California: Vote No on Debt and Taxes!

On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on whether to issue 9 billion dollars in bonds to pay for school facilities, and whether to extend temporary tax hikes on high earners.

Proposition 51 authorizes the state to issue 9 billion dollars in bonds to pay for construction and repair of facilities for public schools, charters schools and community colleges. The bonds will cost the taxpayers 8.6 billion dollars in interest, for a total cost of $17.6 billion dollars. The state will have to collect a half billion dollars a year in taxes for 35 years to pay back these bonds.

Governor Jerry Brown opposes this new bond issue, because the state has too much debt already. Libertarians favor a system of private schools for all, with scholarships for those who need help paying tuition. This will guarantee access to education for all, while transferring the capital cost of school construction from the taxpayers to private and corporate educational businesses. Governor Jerry Brown and The Libertarian Party urge you to vote No on more debt, Vote No on Proposition 51.

Proposition 55 will extend for 12 years income tax hikes on residents earning $250,000 a year or more. Governor Jerry Brown promoted temporary tax hikes in 2012, and he favors letting the tax increases expire. California already puts a high cost on success, making the state less welcoming to successful individuals and successful companies. We must create a business climate that promotes economic growth in order to keep Californians working and productive. We need tax cuts for economic growth, not tax hikes. Governor Jerry Brown and The Libertarian Party urge you to vote against high taxes, Vote No on Proposition 55.

Proposition 53 is an amendment to the California Constitution that will require voter approval of revenue bonds if the issue exceeds 2 billion dollars. The Constitution now requires approval by the voters for bonds dedicated to funding specific projects, but does not require voter approval for general purpose revenue bonds. Proposition 53 will make it harder for the state to go more into debt. The Libertarian Party urges you to Vote Yes on Proposition 53.

Protect Medical Marijuana: Vote Yes on Proposition 64

On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on a proposal to legalize possession of marijuana for adults, and, finally, legalize production and sale of marijuana. Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over; it also establishes a regulatory framework for the legal production, distribution and sale of marijuana and marijuana products.

Proposition 64 embeds in the California Constitution the rights of medical marijuana patients as established by Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420. Proposition 64 states (Section 4.6,11362.3(f) that rights of medical marijuana users established by Proposition 215 and subsequent legislation will not be abridged. This includes the right of medical marijuana users to grow marijuana beyond the six plants allowed for recreational users. While medical marijuana users will have to pay the 15% tax on retail sales of marijuana, they are exempt from paying the 7.5% sales tax.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act also embeds in the Constitution the privacy protections for registered medical marijuana users that were established by SB 420.

In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, allowing individuals arrested for possession of marijuana to invoke a “medical need” defense. The Compassionate Use act provided than anyone wanting to invoke a “medical need” defense would need a recommendation from a doctor licensed to practice in California. Individuals who did not have a doctor’s recommendation could not invoke the medical defense.

In 2003, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 420 to clarify the scope and the application of Proposition 215. SB 420 created a state-wide registry of medical marijuana users, and a California medical marijuana ID card. SB 420. Signing up for the registry and getting a medical id card is voluntary, but individuals who are not listed on the registry might not be able to invoke the medical defense that 215 established.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act retains the California registry of medical users, and the medical id card, and embeds in the Constitution the privacy provisions set forth in D SB 420. But if Proposition 64 passes, an individual who uses marijuana for therapeutic purposes will not need a doctor’s recommendation or a medical id card to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, or to grow up to 6 plants. People who want to protect their privacy will appreciate this.

If Proposition 64 passes, an individual who does possess a doctor’s recommendation and a medical id card will be exempt from California Sales Tax when buying marijuana, and will be able to grow more than 6 plants. Signing up for the Medical Marijuana Registry and obtaining a medical id card will be completely voluntary, with the promise of added benefits not available to recreational users of marijuana.

Proposition 215 expressed support for the use of marijuana as medicine. SB 420 provided a means for medical marijuana users to guarantee their status, at the cost of being on a government list. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act guarantees the right of adults, 21 and over, to possess and use marijuana for recreational or therapeutic purposes. People who benefit from the health effects of marijuana will have access without needing a doctor’s recommendation, and without being on a government list. AUMA means for freedom for all marijuana users. Join Rep. Tom McClintock, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Tom Campbell (Ret) Judge Jim Gray (Ret) and me in voting YES on Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Vote Yes on Proposition 64:Legalize and Tax Marijuana

On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on a proposal to legalize possession of marijuana for adults, and, finally, legalize production and sale of marijuana. Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over; it also establishes a regulatory framework for the legal production, distribution and sale of marijuana and marijuana products.

