Monday, July 31, 2017

Rep. Justin Amash: The Two-Party System Needs to Die

Lou Perez on Conan O'Brien in the 2017 Webby Awards | We the internet TV

Imran Awan Had Access to Every member of Congress -- SOLD SECRETS ...

Libertarian calendar for July 2017

July 26
Washington, D.C.

School Choice and Democracy: Friends or Foes?


Policy Forum 
July 26, 2017 
4:00PM to 5:30PM EDT
ADD TO CALENDAR
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute 
Featuring Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation; Max Eden, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute; and Corey A. DeAngelis, Policy Analyst, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute, and Distinguished Doctoral Fellow in Education Policy, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas; moderated by Neal McCluskey, Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute. 
One of the fundamental historical arguments for traditional public schooling is that compulsory common schools are necessary for a stable democratic society. Horace Mann, the father of American public schooling, argued that common schools would force children from diverse backgrounds, religions, and races to interact with one another and receive instruction on proper virtues. Other people, however, believe that allowing parents to choose the schools they think best for their children could improve essential democratic outcomes by forcing schools to compete and to teach more effectively.
Which system is best to strengthen tolerance and civic engagement in our society? Which theories have the most merit? What does the scientific evidence say?
Join us for a lively discussion among the panelists—and questions from the audience.
If you can’t make it to the event, you can watch it live online at www.cato.org/live and join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoSchool. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.
Attend in Person
Online registration is now closed. Walk-in registration will be available on site. If you have any questions pertaining to registration, you may e-mail events@cato.org.
(Reception to follow)

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July 26
Purcellville, VA

Loudon County Libertarian Party happy hour
7:00 pm


Corcoran Brewing Co.
205 Hirst Rd, Ste 105, Purcellville, Virginia 20132
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July 26
Washington, D.C.

Safe Access DC Meeting

6:30 pm

Americans For Safe Access
1624 U Street NW, Suite 200

With DCMJ's bi-weekly Planning Meetings on summer break, please consider attending the upcoming Safe Access DC meeting!
WHO: Medical cannabis patients, supporters of medical cannabis reform in DC, and (new) members of Safe Access DC
WHAT: The second meeting of Safe Access DC in 2017

WHY: It's time for DC's medical cannabis patient advocates to unite!

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July 26-29
Arlington, VA


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July 29
Nashville, TN

Libertarian Party ballot drive
8:30 am - midnight

Friday, July 28, 2017

MILO Appears on Dr. Drew

Victims of Communism

This past fall we partnered with YouGov to poll Americans on their attitude toward socialism and communism.

The results were dismaying.

Almost a third of Millennials believe George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin. Almost half of 16-20 year olds would vote for a Socialist.

Our work takes this problem head on. We sponsor events on college campuses, hold training seminars for high school teachers, publish quality content on our blog Dissident, and so much more.

Is socialism truly the best way to pursue greater equality and prosperity? 

Learn the facts and decide for yourself.
Videos like these help add truth to the conversation when someone asks the question: “What is socialism?”

Thanks for watching,


Ashlee Moody
College Programs Manager

Saturday, July 22, 2017

How to Stop Microaggressions | We the Internet TV

Star Trek: The Libertarian Edition

Murder in Black and White

This was published yesterday at The Daily Caller.

Ramsey Denison's What Happened in Vegas is a well crafted documentary on the killing - watching the film one really wants to say murder - of four men by the Las Vegas police.

The men, Stanley GibsonTashi Farmer, Erik Scott, and Trevon Cole  - three black, one white, two Veterans - and their murders are profiled, as well as the arrests of people who protested these killings.  (In one case a number of individuals were arrested for chalking messages on the sidewalk, on the grounds that washing off the chalk cost the city thousands of dollars.  Leading to a subsequent protest where a group of women chalked messages on a sidewalk and then washed it off with buckets of water and some brooms.)

Denison, a professional video editor for TV and movies, was himself beaten and thrown in jail for 3 days in August 2013, when he made a 911 call to report "improper conduct by police officers" when he viewed an instance of police brutality.  (Denison is white.)  Spurring him to make a documentary on what he views as Las Vegas's uniquely corrupt and abusive police department.

To be released in August to theaters (one Vegas theater that had planned to show it has allegedly been pressured by the police to drop it), What Happened in Vegas was screened Thursday in Las Vegas at FreedomFest, the annual libertarian festival.

