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Category Archives: Libertarian

Trump Wanted To ‘Throw Massie Out of Republican Party!’ but the Libertarian-Leaning Congressman Just Won His Primary Anyway – Reason

Posted: June 24, 2020 at 6:41 am

Libertarian-leaning Rep. Thomas Massie (RKy.) has crushed his opponent in the Republican primary for the Northern Kentucky seat he's represented since 2012. It was one of two notable victories for GOP primary candidates against more overtly Trump-aligned challengers.

By early evening, Massie had wracked up 88 percent of the unofficial vote against Todd McMurtry, a lawyer who represented Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann in his lawsuit against media outlets. The official results won't be released until June 30, when election officials have had enough time to count mail-in ballots.

Massie's libertarian streak and willingness to buck Republican leadership have earned him explicit rebukes from President Donald Trump in recent months, something McMurtry did his best to capitalize on.

When Massie held up the passage of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in Marchinsisting that the pricey legislation receive a roll call voteTrump called him a "disaster for America" on Twitter, and demanded his expulsion from the Republican Party.

Massie, in turn, made much of McMurtry's own social media activity. The lawyer had made several comments that were critical Trump. He'd also approvingly tweeted out a blog post primer on the alt-right and called for resistance to the "demonization of white people."

Those posts saw several Republican House members withdraw their endorsement of McMurtry, and cleared the way for Massie's victory.

Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath is also leading in Kentucky's U.S. Senate Democratic primary against progressive challenger Charles Booker. Provided she maintains her lead once all the mail-in ballots are counted, she'll go on to face incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell (RKy), who also won his primary tonight.

Trump's endorsement of businesswoman Lynda Bennett also failed to prevent her stunning loss tonight to 24-year-old real estate investor and motivational speaker Madison Cawthorn in the Republican primary for North Carolina's 11th congressional district.

That seat was vacated earlier this year when former Rep. Mark Meadows (RN.C.), one-time head of the House Freedom Caucus, resigned to take up the position as Trump's chief of staff. Despite endorsements from Trump, Meadows, and Sen. Ted Cruz (RTexas), Bennett received 35 percent of the vote in the two-person run-off election.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Meadows' apparent manipulation of the process to make Bennett his handpicked successor angered local Republicans. Cawthorn re-framed Bennett's many high-profile endorsements as proof that Bennett would be beholden to Washington elites.

Provided he beats Democratic candidate Moe Davis in November, Cawthorn will become the youngest member of Congress.

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Trump Wanted To 'Throw Massie Out of Republican Party!' but the Libertarian-Leaning Congressman Just Won His Primary Anyway - Reason

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Google’s warning against the Federalist is why libertarians will lose fight over Big Tech – Washington Examiner

Posted: at 6:41 am

When it comes to the regulation of private businesses, I consider myself a libertarian. But as a realist, I recognize that when businesses become big and begin to be seen as abusing their power, they make it much harder for defenders of a pure free market to prevail in the regulatory debate.

NBC's attempt to deplatform the Federalist was only made possible by the immense power that Google has, with a near monopoly on the search traffic that fuels its advertising business. While it turns out that NBC got the story wrong, Google did put the Federalist on notice that it could lose access to Google Ads revenue if it didn't change its comment section, which has been temporarily removed.

In the debate concerning whether to target tech companies over their bias against conservatives, I've been on the side of arguing that private businesses should have the right to set any rules they want for users. I was critical of a proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley that would have ended the immunity that social media companies have against lawsuits for content posted on their platforms. Under his proposal, companies would have to apply to the federal government for temporary certificates of immunity after demonstrating they've been free of political bias in removing content. On the left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed breaking up large tech companies though for different reasons.

Arguments in favor of the free market are always weakened when businesses behave in ways that make it easy for people to portray them as the bad guys.

A free market healthcare system has been made harder to achieve by stories of insurers fighting to deny care to those who have insurance, of hospitals issuing exorbitant bills that are hard to justify, and of drug companies that rely on patent protection to charge jaw-dropping amounts for prescription drugs. Manufacturers that recklessly polluted and then tried to cover it up made it more difficult to argue against environmental regulations, and big banks that blew up the economy and then demanded bailouts made it more difficult to make the case against financial regulation.

