Hot Air Report:”Libertarian Party organizes national park cleanups”

Republicans and Democrats may be sniping at each other over the partial government shutdown, but it’s the Libertarian Party which is putting words to action. Libertarians have organized multiple national park cleanups over the last week to show maybe the government isn’t needed to provide services.

Libertarian Party National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark sees it as a real opportunity.

“As Libertarians, we advocate replacing federal taxpayer funding for many services with private charity or privatization. We wanted to show how this could be accomplished by volunteering in our local communities. We know that people are inherently generous with their time and energy. We want to set an example by calling on the public to join us in maintaining our beautiful parks and landmarks this weekend and throughout the government shutdown.”

The first cleanup was organized last Sunday with LP members, libertarians, anarchists, agorists, voluntarists, and more gathering at the National Mall in Washington D.C. do trash pickup and more. The interesting part about the project is it was inspired by a Facebook post on LP Membership Manager Jess Mears’ wall following media reports saying trash was piling up in the parks because of the partial shutdown.

Mears took it from there, creating a Facebook event which ended up drawing in a few dozen volunteers. She told me it was really worth taking time out of a Sunday to clean up the mall.

Full Report by Taylor Millard @ Hot Air https://hotair.com/archives/2019/01/13/libertarian-party-organizes-national-park-cleanups/

Alan Mosley on Eisenhower’s Opposition to Atom Bombing of Japan

In the summer of 1945, President Harry Truman found himself searching for a decisive blow against the Empire of Japan. Despite the many Allied victories during 1944 and 1945, Truman believed Emperor Hirohito would urge his generals to fight on. America suffered 76,000 casualties at the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and the Truman administration anticipated that a prolonged invasion of mainland Japan would result in even more devastating numbers. Even so, plans were drawn up to invade Japan under the name Operation Downfall.

The estimates for the potential carnage were sobering; the Joint Chiefs of Staff pegged the expected casualties at 1.2 million. Staff for Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur both expected over 1,000 casualties per day, while the personnel at the Department of the Navy thought the totals would run as high as four million, with the Japanese incurring up to 10 million of their own. The Los Angeles Times was a bit more optimistic, projecting one million casualties.

With those numbers, it’s no wonder the US opted to (literally) take the nuclear option by dropping Little Boy on Hiroshima on August 6, and then Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9. Japan formally surrendered 24 days later, sparing potentially millions of US servicemen and vindicating the horrifying-yet-necessary bombings.

At least this is the common narrative we’re all taught in grade school. But like so many historical narratives, it’s an oversimplification and historically obtuse.

Dissenting Opinions

When Truman signed off on the deployment of the newly-developed atomic bombs, he was convinced the Japanese were planning to prosecute the war to the bitter end. Many have argued that the casualty estimates compelled him to err on the side of caution for the lives of his boys in the Pacific. But this ignores the fact that other significant figures surrounding Truman came to the opposite conclusion. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, chief among the naysayers, said, “I was against (use of the atomic bomb) on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.” Although he made this statement publicly in 1963, he made the same argument to then-Secretary of War Henry Stimson in 1945, as recounted in his memoirs:

I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of “face.”

Another prominent figure who echoed Eisenhower’s sentiments was Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy. He ranked as the senior-most United States military officer on active duty during World War II and was among Truman’s chief military advisors. In his 1950 book I Was There, Leahy wrote, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.” With mainland Japan under a blockade, Japanese forces in China and Korea were effectively cut off from reinforcements and supplies.

Full Post by Alan Mosley @ F.E.E. https://tinyurl.com/y9skp7go

Reason:”Bill to End Federally Funded Kitten Murder Runs Into Opposition From Cat-Killing Bureaucrats”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D–Ore.) has decided to close out the year by introducing the most unobjectionable piece of legislation ever conceived.

Called the Kittens In Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act, or KITTEN Act, Merkley’s bill—introduced last week—aims to stop the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) current practice of killing off cats they breed for research, requiring instead that these kitties be put up for adoption.

“The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing, and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead,” Merkley said in a statement.

The bill is a response to revelations from the White Coat Waste Project, an anti-animal testing group, about the USDA’s practice of essentially using kittens as parasite incubators at its Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

Carlin Becker described the grizzly practice for Reason in September:

“Documents obtained by the [White Coat Waste Project] show the department has been breeding around 100 kittens a year for almost 50 years just to infect them with a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis, a disease that can lead to miscarriages and birth defects in humans and is a leading cause of death from foodborne illness. The department collects the kittens’ feces for two to three weeks and then simply euthanizes them with a shot of ketamine to the heart.”

This is a pretty shocking practice, considering the undeniable cuteness of the average kitten. It’s made worse by the fact that euthanizing the cats is almost certainly unnecessary.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the toxoplasma found in the research kitties’ poop only poses a risk to humans for up to three weeks after the animal is first infected. The parasite is easily treated in both humans and cats, and most people who become infected with toxoplasma do not even require treatment.

