Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rand Paul: It's time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan

OPINION | Sen. Rand Paul: 16 years on, it's past time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan | TheHill:

August 21, 2017 - "The Trump administration is increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan and, by doing so, keeping us involved even longer in a 16-year-old war that has long since gone past its time.

"The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war. It’s time to come home now.

"Our war in Afghanistan began in a proper fashion. We were attacked on 9/11. The Taliban, who then controlled Afghanistan, were harboring al Qaeda, and after being warned, and after an authorization from Congress, our military executed a plan to strike back. Had I been in Congress then, I would have voted to authorize this military action.

"But as is typical, there was significant mission creep in Afghanistan. We went from striking back against those who attacked us, to regime change, to nation-building, to policing their country for them. And we do it all now with an authorization that is flimsy at best, with the reason blurred, and the costs now known. We do it with an authorization that was debated and passed before some of our newest military personnel were out of diapers. This isn’t fair to them, to the American people, or to a rational foreign policy.

"The Afghanistan war going beyond its original mission has an enormous cost. First and most important is the cost to our troops. Deaths, injuries and unnecessary deployments causing harm to families are certainly the most important reason as to why you don’t go to wars that aren’t necessary.

"Then comes the taxpayer. We have spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan, and nearly $5 trillion on Middle East wars in the past 15 years. Would we not be better off with $5 trillion less in debt or using these funds in other, more productive ways?...

"I’ve spoken to the president, and I know he wants to end this war. We’ve all heard him say it. But talk won’t get it done.... He knows this war is over, and he – unlike the last two presidents – should have the guts to end it for real, on his watch."

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/347393-16-years-on-its-past-time-to-bring-our-troops-home-from
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Monday, August 21, 2017

Buchman runs on tax reform in UT special election

Op-ed: Why you should consider the Libertarian candidate for the 3rd District | Deseret News - Joe Buchman:

August 18, 2017 - "On Aug. 16, Republicans in the 3rd District finally chose a candidate to fill the empty seat formerly held by Jason Chaffetz. Because this was a three-way race with no run-off, the fiscally responsible voters of the 3rd District were divided, and as a result, the GOP candidate for this fall will be the least fiscally responsible, least free market oriented of the three. And this is in Utah’s most fiscally responsible congressional district.

"On the Democratic side, we have a candidate advocating an even more aggressive federal government micromanaging of health care from D.C., raising the tax and debt burden on every American....

"[T]he records and statements of the Democrat and the Republican in this race present two candidates with only slight differences in their tax and spending policies. With Congress discussing the critical issue of tax reform in the coming year, it is critical that the fiscally responsible people of Utah are represented by a true voice for substantive tax reform....

"Despite what you are hearing from the media and the political elite, there is another option, a reasonable option that will give the 3rd District a determined and knowledgeable voice on tax reform for one year.... If you vote for the Libertarian candidate in this election, you will be voting for principled tax reform you can trust that no matter what happens, your representative will represent your interests and not be beholden to the Democrats and Republicans who keep their freshman members on a tight leash.

"If you vote for the Libertarian, you will have a representative for one year who will not be forced to focus on re-election, and who will instead work every day to provide real reform in Washington....

"Here is the bottom line, this candidate will only hold office for one year before a new election is held. By sending the Libertarian to Washington, you will have the time to focus on finding a candidate for the 3rd District that truly represents Utah values. You have an opportunity to vote for the only candidate who was nominated at a convention rather than in a well-funded primary. A candidate with an MBA in finance, a career in education and a principled stand. A candidate who will enjoy the support of the leaders of the national Liberty Movement. There are so many reasons to vote for the Libertarian this November, take a risk and vote for Dr. Joe Buchman."

Read more: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865687017/Op-ed-Why-you-should-consider-the-Libertarian-candidate-for-the-3rd-District.html
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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cards Against Humanity introduces Weed Pack to fund cannabis legalization efforts

Cards Against Humanity is Trying to Help Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Illinois | Inc.com - Will Yackowitz, Inc.:

August 7, 2017 - "Cards Against Humanity, the maker of the 'party game for horrible people,' is donating money to the Marijuana Policy Project to help the nonprofit's efforts to legalize adult-use marijuana in Illinois, the card-game company announced.

"The Chicago-based company raised the money from sales of its 'Weed Pack,' a special edition of cannabis-themed cards. The proceeds of the Weed Pack, which sells for $5, will be donated to the organization until Illinois legalizes adult-use marijuana in the state, the company said. In March, two bills were introduced in Illinois to regulate and tax the sale of cannabis for people age 21 and older.

"Cards Against Humanity co-creator Max Temkin said the company views the U.S.'s federal marijuana policy as a failure.

"'For us, this is a common-sense issue of racial justice, health justice and criminal justice. State and national politics are incredibly screwed up right now, but it gives us hope to think that we can make progress on these kind of common-sense issues that everyone supports,' said Temkin.

"A recent poll found that 66 percent of Illinois voters support regulating marijuana for recreational use for adults, similar to alcohol regulation....

"In the past two years, Cards Against Humanity donated about $4 million to different charities, and more than $1 million to internet privacy foundations."