Proposition 64 establishes taxes on the cultivation and retail sale of marijuana. AUMA sets a $9.25 per ounce tax on cultivation, and a 15% tax on retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products. This 15% tax will be collected in addition to the California 7.5% sales tax, except that medical marijuana patients will be exempt from paying California sales tax. Libertarians and others object to these new taxes on principle, and for practical reasons.

Taxes on marijuana will lead to higher costs for consumers. This higher cost will be mitigated over time as a legal market will tend to drive prices down. Production and distribution will be more efficient, and people engaged in licensed marijuana businesses will not face prosecution and resulting costs of legal defense, fines etc. A legal marijuana market, with federal legalization, will provide quality products at competitive prices, so total costs even with taxes will be lower than in the current black and gray markets for marijuana.

Libertarians also object to new taxes because it gives more money to governments. Since California government is already having problems paying for existing programs, mandates and entitlements, the existence of new revenue streams will not itself promote government growth. One can hope that money from marijuana taxes can fund relief from other taxes. At least it might prevent hikes in other taxes that Democrats and Progressives might push in coming years.

Production, distribution and sale of beer, wine and liquor are regulated and heavily taxed. Principle and experience both tell us that a legal market in alcohol, even with taxes and regulation, is better for individuals and society than Prohibition.

Before production and sale of beer, wine and liquor were banned, alcohol taxes provided 30% to 40% of the revenue of the federal government. In order to make Prohibition possible, Prohibitionists joined with Progressives to pass the 16th Amendment, authorizing the federal government to tax incomes. The lesson from this is that government dependence on alcohol taxes protected the legal status of alcohol for many years. Marijuana taxes will provide a money source for government that politicians will not want to interfere with.

85% of California adults do not use marijuana. Many have resisted previous attempts at legalization, including Proposition 19 in 1972 and Proposition 19 in 2010. The prospect that marijuana might save them from tax hikes, or even make possible tax relief, gives these people a reason to vote for legalization. Even with taxes, the costs of marijuana will go down in a competitive legal market. And, of course, libertarians can campaign for lower marijuana taxes, with marijuana users a receptive audience for tax relief that they never needed before.

For freedom and for a legal marijuana market, join Governor Gary Johnson and me in supporting Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Vote Yes on Proposition 64:Legalize & Regulate Marijuana

On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on a proposal to legalize possession of marijuana for adults, and, finally, legalize production and sale of marijuana. Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over; it also establishes a regulatory framework for the legal production, distribution and sale of marijuana and marijuana products.

Polls show that more than half of California voters support legalization of recreational marijuana. With support from Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Party, the California Medical Association, the NAACP, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and more, Proposition 64 is expected to pass. As noted by California NORML, Proposition 64 is supported by every major drug law reform organization, but opposed by a vocal minority of backyard growers and libertarian purists.

Libertarian “purists”-and others-object to the body of regulations embedded in the AUMA, and to the imposition of taxes on cultivation and sale of marijuana.

AUMA legalizes possession by adults of one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana flowers or leaves, or 8 grams of concentrate. Current law provides that possession of one ounce or less is subject to a civil fine: citation rather than arrest, no jail, no criminal record. So AUMA seems like little progress. But full legalization, even limited as it is, changes the fundamental legal position of someone who possesses marijuana.

AUMA reduces penalties for possession of large amounts, for unlicensed cultivation, transport, and sale. All are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. AUMA also provides that individuals in prison, on parole or on probation for marijuana offenses can petition to have their sentences reduced in accordance with the lower penalties set by AUMA.

Unlike Proposition 215, the AUMA provides a framework for licensing legal producers, distributors and retail outlets. Since Proposition 215 did not address cultivation and sale, growers and dispensaries have operated in an unclear legal environment. Many cities have refused to allow dispensaries to operate, and some have closed down dispensaries who tried to operate while waiting for legal procedures to be established.

In addition to establishing a legally sanctioned market for marijuana and marijuana products, Proposition 64 embeds in the Constitution a legal right to grow 6 plants for personal use.

Proposition 64 states that rights of medical marijuana users established by Proposition 215 and subsequent legislation will not be abridged. This includes the right of medical marijuana users to grow marijuana beyond the six plants allowed for recreational users. While medical marijuana users will have to pay the 15% tax on retail sales of marijuana, they are exempt from paying the 7.5% sales tax.

The regulatory framework established by Proposition 64 is comparable to the regulatory framework for production and sale of alcoholic beverages. When Alcohol Prohibition was repealed, the government first legalized 3.2 beer – beer with an alcohol content of 3.2%. Stronger beverages remained illegal at first. But over time a large and varied legal alcohol industry has developed, and grocery stores carry large stocks of beer, wine and liquor, in competition with alcohol superstores and corner liquor stores.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act marks real progress toward full legalization of production, sale and consumption of marijuana. Legalization of marijuana in California – the most populous state – will put pressure on the federal government to change its policies toward marijuana. Join Governor Gary Johnson and me in supporting passage of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Sullum:”Gary Johnson’s Refreshing Foreign Policy Skepticism”

One of the few appealing aspects of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been his criticism of Hillary Clinton’s reckless interventionism. But the bellicose billionaire combines that criticism with promises of a gratuitous military buildup, a casual attitude toward the use of American weapons, and a disturbing tendency to view trade and immigration as acts of war.

