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Category Archives: Libertarianism
Posted: October 24, 2019 at 11:09 am
What Progressives and Libertarians have cost America
In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Progressive Left and the Libertarians cost America its first loss in war, when our nation withdrew from Vietnam. The US had not lost a single battle in Vietnam, while it worked to defeat communism in only southern Vietnam. We didnt do the one thing that could have won the war, invaded North Vietnam. And we battled not only the Vietnamese communists, but the Chinese and the Russians.
So we lost a war, Soviet aggression spread through southeast Asia, Central America, the Middle East, and in Africa. The Domino Theory which American Progressives and Libertarians denied was on display for the entire world to see. This was the beginning of the cost of the Libertarian Left. and the cost in American lives was 58,220 military fatalities.
Terrible. But nothing compared to the War on Drugs in America.
Today, more than 70,000 Americansdie each yearof over dose. The Progressives, and the Libertarians endorse human behavior that leads to disaster.
Then there is the cost in life through abortion. More thanfifty million Americans dead
The moral decay in America can be laid at the feet of the Progressives and Libertarians who have placed a new religion on America, secular humanism. In this religionchoice without responsibilityis the hallmark.
Childbirth out of wedlock has risen from 8 percent in 1965 to 40 percent today.
Mental illness and suicide are soaring. Perversion has been normalized by Courts, despite overwhelming evidence (referendum after referendum) that the majority of Americans did not accept it.
And the downright meanness of the Left knows no bounds.
Diversity has not brought harmony and peace, but rather discord, chaos, and stalemate.
There are clearly two standards in America, and it is on parade every day. President Trump is under endless investigation for trumped up charges that have proven to be totally groundless, while the Democrats are obstructing the governing of the United Statesand sons of elected officials are earning big money because of who they are related too.
What have the Progressives and Libertarians cost America? Look around.
We are seeing the very fabric of this nation tested as it has never been tested before. It is time for citizens, mothers and fathers, to become teachers of their children. It is time to go back to basics. It is time to return to the Bible, and to Church. It is time to return to the Constitution, and the history of this nations founding.
America can be an even greater nation in the twenty first century. All of the advances in technology, in distribution of wealth, in lifting so many people into a life where real choices can be made. America can be the City on the Hill if we return to original national character and virtues. The Founders did not create an empire, or a Super Power. There was no aspiration to run the world. Our nation was constructed on the worth and potential of the individual, and the strength of the family and local communities. It is time to reclaim that legacy.
The answers are in the Bible, and we should call on God and ask Him for the Holy Spirit to walk among us.
See the original post:
What Progressives and Libertarians have cost America - Gilmer Mirror
Posted: at 11:09 am
Over the past four decades, British musician Billy Bragg has carved out a singular position as a modern-day troubadour who takes popular music and politics equally seriously.
Early albums such as Talking with the Taxman about Poetry (1986) and The Internationale (1990) merged concerns with the poor and the powerless while updating and reinvigorating older folk forms with punk sensibilities. At the turn of the century, Bragg partnered with the members of Wilco to release new songs using previously unheard lyrics by Woody Guthrie. The Mermaid Avenue recordings occasioned rave reviews and, in Bragg's own telling, were designed to humanize Guthrie, to transform a left-wing legend back into a real person with physical wants, desires, and needs.
For Bragg, like Guthrie, the personal and the political are never exactly separate. In August, Bragg released a full-throated polemic against rising populism and free market globalism, which he denounces as neo-liberalism. In The Three Dimensions of Freedom, Bragg writes, "Freedom has been repackaged as the right to choose, but genuine choicein housing, in the workplace, at the ballot boxis hard to come by."
Nick Gillespie sat down to talk with Bragg about British and American politics, Donald Trump, Brexit, and his idea that we need to embrace "freedom" in what he says are its three dimensions: liberty, equality, and accountability. Apart from strongly supporting free speech, Gillespie and Bragg didn't agree on much, especially about whether living standards and individual freedom have increased in the 21st century and whether economic liberalization and globalization have helped the average man and woman.
Audio production by Ian Keyser.
Posted: at 11:09 am
Its tough to be a student. But as Billy Ocean once sang When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Completing all assignments and getting high grades for exams is a formidable test of nerves. A student might even have to work to pay his student loan. How to manage?
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Two ways to get to Rome
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You will need a thorough understanding of the topic, excellent research skills, comprehend what you are reading. And then the ability to organize your notes and ideas, and grammar/vocabulary/spelling mastery.
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A good soldier arrives at the battlefield fully armed
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Writing good content isnt easy at all. Save yourself precious time.
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Find a trustworthy writing service. Things to look out for are:
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Your education is vital for the rest of your life. Services that help you to succeed cant get too much praise. As Nietzsche said: There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.
Posted: at 11:09 am
When Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign in late April at a Teamsters hall in Pittsburgh, his speech was characteristically long on talk of restoring Americas heart and soul and short on specifics. But after noting that workers feel powerless, too often humiliated and bellowing, I make no apologies; I am a union man! he mentioned another way in which workers were being screwed by runaway corporate profiteers: Why should someone who braids hair have to get 600 hours of training? he demanded to know. It makes no sense. Theyre making it harder and harder in a whole range of professions, all to keep competition down.
The crowd sort of cheered, in a half-hearted and rather puzzled way, because thats what theyd come to do. But Bidens speech or rather, those three sentences in the middle of it prompted loud and sustained applause from small-government conservatives and libertarians. At Real Clear Politics, former Federalist and Washington Examiner reporter Philip Wegmann gloried in the vision of reliably Democratic voters all cheering the kind of government deregulation that has been the pet project of libertarian billionaires like Charles and David Koch for half a decade, expressing the hope that Bidens shout-out could begin a larger national discussion about state and local licensing rules that govern everything from hair braiding to pet walking. Shoshana Weissmann, a fellow at the Koch-allied R Street Institute, called it a BIG DEAL, especially for a Democrat, not to mention a big win. Clark Neily, a vice president at the libertarian Cato Institute, was so carried away that he cracked, heck, I might even vote for him.
It was, indeed, a landmark moment of sorts for one of the oddest and most successful propaganda and policy campaigns in recent years: the Koch networks legal, legislative, academic, and public-relations crusade against occupational licensure the state and local rules under which professional boards, from doctors and nurses to truckers and electricians, certify that workers in hundreds of occupations are properly trained to do their jobs safely and well. Over the past half-century, as membership in labor unions has plummeted and manufacturing work has given way to service jobs, the number of professions requiring licenses has risen on an inverse curve; somewhere between one-quarter and one-third of American workers now go through mandated hours of training, take tests, and pay fees that allow them to legally practice their chosen trades. It can be a hassle, in terms of time and money. But licensed workers earn, on average, 15 percent higher wages about the same benefit that union membership yields.
Free-market purists hate licensing with a red-hot passion always have, ever since Milton Friedman railed about the incipient rise of silly licensure laws in his 1962 classic, Capitalism and Freedom. Licensing is just as offensive as organized labor, writes Wegmann of Real Clear Politics, because both create barriers to entry into the workforce and shield workers from increased competition from newcomers. For decades, conservative and libertarian economists have cooked up studies showing that licensed services cost consumers more, that the work of licensed professionals might not be substantially higher in quality, and that licensings only real benefit is to the trade groups that get to oversee it along with state and municipal governments that take a cut, and training schools and community colleges that receive tuition for required courses. Its downright un-American and economically unwise, as the Koch-funded Institute for Justice puts it, for people to need permission slips from the government to do a job. Its socialism on wheels.
