Archive | February, 2016

Libertarians on Campaign 2016 – Super Tuesday Eve Edition

29 Feb
Bruce Majors
Washington, D.C..

Prissertarian – a libertarian who face palms with his liberal friends over Trump’s outrageous antics, instead of learning why they appeal to so many native or potential libertarian voters.

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Walter Olson
Howard County, Maryland
Donald Trump, speaking today: “We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.” Trump also said of Amazon, whose Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, a newspaper that just ran an editorial seeking to rally opposition to Trump: “If I become president, oh do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”
The President has no direct power to change libel law, which consists of state law constrained by constitutional law as laid out by the Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan. A President could appoint Justices intent on overturning the press protections of Sullivan or promote a constitutional amendment to overturn it. Assuming one or the other eventually was made to happen, further changes in libel law would probably require action at the state level, short of some novel attempt to create a federal cause of action for defamation.
But although Trump is unlikely to obtain the exact set of changes he outlines, the outburst is psychologically revealing. To begin with, it further confirms how if elected he intends to govern: Trump would rule by fear. 
Donald Trump has been filing and threatening lawsuits to shut up critics and adversaries over the whole course of his career. He dragged reporter Tim O’Brien through years of litigation over a relatively favorable Trump biography that assigned a lower valuation to his net worth than he thought it should have. He sued the Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic for calling one of his planned buildings silly and ugly. He used the threat of litigation to get an investment firm to fire an analyst who correctly predicted that the Taj Mahal casino would not be a financial success. He sued comedian Bill Maher over a joke. 
Having written about the evils of litigation for 25 years, I do not want a President who embodies litigiousness.
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Bruce Majors
Washington, DC
One part of the Rand Paul campaign postmortem must be why an anti-American animus that seeped into the Ron Paul liberty movement prevented Rand from originating the slogan “Make America great again”

What if Hillary’s indicted?

29 Feb

What if Hillary’s indicted?: It’s less unlikely than it was, and would throw an enormous wrench into this primary season.

Students for Liberty projects seek support

29 Feb
Local projects run by chapters of Students for Liberty from around the globe are nominated for awards at the international Students for Liberty conference.

Most of the nominees attend the conference held in Washington, D.C., and some stay in the U.S. As tourists for a week or two after.

One SFL student, the Ukraine’s Oleg Sirenko, is traveling through the mid-Atlantic and northeast for 10 days, in Washington, D.C., Monday, February 29 and Boston and New York in March.  If you’d like to meet him and hear about the Liberty Classes project in the Ukraine, which the organizers seek to expand into Russia and Bylorussia contact him:  osirenko@studentsforliberty.org .

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2016 Students for Liberty project nominees

Student of the Year
  • Anna Shnaidman — Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
  • Cory Massimino — Seminole State College (USA)
  • Fernando Moreno — Universidad Santa María (Ecuador)
  • Julio Lins – Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (Brazil)
  • Louis Lo – University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
  • Yeonmi Park – Columbia University (USA/North Korea)
Event of the Year
  • El Toborochi y la Libertad — Universidad Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
  • Debate to Decriminalize Prostitution — Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
  • Gustavo Franco lecture — DCE Ibmec (Brazil)
  • Liberal Youth Seminar (Hong Kong)
  • Liberty Classes — Kyiv National Economic University (Ukraine)
Student Group of the Year
  • Ajuricaba – Manaus, Amazon (Brazil)
  • Eagles for Liberty — Florida Gulf Coast University (USA)
  • EsLibertad Venezuela — Universidad Central de Venezuela (Venezuela)
  • Maastricht Students For Liberty — Maastricht University (Netherlands)
  • Students for Individual Liberty — University of Virginia (USA) 

Gary Johnson and Students for Liberty 2016

28 Feb

Students for Libertarian 2016, the 9th annual international Students for Liberty, felt a bit smaller than the 8th, which had nearly 2,000 attendees from every inhabited continent.

Held, like last year’s conference, at the Wardman Park Hotel in Woodley Park between the National Zoo and downtown Washington, D.C., there seemed to be fewer students from African and Asian chapters than in 2015, though eastern European and Latin American chapters were well represented, and activists and chapters and events from Latin America were nominated for and won many awards.