Google, in trying to explain its threat against the Federalist, stated, "Our policies do not allow ads to run against dangerous or derogatory content, which includes comments on sites." To which many people had the same reaction: Has Google not looked at the comments section of any typical video on its own YouTube service?

This was not lost on Hawley.

On Wednesday, he is introducing legislation that would give "users the right to sue if the big platforms enforce their terms unfairly or unequally." He is being joined by Sens. Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, and Mike Braun.

In a political world in which most people are more interested in outcomes rather than underlying principles, if the power of Google and other large tech companies is used to disproportionately target conservatives, it's going to be increasingly difficult for those on the libertarian side of the spectrum to win any argument over the freedom of these companies to self-police.

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Texas-based conservative group funding ‘green’ PAC in MT – KTVH

Posted: at 6:41 am

HELENA A political-action committee backing the Green Party candidate in Montanas high-profile U.S. Senate race is being funded by a Texas-based conservative group, records show.

The group, CSG Action, also has ties to a Texas oil-and-gas executive whos donated to the Montana Republican Party and the campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, and who bankrolled a group that opposed Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in 2018.

The PAC, Go Green Montana, was formed in early May and last week reported spending $27,000 on digital ads, mailings and a website to support Wendie Fredrickson, the Montana Green Party for U.S. Senate.

Fredrickson, a former auditor for the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, won the June 2 Green Party Senate primary, defeating Dennis Daneke of Missoula.

She will appear on the general election ballot, along with Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and his Democratic challenger, Gov. Steve Bullock.

The Montana Republican Party financed the effort to qualify the Green Party for the 2020 Montana ballot, enabling candidates to run under that banner. GOP officials said they wanted to give Montana voters more choices.

The Montana Democratic Party says the effort to promote the Green Party and its candidates, including the Go Green Montana PAC, are part of an ongoing Republican effort to mislead Montanans and meddle in our elections.

The Montana Green Party also has distanced itself from Fredricksons candidacy and the Go Green Montana PAC, saying it has nothing to do with the latter and that Fredrickson hasnt contacted the local party.

Fredrickson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go Green Montanas first finance report, filed last week with the Federal Election Committee, says it raised $45,500 entirely from CSG Action. Records indicate that CSG Action is the political arm of Citizens for Self-Governance, a group that describes itself on its website as dedicated to motivating a nationwide network of self-governing citizen activists, committed to bring government back to the people.

The president of Citizens for Self-Governance, based in Houston, is Mark Meckler, an attorney who was a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. Its chair is Eric OKeefe, who helped found U.S. Term Limits and has been involved in various conservative and libertarian-leaning groups.

A Texas telephone number listed on the groups website has been disconnected and the group did not respond to an email.

One of the listed directors of Citizens for Self-Governance is Tim Dunn, an oil-and-gas company executive from Midland, Texas, whos been politically active in many conservative groups and causes.

In 2018, he spent $2.2 million backing a group called the Senate Reform Fund, which spent most of its money on ads and other efforts to oppose Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, when he ran for re-election.

This year and last, Dunn and his wife, Terri, have donated $20,000 to the Montana Republican Party, $11,200 to Daines Senate campaign, and another $15,000 to a committee affiliated with the Daines campaign.

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Texas-based conservative group funding 'green' PAC in MT - KTVH

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Non-mask wearing fools – The Real Nurse Jackie – McKnight’s Long Term Care News

Posted: at 6:41 am

After watching how some people wear their masks, I now understand why contraception fails! I mean, it really is not protective when the mask is covering your chin, or your nose is hanging out of it.

And I am sorry, but you do not need medical training (unlike some evil troll wrote on my Facebook page) to wear a mask properly. Just cover your nose and mouth for goodness sakes. Wearing a mask is about protecting yourself and others from this infection.

But what really burns my cookies is not wearing a mask at all.

All the studies show that wearing a mask and social distancing will diminish the spread of the virus. But for some very bizarre reason, some people think it is their God-given American right to not wear a mask and believe youre a communist or something if you even suggest it. I dont get it. Do they want to spread this virus FOREVER?

I see the posts they state that COVID isnt that big of a deal, its a media hoax, or its no worse than the flu, or its OK to thin the herd or other wacky ideas. And, besides, youre talking about their business so stay out of it!

But is it really just these non-mask wearing, non-social-distancing peoples business? NO, it is not.