To get a sense of what a more disciplined, consistent, and thoughtful critique of Clintonian warmongering sounds like, listen to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president. Notwithstanding the popular portrayal of Johnson as a foreign policy ignoramus based on his embarrassing “Aleppo moments,” the former New Mexico governor offers a bracing alternative to Clinton’s supposedly sophisticated yet consistently careless embrace of violence as a tool for reshaping the world.

Again and again as first lady, senator, and secretary of state, from Serbia to Syria, Clinton has supported military interventions that had nothing to do with national defense. Mindful of the damage done by the promiscuous use of America’s armed forces, Johnson promises a different approach: When in doubt, stay out.

“As president,” Johnson said in a recent speech at the University of Chicago, “I would not need to be talked out of dropping bombs and sending young men and women into harm’s way. I would be the president who would have to be convinced it is absolutely necessary to protect the American people or clear U.S. interests. I will be the skeptic in the room.”

Full column by Jacob Sullum @ Reason http://reason.com/archives/2016/10/19/gary-johnsons-refreshing-foreign-policy

Tim Kaine’s Bogus Antiwar Appeal

Recent polls show that most Americans don’t trust Donald Trump, and most Americans do not trust Hilary Clinton. A current ABC/Washington Post poll indicates that 64% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, and 53% have an unfavorable view of Hilary Clinton.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate, continues to hold the support of 8 to 10% of voters nationally, and polling 15% or more in 15 states. Polls show that former Gov. Johnson draws support from both Mr Trump and Secretary Clinton. Clinton supporters are worried; progressive websites and Democrat politicians are attacking Gary Johnson and The Libertarian Party in hopes of insuring a Clinton victory.

The Hill reports that Sen. Tim Kaine is telling people that they should not vote for a third party, because it might throw the election to Donald Trump. He brings up the 2000 election, claiming that votes for Nader in Florida led to the victory of George W Bush, and that resulted in the Iraq War.

I am glad Sen. Kaine understands the Iraq War is a disaster for America. His logic implies that Al Gore as President would have undertaken a foreign policy based on peace. This is at odds with the record of Al Gore in the Senate, and the record of the Clinton/Gore administration.

CLINTON, GORE AND THE FIRST IRAQ WAR

The Iraq War authorized in 2002 was a sequel to an earlier Iraq War in 1991, during the reign of George H W Bush. Sen Al Gore voted to authorize the first Iraq War, along with Joe Lieberman, Harry Reid and 7 more Democrats.

At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton explained that in 1992, he picked Al Gore as his candidate for Vice-President, because Sen. Gore had crossed party lines to support President Bush’s policy in Iraq.

The Clinton Gore Administration continued the policy of sanctions on Iraq, along with a “no fly zone” to keep the Iraq air force from flights over the Kurdish north of Iraq. The “no fly zone” was enforced by retaliatory bombing raids. President Clinton ordered hundreds of bombing raids in Iraq during his time in office.

President Clinton also ordered U.S. Bombers to take part in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia had not attacked the United States; the bombing was a “humanitarian intervention” with unclear military objectives and too many non-military targets.

At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Al Gore explained that he chose Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate for Vice-President because Lieberman crossed party lines in 1991 to support President Bush’s policy in Iraq. Lieberman was re-elected to the Senate as the Gore/Lieberman ticket was defeated. In 2002 Sen. Joe Lieberman voted to authorize President George W Bush to undertake military action in Iraq.

His vote for the first Iraq War and his loyal support through eight years of the Clinton policy of bombing Iraq and Yugoslavia show Al Gore was not a peace candidate.

IS HILARY CLINTON A PEACE CANDIDATE?

Sen. Kaine is correct that the election of George W Bush resulted in a disastrous war in Iraq. Yet Al Gore supported the policy of military intervention in the Middle East.

Sen. Kaine does not acknowledge Democrat responsibility for the passage of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in 2002, legal basis for the second Iraq War.

The Senate in 2002 included 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 1 Independent. The AUMF needed support from Democrats and Republicans. Blinded by party loyalty, 48 Republicans voted Yes; they needed 3 Democrat Senators to pass it. They got 29.

29 Democrat Senators voted for Bush’s war in Iraq. Sen. Hilary Clinton, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Joe Lieberman all voted for the Iraq War.

