Sunday, July 23, 2017

New documentary on web outlaw Kim Dotcom

The martyrdom of Kim Dotcom | Stuff.co.nz - Philip Mathews:

July 23, 2017 - " Controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is interviewed in his Auckland waterfront apartment in 2016. There is tasteful decor, natural light, sea views and directly behind the man himself, an upside down US flag on a cushion.

"Given that the US was into its fifth long year of trying to extradite Dotcom to face trial on copyright and other charges, that shot seems like one of Dotcom's famous provocations – in your face, Uncle Sam.... Annie Goldson​, director of the documentary Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, can't remember who art-directed the two-day interview, but thinks it was Dotcom himself....

"Detailed, neutral and at times sympathetic, Goldson's documentary started to take shape in 2014 when Dotcom, already a folk hero and political martyr in New Zealand after the raid on his Coatesville mansion in 2012, made the ill-judged decision to enter politics. Does anyone remember Internet Mana? The shaky alliance between the techno-radicals of Dotcom's Internet Party and Mana's old school socialists crashed into the 2014 election campaign like a runaway train.

"It climaxed at a political circus called the Moment of Truth. Dotcom flew investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald ​to Auckland and crossed live to free-speech heroes in hiding Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Five days before the election, the Auckland Town Hall was packed with activists and journalists who expected this stunt to topple the Government....

"On election night in 2014, when it was clear Internet Mana had failed, Dotcom blamed himself and his toxic brand, and largely disappeared from public life. Now he is reclusive in his luxury pad, separated from his wife Mona (their story is a charming romantic interlude in the film). After two years of negotiations, Dotcom agreed to an interview and offered access to his archives, including home movies of family life in Coatesville before everything soured....

"[T]he biography that Goldson constructs suggests someone who always yearned to be famous. He played up the Dr. Evil role but long before he was even called Dotcom, the 20-year-old Kim Schmitz​ was turning up to a Munich nightclub in a flash white suit, posing as though he had already made it.... It was the classic Jay Gatsby​ myth, the self-invented phony. Even arrests were good for business – the notorious hacker could rebrand as a security consultant. In the background there was a tough childhood with a violent alcoholic father....

"There are good interviews in the film, shedding light on complex areas of freedom and copyright. Greenwald is there. The musician Moby is there. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is there. US technology journalist Greg Sandoval calls Dotcom 'a PR genius". Movie producer turned scholar Jonathan Taplin argues that 'he's a criminal ... he should be in jail'. 

"No one can agree on Dotcom and the film won't change that. It is not just his personal style that provokes strong opinions. Instead, as Goldson notes, there is something about these internet guys, 'these individuals' we have created.... Think of Dotcom and Assange and, more recently, Peter Thiel​. What do they have in common? They are transnational, mostly apolitical, loosely libertarian. They represent a different, more confusing world to come."

Read more: https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/94791949/the-martyrdom-of-kim-dotcom
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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rand Paul explains opposition to Trumpcare bill

Rand Paul: Crony capitalism isn't a right, so why does Senate healthcare bill give insurance companies the right to a bailout? - Washington Examiner:

July 22, 2017 - "I remember a lot of outrage about two things when I first ran for office: Obamacare and the bank bailouts. Unfortunately, the Senate healthcare bill combines the worst of those two — this time, we're bailing out the big insurance companies.

"Why? Partly because of the crony capitalism that pervades the culture in the swamps of Washington.

"But it's more than that. In order to advance their crony capitalism, the Senate Obamacare bill takes us beyond the long-running debate about 'is healthcare a right' to a new debate: 'Is health insurance a right?' ... a right to healthcare that includes a taxpayer obligation to maintain insurance industry profits, which hit a record $15 billion last year?....

"We aren't talking about whether or not we take care of the poor or disabled who can't afford their healthcare.... I can have an honest debate with socialists about whether one can have a right that confers an obligation on another individual, but I really can't even admit any intellectual honesty to those in Congress who now argue that the federal government has a responsibility to confer profit to a profitable industry....

"I am disappointed that my colleagues have insufficient confidence in the freedom of the healthcare marketplace, and I am greatly disappointed they've decided there now exists a federal right of insurance companies to have their $15 billion annual profit subsidized by taxpayers.

"I really can't describe my level of disappointment. Crony capitalism is enshrined as a 'right' by the new GOP Obamacare bill, while that bill does little to nothing to repeal Obamacare or fix our ailing healthcare sector."