Those of us who work in long-term care know our residents and staff are paying the price for these inane ideas. About 42% of deaths from COVID-19 in the US are from eldercare facilities, yet the population in eldercare facilities is approximately 0.62% of the entire population. And this isnt because eldercare facilities suck! Simply stated, our population is the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Youve read enough well-written articles in McKnights, so you know all the uphill battles weve been facing from not getting appropriate PPE to asymptomatic spread from staff. (And no, public, we cannot make our employees live in our buildings, so that means that, yes, they will get exposed to you non-mask wearing fools.)

Please, wearing a mask is not a political statement. It is not a Democrat versus a Republican, versus a libertarian thing. Healthcare advocates from all sides of the aisle are begging you to wear your masks.

We are trying to save lives here. Our staff are putting their lives on the line every day. Is wearing a mask really that difficult?

Save a life, wear a mask.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates

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Non-mask wearing fools - The Real Nurse Jackie - McKnight's Long Term Care News

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Morelle with big lead over Wilt but absentee votes still to be tallied – WXXI News

Posted: at 6:41 am

Two familiar names are vying for the Democratic nomination in the 25th Congressional District.

Incumbent Joe Morelle and challenger Robin Wilt ran in a four-way race for the nomination two years ago. It was Morelle who ran away with the nomination, and later won both a special and general election to fill the seat that was long held by Louise Slaughter, who died in office in 2016.

The final results wont be known until after June 30, when all the absentee ballots can be counted, but the most current figures show Morelle leading Wilt by 30% after counting the votes that were made in person today and during early voting. Morelle has already secured the Independence Party nomination. Wilt appears to have conceded the race, posting the following on Facebook during the overnight hours:

While we are still awaiting every vote to be counted, we have fallen well shy of our vote goals to be successful in the contest for the 25th Congressional District Democratic Primary. I am honored by all of those who have supported me, and I will continue to advocate for every voice to be heard. I am humbled to have been part of this movement for change, and I realize we have much work left to do. I look forward to the continued engagement.

The Monroe County Board of Elections says 53,318 absentee ballots were sent out to Democrats in NY-25, with 25,746 returned as of Tuesday; ballots have until June 30 to reach the board of elections in order to be counted.

The winner will move to the general election, where they will face Republican and Conservative candidate George Mitris, Working Families candidate Afua Atta-Mensah, and Libertarian candidate Kevin Wilson.

The district includes all of Monroe County except for the towns of Scottsville, Rush, and Mendon.

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Morelle with big lead over Wilt but absentee votes still to be tallied - WXXI News

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Lockdown easing analysis: Boris Johnson’s libertarian instincts returned… and he went further than anyone really expected – Evening Standard

Posted: at 6:41 am

The latest headlines in your inbox twice a day Monday - Friday plus breaking news updates

For all his talk of caution, there is no disguising the massive scale of the changes that Boris Johnson set out today.

In almost every area, the PM went further than anyone really expected . Dinner parties and sleepovers albeit without hugs or handshakes are a big stride towards normality. So too is the announcement that restaurants can serve indoors, not just al fresco, which will allow venues around the West End to reopen their doors.

Moreover, the Prime Ministers libertarian instincts returned to the fore in another key area, which is over the concept of risk. As he told MPs: Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks, remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.

This is a really fundamental change from the idea of safety first which underpinned his March announcement of the closure of the British economy. Then it was enforced by heavy-handed policing and the issuing of spot fines, now it is to be policed by old fashioned common sense and people will be responsible for their own mistakes.

Two things are clear. The first is that this is more true to this Prime Ministers natural political instinct, which is a laissez faire philosophy around social issues and a natural antipathy towards elf n safety laws. The second is that the great easing from lockdown is too complex and too varied for blanket rules to be applied in the way they were when the only imperative was to stop everything.

For example, Londons many thousands of restaurants come in all shapes and sizes. Some have medieval stairways, some sit in modern office foyers; some are in basements, others aloft in skyscrapers; some even move around on trains. Closing them was easy. But where to draw the line on which can open? A blanket two-metre rule would kill most. A one metre rule would invite danger. So, Johnson has chosen on a formula that also fits his Tory nature, which is a very flexible one metre plus rule that puts the onus on managers to assess the risks in their premises and take appropriate measures.