In 2000 there were strong third party candidates for U.S. Senate in only 2 states. In California, a Green Party candidate, a Libertarian and 3 more candidates received a total of more than 851,000 votes; Sen. Feinstein was re-elected.

In Washington State, Maria Cantwell was elected with less than 49% of the vote; a Libertarian candidate received 65,000 votes, and was blamed for the Republican loss. Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Cantwell, both Democrats, voted for the Iraq War that George Bush wanted.

Sen. Jim Jeffords (Ind-VT) and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (Rep-R.I.) both voted No. If all 50 Democrats had voted No, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force would have lost, 52 to 48. Sen. Kaine invokes the disaster of the Iraq War, then asks you to vote for Hilary Clinton, who voted to authorize that war.

VOTE LIBERTARIAN FOR ANTIWAR POLICY

Hilary Clinton did not give up her support for interventionism when she became Secretary of State. Secretary Clinton ha supported intervention in Libya and Syria, with the best motives. Muamar Gaddafi was an oppressive dictator, and Bashar al-Assad has undertaken violent repression to maintain a hold on autocratic power.

In Libya, the aftermath of the revolution is chaos, replacement of everyday repression with everyday violence. The most likely end to chaos will come with the seizure of power by a new oppressive regime, probably allied with extremists in Libya and beyond.

In Syria the Assad regime backed by Russia has resorted to extreme levels of violence to suppress all opposition groups. The more extreme opposition groups have grown stronger and more violent. U.S. strategy includes supplying guns to “moderate” rebel groups, but our weapons have gone directly to allies of Al Qaida; ISIS gets our weapons indirectly, by defeating rebel groups that we supply, and taking what they have.

Gary Johnson does not have the answer for how to end the human tragedy in Aleppo, and in Syria as a whole. President Obama does not have the answer either, nor does Secretary of State John Kerry. Their answers in the past helped create the chaos and tragedy that we see today.

For the foresseable future, Syria will be engulfed in a civil war pitting extremist groups against a repressive regime. As the violence escalates, each side will blame the other. The winner will either maintain an oppressive regime, or institute a new repressive regime.

Gary Johnson and The Libertarian Party call for an end to the Bush/Clinton policy of intervention in the Middle East. If you agree with Sen. Kaine that the Iraq War was a disaster, vote against Hilary Clinton and the other bipartisan politicians that made it happen. Vote Libertarian for Gary Johnson if you don’t want to elect a supporter of Bush’s war of choice in Ir\aq.

For more information, go to www.JohnsonWeld2016.com

Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate

California’s recently implemented “Top Two” all party primary system has created an unusual situation in this year’s contest for U.S. Senate. With Senator Barbara Boxer retiring, voters selected as their top two candidates for November two Democrats. California Attorney-General Kamala Harris, endorsed by the California Democratic Party, faces a challenge from Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who represents Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange and Garden Grove in the U.S. Congress.

Republicans and Libertarians are shut out of this Senate race by the top two primary; many plan to skip this race in November. But Independents, Republicans and Libertarians should consider Rep. Sanchez because of her record in Congress.

Rep. Sanchez voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The AUMF provided a legal justification for George W Bush’s war on Iraq. The pre-emptive invasion of Iraq was justified by claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and claims of ties to Al Qaida. Both claims have been proved false. The war has resulted in nearly 5000 American casualties, more than 40,000 wounded Americans, and trillions of dollars in new federal debt to pay for a war of choice.

In voting against a pre-emptive war on Iraq, Rep. Sanchez split with many leaders of the Democratic Party. Sen. Hilary Clinton, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Joe Lieberman all voted in favor of Bush’s war.

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attack, The Bush administration proposed the Patriot Act, to provide new powers to the federal government to investigate questionable activity, in the hopes of stopping future attacks. Opponents, including Rep. Ron Paul, warned of the threat to the freedom of all Americans. Rep. Loretta Sanchez voted against the Patriot act, along with Ron Paul and a minority of Congress. Sen. Hilary Clinton joined with 48 other Democrats and 49 Republicans and one Independent to pass the Patriot Act in the Senate.

In the last year of the Bush Administration, a speculative bubble fed by low interest rates maintained by the Federal Reserve, posed a threat to major financial institutions that took part in the bubble. President Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson proposed a $700 billion tax funded bailout of major banks. Rep. Loretta Sanchez voted against the bailout of the banks, again breaking with Democrat leaders including Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hilary Clinton, Sen. Joe Biden and others who voted to give $700 billion in taxpayers money to badly managed banks.

In her votes against the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and the Bank Bailout, Rep. Loretta Sanchez sided with Rep. Ron Paul, and voted in opposition to Sen. Hilary Clinton. Rep. Loretta Sanchez is the best choice in California’s Senate race. We hope that Libertarians, Republicans and Independents will join with antiwar Democrats to elect Loretta Sanchez on November 8, 2016.