It was the 10th annual FreedomFest, organized by hard money investment advisor Mark Skousen.  The 2,000 attendees at FreedomFest skew older, whiter, wealthier and perhaps more "right libertarian," compared to other libertarian festivals - the defunct Southern California counter-cultural Libertopia, the off-the-grid New Hampshire PorcFest, or Washington D.C.'s annual International Students for Liberty Conference.  The exhibitors at FreedomFest are about half investment opportunities - everything from hard money gold bugs to start ups making pitches.  (2015 was the biggest FreedomFest, largely because Donald Trump was the keynote speaker - this year it's William Shatner Friday, following John Stossel on Thursday.  In 2016 there was a knock-down-drag-out debate between pro- and anti-Trump panelists, and a similar debate happens this weekend.)

But for the screening the Anthem Film Festival (a 3 day long event), FreedomFest became much more diverse, with many friends and family members of the men killed in attendance - one child began to cry and had to leave when video of the police beating and tasering Tashi Farmer appeared on screen.  Audience members asking questions during the panel discussion afterwards included a member of the New Black Panthers, who had been shown in the movie being arrested for being at one of the protests of the killings (the question: "Shouldn't there be the death penalty for cops who kill people without justification?")

It's too bad President Trump isn't still a candidate so that he might have been at FreedomFest.  One wonders if like Nixon opening China, President Trump might not be uniquely positioned to do something about corrupt and abusive police departments, coming up with some solution that encourages community policing, respects police as public servants, and also eliminates unwarranted searches and seizures and police strangling, shooting, and beating unarmed suspects.

President Trump unloaded earlier this week on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and when interviewed about this Senator Rand Paul observed that he had his own problems with Sessions, mainly because of Session's fondness for civil asset forfeiture, where government agencies, including local police departments, can seize assets (including cash) of people who are never convicted of a crime, and turn it into their agency's own slush fund.  Civil asset forfeiture alone would seem to be a practice that teaches police to view themselves as above the public, and in a predatory relation to the community.

One could hope for some opening where President Trump can give Attorney General Sessions some type of promotion, perhaps an Ambassadorship or an appointment to an international agency.  Then he could appoint someone with more respect for civil liberties and criminal justice reform - the attendees at FreedomFest would probably hope for something like retiring Judge Janice Rogers Brown or Georgetown Law School professor Randy Barnett.  But any Attorney General with a serious respect for the Bill of Rights and the need for criminal justice reform could help clean up situations like Las Vegas.  And perhaps help a Trump 2020 campaign make further inroads into more parts of the Democratic Party base the Democrats have for too long ignored.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shocker: Libertarian Party also colluded with Russia during campaign

Benedict writes on Facebook:

I communicated with the Russians in September as well. My comments to a journalist with the Russian newspaper "Izvestia" below. 
Question from Izvestia: Could you outline the key differences in how Russia is perceived by the Democrats and the Republicans, in your opinion? Which party is more inclined to cooperate with Moscow? What is your party's attitude towards Russia? Will your party be ready to restore the U.S.-Russia relation? 
(photo credit: Judd Weiss)
My response: While Democrats may say things that sound more peaceful than Republicans when it comes to dealing with other countries such as Russia, most actions taken by Republican and Democratic leadership are the same. Republicans and Democrats alike support an aggressive military, have supported bombing and invading numerous countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, and have supported global spying operations. In contrast, Libertarians support a non-interventionist foreign policy. In other words Libertarians want to have friendship and trade with Russia, but stay out of Russia's domestic affairs and relationships with other countries. If Libertarian Gary Johnson is elected President, I think you will see a more peaceful posture from the U.S., something that will hopefully be contagious, and lead to less military spending and conflict worldwide, and greater peace and prosperity worldwide.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Donald Trump Jr., Patriot and TrustBuster

Published yesterday at The Daily Caller.

After a week of calls for Donald Trump, Jr. to be impeached for meeting with Russians promising opposition research, as well as calls that he be tried for treason, a few have some defenses.

To be fair many Republicans, and others, have watched Democrats and their media allies with mixtures of shock, contempt, and amusement.  These are the people who supported a candidate, Hillary Clinton, who helped transfer control of American uranium to Russian controlled firms, and the people who in the past idolized the late Ted Kennedy, who tried to involve the Soviet Union in campaigns to defeat Ronald Reagan's re-election.