The PM's announcement was a big stride towards normality(via REUTERS)

The PM calculates that restauranteurs do not want to kill their customers, and diners will walk out if their tables look too close. My duty is to guide the British people, he said. Note the word guide and not tell.

Did he have Chis Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallances blessing for the changes? Johnson pointedly did not claim their backing but instead said they had been confident that todays changes would not cause an upsurge. In other words, it was his decision, guided by experts but not led by them. The PM no longer feels the need to use scientists as cover.

It was therefore fascinating that todays huge announcements were used as cover for slipping out another one, that the 5pm daily coronavirus press briefings will end today . No more daily questioning of Whitty and Vallance and senior ministers to see if they all agree.

It was also telling that the PM, who does not always look a picture of health nowadays, was on ebullient form in the Commons. He teased Sir Keir Starmer (who welcomed the statement broadly) with a joke about U-turns, clearly unabashed at his own recent record of three handbrake swivels. He openly scoffed at the devolved Welsh government rule of staying within five miles of home and had a dig at Nicola Sturgeon. To holiday regions, he urged them to roll out the welcome mat" and not the "not welcome here sign. Clearly, Boris Johnson feels more comfortable in his skin announcing freedoms rather than rules.

Primark in Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

A member of staff prepares to open a branch of H&M in Canterbury, Kent,

PA

Primark in Birmingham

PA

NikeTown Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Primark in Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Shop staff in face masks give a round of applause to the first customers through the doors at the Fenwick store in Newcastle

PA

Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

A doorman in a face mask waits to welcome back customers to the Fenwick store in Northumberland Street, Newcastle

PA

People queue for outside shops in Canterbury, Ken

PA

People queue for outside shops in Canterbury, Kent

PA

Primark in Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

A customer dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) in line to shop at Primark, Birmingham

PA

Primark in Birmingham

PA

Primark in Birmingham

PA

NikeTown Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Selfridges

Matt Writtle/Selfridges

Selfridges

Matt Writtle/Selfridges

A Harrod's 'Green Man' welcomes customers back to Harrods store in Knightsbridge, London

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Customers wait outside Harrods store in Knightsbridge, London

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Primark in Birmingham

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Primark in Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Kathryn Stanczyszyn

Kathryn Stanczyszyn/BBC

People queue ahead of the opening of Primark in Leeds

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Selfridges

Matt Writtle/Selfridges

A customer dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) in line to shop at Primark, Birmingham

PA

A customer carrying bags of shopping leaves Primark in Birmingham

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Primark Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Primark Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Shoppers in line outside John Lewis in Kingston

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Shops and businesses in Chelsea, West London prepare to re-open to customers

Daniel Hambury

REUTERS

REUTERS

REUTERS

Primark in Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

A member of staff prepares to open a branch of H&M in Canterbury, Kent,

PA

Primark in Birmingham

PA

NikeTown Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Primark in Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Shop staff in face masks give a round of applause to the first customers through the doors at the Fenwick store in Newcastle

PA

Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

Oxford Street

Jeremy Selwyn

A doorman in a face mask waits to welcome back customers to the Fenwick store in Northumberland Street, Newcastle

PA

People queue for outside shops in Canterbury, Ken

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People queue for outside shops in Canterbury, Kent

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Primark in Oxford Street

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Lockdown easing analysis: Boris Johnson's libertarian instincts returned... and he went further than anyone really expected - Evening Standard

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How a fringe sect from the 1980s influenced No 10’s attitude to racism – The Guardian

Posted: at 6:41 am

With pressure mounting from the global Black Lives Matter protest movement, Boris Johnson has put forward his adviser Munira Mirza to lead a new commission on racial inequality. However, her appointment undermines the commission before it has even started. Mirza has previously expressed scepticism about the existence of institutional racism in the justice system and has suggested that anti-racist lobbyists and activists have corroded public trust. She has also suggested that Britain does not have a serious problem with racism. This comes as no surprise: Mirza has long been associated with Spiked, an online magazine increasingly well known for its contrarian takes on current events and for its writers popping up in various places across the media landscape with rightwing views.

Infamous for its right-libertarian and iconoclastic style, Spiked has gained notoriety for arguing against numerous progressive positions, but using a rhetorical style indebted to its earlier incarnation as a Trotskyist group in the 1980s-90s, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). With a combative tone, the magazines writers have routinely sought to dismiss many political actions as not dealing with the real issues and put forward their own solutions, which often correlate with a populist right position. Previously dismissed as a fringe group on the outer limits of political discourse, more recently Spiked has become an influential force in shifting the Overton window to the right in the UK.