Read more: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/rand-paul-crony-capitalism-isnt-a-right-so-why-does-senate-healthcare-bill-give-insurance-companies-the-right-to-a-bailout/article/2628572
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Friday, July 21, 2017

Invictus leaves Libertarians, joins GOP

Controversial Western Civilization Crusader Augustus Sol Invictus Bolts Libertarian Party for the GOP - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Matt Welch:

July 17, 2017 - "Augustus Sol Invictus, the lawyer, 'revolutionary conservative,' and crusader 'to guard western civilization against foreign aggression and internal corruption,' has for the past few years been the single most controversial member of Florida's Libertarian Party, for reasons [that include] disputed allegations of neo-Nazism [and] accurate reports of ritual goat sacrifice....

"Well, as of July 13, after years of recriminations, resignations, and mutual accusations of bad faith, the L.P. won't have Invictus to kick around anymore. The onetime trouncee in an unusual L.P. primary fight over Florida's U.S. Senate election in 2016 posted a video on his Facebook page, declaring that he was 'Moving from the collegiate levels to the big leagues, and playing to win,' seeking along the way to 'unite the right wing of American politics at long last in order to save our country and our civilization'....

"In May, Invictus and I both gave lunchtime talks at the Florida L.P. 2017 state convention ... after which I had two main takeaways: 1) The Party was clearly rattled by his ongoing presence (and sponsorship), and 2) his apocalyptic, nationalist-populist vision of libertarianism stuck out like a throbbingly sore thumb compared to what I usually encounter at Libertarian gatherings. I do not often hear discussion, however guarded, about 'the genocide of the white race,' from either capital- or small-l libertarians these days.

"Invictus portrays this as the result of 'leftists who have infiltrated and corrupted the Libertarian Party,' leading to an insufficient defense of his chin-leading on the front lines of the Free Speech/AntiFa wars. Most L.P. activists I surveyed counter along the lines of Andy Craig: 'We can only hope his gang of enablers and skinhead fans now follow him back whence they came.' (Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark simply tweeted, 'May he go in peace.')....

"'We find ourselves afflicted by the deadliest cancer in human history,' Augustus Invictus declares in his mission statement at The Revolutionary Conservative, 'manifest in the twin symptoms of leftism and international finance: in a word, globalism.' It's a diagnosis that has even less resonance within the Libertarian Party in month six of Donald Trump's presidency.

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2017/07/17/controversial-western-civilization-crusa
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two libertarian websites suspend publication

Dow Jones' Heat Street is closing - Business Insider- Jake Kantner:

June 30, 2017 - "Heat Street, the 'punky libertarian' website which was the brainchild of former Tory MP Louise Mensch, is being shut down after little more than a year.

"Heat Street will close on August 4 and the operation will be moved under investor brand MarketWatch, according to a spokesman for Dow Jones, the arm of Rupert Murdoch's media empire which housed the website.

"In an emailed statement, he said: 'The operation will be restructured under the MarketWatch umbrella, with the goal of strengthening cultural, entertainment and gaming coverage.

"'The Heat Street brand and future content associated with the brand will be part of the MarketWatch group.'"

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dow-jones-heat-street-is-closing-2017-6
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Being Libertarian 'Going Dark' in Light of Corporate Readjustment - Being Libertarian - Martin van Staden:

July 19,2017 - "In light of our momentous growth and expansion, Being Libertarian will be ceasing most activity, including the posting of new images, articles, and videos across our platforms. This will, however, only be for a short period of time, as the senior management engages with one another on our path forward. The structures which were created almost two years ago are not keeping up with our growth and professionalization in all the respects they should be, so the Board is going to readjust and reconsider various elements of Being Libertarian’s constitution and operations.

"While no new content will be created for the next while, followers of Being Libertarian on Facebook will be treated to some of our older articles and videos from our impressive archive of content. We encourage you to continue engaging, and thank you again for your continued support."

Read more: https://beinglibertarian.com/being-libertarian-going-dark-corporate-readjustment/
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Libertarian Jake Porter running for Iowa governor

Libertarian Iowa gubernatorial candidate calls for 'real changes' | Cedar Rapids Gazette - James Q. Lynch:

July 19, 2017 - "The politics-as-usual approach to state government by Republicans and Democrats is unsustainable and hurting vulnerable Iowans, according to Jake Porter, a Libertarian who is joining the race for governor.

"'We’re having this huge budget crisis, and I don’t see other candidates proposing real changes,' Porter said Tuesday.

"Instead, Statehouse lawmakers and the governor are using the budget as a weapon, according to Porter, who will formally announce his candidacy on 'The Simon Conway Show' on WHO Radio between 4 and 7 p.m. Thursday.