As the number of jobs requiring licensure multiplied over the years from dozens to hundreds, the howling from the free-marketeers grew louder. Except nobody else was listening. In the mainstream, most people viewed job licenses if they thought about them at all as ways to ensure safety and quality: the government was guaranteeing that you could hire an electrician to rewire your house, say, and be pretty sure shed know how not to set the place on fire. Licensure also gives consumers a meaningful way to complain when the house is set ablaze, or when an elderly parent or a child is mistreated by a caregiver; the boards can take away licenses just as they can grant them. What could be controversial about that?
But just as Friedman predicted those many decades ago, licensing got a little out of hand. While licensing requirements arent typically onerous for those who want them the average is $209 in fees, one exam, and nine months of training in some states, for some jobs, they can be: Aspiring cosmetologists in a few places need 2,100 hours of beauty school training at a cost upwards of $20,000, to cite an example that critics cant seem to repeat often enough. Some states license jobs that involve no clear public health or safety concerns. Those requirements provide grist for the anti-licensing mills: Do florists in Louisiana, for example, really need to be licensed?
Soon after the Kochs funded its inception in the early 1990s, the Institute for Justice a legal nonprofit that likes to call itself the national law firm for liberty began challenging licensing in court. The lawyers at IJ cannily chose cases that were low-hanging fruit, suing on behalf of aspiring and aggrieved casket-makers, tour guides, limousine businesses, computer technicians, eyebrow-threaders and, yes, florists.As a bonus, these peoples stories why do I need an expensive license for that? made lively human-interest fodder for local news. The results of the litigation were mixed, but in some instances, states and cities deregulated these occupations to get clear of the lawsuits. And some non-libertarian economists, most notably President Obamas chief economic adviser, the late Alan Krueger, began to agree that licensing was locking some low-income Americans out of good jobs.
That was pretty much the extent of anti-licensing activism, until the Koch brothers decided they needed to rebrand their image. By 2014, Charles and David (who died in August) desperately needed a public relations facelift. Their massive corporate empire, Koch Industries, had become known for dangerous workplaces and for being one of the countrys top air, water and climate polluters. Their high-dollar activism on behalf of libertarian policies and far-right Republican candidates was making them equally toxic to manyespecially after the rise of the Tea Party, which had been organized and underwritten by their main political arm, Americans for Prosperity, and the resulting radicalism that roiled state capitals and gridlocked Congress. On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid began regularly ripping into the Kochs for trying to buy America, once famously declaring, Its time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.
So the Kochs did what mega-billionaires do. They hired a pricey team of public-relations specialists, led by a PR whiz for the tobacco industry, and embarked upon what The New Yorkers Jane Mayer called the best image overhaul that money can buy. After spending zilch on corporate advertising in 2013, Koch Industries flooded the airwaves in 2014 and 2015 with soft-focus ads about their life-giving products and their happy, diverse employees. More important, they sought out new policy initiatives to make them, in the words of public-relations specialist Mike Paul, look more compassionateand so their theme is that they care about the poor.
The Kochs started doing all kinds of unexpected things. They poured money into a nonprofit group, the Libre Initiative, with a mission to equip the Hispanic community with the tools they need to be prosperous; the initiative began handing out free school supplies, Turkeys at Thanksgiving, and offering Spanish-language drivers education, English-proficiency classes, and free tax-preparation assistance. They gave $25 million to the United Negro College Fund. They started initiatives that offered healthy life style advice in low-income neighborhoods. They bankrolled criminal justice reform efforts, partnering with liberal organizations like the ACLU and NAACP. And in 2016, under the guise of defending low-income Americans right to earn an honest living, they declared war on occupational licensing.
* * *
A few days before Christmas in 2015, the Anchorage Dispatch News published an op-ed by Mark Holden, Koch Industries senior vice president. What should Alaska lawmakers New Years resolutions be? Holden asked. I have a suggestion: Break down barriers to opportunity for the least fortunate. He knew just how they could do it: Elected officials in Anchorage City Hall and the state government in Juneau should start by rolling back burdensome occupational licensing regulations, which stand in the way of low-income job-seekers and budding entrepreneurs.
After reading Holdens piece, which cited evidence from a Koch-funded think tank to bolster his argument, Dispatch News columnist Dermot Cole finding it a little odd that a powerful Kochster would be taking the time to write about job licenses in Alaska did a little digging around. He discovered that at least 35 papers across the country had published nearly identical op-eds by Holden, with just the cities and states and a few fill-in-the-blank statistics about their licensing laws altered. There were New Years resolutions for legislators in Reno, Nevada; Portland, Maine; Casper, Wyoming; Oklahoma City; Fort Myers, Florida; Wilmington, Delaware the list went on. Its just like a Mad Lib, if Lib were short for Libertarian, commented Andy Cush at Gawker. The job licensing argument, he noted, is an unsurprising point for a Koch executive, considering his companys stringent opposition to government regulation of all kinds.
Holdens New Years resolutions signaled the blast-off for a public-relations blitz behind licencing reform that hasnt slowed down since. Publications like USA Today were writing uncritical features about the newly discovered plague of occupational licensing, and the Kochs fledgling campaign against, as Holden told the paper, government overreach that is restricting the ability for people to help improve their lives and remove barriers to opportunity. When the reporter asked how much the Koch network would spend on the effort, Holden responded: We dont constrain ourselves by a budget.
Indeed, pretty much every big tentacle of the Kochtopus the best of many nicknames for the sprawling policy, political, academic, industrial, and media empire would be activated in the drive to gut occupational regulations. The Institute for Justice would step up the pace of its lawsuits. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would write model bills for state legislators to copy-and-paste, and promote them at the lavish conferences it throws to wine-and-dine conservative lawmakers. Americans for Prosperity would organize its state chapters the largest, in Wisconsin, has 130,000 volunteer activists, eight field offices, and a handful of paid organizers behind those proposals. Koch-funded think tanks, including a newly opened one at Saint Francis University called the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation, would churn out research demonstrating the damage wrought by licensing cartels.
Meanwhile, Koch-funded websites like the libertarian Reason and the right-wing Daily Caller, along with the always-friendly Wall Street Journal, would publish op-eds by Koch allies, treat each new Koch-funded study and ALEC-inspired piece of legislation as news, profile the lawmakers sponsoring the bills, and gin up outrage with feature stories about the human casualties of runaway licensing the Institute for Justice was representing in court. When the Kochs were rethinking their image, Arthur C. Brooks, president of the (yes, Koch-funded) American Enterprise Institute, had advised them to lead with vulnerable people in making the case for their free-market agenda. Telling stories matters, he said. By telling stories, we can soften people.