Jonathan Turley has argued that no crime was committed, that there is only unwise nepotism.  Congressman David Brat has argued that everyone in D.C. colludes.   This weekend on Megyn Kelly's new NBC Sunday show, Trump advisor Michael Caputo said that the meeting was a mistake but that “There was no collusion. Do you think that place was organized enough to collude with the lunch counter across the street?  It just wasn’t.”

Caputo's assessment actually comports with what Democrats have been telling us for months.  Democrats claim that the Trump White House is so disorganized it hasn't achieved anything (other than undoing Obama Executive Orders, appointing a Supreme Court Justice with a long shelf life, proposing a balanced budget, and keeping Democrats off balance and losing every election). Democrats also claimed that the Trump campaign was disorganized and ineffective before the election - even as the Hillary data science and marketing mandarins fought turf wars with each other that kept her campaign paralyzed and flailing.

I think all these people miss the mark.

Donald Trump Jr. is a patriot.  And a trust buster.

The United States has a media oligopoly, and it's a partisan oligopoly that colludes and tampers with American elections.

One could view the (formerly) socialist Russians involvement (if any) in bringing the emails of Hillary, John Podesta, and the DNC to light as a correction of the market failure of American journalism.  Something liberals should approve of, since they like socialist corrections of market failures.

(Of course liberals always like it when the socialism is for them - NPR, opera funding, law school student loans - just as they like free markets - Uber drivers, charter schools, Handy, TAKL, and TaskRabbit servants - when they need something at a cheap price.)

One could argue that the American Democratic media monopoly (Rush Limbaugh now argues that the media is the actual ruling party, and the Democratic Party merely a cover for their campaigns) isn't a product of the market.  Libertarians have long argued that monopolies aren't a product of markets, but of government barriers to entry. (They are actually adopting the work of a celebrated socialist historian, Gabriel Kolko, who argued in books like The Trump of Conservatism that Progressive Era and New Deal expansion of regulation were usually done to protect big business from new competitors).

Americans like to think of our media as being one area of life that is unregulated, thanks to the First Amendment.  But this fails to see how it is connected to the whole of our very regulated economy, to see in Frederic Bastiat's phrase not just what is seen but what is not seen.

And what is not seen is that CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major components of the Democratic media oligopoly are Political Action Committees.  They donate billions of dollars to favored candidates in like kind services and free advertising.  And they do it in part because PACS and their campaign spending are regulated.  Except for t ! he loophole of doing it through media corporation instead of through a corporate PAC.  A system of regulation that distorts markets and leads people like Jeff Bezos to buy the Washington Post for $300 million (even as he earned $600 million from an Amazon contract with the CIA) since he is not allowed to donate $300 million to a party or candidate.

In this environment - where media largely ignore and downplay Hillary's pay for play schemes, like the one that transferred a huge chunk of U.S. uranium to Russian controlled corporations - Donald Trump Jr.'s looking for opposition research is just old fashioned Rooseveltian trust busting and the height of patriotism.  And prissy hectoring that he should have reported the proposed meeting to the FBI and DOJ - the former run by the erratic James Comey, who was rewriting the law to keep Hillary out of prison, the latter by Loretta Lynch, who was secretly meeting with presidential campaigns at airports and granting special waivers to Russian honey pots trying to entrap the Trump campaign in scandals - are ridiculous.

The swamp has no moral authority to lecture Donald Trump Jr. on how he could have behaved better.

Off with their heads

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mother of Tashii Farmer-Brown to Hold Press Conference at Anthem Film Festival


Mother of Tashii Farmer-Brown to Hold Press Conference at Anthem Film Festival

Las Vegas, NV - The mother of Tashii Farmer-Brown, a black man who was killed in May by a police officer in a parking lot outside the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel, will give her first press conference July 20, 2017, following a screening of “What Happened in Vegas” at the Anthem Film Festival. Tashii is featured in the documentary, which includes moving footage from his funeral. The funeral was closed to the press, and his mother has refused previous requests for interviews.

“What Happened in Vegas,” directed by Ramsey Denison, documents four murder cases in which all of the victims were killed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers: Tashii, choked to death after asking a police officer for help; Trevon Cole, a small-time drug dealer; Erik Scott, a decorated ex-army officer and West Point graduate shot in a Costco parking lot; and Stanley Gibson, a disoriented combat army veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Also attending the post-screening press conference will be family members of the other victims; director Ramsey Denison; Larry Burns, a 27-year veteran of the LVMPD and former candidate for sheriff; and Neill Franklin, executive director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership).

