians are skeptical of the things they are told by government goons, however weve seen yet another schism in the movement in the last few weeks over this Coronavirus scare. Apparently if an authoritarian puts on a lab coat then many libertarians will fall under their spell.
I dont know if Coronavirus is the threat the government and media are making it out to be. I do know this, however:
1. Politicians and bureaucrats lie. Theres no reason to believe they are telling the truth now. There is a long history of governments manufacturing a crisis and spreading fear in order to attain more power. We saw this in a big way prior to Coronavirus in the hysterical paranoia fostered by the state after 9/11. As a result we saw the rise of Homeland Security and the further elimination of freedom. The response to Coronavirus is even worse. In some cases like San Francisco people are under total lockdowns. They also use the term lockdown in prison.
2. Media benefits when it propagates fear. If it bleeds, it leads! News is a business. They have advertisers, so the more people they can get to tune in, the more valuable the ad space. If people are in a state of fear, they are more likely to hang on through that next commercial break. Plus, mainstream news sources depend on government for its press releases and usually incorporate them, verbatim, into their on-air copy. Though in theory their job is to expose political corruption, if they are too good at this, the state agents will not talk to them any longer and then they wont get the scoop, so any critique of government from mainstream media is usually highly limited.
3. Whenever government takes more freedoms, it doesnt cede that ground back to liberty after the crisis has ended.
Keene Bitcoin Meetup
I do know this, people are obedient and more than willing to do what they are ordered by people wearing fancy hats, uniforms, and lab coats. They are easily frightened into giving up their freedoms, all for the promise that theyll be able to continue to suck air.
However, what is the point of living if you cant make your own choices?
Thankfully, not everyone is living in fear. There are occasional breaks in the fear porn news to reveal that many younger people are still getting together. In New Hampshire some heroic folks have filed a lawsuit against the State of New Hampshire over the governors unconstitutional and anti-freedom executive order.
If people across New Hampshire dont stand up and take back their liberties, then we no longer deserve the live free or die slogan. To that end, in spite of Sununus order, the longest-running weekly social gathering of libertarians in New Hampshire, Social Sundays will continue. Previously held at Local Burger on Main St, it has moved to the Bitcoin Embassy NH located at 661 Marlboro St. in Keene. The new start time is now 5pm. Attend at your own risk and bring your own food and drink. If the event gets to over 51 people a special prize will be awarded. No cops allowed.