Boaz:”A Libertarian Ticket Sane Republicans Can Get Behind”

Lots of Republicans are looking for a sane alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and it looks like the Libertarian Party has just given it to them, now that former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has joined former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s ticket.

It’s the first time two governors have shared a presidential ticket since Republicans Thomas E. Dewey of New York and Earl Warren of California narrowly lost to incumbent President Harry Truman in 1948.

Many observers think experience as a governor is the best preparation for the job of president. Johnson and Weld would bring 14 years of gubernatorial experience to the White House, while neither Trump nor Clinton has ever served as governor or even mayor.

Johnson and Weld were both elected and re-elected in Democratic states, and dealt with heavily Democratic legislatures.

Neither Johnson nor Weld is a purist libertarian, and both have come under fire within the Libertarian Party, which will nominate its candidates in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend. Johnson displeased many libertarians (including me) by saying that government should ban discrimination on the basis of religion, including requiring a Christian baker to bake and decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. Weld has supported some gun control measures.

But they will present a clear alternative to Trump and Clinton: strong and coherent fiscal conservatism, social liberalism, drug-policy reform, criminal-justice reform, reining in mass surveillance, ending executive abuse of power, and a prudent foreign policy that is neither promiscuously interventionist nor erratic and bombastic — all grounded in a philosophical commitment to liberty and limited government.

Full Commentary by David Boaz @ The Cato Institute

Lee Fang:”Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California”

Roughly half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted.

Drug war money has become a notable source of funding for law enforcement interests. Huge government grants and asset-seizure windfalls benefit police departments, while the constant supply of prisoners keeps the prison business booming.

Opposition to the marijuana legalization initiative, slated to go before voters in November, has been organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell’s Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, a committee he created to defeat the pot initiative, raised $60,000 during the first three months of the year, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month.

The funds came from groups representing law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization. Other donors include the California Teamsters union and the California Hospital Association, as well as Sam Action, an anti-marijuana advocacy group co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.
Full Post @ The Intercept

Ron Unz on Iraq War Disaster

In 2002, President George W Bush used the Republican Party to push America into a pre-emptive war on Iraq, with claims that Saddam Hussein’s government was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, and an implied claim that the Hussein regime had aided the 9/11 hijackers. Both claims have been proved false, but the war left America with trillions of dollars in debt, thousands of dead soldiers, tens of thousands of wounded, and moral responsibility for the deaths of many Iraqis and the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure.

Americans repudiated the Republican Party in the 2006 elections for Congress and the 2008 election of President Barack Obama. Few Republicans have learned the lesson, and many Republicans continue to defend the policies of George W Bush. Ron Unz is a maverick Republican running for U.S. Senate in California’s open primary in June. Ron Unz has joined with Ron Paul in denouncing the Iraq War, and on his campaign site gives his view of the Iraq war disaster:

Despite being total failures, the same people responsible for the Iraq War still dominate the foreign policy of both the Democratic and Republican Parties. As a Republican U.S. Senator I would work to remove them from all national influence.

A decade ago my old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who ran the National Security Agency for Ronald Reagan, publicly declared that the Iraq War was the “greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history”.

He was exactly correct then, and his judgment seems even more prescient today, as the rise of the Islamic State and other powerful extremist groups has led to an endless cycle of war and terrorism in the Middle East, now directly threatening European and American cities. Furthermore, prominent economists have estimated that the long-term cost of the war to our country may run as high as five trillion dollars.

Most of our recent foreign wars in the Middle East area, under both the Bush and the Obama Administrations, have been expensive and immoral foreign policy disasters. Republicans Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan were right about these issues, as were all the other experts, both liberal and conservative, who have been saying the same thing.

I don’t necessarily claim to have the solutions to the ongoing Middle Eastern crisis, but nothing useful can be accomplished until we admit that the Iraq War was a total disaster and absolutely not in our national interest. Today, the exact same individuals who promoted the war still absolutely dominate the foreign policy of the Republican Party and are also very influential within the Democratic Party. Until we completely repudiate them and their dreadful mistakes, we will not be able to move forward.