The film screening is open to members of the press and begins at 3:20pm PT.  The press conference will follow the film at approximately 4:50pm PT.  Both events will take place in the Versailles 3 room of the Paris Las Vegas Conference Center, July 20, 2017.

For media credentials to the film screening and/or to the press conference, contact Norann Dillon at Norann@FreedomFest.com or 855-850-3733 x206.  Media are asked to check in at the main registration desk in the Exhibit Hall (Concord Ballroom).

For information on the Anthem Film Festival, contact Jo Ann Skousen at JSkousen@AnthemFilm.com or 407-620-9025.  

The Anthem Libertarian Film Festival focuses on films about individuality, choice and accountability. It is part of FreedomFest, an annual event that brings together over 2,000 attendees and 250 speakers with sessions on public policy, history, science & technology, art & literature, health & wellness, investments and economics. FreedomFest has been called “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.”   This year’s conference runs July 19-22, 2017, at the Paris Las Vegas.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Milo Takes Manhattan

This was published yesterday at the Daily Caller.

Waiting in a slightly chaotic line outside Milo Yiannapolous's book party on the Lower East Side last week, a rumor spread that Ann Coulter would be in attendance.  "She has a condo in Manhattan," reported one Milo fan.  When I wondered aloud if we'd see Miss Coulter dancing, a security/line minder said "She may be here but she won't be dancing."

Inside later as far as I could see there was no Coulter, dancing or otherwise, among the Milo fans, nearly a thousand of them, mainly tall, youngish, good looking, and often rather jacked.  Slightly more male than female, and probably slightly more straight than gay, with a goodly sprinkling of fans who were not white, despite critics' claim that Milo is a promoter (along with President Trump and anyone else who challenges "liberal" orthodoxy) of white nationalism.

Still, there were other celebrities-we-love-to-hate in attendance.  I had a drink with a very charming (and upbeat, despite news reports) Martin Shkreli, the multi-millionaire investor who now faces legal problems.  Shkreli, who had made a non-endorsement endorsement of Trump toward the end of last year's presidential campaign, also famously tried to donate to the Bernie campaign, only to have his check returned.  I asked Mr. Shkreli: "Trump, Bernie, but no Gary Johnson, no Jill Stein, but you dislike Hillary?"  His replies:  "I like to keep an open mind," and "My main issue is capital gains taxes.  I asked McCain, Obama, and Hillary about capital gains.  McCain said he would lower them; Obama said he would raise them a little.  Clinton talked for an hour and never answered the question."

Mr. Shkreli was worth $70 million before his legal troubles.  Miss Coulter is reported to be worth just over $8 million.  To date, the way Coulter makes her money doesn't entangle her in the web of trip wires of the regulatory state, thanks to the First Amendment, though Antifa and other rioters on the left are keeping Coulter and Milo from speaking on major college campuses.  Milo is reportedly only worth half as much as Coulter, in a way proving one of his contentions - that the gender wage gap does not exist.

Still, Milo is catching up with her.  The party began with an announcement that the first run of his new book, "Dangerous," had sold out of its first printing of 100,000, just by pre-orders.  So even though Coulter is taller, and thinner, and richer, and a natural blond, Milo is catching up.  Which is good since his new director of research, Chadwick Moore, keeps organizing these events with hundreds of guests with open bars featuring signature cocktails and handsome caterers passing out plentiful hors d'oeuvres.  The stories covering the parties are no doubt worth it as advertising, but Milo Inc. now has about 30 staffers, including a director of revenue and a chief events planner.

Milo's success is based on the same formulae that fuels Coulter's sales and Trump's electoral victory - blunt, and often comic, talk (or tweets) about topics the mainstream media, academe, and "liberal" orthodoxy say you can't speak about.  Milo does this with a certain flair calculated to excite his various fans.  His critics both misunderstand him and also want to smear him as a racist, Alt Right campaign strategist, political journalist, or media critic.  He is instead rather self-consciously Oscar Wilde touring America - though in his case he wants to become a permanent resident.  Appearing on stage at the Delancey Street book party in custom couture, a dazzling jacket that could have come from the wardrobes of Liberace or Elvis Presley, amid midgets wearing name tags identifying them as conservative writer and speaker "Ben Shapiro" (there is a feud there), and ISIS Varga girls in fishnet stockings, hijab, and black bikinis, it's clear that Milo is a performance artist first, and a political philosopher, if at all, second.