So the Koch network told stories. There was the one about the boy shoveling his grandmothers snow in Normandy, Missouri, who received a warning from police because he didnt have a permit for snow-shoveling services. There was the kid who set up a lemonade stand outside the Saratoga County Fair in New York, only to be shut down by a state health inspector when licensed lemonade vendors at the fair complained. (Sadly, wrote Reasons Scott Shackford, not enough people make the connection between these lemonade crackdowns and the broader ways licensing and permitting laws restrict peoples ability to earn a living.) There was the poor department store florist in Louisiana a widow, mind you who lost her job because she kept failing the state boards floral arrangement exam, and ultimately died in poverty in 2004 because the state had prevented her from working to support herself. There were the inmate firefighters in California, risking their necks to save lives and homes, who would be barred upon release from making a living doing the same because state law didnt allow anyone with a criminal record to become a professional firefighter. And who could soon forget the sad tale of the Kentucky minister who tried to dispense eyeglasses to the poor, and was blocked by the state boards of Optometric Examiners and Ophthalmic Dispensers?
The pace of legislative action has accelerated in the last two years. Already in 2019, more than 1,000 occupational licensing bills have been introduced in state capitals, up from around 750 last year.
But most of all, in story after story, there were the military spouses and the hair-braiders. The first lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice, in 1991, was on behalf of an African-American hair-braiding shop in Washington, D.C., that had run afoul of the local cosmetology licensing board. When the case became a local news cause celebre, and the district wound up nixing the requirement for hair braiders to make the lawsuit go away, the Koch network knew it was onto something. The hair-braiding cases were easy to make, both legally and in the court of public opinion: Since the process doesnt involve the use of chemicals, dyes, or scissors, why should its practitioners be required to go to pricey beauty schools, where hair-braiding usually isnt even taught?
The fact that licensing requirements disadvantaged black stylists in particular because of the braidings racial and cultural roots, as The Atlantic put it in reporting on an Iowa lawsuit in 2016, made these stories pitch-perfect for the Kochs big adventure in rebranding: Now the evil white corporatists were doing their part to help African-American women keep their ancient tradition alive and make a business out of it. Recognizing the propaganda value inherent in this, the Institute for Justice set up a slick, full-blown website, Braiding Freedom. Hair braiders started calling the Institute to help them sue their states. Local media along with, apparently, former Vice President Biden were enamored of the womens stories, all of which dutifully repeated the Koch rhetoric about the perils of job-killing occupational licenses holding ambitious Americans down.
The military spouse sagas illustrated, in stories overlaid with stars and stripes, the problem of licensing portability the ability to use an occupational license from one state when you move to another, rather than having to go through your new states licensing regime. In The Wall Street Journal, Shoshana Weissmann and C. Jarrett Dieterle of the Koch-allied R Street Institute decried the plight of Heather Kokesch Del Castillo, whod set up shop as a health coach in California; when the Air Force transferred her husband to a base in Florida, she restarted her business there until a Department of Health investigator showed up at the door of their new home with a cease-and-desist letter and a $750 fine. She retained the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm, to fight the law that stripped her of her livelihood.
This was a genuine problem for military spouses, who move a lot. But when it came to the moral of such stories, the Koch network tended to stretch things a bit as it did with the other tales of licensing woes. First, Weissmann and Dieterle suggested, the obstacles to getting licenses in new states perhaps account for the high unemployment rate of military spouses (16 percent). In a far broader context, the difficulties with licensing portability were used to explain a troubling development that economists had fretted about for years: As Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota has noted, The overall interstate migration rate is about half what it was in 1980, and it can reduce the efficiency of the labor market in the economy.
Licensing, of course, is only one factor in that historical trendline and some economists have found that it has no impact on interstate mobility at all but the idea that licensing was forcing people to stay in place became the rationale for some of the most ambitious reforms to emerge from the anti-licensing campaign. The first piece of federal legislation clamping down on licensing, co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Ben Sasse was pitched as a solution to the plight of military spouses. But the law went far beyond that narrow concern: the Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work Act (ALLOW) would have permitted the District of Columbia, military bases, and national military parks as federal enclaves to apply licensing laws only to those circumstances in which it is the least restrictive means of protecting the public health, safety or welfare.
Lee said he intended the bill as a model for state legislators to adopt and several of them would. The upshot of this model was that the impetus would be put on licensing boards to prove that nothing short of their licensing regimes could protect the public from the potential health or safety perils of their services a far higher legal bar than the one that previously existed.
* * *
After nearly four years of sustained assault from the Koch network, the vast majority of occupational licenses remain in place. But the issue, which almost nobody had heard of or given a passing thought when Mark Holden began issuing his New Years resolutions in 2015, now actually is an issue that many Americans are aware of and almost all their awareness involves horror stories of little guys and gals with their ambitions cruelly flattened by the iron fist of big government colluding with all-powerful trade associations. Its a testament to the power of the propaganda that the Koch network can muster. And theres every sign that theyre in this for the long haul. Regulatory regimes dont tend to crumble quickly, as Kochworld knows. And labor unions werent gutted in a day.
The most tangible impact of the anti-licensing crusade, not surprisingly, has been a raft of states upwards of 20 so far exempting hair braiders from licensing requirements. Almost as many have eased restrictions on licensing ex-convicts. More than a dozen states have deregulated a host of other professions. Some look like no-brainers: Arizona rolled back requirements for citrus fruit packers, cremationists, assayers, and yoga instructors; Charleston, S.C., set tour guides free; Rhode Island de-licensed fur buyers, kickboxers, and beer line cleaners. But regulations have been eliminated or eased for several jobs for which safety and public health concerns are real; in Nebraska, for instance, audiologists, nurses, and school bus drivers now only need easy-to-obtain certificates to ply their trades.
The pace of legislative action has accelerated in the last two years. Already in 2019, more than 1,000 occupational licensing bills have been introduced in state capitals, up from around 750 last year. And in the past few years, at least seven states have passed laws that sound innocuous, but may ultimately be the most consequential: sunset reviews like the one that Ohio Governor John Kasich signed this past January. Once every six years, Ohio legislators will now decide which licensing laws stay intact based on the question of whether theyre the least restrictive form of regulation for each profession. Those subjective decisions, in turn, can be challenged: If the Institute for Justice thinks that nurses could be regulated less restrictively, for instance, theyll now have a basis for taking Ohio to court.
Most of the new laws, whatever form they take, incorporate a sentence taken straight from ALECs models: The right of an individual to pursue a lawful occupation is a fundamental right. You dont have to rack your brain to see how that new right could lead to a raft of litigation that weakens licensing regulations going forward.
One of the reasons that its taken just a few years to turn licensing into a conservative cri de coeur is that Kochs propagandists have been arguing in a void. While trade associations will unleash lobbyists and supporters when theyre directly challenged in a state legislature, you dont see a lot of op-eds and feature stories singing the praises of licensing regimes. Who wants to read that? But in the last couple of years, as the propaganda has taken hold, economists have issued findings that shoot down many of the now-popular assumptions about the effects of licensing.
Rather than hurting low income Americans, for instance, a recent (non-Koch-funded) study found that licensing provides the greatest benefits, in terms of higher wages, to workers who dont have a high school or college degree. Another shot down the idea that allowing people to move and still use their previous state licenses would increase mobility in the workforce. And the idea that licensing laws hold back African Americans economically? The opposite is true, according to multiple studies: Nobody gains more from holding a job license than black women and men. (Conversely, nobody benefits less from licensing than white men, who earn about the same with them or without them.) But where it used to be libertarians who hollered about licensing without being heard, now its the mainstream economists who find that licensing is good for less educated workers, for women, and for people of color who cant get anybody to lend them an ear.
