Governor Gary Johnson On Easing Relations With Cuba: “The Free Market is a More Powerful Force for Good Than Is a Government-Imposed Embargo.”

December 19, 2014, Salt Lake City, UT — Governor Gary Johnson, Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative, released the following statement regarding easing sanctions on Cuba:

“While reasonable people can disagree about the negotiations that were involved, easing restrictions and opening the door to broader economic and cultural relations with Cuba is the right thing to do — and long overdue.

Free markets, open communications and opportunities for the Cuban people to see the benefits of a less antagonistic relationship with the U.S. will accomplish that which five decades of barriers clearly has not accomplished.

Make no mistake, the Castro regime has done nothing to deserve reward. But the Cuban people have done nothing to deserve being locked out of the opportunities that a better relationship with the U.S. will bring.

The free market is a more powerful, and certainly more positive, force for good than is a government-imposed embargo. Congress should act to remove the barriers the President cannot remove administratively, and end the failed policy of trying to reform another nation by isolating it.”
Source: http://ouramericainitiative.tumblr.com/post/105615512289/governor-gary-johnson-on-easing-relations-with

Libertarian Party calls for shutting down CIA, criminal prosecutions

Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas J. Sarwark released the following statement today:

“The CIA’s practice of torture confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Report released on December 9 shows the agency engaged in reprehensible and illegal behaviors that were, in effect, war crimes.

“The CIA and politicians redacted the bulk of the government’s report, which remains withheld from public view. One can only speculate as to the additional horrors that lie within the rest of the report, given the gravity of what was revealed.

“These acts of torture were immoral, disgusting, and un-American. And worse still, they were ineffective.

“Yet the CIA and the Department of Justice, which sanctioned the torture, claim that it was legal and exhibit a shocking lack of remorse for the brutality inflicted on its victims.

“Whether it’s choking a man to death for selling loose cigarettes in New York or torturing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the government refuses to prosecute government employees who brutalize the vulnerable. When the government investigates itself, it almost always clears itself of any
wrongdoing.

“This is why we must shut down the CIA. Its 70-year history is littered with episodes of human rights violations, illegal activities, and deception, including:
•Targeted killings and assassinations
•Overthrowing democratically elected governments,
•Human experimentation, including giving the hallucinogenic drug LSD to U.S. and Canadian citizens without their knowledge
•Dealing heroin in Asia
•Spying on Americans, members of congress, and foreign leaders,
•Shipping war prisoners to foreign countries where torture is permissible (‘extraordinary rendition’).
•Lying to Congress

“The CIA is one of sixteen U.S. spy agencies that should have been severely downsized if not abolished during the alleged ‘consolidation’ of the U.S. government’s spy apparatus in 2004.

“But rather than downsize, politicians merely added another layer of bureaucracy, increased government spending, and expanded government authority.
Full release from The Libertarian Party @ http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian-party-calls-for-shutting-down-cia-criminal-prosecutions

Jesse Walker:The Last Words of Eric Garner-the ultimate political litmus test

Eric Garner’s final words may be the ultimate political litmus test:

Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tire of it. It stops today. (…) I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. Please. Please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. (garbled) I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

That’s the statement of a man who was being choked figuratively long before he was choked literally. He is asserting his dignity, and then he’s being killed for it. Commentators have seen a host of social problems in Garner’s death: the impunity of abusive cops, the literally lethal consequences of criminalizing so much nonviolent behavior, the ways the effects of both that impunity and that criminalization fall more heavily on blacks than on whites. And they’re right on all those counts. But underlying all that is something more primal and universal. Eric Garner died because he decided to demand what should be the first right of any human being in a decent society: the right to peacefully live your life without being molested.

Jesse Walker looks at what is really the dividing line between libertarians who defend a civilization based on live and let live, and the barbarians who are turning America into a police state http://reason.com/blog/2014/12/04/eric-garners-final-words

Tuccille:”Eric Garner’s Murder Reveals the Ugly Core of Government and Law Enforcement”

…they really didn’t want one of their strong-arm men put out over the murder of Eric Garner. The grand jury in that case declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in what seemed a clear-cut case of over-the-top brutality. Even the Medical Examiner ruled Garner’s death a “homicide.”