“They’ve decided we’re having a budget crisis, so we’re going to cut the services people use most, whether it’s mental health services, sexual abuse hotlines, domestic abuse shelters (or) hearing aids for kids,” Porter said. 'They’re not actually going after any of the waste that could easily be cut. They’re going after the things that are going to hurt the most people, probably as an excuse to raise the sales tax next year.'

"Porter, 29, a Council Bluffs business consultant long active in the Libertarian Party, previously ran for secretary of state. He thinks his views and priorities are more closely aligned with voters than either the Democratic or Republican platform.

"He wants to make medical cannabis available, restore voting rights for felons who have served their time, end corporate welfare, return Medicaid to its pre-privatization status and phase out the state sales tax.

"He opposes corporate welfare on libertarian principles. It’s wrong, Porter said, to ask Iowans to pay millions of dollars to financially sound corporations. He singled out the Research Activities Credit that refunds tax money to corporations even if they have no tax liability.

"'They’ve put the tax bill on the smallest Iowans and smallest companies,' he said. 'I don’t think the state should favor one business over another....

"'I’ve watched the budget grow from $6.2 billion from the end of the Culver administration to $7.3 billion' under Gov. Terry Branstad, he said. 'So they can’t claim they’ve actually cut any government. They’ve grown it while giving large tax breaks to big financially sound corporations.'"

Read more: http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/libertarian-iowa-gubernatorial-candidate-calls-for-real-changes-20170718
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Medical cannabis legalized in Greece

GREECE HAS JUST LEGALIZED MEDICINAL CANNABIS: What Does This Mean for the Future of Greek Weed? - Dope Magazine - Seshata:

June 30, 2017 - "The government of Greece, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the left-wing Syriza party, has today announced that cannabis is effectively legal for medicinal use. Tsipras announced in a press briefing at the Ministry of Health that the Joint Ministerial Decision on the legalization of medical cannabis was signed and published.

"As part of the announcement, it was stated that cannabis is to be reclassified from Table A — the most restrictive category of narcotics, which also includes heroin, LSD and MDMA — to Table B, a category that includes methadone, cocaine and opium.

"The reclassification means that the state can potentially give licenses for cultivation in the near future, although nothing has yet been announced regarding potential licensing procedures....

"Greece has long had extremely restrictive laws on cannabis and other drugs, and implemented laws prohibiting its sale and use as early as 1890. However, this announcement is the latest in a string of recent moves towards liberalization of cannabis laws....

"This latest news marks yet another small but significant step on the path to legalization of cannabis in Greece. Prior to prohibition, the country had a thriving export industry of fine-quality hashish, originating from the Peloponnese region of southern Greece. Urban legends of the fine landraces of the region still abound in Greek grower circles.

"Even further south, in Crete, there is a thriving market in illicit cannabis cultivation. Throughout the country, rates of recreational consumption are consistently high, yet penalties for its use remain harsh.

"Greece has a long history of cannabis use and cultivation, a favorable climate (in both temperate and political terms), and a need for economic stimulus. It is therefore possible Greece’s current government will continue on this trajectory and consider the legalization and regulation of other forms of cannabis cultivation, sale and use in coming years."

Read more: http://www.dopemagazine.com/greece-just-legalized-medicinal-cannabis/
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Sharpe to run as Libertarian for NY governor

Larry Sharpe Announces Run For NY Governorship As a Libertarian - Elias J. Atienza, The Libertarian Republic:

July 12, 2017 - "Larry Sharpe, the 2nd place runner-up 2016 vice presidential candidate, announced that he was running for Governor of New York in 2018. He did this as a ‘birthday announcement’ and confirmed he was running as a member of the Libertarian Party....

"In the live stream, he said that he wanted his campaign to be a model for future Libertarian campaigns and stressed that he was in it to win.

"'I will run as a Libertarian and Libertarian only. I will show the nation that you can win as a Libertarian, that you can run a campaign as a Libertarian, and you can be taken seriously as a Libertarian,' he said.

"Sharpe is a relative newcomer to the Libertarian Party, having risen from obscurity to almost snatching the vice presidential nominee spot from Bill Weld....

"Sharpe faces an uphill battle in a state that has elected Democrats to the governorship since 2008. However, he is helped that Cuomo approval rating has dropped recently to 46 percent according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

"Only Cuomo and Sharpe have announced their intentions to run for governor ... as of this publication."

Read more: http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/larry-sharpe-announces-run-for-ny-governorship-as-a-libertarian/
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