The Koch people have some serious message discipline. You have to grant them that. Theyve stuck religiously to their scripts when they talk about occupational licensing: They simply want to help lift people up, to get the government off the backs of the aspiring classes. Braiding freedom, everybody! But once in a while, somebody slips and gives the game away. Exulting after Ohios mandatory-review law passed, for instance, Lee McGrath of the Institute for Justice told a reporter: Occupational licensing should only be a policy of last resort. The least-restrictive last resort: Now, that sounds like classic Koch.
Bob Moser, the author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the Souths Democratic Majority, is a contributing editor at The American Prospect and The New Republic.
Image at top: TPM Illustration / Getty Images
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Is The Koch Network Winning Its War On Occupational Licensing? - TPM
Posted: at 11:09 am
My favorite moment in more than six years working alongside David Harsanyi as co-senior editors of The Federalist occurred in June 2018.
David and I were the third-string hosts of the Federalist Radio Hour, and almost always did it as a pair. Because we designed The Federalist intentionally against an inside-the-beltway mentality, we have staff and writers all over the country. Even those of us who live in the D.C. area work from home.
Recording the podcasts is one of the few times we get to be together. I absolutely treasured doing the podcasts with David. As our producer Madeline Osburn can attest, David and I would spend a half hour discussing which songs to play during the podcast. He has excellent taste in music, and a deep and abiding love of songs with guitar-heavy intros. Hed roll his eyes at my love of alternative R&B. But wed figure it out eventually.
The shows were full of us discussing issues of the day, sometimes squabbling a bit over them. David is far more concerned about populism than I am and recent years have amplified that difference between us. He never took our differences personally, something that is less common than it should be in political sparring. Last year, we were taping an episode of the podcast, discussing immigration policy and the recently released inspector general report detailing some of James Comeys failures as head of the FBI.
At the end of our podcasts, we discussed pop culture, namely what movies and TV shows we were watching, and any updates about our problematically large vinyl record collections. David is an incisive cultural critic. But he has the worst taste in television shows of anyone I have ever met. For years I would start watching his recommendations only to fall asleep or otherwise be bored. I teased him about it mercilessly.
After telling him that Id recently re-watched and enjoyed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, he began telling me about a new television show hed taken up. He described it as something like, People from England take their retirement nest and go to Croatia or Brittany and spend an hour looking for a place to retire, checking out neighborhoods.
From the moment he began describing it (somewhere around the 44:00 mark), I fell out laughing. He made me laugh all the time during our podcasts our rapport couldnt be better but this time I completely lost it. I couldnt stop guffawing, explaining between gasps for air that I wasnt sure if he was making up a show to sound really boring or if it really exists.
Its called Moving to the Continent,' he dryly said, over my uncontrollable laughter. It is real, although its actually called Escape to the Continent. We went on to discuss how much we prefer the stoicism of British reality television to the melodrama of U.S. reality shows. And even though I swore I would stop taking his television recommendations, I shared the advice with my husband and we watched a few episodes. They were better than some of his other recommendations, but still not worth it.
I used to occasionally re-listen to the part of the podcast where he made me laugh. After he told me that he was moving on after more than six years of daily, side-by-side work putting out The Federalist, I listened again and cried. I have never enjoyed working with a colleague as much as I enjoy working with David Harsanyi.
We started together as the first senior editors of The Federalist in September 2013. I had long admired David, but had never met him. He had previously held my dream job the classical liberal columnist at the Denver Post. I read him religiously and loved his writing. In a sea of boring and predictable columnists, David has always somehow been both consistent and invigorating.
Its safe to say that neither of us truly knew what we were getting into when we launched our daily web magazine. David and I worked as closely together as anyone. Our staff was so small then, and we were writing, editing, commissioning pieces, and generally working around the clock. We slept so little those first couple of years that I have no idea how we made it.
We had ideas about what our roles would be, but nothing quite like what they ended up being. If I recall, I was going to handle cultural issues and he was going to handle politics. We ended up sharing both issues. And Im not sure if he or anyone else realized how much of the writing load he would carry.
David has written more than 800 articles for The Federalist, and whats amazing is how good they all are. Another colleague says David has the best on-base percentage of any writer he knows. His writing is always a model of clarity and logic, but at the same time he always finds a way to say something that is not obvious and not said by anyone else.
As Ive been cycling through the stages of grief over Davids departure hes headed over to work with our friends at National Review and we wish them all the best I reviewed those 800 articles. His body of work is pound for pound better than anyone elses in the last six years.
He was an early skeptic of claims that Democrats had an issue advantage or that it was the destiny of the United States to adopt progressive policies.
A consistent classical liberal, he was able to be critical of the excesses of libertarianism and the failure of some conservatives to embrace liberty. His pieces in praise of libertarian judgmentalism, encouraging social conservatives to embrace libertarianism, skeptical of the libertarian moment, discouraging libertarians desire to be liked by liberals, discouraging libertarians dislike of conservatives, critiquing media failures to understand libertarianism, and so many others on the general topic hold up well.
David is a non-believer who cares deeply about religious liberty. His pieces about Jack Phillips, the Christian baker in Colorado who eventually won a Supreme Court case against the Colorado commission that has been harassing him to violate his beliefs, are among the best weve run. He went back to Colorado, my native state and where he lived for eight years while working at the Denver Post, to report on the situation and write, How A Cakemaker Became An Enemy of the State.
He also criticized President Donald Trump for his disappointing executive order on religious liberty, watered down by internal advisors. When Phillips won his case, he noted that religious liberty was not as protected in the decision as First Amendment proponents would hope for. As is always necessary, David criticized the media for their abysmal failure to report on religious liberty accurately.
Its popular now to criticize the progressive and emotional Jennifer Rubin, but David was onto her failures early. He rejected the foreign policy establishments shutting down of criticism by claiming opposition to unnecessary or poorly strategized invasions meant one was an isolationist. And he encouraged Congress to reassert its Article 1 authorities over warfighting. In general, David appealed to constitutional governance and criticized Democrats and Republicans for straying from it.
His resistance to both political rage mobs and sycophancy produced fun pieces, such as arguing that Hillary Clintons best trait is that she got super rich. He argued, contra President Obamas claim that the future cannot belong to those who criticize Islam, that the future must belong to those who can criticize it. David cheered on the attacks on Woodrow Wilson.
David remains the Federalists expert on princess movies, a designation he earned with his article strenuously arguing that Tangled is better than Frozen. A trip to Disney World produced Disney World Is The Worst Thing Ever And You Should Definitely Go. He watched and wrote about The Walking Dead, his secret shame of being addicted to 19 Kids And Counting, and how Chip and Joanna Gaines were threatening to destroy his marriage. He loathed Survivor, listed five movies critics love that are actually garbage, and correctly ranked every single Tom Cruise film ever made. His look back at Fight Club is definitely worth a re-read.
David argued that Steven Avery from Making A Murderer was guilty as hell, revisiting it three years later to write he was still guilty as hell. His true crime interest extended to the Jon Benet Ramsey cold case, and casting a suspicious eye toward the parents of the murdered girl.
The Federalist was one of the only publications to consistently express skepticism toward the Resistances conspiracy theory that Donald Trump was a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. It is remarkable how much David contributed to our reporting. He noted in 2016 how the Russia story was being used by Democrats to invalidate the 2016 election. On January 4, 2017, he worried that the Russia obsession was getting out of hand and a few weeks later that the Russia fake news scare was actually about chilling speech. He noted, again early on, how media spin on since-fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was wrong.