Friday night began with an excursion for gay libertarians to a local gay disco, a panel on the election with columnist George Will and reason magazine editors Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie, as well as an interview with a founder of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who wore a Bernie Sanders T-shirt and asked the attendees to support Bernie Sanders.

The Koch brothers partially funded the conference, donating $100,000 toward its budget.  So in a way, besides Charles Koch’s recent op ed on how Bernie Sanders is right that the system is rigged, ISFLC16 represented a kind of donation from the Kochs to the Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

The pro-Bernie theme continued during the annual taping of a John Stossel show at ISFLC.  Stossel’s show (to air this coming Friday) will be much more lackluster than usual, with 5 segments, with a mainly female guest list, most discussing the campaign including Sanders.  One, Jerry Taylor of the not-so-popular, “liberaltarian” Niskanen Institute, will be promoted in teasers as a libertarian endorsing Bernie (there is such a person, Terry Michaels, a former DNC spokesperson and contributor to reason).  But Taylor really argued that libertarians should give up being principled and should become advocates of an expanded welfare state combined with a reduced regulatory state, like northern European countries that now outrank the U.S. on the various indices of economic freedom.  In another segment the glamorous Emily Eakin (PhD) discusses poling results, millennial voters, and Sanders.

Overall ISFLC was somewhat muted.  Besides Will, the major dinner speaker was P.J. O’Rourke.  Other speakers included imprisoned internet entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht’s mom Lynn, NSA whistle blower Thomas Drake, Vermin Supreme, and the Prince of Lichtenstein.  (Previous year’s speakers or Stossel guests included Mexican President Vincente FOX, shock jock Ann Coulter, civil liberties martyr Edward Snowden, and film maker Oliver Stone.)

Presidential straw poll fail – Students for Liberty 2016

28 Feb
Students for Liberty held a straw poll where anyone could vote on the internet for a favored presidential candidate.

Taking a page from libertarian clicktivists themselves, Trump supporters, among others, started voting before the 9th annual international Students for Liberty conference began, with a result that Trump was in the lead.

ISFLC2016 organizers then deleted all the votes and reset the poll to begin when the conference began this Friday evening (in Washington, D.C.) and end today at noon as the conference ended.

Outsiders continued to vote and the results were:  Governor Gary Johnson 3rd, former FOX Business assistant producer Austin Petersen 2nd, and Senator Ted Cruz winning first place.

At other points in the convention at happy hours and informal events, the minority of older (40+) libertarians in attendance had post mortems of the Rand Paul campaign, concluding that Rand’s campaign was done in primarily by a lack of funding, in part because the Koch brothers, insulated by a bubble of long term senescent toadies, refused to donate significantly to the pro-Paul PACs or urge their donor network to do so, and in part, as one non-student libertarian opined, because Rand Paul can sometimes be a “thin skinned little bitch.”

Join us at the Fifth European Students For Liberty Conference in Prague

28 Feb

Libertarian candidate debate fund

28 Feb
When candidates seeking our presidential nod come to visit us and share their vision for the next campaign, their visits cost them money and time.  Unlike the corporate-funded candidates of the old parties, our candidates are working people like you, and the money they need to make their case has to come from the donors who want to see them!

The Chesterfield Libertarian Party is donating $100 toward the lodging & travel costs for the LP Presidential candidates coming to the Convention.  What better way to welcome these hard-working candidates to Virginia?

To receive these donations, your LPVA has established the “Convention Fund”.  To help using a credit card, just go to:http://Contribute.LPVA.com

Oh — and by the way — the Rocktown Libertarians in Harrisonburg are donating also with a $50 donation.  The overall goal for the Convention Fund is $1,000.  Can you help us get the rest of the way there?  Please answer the Chesterfield & Rocktown groups with a matching donation of $100 (or whatever amount you or your local party can spare)!

Remember, “Convention Fund” donations can be made by visiting: http://Contribute.LPVA.com

If you would prefer to send a check or money order, make them payable to “Libertarian Party of Virginia” and mail to:

        LPVA Convention Fund
        c/o M Montoni
        PO Box 864
        Dayton VA  22821-0864

Thank you for your time and consideration.  Please help today!