Here we have Garner, a guy allegedly selling loosies—single cigarettes—which are a perfectly legal product. Why is he supposedly selling loosies? Because New York officials inflict on their long-suffering subjects the highest cigarette tax in the country at at $4.35 per pack, plus another $1.50 levied in the city itself. It’s not a popular tax, with smuggled smokes making up 60.9 percent of the market. So the powers that be unleash the cops to enhance revenue by tracking down shipments of smuggled cigarettes and, on occasion, putting the occasional small-time street vendor in an illegal chokehold.

Which is to say, Eric Garner was murdered for the purposes of revenue enhancement.

And also, let’s be clear, because when you unleash armies of thugs on the population to enforce every petty law, they’re soon going to acquire an attitude. Eventually, telling a cop, “Please just leave me alone,” as Garner told the cops rousting him, becomes an unacceptable act of defiance. It’s interpreted as an invitation to swarm a man suspected of selling handfuls of untaxed cigarettes and wrestle him to the ground.

Jerry Tuccille looks at the progressive police state that is New York City, and sees America’s future if we don’t stop it @ http://reason.com/blog/2014/12/04/eric-garners-murder-reveals-the-ugly-cor

Kelly Vlahos:”The Military-Industrial Candidate”

Analysts were right to say that the Republican takeover of Congress bodes well for the war machine: already we see the levers of power slowly shifting in reverse, eager to get back to salad days of post-9/11 wartime spending.

But waiting in the wings, Hillary Clinton just may prove to be what the defense establishment has been waiting for, and more. Superior to all in money, name recognition, and influence, she is poised to compete aggressively for the Democratic nomination for president. She might just win the Oval Office. And by most measures she would be the most formidable hawk this country has seen in a generation.

“It is clear that she is behind the use of force in anything that has gone on in this cabinet. She is a Democratic hawk and that is her track record. That’s the flag she’s planted,” said Gordon Adams, a national security budget expert who was an associate director in President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget.

Kelly Vlahos examines the record of Hilary Clinton, poised to be the next war President, @ The American Conservative http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-military-industrial-candidate/

California Propositions:Voters side with Libertarians

On November 4, Californians voted on 6 statewide propositions. The Libertarian Party took a stand on 5 of the issues http://calibertarianreport.com/2014/10/30/libertarian-party-on-the-california-propositions/

California voters sided with Libertarians on 3 of the propositions:
Voters joined with Libertarians in rejecting Proposition 45, which would have given the State Insurance Commissioner new powers to regulate rates charged by companies for medical insurance. Competition is the only way to limit the cost of medical insurance; excessive regulation drives companies out of the California market, and reduces competition.

Voters also sided with Libertarians in rejecting Proposition 46, which had two parts. The main part of Prop. 46 would have raised the cap on punitive damages in medical malpractice cases from $250,000 to $1,100,000. Punitive damages are in addition to actual pain and suffering damages, which are not limited. Raising punitive damages would result in higher costs for medical malpractice insurance and resulted in higher costs for medical procedures and for medical insurance.

Californians joined with Libertarians in voting to pass Proposition 47, which downgraded many non-violent crimes, including many drug offenses, from felony to misdemeanor. This will help to reduce overcrowding in California prisons and more importantly, stop the destruction of peoples lives that results when they are punished as felons for victimless crimes, or crimes that can be more easily remedied.

The top two system adopted by California voters several years ago has hurt alternative parties in the Golden State. But the results of the California vote in 2014 show that the libertarian message is still welcome here.

Bandow:”Republicans Take Senate, Likely to Push for More War”

Washington is at war in the Middle East. So what is new? Unfortunately, pressure for military intervention will grow with Republican control of the Senate. That body’s most war-happy members, such as John McCain, will enjoy increased influence.

The result of any new conflicts likely will be similar as before. America will be intervening again in a few years to try to clean up the mess it is creating today. And then going to war a few years after that for the same reason.

The U.S. is not bombing the Islamic State out of necessity. Rather, Washington is acting in response to past mistakes. ISIL exists only because the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003. That action grew out of George H.W. Bush’s first war against Baghdad. Which was tied to American support for Saddam Hussein against Iran the previous decade. Which grew out of the Iranian revolution, whose victors targeted Washington because of its backing for the ousted Shah of Iran.

Thus, Americans are paying the price for decisions to meddle in the Middle East made decades ago. Yet a Greek Chorus of those most responsible for today’s failed policies loudly demands that the U.S. again intervene.

Doug Bandow analyses the new influence of the Republican interventionists @ Cato http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/republicans-take-senate-likely-push-more-war-war-will-never-end