Notoriously precise, David kept reminding the media and others to stop regurgitating Hillary Clintons false claims that Russians had hacked the election. He was skeptical about the Russia hoaxers attempt to sideline Rep. Devin Nunes for exposing the hoax. When people criticized the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligences memo about FISA abuse, it was ridiculed by the groupthinking hordes in the media. It has since been thoroughly vindicated even as Rep. Adam Schiffs response to it has been shown to be riddled with errors.
David wrote a piece in support of the FISA abuse memo, and how it showed an independent investigation was needed. At a time Russia hysteria was at its peak, David noted that Democrats were rewriting history to make Trump look bad. When it was revealed that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee had secretly funded the Russia-sourced dossier, David said it was a test of whether Democrats really care about Russian interference, noting that if they did, theyd be critical of Clinton and the DNC. He noted the media ignored Susan Rices lies about her role in the Obama administration unmasking scandal.
When many in the media demanded reflexive support of the FBI, David noted they should not be considered above the law. The medias defense of Obama administration spying defies logic, he wrote. He read the inspector general report that undermined FBI credibility. He noted that Attorney General William Barr was proven correct by the Mueller report.
When the media wanted to avoid taking responsibility for their role in the damaging and dangerous Russia hoax, he called them out. He repeatedly noted that journalists should demand evidence before calling Trump a Russian asset rather than saying it without evidence. And he was skeptical of some of the specific Russia collusion theories involving Cambridge Analytica and the National Rifle Association.
Davids most recent book is excellent. First Freedom: A Ride Through Americas Enduring History with the Gun is an engaging and thorough read. His articles correcting threats to the right to keep and bear arms are excellent. He criticized The New York Times for failing to understand the history of gun rights, warned about doctor threats to gun rights, clarified that the Second Amendment has always been an individual right, warned about gun proposals attacking due process, debunked misleading panics about 3-D guns, and corrected misinformation about the AR-15.
Because of the media industrys failures, honest critics must speak about the problem. David did not shy away calling out the media for destroying their own credibility, for CNNs shameful anti-gun town hall, for CNNs lengthy recent history of getting stories wrong, the many problems with fact-checkers, how one specific CNN story showed why conservatives dont trust the media,
And so much more. On Israel, GOP failures to pass late-term abortion bans, questions the media should ask pro-choice politicians, the problems with abortion eugenics, liberals calling political opponents traitors, how the resistance helps Donald Trump, on the stages of grief of losing an election to Trump, why the whataboutism charge is stupid,
His worst piece remains his call to bring the designated hitter to the National League.
More than 800 columns and feature stories. A remarkable track record of getting the story right day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
I love all of my colleagues here at The Federalist, but everyone knows that David Harsanyi is my favorite. I will be forever grateful for the guidance and support he gave me when we started this enterprise. He is a rock. His work is consistent, productive, done to a high standard. He is supportive of his colleagues.
What started as a professional admiration quickly turned into a personal affection. David is a thoroughly decent human. He adores his wife and children. He is kind and supportive. He doesnt complain and he never has any drama. Again, unlike so many other people in Washington, he is not only civil in disagreement, he seems to enjoy friendly debate.
I would be remiss if I didnt mention that David Harsanyi never paid up on our bet. I bet him in 2016 that Donald Trump would win the presidency and he bet me that he wouldnt. I won, but he never paid up. Its difficult to be upset, though, as he honored every other commitment he ever made to me and this publication. And he more than made good on all the risks we took together.
Having seen how much of an impact David had on The Federalist, we are excited to see what hell do at National Review. The Federalists loss is the conservative movements gain.
Thank you for everything, David.
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David Harsanyi, American Hero, Heads To National Review - The Federalist
Posted: at 11:09 am
Three contenders for Broome County District Attorney squared off Wednesday in a packed theater at SUNY Broome Community College in Dickinson, tackling public safety issues ranging from how to work with crime victims, fostering community relationships with law enforcement and incarceration concerns at the jail.
Paul Battisti, a Republican; Debra Gelson, a Democrat; and Michael Korchak, a Libertarian, are running to secure a four-year term as District Attorney.
Election day is Nov. 5.
The debate was organized by SUNY Broome, the colleges History, Philosophy and Social Sciences Department, the League of Women Voters of Broome and Tioga Counties, the Binghamton University Center for Civic Engagement, Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere at Binghamton University and WSKG Public Media.
[Click here for a recording of the full debate by WSKG]
Broome County District Attorney candidates (from left) Paul Battisti, Debra Gelson and Michael Korchak, debate Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, at SUNY Broome Community College.(Photo: Anthony Borrelli / Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin)
Here are some key takeaways from the debate, based on the order in which candidates responded:
Korchak: This is a very important topic because it involves the issue of plea bargaining. Plea bargaining is a necessary element of the criminal justice system whether you like it or not. We have 1,500 felony cases coming through the criminal justice system every year and two county court judges so it's not possible to try every case.
You have to take into consideration the wishes of the victim; you don't want to re-traumatize the victim. A victim of a rape case should not be forced to testify to make the DA look good. From Day One, I was taught as a prosecutor that victims come first. You treat the victim as if the victim is a member of your own family.
I've worked with sexual abuse victims, I've worked with the families of homicide victims. You can't force someone to testify against their will and that's why sometimes there are plea bargains that the public sees and they're not 100% in agreement with them. You have to take into consideration the wishes of the victim and if they're unable or unwilling to testify, that has to be factored in to the way the case is resolved.
Battisti:When there's been a victim of a crime, they must be advised of all their rights. It doesn't always happen. We've got to ensure face-to-face time with that victim. We have to make sure we're using all our community partners, whether it's the Crime Victims Assistance Center, whether it's RISE, whether it's CPS.
We need to make sure this victim knows we're there for them. We need to ensure that victim has a voice. We need to ensure that victim has an order of protection so they feel safe.
In recent meetings with community agencies, I was made aware of the "buddy system," and it's a new piece of technology ... where a defendant will wear an ankle monitor. The victim of a crime will have a device with them, so if that defendant gets near them, it alerts the victim that they're nearby so they can call for help.
It's things like this that we need to do so that victims are aware that we're there for them, so our actions and not just our words show they mean something to us.
Gelson: I understand what these victims are feeling. Everyone heals different, everyone's circumstances are different. So when I became the director of a sex crimes child abuse unit (in New Jersey), I initiated a vertical prosecution, where I took the case from the very beginning and worked with the victim all the way up through grand jury, including trial.
In my last year as a District Attorney and director of the sex crimes unit, I tried 16 jury trials sexual abuse, rape cases, child abuse cases I won 16 out of 17.
I attribute that to my trial skills, but I attribute that we were able to get victims into a position where they no longer felt guilty. They no longer were afraid. They felt that we supported them. They felt that we would help them. We empowered them.
And by the time the case came ready for trial, they were ready for trial. That's not always the case, but that is what the job, in my opinion, is to do: Advocate as well as to help those victims.
Korchak: If there's a criminal activity or if there is evidence of criminal activity, the District Attorney's Office does investigate. There is a difference between civil liability and criminal liability in a death case. There could be neglect, there could be an incident where someone didn't get proper medical treatment, but that isn't necessarily in and of itself criminal activity.