To understand how it has come to occupy this space and its rhetorical style, particularly concerning issues of race and racism, it is worth looking at the long road from the RCP to Spiked, via the journal Living Marxism (later titled LM). The RCP began in 1977 under the leadership of the sociologist Frank Furedi, and presented itself as the true vanguard of the British working class. The party made a name for itself for taking positions that rankled with others on the left. Among theses were enthusiastic support for the armed struggle in Northern Ireland and calling for a national ballot during the 1984-5 miners strike. Party members also criticised gay activists and were accused of undermining the message of safe sex during the HIV/Aids crisis.

At the end of the cold war, the RCP pronounced that class-based politics was a dead end, with ideas now being the key battleground. The party eventually dissolved in 1997, which left Living Marxism as the primary vehicle for its former cadre. It acted as a halfway house for former leftwing activists now increasingly interested in libertarianism. The journal itself was wound up in 2000 after losing a libel case against ITN over claims made about reporting during the Balkan wars in the 1990s.

Its successor was Spiked, under the helm of the former LM editor Mick Hume and involving many prominent RCP members. At the same time, many of the same members were involved in establishing the thinktank the Institute of Ideas, led by Claire Fox, a former RCP member and most recently an MEP for the Brexit party. This is where Mirza entered the orbit of Spiked and its various offshoots, writing semi-regular pieces for the magazine since 2001.

The crossover of many of these individuals between the journal, the website, the thinktank and other endeavours has been referred to as the LM network. It has gained attention not just because many of its members occupy a significant media and political profile, but also for the trajectory of its cohort from the far left to the hard right. While the story of former leftwingers becoming rightwingers is not new, the fact that the leadership of the RCP seemed to transition en masse makes it a compelling story. Some commentators have suggested that this is a coordinated case of entryism (although the end goal of this is unclear). But it is more likely that the politics and activities of the network have a certain appeal (and notoriety), which has seen a number of former members be willing to shift with the changing agenda, from revolutionary communism to a mixture of contrarianism and right libertarianism. In many ways, this owes something to the Leninism of the former RCP and an ideological coherence, even in the absence of the vanguard of the party.

In recent years, Spiked has been at the forefront of perpetuating the idea of the free-speech crisis on university campuses and elsewhere. Some at the magazine also disagree with laws against racial discrimination (particularly against racist speech) and with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, viewing both as overreach by the state into peoples lives. This approach to racism, free speech and the state are intertwined, and can be traced back to the days of the RCP.

Throughout the 1980s, some at the magazine opposed the no platforming of fascists and racists, stemming from an objection to state bans and censorship. Furthermore, use of racial discrimination legislation was seen as a call for state intervention in working-class and migrant communities. In reality, this meant that while the RCP (and its front, Workers Against Racism, or WAR) were involved in a number of anti-racist campaigns, it denigrated the work being done by other activist groups. One of the constant tropes of the RCP/WAR was to argue that while the rest of the left concentrated their efforts in one area, they really should be concentrating in another (which coincidentally was where the RCP dedicated their attention). This notion that everybody else is wrong and just tilting at windmills persists in the writings of Spiked today.

Actions against non-state racism in the 1990s, such as those by anti-fascists against the British National party, were often dismissed or framed as attacks on the legitimate concerns of the (white) British working class. The end point of this rhetorical stance has seen a writer in Spiked dismiss the threat of the far right, suggesting that the BNP could appear moderate and level-headed when compared with the anti-fascist left; and the magazine publish an article titled The Myth of Bigoted Britain. Simultaneously, while its predecessor had abandoned class politics in favour of ideas in the 1990s, Spiked has also criticised the rise of identity politics as pure ideology and an attempt to divide the working class.

These preoccupations have proven to be well suited to a moment in which the right has reduced racism to a component of a culture war being waged by the woke left. Mirzas previous comments on Spiked about institutional racism, diversity and multiculturalism reveal the mindset in which this new proposed commission on racial inequalities has been cast. They also reveal how the fixations of a contrarian, right-leaning, libertarian website, established by disillusioned leftists, has become part of the mainstream discourse in the UK.