Read more: https://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/cards-against-humanity-legalize-marijuana-illinois.html
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Paleolibertarianism's appeal to the alt.right

The Rhetoric of Libertarians and the Unfortunate Appeal to the Alt-Right - Bleeding Heart Libertarians - Steve Horwitz:

August 4, 2017 - "The paleo-libertarian seed that Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell planted in the 1990s has come to bear some really ugly fruit in the last couple of years as elements of the alt-right have made appearances in various libertarian organizations and venues. Back in February, alt-right hero Richard Spencer stirred up a fuss at the International Students for Liberty Conference in DC after being invited to hang out by a group of students calling themselves the “Hoppe Caucus.” Hans-Hermann Hoppe, long associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute as well as a panoply of racists and anti-Semites, is perhaps the most popular gateway drug for the alt-right incursion into libertarianism.

"And within the last couple of weeks, Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute delivered a talk to students at Mises University entitled “For a New Libertarian.” In that talk, he knocks down an extended strawman of what he thinks constitutes the libertarianism he wants them to reject – what many might call “left-libertarianism'.... Most controversially, Deist, after continuing to argue that family, faith, and the like are the cultural glue that humans need and that libertarians should focus on, decided to end with:
In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.
"For those who know something about the history of the 20th century, the invocation of 'blood and soil' as something that libertarians should recognize as a valid concern and should appeal to should be chilling. That phrase, which has a history going back at least to the 19th century, was central to the Nazi movement and was at the core of their justification for eliminating those people who did not have connections to the German homeland. It remains a watchword of the nastiest elements on the right, as a quick visit to bloodandsoil.org will demonstrate....

"Perhaps Deist didn’t know all of that. If so, one would expect a decent person to immediately apologize for using that phrase that way in that context. To my knowledge, no such apology has appeared. On the assumption that he is not, in fact, a Nazi, the explanation left standing is that he and his defenders have no problem using rhetoric that will attract those sympathetic to Nazi-like views about nativism and Jews. It’s that lack of concern about engaging in that sort of rhetoric, if not a positive willingness to do so, that is so troubling here, and it is eating away at the liberal roots of libertarianism.....

As I pointed out with the Paul newsletters, all of this appeal to nativism, racism, and anti-Semitism and the like is in deep conflict with libertarianism’s liberalism. It’s particularly in conflict with the liberal cosmopolitanism of someone like Mises. And the use of Nazi language is especially galling as it was the very 'blood and soil' crowd who drove the Jewish Mises out of Vienna....

"Our history is one of liberal tolerance, universalism, and cosmopolitanism, putting the freedom and harmony of all people ahead of the supposed interests of any parochial sub-group, and especially ones defined by the artificial boundaries of nation-states and their subsets. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance."

Read more: http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/08/rhetoric-libertarians-unfortunate-appeal-alt-right/
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Friday, August 18, 2017

SCOTUS rejects joint forfeiture liability

SCOTUS Limits Criminal Forfeiture in 'Honeycutt' | New York Law Journal - Steven Kessler:

August 17, 2017 - "With the enactment of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA), Congress sought to steer federal prosecutors to criminal forfeiture.... Congress believed that the risk of abuse would be reduced because a criminal conviction is required before a defendant's property can be forfeited in a criminal proceeding.

"Unfortunately, it turned out that greater reliance on criminal forfeiture increased abuses in that area as well. Examples include plea agreements where the criminal defendant purportedly consents to forfeit property that does not belong to him ... and so-called 'money judgment forfeitures,' a judge-made loophole that allows the government to forfeit property without ... the government trac[ing] the property sought to be forfeited to the defendant's criminal activity. Another form of criminal forfeiture abuse is the imposition of joint and several liability ... the government could simply 'pick a number' and then enforce it against every defendant alleged to have been involved in the criminal activity....

"The Roberts-led Supreme Court hinted at some dissatisfaction with the state of criminal forfeiture law in recent decisions, but the rifle shot came in its June 5, 2017 decision in Honeycutt v. United States. Unconcerned with the fact that virtually every circuit court that has addressed the issue had ruled otherwise, the Supreme Court unanimously and unequivocally rejected the application of joint and several liability in criminal forfeiture cases.

"The Honeycutt brothers were prosecuted under the federal drug laws for selling suspiciously large quantities of a legal product that they knew or should have known would likely have been used to manufacture methamphetamine.... Tony Honeycutt owned the store while Terry Honeycutt managed sales and inventory as an employee with no ownership interest in the business.

"The government sought a money judgment against each brother in the total of $269,751.98, which it asserted was the store's profits from the sale of the product.... Tony, the store owner, pled guilty and agreed to forfeit $200,000. Terry went to trial and was convicted on 11 of 14 counts.... Although it conceded that Terry ... did not benefit personally from the sales ...the government ... sought a money judgment of $69,751.98 against Terry....

"The [Supreme Court] found that the statute 'defines forfeitable property solely in terms of personal possession or use'.... Further, the court found, criminal forfeiture statutes consistently separate the treatment of tainted property from that of untainted property.... This provision, the court held, demonstrates that 'Congress did not authorize the Government to confiscate substitute property from other defendants or co-conspirators; it authorized the Government to confiscate assets only from the defendant who initially acquired the property and who bears responsibility for its dissipation'.... ....