Many of the individuals who go to the jail are coming in under horrific circumstances: they're detoxing, they're going through withdrawal of drugs or alcohol, and many have pre-existing medical conditions.
The jail unfortunately is not a hospital, they do have a medical unit.Obviously, improvements can be made in the evaluation of individuals coming into the jail, but I can assure you that if there's any criminality involved in the circumstances surrounding someone's death, the Broome County District Attorney's Office does look into that and they're doing that now with every death that comes out of the Broome County jail.
Battisti: The New York State Department of Corrections does in fact have a task force that will look into a death in a correctional facility. The District Attorney's Office can be part of that, if they so choose. If there's allegations of criminal conduct that's brought to the District Attorney's Office, then the DA's office will be involved.
The District Attorney has a very important role, but we have to make sure we stay within that role. We need to ensure we're doing our job, specifically our mission. We don't want to see anybody pass (away), but when people come into the correctional facility, sometimes they're not in the best condition.
There are medical units (in jail), the medical units have been expanded; they do transport people to hospitals. They do ensure people are getting care and they are trying to do what they can to ensure people are being treated appropriately and effectively.
Gelson: Things must change in the jail. I've personally represented a number of inmates, and granted, inmates will tell you stories, but I have witnessed some horrific situations. Fortunately, none of my clients passed away. But no one's above the law.
The District Attorney's job is to independently and objectively investigate any allegation of criminality, and that is what I would do with our DA's office as well as coordinate with the Attorney General's office.
Any death must be thoroughly investigated, as well as other issues of neglect and/or abuse. I can tell you that after 35 years, Broome County is one of the toughest jails I have ever worked in.
Related news: Backed by supporters, four plead not guilty to disrupting Binghamton parade
Korchak:I've attended Neighborhood Watch meetings, and this is a very important interaction. I've spoken at various senior centers about scams and frauds that have been coming into our community. These are very important issues, and the District Attorney's Office along with the police are already working on it. This information is invaluable.
The District Attorney's Office accepts calls into our investigations unit from any concerned citizen who has a complaint or just has information. The old "See something, say something" line is very applicable to community policing and neighborhood watch groups. This information is then taken out to the streets and can be utilized to make the streets safer.
The District Attorney's Office has, in the past, held events for members of the community in certain neighborhoods where members of the DA's office go out to public parks and basically throw a picnic for members of the community. We field their questions and answer what their concerns are. We need to expand this, but it already in progress.
Battisti:There's got to be an effective working relationship between the District Attorney's Office and law enforcement. If there's an appropriate working relationship that's built on respect and trust, then this can work. We need to ensure that working together, we are the community.
We need to establish trust. We need to establish trust with the men and women that reside in our wonderful community, as well as children. If we can do that, that is much more beneficial for each and every one of us here in this community.
Currently, there are some programs, but they need to be dramatically expanded. We've got to ensure programs are put into effect that do in fact work. We need to ensure the District Attorney is part of those programs, that the DA is in the community, that the DA is working with these agencies putting these programs in place and then assigning tasks to individuals within our office.
I have been humbled throughout this election to have the respect and support of many unions that represent the men and women of law enforcement in Broome County. It's these relationships that have been built over the years that will allow us to work together to reach maximum benefit.
Gelson: I support community policing. During a difficult period, while I was working as a judge in the City of Trenton, there was a great deal of difficulty and lack of public confidence. We implemented a program and training where officers were assigned to various neighborhoods and they worked very hard. The officers did an excellent job of calming the situation down and working within their neighborhoods.
There's no question that law enforcement wants to be close to their own communities. They want to be engaged. We need to build the trust and the public confidence in our law enforcement. And that can be done.
We have so many wonderful officers that I've met. That is the way that we fight crime, that is the way we get witnesses to come forward. Trust. That is the way we successfully prosecute criminal offenses.
We must work together; we all have the same goal to make Broome County the safest community we possibly can.
Paul Battisti has worked as a private-practice defense lawyer representing criminal defendants in the state and federal court levels. The Broome County native has also worked on the Broome Drug Treatment Court Team and is a former president of the Broome County Bar Association.
Paul Battisti(Photo: Provided)
Debra Gelson has worked as a private-practice lawyer in Vestal since 2017 and been assigned or retained for more than 50 criminal cases in the Broome County area. The Herkimer County native previously worked as a prosecutor and attorney in New Jersey, and in 2001, was appointed as a municipal court judge in that state.
Debra Gelson(Photo: Provided photo)
Michael Korchak, currently the chief assistant district attorney, spent six years as a prosecutor in Bronx County before becoming a prosecutor in Broome in 1996. He left the DA's office in 2007 after challenging former DA Gerald Mollen, then returned to the office in 2016. He's also a former Town of Union justice.
Michael Korchak(Photo: Provided photo)
DA primary: Where Paul Battisti, Michael Korchak stand on the issues
DA race: Michael Korchak launches new campaign under Libertarian Party
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell, a Republican, is not seeking a secondterm. In June, he launched a campaign for New York's 22nd Congressional seat, currently held by Democrat Anthony Brindisi.
Follow Anthony Borrelli on Twitter@PSBABorrelli.Support our journalism and become a digital subscriber today.Click here for our special offers.
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District Attorney candidates debate at SUNY Broome: Here are the takeaways - Pressconnects
What the Kentucky governor candidates’ running mate’s role will be in the administration – Courier Journal
Posted: at 11:09 am
Here's what you need to know to come prepared to the polls. Nikki Boliaux, Courier Journal
Election Day is quickly approaching, with a marquee showdown between Republican incumbent Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear brewing in the race for governor.
Here's a breakdown of howBevin, Beshear and Libertarian candidate John Hicks' lieutenant governor will play in their administration.
Kentucky lieutenant governor candidate Jacqueline Coleman spoke at the 2019 Fancy Farm Picnic. Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal
Kentucky attorney general
Running mate:Jacqueline Coleman
Im proud to be the only candidate who selected an active educator as my running mate. As an educator, mentor and coach, Jacqueline Coleman has spent her life serving her community in rural Kentucky.
Ilet her know when I asked her to join my ticket that I wanted her to play an active role and to define her own portfolio. She wants to focus on: public education, rural economic development and getting women involved in leadership (including boards and commissions, running for office, community engagement, etc.).
Matt Bevin's running mate Ralph Alvarado spoke at the 2019 Fancy Farm Picnic. Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal
Running mate:Ralph A. Alvarado
Matt Bevin did not respond to The Courier Journal.
Read more: Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton sues Gov. Matt Bevin over firing her staff members
Also: Matt Bevin tells Louisville Tea Party why he dropped Jenean Hampton
Ann Cormican(Photo: Provided by John Hicks)
Running mate: Ann Cormican
Ann Cormican much like our current Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton is an eloquent advocate for a free and flourishing Commonwealth benefiting all Kentuckians. Ann is an expert in agricultural economics and brings ample business experience to the job, having worked at the Toyota plant in Georgetown for 25 years. As our state constitution specifies, Ann will be a free agent with full authority to staff and run her office as she sees fit.
Shannon Hall is a digital producer with the Courier Journal. Reach her email@example.com; Twitter: @sshall4.Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: http://www.courier-journal.com/shannonh
Posted: at 11:09 am
Justin Watson's son begged him to quit smoking. But he had already tried everythingchewing nicotine gum, slapping on the patch, going cold turkeyand none of it worked. Then a friend introduced him to vaping. Eventually, he was able to walk up the stairs without being completely out of breath. Plus, he no longer smelled.