Evan Smith is a research fellow in history at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. He is the author of No Platform: A History of Anti-Fascism, Universities and the Limits of Free Speech

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Radley Balko on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the Libertarian Case for Criminal Justice Reform – Reason

Posted: June 17, 2020 at 1:22 am

George Floyd's death at the hands of the Minneapolis police has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality. Anew consensus is forming around the urgent need for criminal justice reform.

Six years ago, after the police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, just 43 percent of Americans believed that such incidents indicated a systemic problem. Now, though police killings have remained level since 2014, 69 percent of Americans agree that "the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement."

To better understand this shift and to get a sense of what changes would be most effective, Nick Gillespie sat down withWashington Post opinion writer Radley Balko, a former Reason reporter who covers police abuse, the drug war, and criminal justice reform. His Reason coverage of Cory Maye, a black man in Mississippi put on death row for killing a police officer during a no-knock raid, helped bring about Maye's acquittal, and his books Rise of The Warrior Cop and The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist document widespread problems with law enforcement, expert testimony, and media coverage of crime.

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Radley Balko on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the Libertarian Case for Criminal Justice Reform - Reason

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While pro-marijuana parties thrive, other minor parties struggle – Southernminn.com

Posted: at 1:22 am

In a competitive election, critics of third-party candidates often regard them as spoilers, who may tip a close election to the candidate most ideologically divergent from them by drawing away votes from the candidate they are ideologically closer to.

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party Chairman Chris Wright strongly disagrees with the characterization. He says that both major parties have failed to deliver on important issues and that by voting for one of them, voters are enabling the status quo to continue.

We havent spoiled the economy, social policies or the environment, he said. They like to call us spoilers because they feel they have an entitlement to power.

While DFL candidates might seem to be more in danger of losing some of their supporters to a pro-marijuana Party candidate, Gustavus Adolphus College Professor Chris Gilbert said its not that clear cut.

Gilbert said that while legalizing marijuana is traditionally seen as a liberal issue, and enjoys strong backing from young voters, who lean DFL in general, many libertarian-minded voters who hold right-leaning views on other issues support it as well.

According to the Star-Tribune/MPR News Minnesota poll, support for recreational marijuana is strongest among DFLers, with 59% expressing support. But with support from 50% of Independent voters and 42% of Republicans, it doesn't break down as neatly along party lines as many other issues.

Carleton College Professor Melanie Freeze said shes studied the spoiler issue extensively and the evidence is far from clear cut. While she said that third parties can tip an extraordinarily close election, she said their impact is often less direct.

Its hard to find evidence of the spoiler effect, she said. (Third parties) activate people who wouldnt have come out to vote and pull from both candidates.

On the other hand, young voters tend to be the strongest demographic of support for third parties, recreational marijuana and DFL candidates. Thus, many Republicans are expecting that the DFL side is more likely to take a hit if they do well.

Rice County Republican Party Chair Kathy Dodds said that she expects the district's conservative voters to largely eschew pro-marijuana candidates. Dodds said that many Rice County Republicans are comfortable with the party's skepticism towards recreational marijuana.

"I don't think it will hurt the Republicans so much, but I think there are a lot of liberals that want marijuana legislation to pass and they would consider voting for the third party," she said.

Dodds noted that while Republicans have expressed discomfort with recreational marijuana, many have also voiced support for medical marijuana. However, attempts to relax the state's restrictive medical marijuana laws have faced resistance from Republicans.

Since the medical marijuana program launched in 2015, the state has banned sale of the raw cannabis flower, only allowing marijuana extract to be sold in liquid, pill or vaporized form, which medical marijuana advocates say has driven up costs while limiting treatment options. An attempt by the DFL-controlled House to remove this ban was included in the state's healthcare omnibus bill. However, Senate Republicans blocked the provision, siding with advocacy organizations skeptical of marijuana who say the ban is needed to prevent smoking.

By simply being on the ballot, third parties can raise attention to certain issues and pressure candidates. Freeze noted that while a variety of factors are at work, DFLers have become increasingly vocal about the issue since both pro-marijuana parties achieved major party status.

Still, both Gilbert and Freeze agreed that both pro-marijuana parties are extremely unlikely to win seats. Even during the height of its popularity, the Reform/Independence Party of former Gov. Jesse Ventura rarely won more than 10% of the vote, Freeze said.