"As Honeycutt makes clear, the standard is not whether Congress has forbidden a remedy, but whether it has specifically authorized it. That is a test — now the law of the land — that applies to any forfeiture sanctions or remedies, civil or criminal. Forfeiture is purely statutory, without any basis in civil law or equity."

Read more: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/home/id=1202795826407/SCOTUS-Limits-Criminal-Forfeiture-in-Honeycutt?mcode=1202615326010&curindex=2
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Libertarian Party wants "racists and bigots" out

Libertarian Party to White nationalists: Get out - Christie Zizo, Central Florida News 13:

August 15, 2017 - The National Libertarian Party says it stands for freedom for all, but it won't stand for white nationalists.

"The party, considered the fastest growing third party in the country, issued a statement Tuesday asking any white nationalists who belong to the party to leave.

"'There is no room for racists and bigots in the Libertarian Party,' said Libertarian National Committee executive director Wes Benedict. 'If there are white nationalists who — inappropriately — are members of the Libertarian Party, I ask them to submit their resignations today. We don’t want them to associate with the Libertarian Party, and we don’t want their money. I’m not expecting many resignations, because our membership already knows this well.'

"Benedict says the Libertarian Party supports civil liberties, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The party also believes in open borders, racial diversity and free trade -- things he says white nationalists abhor.

"The statement comes in the wake of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that turned violent as protesters engaged with some counterprotesters and one suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19.

"Among the headliners of that 'Unite the Right' Rally was Augustus Invictus, who ran for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian in 2016. At the time his candidacy caused a stir. Florida Libertarian Party Chairman Adrian Wyllie resigned his post because he believed Invictus was a white nationalist who believed in eugenics [and] wanted to start a civil war. Invictus denied the charge....

"Invictus announced he was leaving the Libertarians in July for the Republican Party. He announced Tuesday he is running as a Republican candidate for Senate in Florida in 2018."

Read more: http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2017/8/15/libertarian_party_wh.html
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Antony Fisher, libertarian think-tank pioneer

Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics - Lee Fang, The Intercept:

August 9, 2017 - "Antony Fisher, a British entrepreneur and the founder of the Atlas Network, pioneered the sale of libertarian economics to the broader public.... Fisher made it his mission to, in the words of an associate, 'litter the world with free-market think tanks.'

"The basis for Fisher’s ideals came from Friedrich Hayek, a forbearer of modern thought on limited government. In 1946, after reading the Reader’s Digest version of Hayek’s seminal book, The Road to Serfdom,” Fisher sought a meeting with the Austrian economist in London....

"Fisher was propelled forward by a fateful visit to [Leonard] Read’s newly formed nonprofit, the Foundation for Economic Education, in New York, which was founded to help sponsor and promote the ideas of free-market intellectuals. There, libertarian economist F.A. Harper, at the time working at FEE, advised Fisher on methods for creating his own nonprofit in the U.K....

"In 1955, Fisher founded the Institute of Economic Affairs [IEA].... The institute was a place to showcase opposition to British society’s growing welfare state, connecting journalists to free-market academics and disseminating critiques on a regular basis through opinion columns, radio interviews, and conferences. Businesses provided the bulk of funding to IEA, as leading British industrial and banking giants — from Barclays to BP — pitched in with annual contributions....

"As the economic slowdown and rising inflation of the 1970s shook the foundations of British society, Tory politicians gravitated more and more to the IEA to provide an alternative vision — and IEA obliged with accessible issue briefs and talking points politicians could use to bring free-market concepts to the public. The Atlas Network proudly proclaims that the IEA 'laid the intellectual groundwork for what later became the Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s.' IEA staff provided speechwriting for Margaret Thatcher; supplemented her campaign with policy papers on topics as varied as labor unions and price controls; and provided a response to her critics in the mass media. In a letter to Fisher after her 1979 victory, Thatcher wrote that the IEA created 'the climate of opinion which made our victory possible'....

"Hayek set up an invitation-only group of free-market economists called the Mont Pelerin Society. One of its members, Ed Feulner, helped found the conservative Washington think tank the Heritage Foundation, drawing on IEA’s work for inspiration. Another Mont Pelerin member, Ed Crane, founded the Cato Institute, the most prominent libertarian think tank....

In 1981, Fisher, who had settled in San Francisco, set out to develop the Atlas Economic Research Foundation at the urging of Hayek. Fisher had used his success with IEA to court corporate donors to help establish a string of smaller, sometimes regional think tanks in New York, Canada, California, and Texas, among other places. With Atlas, though, the scale for Fisher’s free-market think tank project would now be global: a nonprofit dedicated to continuing his work of establishing libertarian beachheads in every country of the world. 'The more institutes established throughout the world,” Fisher declared, “the more opportunity to tackle diverse problems begging for resolution.'"

Read more: https://theintercept.com/2017/08/09/atlas-network-alejandro-chafuen-libertarian-think-tank-latin-america-brazil/
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