The 36-year-old Pennsylvania resident had no real intention, though, of getting political about his new habit.
This was in 2013, at the height of Barack Obama's presidency, and before JUUL Labs, the vaping behemoth currently estimated to control at least 50 percent of the marketplace in the United States, started to dominate.
Now, six years later, the U.S. finds itself in the middle of a full-blown vaping crisis, as government agencies are struggling to land on a definitive cause for the spate of illnesses that cropped up this summer and has stretched into the fall. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has linked many, though not all, of the nearly 1,500 cases and 33 deaths to black-market THC carts.) The reaction to this frenzy, for the most part, has been a series of vape bans in states across the country, and President Trump has even urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to institute a nationwide ban of flavored vaping products.
For Watson, JUUL's rise came unexpectedly. He said he still has never even met a single person who JUULs. The group of like-minded vapers he flocked to online uses a variety of different rigs and discusses them almost as if they were hobbyistsbut also as something more than that. They discovered a device, they believe, that is a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. But now the whole thing has become political, and so has he.
Vape shop owners and vapers who told their stories to VICE, most of them Republican- or libertarian-leaning, suggested that no cause matters to them more than this one. Like Watson, they had not really been interested in other domestic or foreign affairs in the past; these were not necessarily super political people. Now, some of them vow to be single-issue voters, insisting they will choose a presidential candidate simply based on their vaping stance. It's a possibility, as Axios theorized, that could affect the 2020 election, because a fair number of them reside in places like Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, states Trump narrowly won in 2016.
"A lot of people are now realizing that the consumers themselves are going to have to stand up for this," Watson said. "I, for one, believe that vaping is worth fighting for."
Do you know anything we should know about vapes, or anything else? You can contact staff writer Alex Norcia securely at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the surface, vaping can seem like a frivolous enterpriseespecially considering, this week alone, Kurds have been displaced, Trump compared the Democrats' impeachment inquiry to a "lynching" on Twitter, and a Brexit deal didn't happen again. But former smokers such as Watson fundamentally think it has provided them with a new lease on life. It sounds silly, but they're under the impression that without vaping they might otherwise be dead. They enjoy citing statistics, like one from Public Health England in 2018, which said vaping was 95 percent less harmful than smoking and could help users ditch the habit. (The United Kingdom has a totally different approach to vaping than the U.S. so that stat does not apply statesideand in fact, the U.S.'s CDC is advising Americans to stop vaping entirely until more information is known about the source of the vape illnesses.)
Dray Moorman, the founder and CEO of the South Floridabased online shop Mig Vapor who voted for Trump in 2016, said vaping policy would make or break a presidential candidate for him in 2020. He hopes he and fellow vape-activists can somehow persuade the administration to change its stance on the vape ban. He suspects his customer base, much of which skews older, shares a similar sentiment.
"Vaping did save a lot of people," added Nick Orlando, an ex-smoker who transitioned to vaping and owns a handful of shops not far from Tampa. "It's become their niche and their community. For many, it's also become their livelihood, because they were vapers, and then they wanted to help others." (This summer, Orlando estimated that he lost up to 30 percent of his sales following hysteria over vape illness, though Florida as a whole has adopted a relatively measured approach to the epidemic.)
"I'm more political than I've ever been in my entire life," echoed Robert Lucas, a 33-year-old vaper who lives near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and said he voted for Trump and the Republican Party across the board in 2016. "Truly, nothing even compares." (Michigan has instituted a ban on flavored vape products, albeit one that has run into obstacles in court.)
"If this federal flavor ban actually happens," Lucas continued, "everybody I know who vapes and voted for Trump told me they're either going to stay home on Election Day, or vote for a Democrat with normal regulations."
Lucas said he often posts on social media to spread the word, and that he was attempting to educate smokers on the perceived benefits of switching to vaping. Essentially, he comprises part of the "We Vape, We Vote" movement, which has emerged as a hashtag on Twitter. That coalition is not anything brand new, as Matt Culley, a popular vape activist on YouTube, likes to emphasize, because it's been around since at least 2015. It does, however, appear to have ballooned amid vape crackdowns over the past few months.
Recently, Culley called on his fellow vapers to join Twitter. It's a platform he thought would have a wider impact than the insular community"an echo chamber," he saidthey had previously formed on Facebook and Instagram. And they're certainly getting noticed, so much so that newspapers like the Wall Street Journal (and members of Congress) are wondering if a majority of the accounts are actually bots. (That does not necessarily seem to be true.) A rally is planned for next month near the White House, with turnout expected by activists involved to be in the thousands.
"As with anything else, the more threatened people feel, the more active they are," Culley said.
For Lucas's part, he claimed the public and press were "strongly underestimating how many actual vapers there are." (Past estimates have suggested at least 10 million.)
Nonetheless, pollsters and political experts canvassed by VICE were reluctant to offer predictions on the impact vapers might have, though they generally said they would be surprised if it was substantial.
"I tend to think that few voters are single-issue," said Georgy Egorov, a professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at Northwestern University who has researched elections. "It is the politicians who tend to be."
Egorov, naturally, said he did not anticipate nuanced vaping strategy to be any serious candidate's rallying cry. But other scholars find it all a bit hard to ignore, even if they can't offer a precise prediction.
"I do think that it is rational to fear pissing off vapers based on these numbers," said Amelia Howard, a sociology PhD student at the University of Waterloo in Canada who has been researching vaping. "In Michigan, for example, there are 400,000 vapers. Trump won by 11,000. It wouldn't take that many Michigan vapers to stay home or change their vote to give it to the Democratic candidate."
Still, whether or not you believe vapers would have that much of an influence, particularly on a nationwide scale, the issue is still two-fold for most of them: Not only do they view it as a safer replacement to smoking combustible cigarettes, but the off-the-cuff reaction by local, state, and even the federal governmentprimarily leaning toward prohibitionhas invited the the closure of mom-and-pop vape shops that once flourished. It's the exact opposite, in other words, of what Trump promised during his campaign: to restore the working class and business world to glory.
Although no candidate has spent too much time talking about the issue, Democratic contender Elizabeth Warren has proposed stricter regulations (a tactic almost all of the industry supports), whereas Bernie Sanders hasn't said much about vapes other than using vape bans to point to the absurdity of not banning assault weapons. JUUL, meanwhile, has ramped up its lobbying efforts this past year or so, and has reportedly favored the Democrats with its campaign dollars.
"Vaping has become a culture," said Azim Chowdhury, an attorney who has represented the vaping industry for close to a decade. "[Vapers] have bonded together like any minority group would in the face of what they view as a discriminatory, dehumanizing attack by powerful elitists."
"Someone like Sanders or Yang, candidates who are generally against big corporations," he continued, "should really be taking a good look at this."
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These Trump Voters Say They Might Abandon Him Over Vapes - VICE
Posted: October 16, 2019 at 5:29 pm
Recently, House Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry into President Trump over claims that Mr. Trump held back aid to Ukraine in the hope its leader would investigate Joe Biden. Predictably, social media lit up immediately with #TrumpImpeachment and #ImpeachTrumpNow trending all over the United States. The usual suspects in the #NeverTrump conservative political class joined the deafening chorus of progressive pundits in their long-standing calls for formal articles of impeachment and Mr. Trumps resignation.