Last year, DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler launched a listening tour, traveling the state to get feedback from residents across Minnesota on the issue. He subsequently introduced a bill in the legislature that would legalize it.

Similarly, Gov. Tim Walz ordered state agencies to prepare for the legalization of marijuana. However, the State Senate remains under Republican control, and has remained firmly opposed to marijuana legalization.

Scrambling

While both pro-marijuana parties are enjoying unprecedented levels of support, Minnesotas other minor parties have been left scrambling to maintain a presence on Minnesota ballots at all.

Currently, the state has three official minor parties. Any party which achieves more than 1% of the vote in a statewide election is granted minor party status for the next two elections, which brings several benefits.

Under that program, Minnesotans can make a contribution of up to $50 to a recognized major or minor party and receive a full refund. Currently, the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Independence-Alliance Party qualify as minor parties.

The Independence-Alliance Party, once known as the Minnesota Reform Party, was the party of Ventura and enjoyed major party status for 20 years. It lost that after failing to reach 5% in any statewide race in the 2014 elections.

With COVID-19 making it impossible to gather signatures for ballot access through face to face voter contact, the Libertarians, Greens, Independence Alliance Party and Veterans Party of Minnesota successfully lobbied for changes allowing signatures to be gathered electronically.

When it comes to getting on the ballot in local races, Libertarian Party Chairman Chris Holbrook said that electronic signature gathering has proved next to useless, because under state law signatures to get on the ballot in a local race must be gathered from residents of the district.

While signatures of residents living in a certain area could easily be gathered by going door to door, Holbrook said its nearly impossible to do that electronically. With most email addresses private, its exceptionally hard to electronically send a petition to a large number of people in a certain neighborhood. As a result, very few minor party candidates successfully managed to make it on to the ballot for Congress or state Legislature. In an attempt to gain more time, the four parties filed a lawsuit seeking additional time for signature gathering.

The Secretary of States Office fought them and court, arguing that as the minor parties had received other accommodations, including permission to gather signatures electronically, additional time should not be needed.

The minor parties lost their initial case, though appeals are ongoing. Holbrook noted that in a number of other states, courts have provided additional relief to make it easier for minor parties to get on the ballot.

Nominating petitions to get presidential candidates on the ballot are ongoing, and are not due until August. Last week, Minnesota Libertarians started circulating a ballot petition to get its candidates, Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy "Spike" Lee, onto the November ballot.

Holbrook said that while the Libertarian Party may not have ballot access, a number of Libertarians and libertarian-leaning candidates have taken advantage of the official party status held by the two pro-marijuana parties to run under their banner.

In general, he said that Minnesotas third parties have had warm relations and offered each other support. In addition, he noted that the Libertarian Party has strongly advocated for legalization of marijuana and an end to the War on Drugs since its inception.

Aided by the historic unpopularity of major party candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, third parties enjoyed a historic rise in support. The Libertarian ticket performed the best, winning about 3.8% in Minnesota and 3.3% nationwide.

Third parties tend to do better when they name someone who has some political resume, and that usually means someone who served for one of the major parties, he said.

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While pro-marijuana parties thrive, other minor parties struggle - Southernminn.com

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Letters: ‘It is suggested that Boris’s Libertarian beliefs were the reasons for delayed Lockdown’ – The Northern Echo

Posted: at 1:22 am

S ROSS suggests that I should have spoken earlier with regard to Matt Hancocks handling of Covid-19, (HAS June 13).

I am not an expert in any of these matters, but I do read the newspapers and listen to the TV.

There has been much criticism of the slowness of the Governments decisions and particularly of the timing of their moves.

The WHO were warning in January that extreme measures were necessary and countries which responded quickly were rewarded with much lower rates of infection and death.

We do not know the details of the advice from SAGE and particularly when it was given, but many experts, independent of SAGE, who have been willing to speak out have acknowledged that the Government should have acted much sooner and that thousands of lives could have been saved.

It has been suggested that the libertarian beliefs of Boris Johnson, not to impose restrictions on people until they were absolutely necessary, was the reason for the delays, with their disastrous consequences and the staggering death rate.

Eric Gendle, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

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Letters: 'It is suggested that Boris's Libertarian beliefs were the reasons for delayed Lockdown' - The Northern Echo

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