Talking to the 20-  and 30-somethings at both the book launch and at Milo's "Coming Out Conservative" party (held a few weeks before at a secret location on the Upper East Side), the modal political position of his young fans is that they are "libertarians...but" with the but usually being immigration, and sometimes abortion.  (At the second party a handsome young law student quizzes me about what publications I write for and what my politics are, and sums it up as "you are either a globalist or a nationalist.")

Milo's actual beliefs might some day turn out to surprise some of his followers, much as libertarians are sometimes reminded that one of their Nobel Laureate economists, F.A. Hayek, actually supported a small welfare state and modest redistribution of wealth, even while opposing central planning and regulation of markets.  Yiannapolous inflames the left simply by opposing identity politics and political correctness that tell people what they are supposed to believe based on their group identity, and what they are allowed and not allowed to say.  This alone makes him Dangerous to a ruling political class that sees electoral losses and falling support in polls, and doesn't want to lose its hold on the young and hip.

But if one listens closely to Milo interviews, it's not clear he goes as far as some libertarians or conservatives might, despite his support of President Trump.  In his interview with David Rubin it seems that despite his criticism of feminists, Milo is supportive of equal pay for equal work laws - which mean the State will be analyzing and classifying which jobs are equal to which.  But, this won't deter his supporters, who like Shkreli simply want the freedom to have an open mind, and cheer Milo on for breaking down any barriers erected against that.

Qatar - a way out

Published at Daily Caller last week.


Qatar’s support for international terrorism has resulted in a blockade by nine governments who have severed ties with Qatar since June 5th. Five other countries have downgraded their ties with Qatar to pressure the emirate to change its policies regarding groups like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other extremists. 

It seems unlikely the conflict will escalate into open war.  Qatar is home to the largest U.S. Military base in the Middle East.

(In popular American culture, Selina Meyer, Julia-Louis Dreyfus's character on the season finale of Veep, instituted her own Qatari blockade, dumping her wealthy Qatari boyfriend so that she could prepare for another run for president in the HBO show's 7th season next year, without any "Muslim baggage".)

The Arab-led coalition seeks to end Qatar’s support for terrorist groups like Hamas and to end the use of the country by terrorism financiers. Another important goal is to end Qatar’s support of hate preachers like Yusuf Qaradawi, an Islamic thinker who has used convoluted reasoning to suggest that suicide bombers are permissible from a religious perspective. His opinion flies in the face of centuries of previous Islamic jurisprudence. However, given access to Qatari media outlets like Al-Jazeera, he can amplify this voice.

During Ramadan the people of Qatar faced shortages. Around the same time, the ruler of Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim attended a lavish Ramadan dinner which was attended by Yusuf Qaradawi.

While Qatar’s rulers were busy entertaining Qaradawi, the other Arab states were working on a way through the crisis.  Saudi Arabia put forward 13 principles which Qatar must abide by to end the blockade. 

The demands are basically to shutdown Qatari state-backed media and its ties to terrorist groups. Also, Qatar must downgrade ties with Iran and Turkey. Iran is a terrorist threat. While the Gulf states all have a favorable view of Turkey, the issue is that even a small Turkish military presence will only add more tinder to a combustible reason.

U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson has conceded that the demands “will be very difficult to meet," however the alternative – a continued Qatari support for terrorism is unthinkable. 

Indeed Tillerson in a press statement noted that the principles could serve as a road map out of the crisis. The statement says that it  "significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to a resolution."

Taken on their whole the agreement is one which will re-establish order and peace in a region and return the rogue state of Qatar into the fold of honorable nations.

The 13 principles come after several previous efforts to end the crisis. Qatar’s Tamim previously turned down an overture from President Trump to meet at the White House to solve the dispute. Both Kuwait and Oman have also tried to intervene in a  manner to end the crisis. 

Qatar has already rejected the demands as a dead letter. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that  "siege of Qatar is unacceptable" in a statement last week after the principles were unveiled.

However, despite the difficulties the White House should pressure the government of Qatar to accept these demands or risk losing the right to host American forces. We cannot allow a country to be our ally during the day and send money to terrorists at night.  Qatari elite need to reconsider these policies and these modest reforms will help preserve its status as an important U.S. ally and save its chance to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Falling asleep in front of the TV

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