Nevertheless, the USDA has continued to defend the practice, arguing that it’s just following orders best practices in animal research, and that the risks to adoptive families are just too great to let these cats live.

“Our goal is to reduce the spread of toxoplasmosis. Adopting laboratory cats could, unfortunately, undermine that goal, potentially causing severe infections, especially with unborn children or those with immunodeficiencies,” a USDA spokesperson said to CNN back in May.

All things considered, this is a remarkable testament to a bureaucracy’s habit of just continuing to do the same thing it’s always done regardless of how cruel or unnecessary it might be. Indeed, it’s hard to think of anyone that could be opposed to ending needless, government euthanasia of potential fur babies.

No action has been taken on Merkley’s bill, as the text of his legilsation has not been released. A companion House bill—which would prohibit any “painful or stressful” USDA experimentation on cats—was introduced back in May, but has languished in committee for months.

Even in these divided times, one would hope that Americans could at least rally around the cause of saving a few cute kittens from needless, taxpayer-funded annihilation.

Source: http://reason.com/blog/2018/12/28/bill-to-end-unnecessary-federally-funded

California Republican Collapse: A Generation in the Making

Tuesday November 6, 2018 was a Red Letter day for Republicans in Indiana, Missouri, Florida, North Dakota and a few other states. In California “R” was the Scarlet Letter. California Republicans had their worst showing since the FDR landslide year of 1936.

In physics, Orange is created by mixing red light with yellow light. In California Congressional races, all the red drained out of Orange County. Not a single Republican was elected to Congress in Orange County, a long-time conservative stronghold.

Rep. Ken Calvert (Perris), elected in 1992, is now the senior Republican Congressman from California. Republicans lost Orange County, but they will always have Perris.

The election of 2018 was almost universally seen as a repudiation of President Trump. But the collapse of the California Republican Party was a generation in the making. In 1994 Republicans backed Proposition 187, directed against “illegal aliens” and saw short term political gains, including the re-election of Governor Pete Wilson, vulnerable after his support for hikes in the state sales tax. But the campaign for Proposition 187 demonized Mexicans, and the millions of Californians of Mexican descent, many of them Republicans, saw the Republican campaign as an attack on their communities. Republican support among Hispanic voters has never recovered.

The decline accelerated with the election of George W Bush as President in 2000. California rejected Bush, as did a majority of voters nationally. Taking office as a minority President, George W Bush pushed America into an aggressive war on Iraq.

The Iraq War resulted in the deaths of more than 5000 American soldiers and contractors. More than 40,000 Americans received life changing wounds. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly civilian, were murdered by American weapons of mass destruction, and many more were wounded, made homeless and impoverished by American WMD.

The initiation of force by order of President Bush put a stop to the work of weapons inspectors who were searching for WMD; inspectors left the country to avoid becoming casualties of U.S. bombs. After a complete occupation of Iraq, more than 2 years of inspections by U.S. government inspectors found no evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died because of Bush’s war based on lies. California voters rejected George W Bush when he sought re-election in 2004. California Republican leaders continued to loyally support President Bush, heedless of the wishes of most voters in California.

In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215 to legalize Marijuana for therapeutic use. A few Republicans supported compassionate use, but most Republican officeholders and party organizations opposed Prop. 215. In 2016 California voters passed Proposition 64, to legalize marijuana for personal use and to establish a framework for the legal production and sale of Marijuana. A few Republicans backed legalization, but most Republican officeholders opposed Proposition 64, again alienating most voters in California.

California voters support a pro-choice position on abortion. Many California Republican candidates have stressed a pro-choice position – Ed Zschau, Tom Campbell and most recently Meg Whitman in her 2010 campaign for Governor. But the anti-choice policies promoted by national Republican leaders alienate California voters.

Democrats won a big victory helped by a stress on issues – immigration, abortion, marijuana and foreign policy – where Republicans have supported active government. Democrats appear to back less government in dealing with these issues, although they often advocate new government actions to implement their views on these issues.

The parties in the various states have a responsibility to represent the voters of those states. The California Republican Party has instead tried to represent the national Republican policies and national Republican candidates to the people of California. California voters know that Republicans do not represent them, and in 2018 California voters asked Republicans to stop representing them in Congress.

Jason Ditz:”Jeff Bezos Puts the Pentagon on His Monopoly Board”

Speaking at the Wired 25th anniversary last month month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company will continue to accept Pentagon contracts. That includes a very controversial cloud-computing contract that Google and Microsoft have already backed out of due to vocal employee opposition to working with the U.S. military.

Amazon was long considered the front-runner for this contract, but Bezos’s rationale for taking it goes well beyond its being low-hanging fruit. He’s argued that the government’s job is to “make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular,” and that large tech companies should support those decisions irrespective of politics.