Somewhat surprising, however, has been witnessing many prominent libertarians join these ranks in making knee-jerk calls for impeachment. Unfortunately, these political observers dont seem to realize that removing Mr. Trump from office would solve none of the problems associated with his alleged abuses of power. The object of their ire should not be Mr. Trump the man but the office of the presidency and especially the permanent political class and establishment media (hereinafter the establishment) who whitewash and enable true presidential atrocities.
This is nothing new for libertarians. Indeed, the imperial presidency has been a libertarian bugaboo for decades, and many commentators have written eloquently on the dire need to limit the unilateral powers of Americas executive branch. Nearly all presidents since 1900 have expanded the scope of executive power well outside the strictures of Article 2 of the Constitution.
Henry Kissinger once joked, The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer a joke that betrays the brazen callousness with which people in the establishment view supposed legal limits on their actions. Additionally, the last four presidents before Mr. Trump all initiated foreign incursions and clandestine operations that have transformed much of the Middle East into a hellscape. Many of these operations were blatantly illegal e.g. providing direct military aid and comfort to Americas enemies, which is particularly damning since this act fits the exact legal definition of treason.
Speaking of which, Bill Weld recently accused Mr. Trump of committing treason in this Ukrainian fiasco. If this phone call is enough for a treason charge against Mr. Trump, surely there is an open-and-shut case for indicting the entire foreign policy team of the Obama administration including President Obama himself for treasonously providing direct aid and comfort to al Qaeda to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria. Instead, Mr. Weld heaped praise on Mr. Obamas administration, saying he was statesman-like while ignoring the unspeakable horrors that occurred as a result of Mr. Obamas direct orders.
This flippant attitude has been the long-standing demeanor from much of the establishment toward atrocities that span administrations of both parties. As the Joker says in The Dark Knight, Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying! Indeed, the establishment press only ever seems to give Mr. Trump slack when he bombs countries unconstitutionally that pesky Congress be damned.
The establishments constant whitewashing of presidential atrocities brings me back to the perplexing reaction among libertarians cheering for Mr. Trumps impeachment. A pillar of modern libertarianism has been opposing never-ending foreign interventions. However, none of the articles of Mr. Trumps impeachment will include, for example, a single word about his support for Saudi Arabias horrific war in Yemen. Instead, the Democrats and #NeverTrump Republicans hell-bent on removing Mr. Trump intend to replace him with someone who wont upset the plan. While Mr. Trumps alleged crimes in the Ukraine fiasco are unacceptable to the establishment, fomenting foreign coups appear to be A-OK. Why should libertarians cheer for Mr. Trumps replacement with someone cut from an interventionist cloth?
Libertarians jumping on the impeachment train seem to be forgetting a basic tenet of economics: There are no solutions only tradeoffs. What, therefore, are the realistic alternatives to Mr. Trump? Legally speaking, after Mr. Trumps removal, Mike Pence would be next, who was an establishment animal before he became Mr. Trumps VP. Thus far, no one has made a compelling case for why a President Pence would be desirable over a President Trump from a pro-liberty perspective.
None of the Democratic candidates with a real shot at winning would be a net improvement over Mr. Trump on either the domestic or foreign policy fronts as Mr. Obama has shown, leftist candidates inevitably abandon their anti-war messages and neuter opposition from a left-wing anti-war movement. These libertarians are committing a Nirvana fallacy in wishing for someone better than Mr. Trump rather than evaluating the actual alternatives.
The establishment plays a key role in expanding the power of the president and should be as much a target of libertarian anger as the president himself. Libertarians must realize that they cannot achieve their laudable goal of reducing presidential power unless the establishment first loses its influence over that power. Replacing Mr. Trump with an establishment sycophant wont advance that goal.
Despite all his shortcomings, Mr. Trump is the best weapon against the establishment given present alternatives; therefore, the liberty movement would be poorly served if libertarians took the bait in this latest impeachment scheme.
Nick Cooper is a Mises Institute research fellow at George Mason University.
Posted: at 5:29 pm
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) Its an ambitious move: the Peoples Party is running hundreds of candidates in the first federal election since the party formed just over a year ago.
However, despite the fledgling fringe party having hundreds of candidates across the country in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island and Nunavut UBC political scientist Richard Johnston says its unlikely any PPC candidates will win a seat.
Except, perhaps, for the partys leader.
I dont think theyre going to do terribly well. Maxime Bernier probably will hold on to his seat. Beyond that, Im not so sure. I also dont think that on balance, theyre going to be as disruptive a force as some people fear they might be, he says.
Nor will the party be much of a thorn in the side of the Conservative Party, he adds.
The PPC has been hovering at around two per cent support nationally in the weeks leading up to the election. The areas where the party has more support, however, are already Conservative strongholds. Drawing support from that partys base enough to split right-leaning votes is unlikely, Johnston says.
When you look at where theyre hitting their maximums, its basically in Alberta and Saskatchewan, probably the interior of B.C. So these are places where the culture is more Conservative, and where anti-immigrant attitudes tend to be strongest. But theyre also places where the Conservative Party has, generally speaking, very comfortable majorities. And so if they give up a few votes, theyre probably not going to give up any of those seats.
Chad Hudson, a former PPC candidate, recently dropped out of the running in the Nova Scotia riding of West Nova. He says the partys libertarianism and fiscal conservatism values are what initially drew him in, but the racist elements drove him out.
I was assured by the party that a lot of those things that I was concerned about being the more extreme elements of the parties, some of the racist elements, some of the more far right elements werent going to be a problem, that those elements had been purged from the party, he says.
But over time, he says a xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment has become prominent.
Johnston says thats the message getting through to the grassroots.
It is generally the case that simpler messages, often involving scapegoating, just tend to have more traction and more penetration, he says. And to the extent that theres going to be voters responding to the Peoples Party, its going to be people who are currently in the Conservative cap, but unhappy with the generally moderate presentation that Andrew Scheer is trying to produce.
In B.C., including Metro Vancouver, where many people are immigrants, Johnston says that message isnt going to go over well.
The people who are potential Conservative voters in the Lower Mainland are often people of color, of immigrant or minority background, and theyre not going to be particularly drawn to a party whose primary appeal is a kind of anti-immigrant, anti-minority sentiment.
While the PPCs chances at securing more than one seat are slim, its populist and anti-immigrant undertones may be more popular than the polls indicate.
A public opinion survey out of Simon Fraser University this summer found a decline in trust in Canadas democracy, and that a populist message may strike a chord with some.
Some of the race-based populism that weve seen emerge in other countries is starting to appear here in Canada. So one-in-three Canadians dont think that foreign-born Canadians should have the same say in government as Canadians that were born here, says Shauna Sylvester with SFU.
The survey also found one-in-four Canadians believe that minorities have too many supports and protections, and that there is too much support for religious freedom.
I think that during election time, certain narratives get exacerbated, and youre seeing anti-immigrant sentiments being expressed by certain political parties, and its important to pay attention to that, she says.
Overall, however, she says she doesnt think these messages will be attractive to most Canadians.
The information of the research indicates that some of the messaging that has come out from parties that are advancing anti-immigration stance or advancing a Canada-first stance will resonate with some portion of the population, Sylvester says. Thankfully, thats a small portion of the population, because I think that those are sentiments that go against a lot of the Canadian values on democracy.