The $10 billion tied to the contract can’t hurt either. Whatever his motivation for sucking it up and taking one for team tech, Bezos’s public justification is a poor one, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Pentagon has a long history of immoral and reckless behavior, actions that objectively aren’t beneficial to the defense of the United States. Any company that blindly works with them does so at its own peril.

Employees at Google and Microsoft have already made a powerful case for why tech giants shouldn’t collaborate with the Defense Department. They don’t want to be responsible for developing technology that causes substantial harm, surveils others in violation of international norms, or contravenes human rights. The Pentagon can be counted on to do all three, and more.

Furthermore, the Pentagon’s growing interest in artificial intelligence (A.I.), particularly as it relates to warfighting, sounds out of the preamble for a dystopian novel. Hence why Google employees forced their company not to renew a controversial Pentagon contract in June involving A.I. While Amazon will be signing on to cloud computing, not A.I., it’s still more than a little concerning that Bezos was so adamant about the virtues of the DoD. (For what it’s worth, Amazon already works with the CIA.)

But Amazon has an interest that extends far beyond this single deal. The real prize is to become the military’s sole procurement source for off-the-shelf components. Disdainfully labeled Amazon.mil by critics, this initiative is a result of a congressional mandate that the Pentagon shift procurement to a single online marketplace.

The mandate is supposed to save the Pentagon money when buying run-of-the-mill items like bottled water. It would also give Amazon, the presumptive facilitator, a virtual monopoly on selling a vast array of items to a government department with nearly limitless money that’s notorious for overpaying for things.

Amazon is one of very few online companies that could even claim to provide this sort of service. In eagerly contracting with the Pentagon elsewhere, Bezos is laying the groundwork for this much bigger relationship.

Full Commentary by Jason Ditz @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/amazon-joins-the-military-to-further-its-dominance/

Ron Paul: Liberty Is Still Popular

Listening to the media, one would be forgiven for thinking that the “Libertarian Moment” has passed. After all, few candidates are running on a platform of limited government, individual liberty, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Instead, both parties push expansions of government power, whether nationalized health care, increased surveillance, or tariffs. And for all the partisan invective coming out of D.C., both parties are more than willing to work together to increase spending and debt.

However, a poll from last month conducted by Liberty Government Affairs and Gravis Marketing, shows that liberty is still popular. It also shows that a growing number of Americans are rejecting the D.C. consensus on many issues.

For example, the foreign policy establishment insists that America must stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to achieve victory—even though no one can define what victory would look like. The Liberty-Gravis poll found that 46.1 percent of Americans favor withdrawal from Afghanistan. Only 29.1 percent of Republicans support continuing to stay, while 37.4 percent of Republicans disagree with President Trump, and agree with candidate Trump, that the U.S. should end its longest war.

The drug war is another issue where grassroots Republicans disagree with most Republicans politicians. Forty-seven percent of Republicans in this poll support ending the war on marijuana, compared to 34 percent of Republicans who support continuing marijuana prohibition. Ending the federal war on marijuana is also overwhelmingly popular with Democrats and Independents. Legalizing marijuana is yet another issue where voters side with candidate Trump over President Trump—or at least his authoritarian Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The poll does not just contain bad news for the authoritarians of the right. The survey found that 46.6 percent of Democrats answered “yes” to supporting politicians who would “seek to reduce the size of the federal government, lower federal taxes, and end continuing conflicts abroad.”

Full Commentary by former Congressman Ron Paul @ Reason https://reason.com/archives/2018/10/29/liberty-is-still-popular

Gravis Marketing Poll @ https://www.libertygovernmentaffairs.com/news

Libertarian Party of California Voting Guide

The Libertarian Party of California has posted recommendations on the propositions on the California Ballot.
The Libertarian Party calls for a No Vote on the bond issues – Propositions 1, 2, 3, & 4:

Proposition 1: Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 Vote NO
Proposition 2: No Place like Home Act of 2018 Vote NO
Proposition 3: Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018 Vote NO
Proposition 4: Children’s Hospital Bond Act of 2018 Vote NO

The Libertarian Party urges a Yes Vote on Proposition 5 & Proposition 6
Proposition 5: People’s Initiative to Protect Proposition 13 Savings Vote strong>YES
Proposition 6: Voter Approval for Increases in Gas and Car Tax Vote YES

The Libertarian Party has no position on Proposition 7, concerning Daylight Savings

The Libertarian Party urges a No Vote on Proposition 8, Proposition 10, and Proposition 11
Proposition 8: Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act Vote NO
Proposition 10: Affordable Housing Act Vote NO
Proposition 11: Emergency Ambulance Employee Safety and Preparedness Vote NO

The Complete Libertarian Voting Guide to the California Propositions includes explanations of the
Propositions on the Libertarian Party stand on the issue: see the Guide @ https://ca.lp.org/voting-guide/