Gary Johnson’s constitutional vision for non-divisive religious liberty

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There was bound to be a schism between Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and his more conservative and right-libertarian potential supporters before the election. This week it finally came, on the controversial but vital issue of religious liberty.

In an interview with Tim Carney at the DNC, Johnson set off alarms by calling the issue, especially in the context of the cake debates, a “black hole”.

Here’s the issue. You’ve narrowly defined this. But if we allow for discrimination — if we pass a law that allows for discrimination on the basis of religion — literally, we’re gonna open up a can of worms when it come stop discrimination of all forms, starting with Muslims … who knows. You’re narrowly looking at a situation where if you broaden that, I just tell you — on the basis of religious freedom, being able to discriminate — something that is currently not allowed — discrimination will exist in places we never dreamed of.

As a fellow left-libertarian, I think Johnson is exactly right, but read the whole thing for the full context. His campaign further clarified what he meant when asked by Taylor Millard.

The governor’s reference is to the fact that when you go down the path of legislating religious liberty, with the best of intentions, there is a very real risk of creating unintended consequences.

It is not in any way a suggestion that religious liberty and freedom is not essential — and protected in the constitution.

2016 DNC Repudiates Bill Clinton, Swerves Hard Left

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In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton beat out incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush for the presidency, successfully branding himself as a Southern, conservative “New Democrat” who could be trusted with major responsibilities like national security and the economy. Fast forward nearly a quarter century and this week the Democrat Party is hosting its national convention for the purpose of nominating Bill’s wife, Hillary, as its candidate for president, and to adopt a party platform. In doing so, the Democrats have swerved hard left and, while Bill is still immensely popular with the Democrat base, this year’s Democrat National Convention is nothing less than an utter repudiation of the Bill Clinton presidency.

The Bill Clinton Democrat Party of 1992 was a center-left party, but the 2016 Hillary Clinton Democrat Party is a motley amalgam of far-left radicals, socialists, racial grievance-mongers, and card-carrying members of The Hate-America Club. This is abundantly evident in the convention backdrops, the platform, and the rhetoric used by its speakers, perfectly captured by the sight of Bernie Sanders’ supporters angrily waving “America Was Never Great” signs.

Trump crosses the line from troll to potential criminal

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Throughout the primary and now the general election campaign, observers have asked which line Trump crosses will finally doom his campaign. He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans criminals and rapists, and survived. He bragged about the size of his genitals in a televised debate, and survived.

The Onion perfectly summarized this widening gyre in December.

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I realize it’s getting cruelly ironic at this point, but I think this time Increasingly Nervous Man (read: me) might be right.

At a rally today, the GOP nominee for president literally asked a foreign government to hack American infrastructure to reveal classified information to him to affect our elections. This is not just an offensive or crude remark; it’s treason.

Never means never

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There was a glowing, arrogant consensus among smug Trump supporters yesterday, after RNC delegates officially nominated him to be president. #NeverTrump, the movement among conservatives and libertarians who vowed to never support the candidate, for many, varied, and sundry reasons, was through.

Wow wrong. Someone needs to be reminded what the word “never” means.

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Never. Not ever. Not even once.

#NeverTrump began in the Republican primary as an effort to deny Trump the nomination, once it became apparent that the polls were right and he was cruising toward it. It was by definition not designed to end there.

Many Trump opponents during primary season have since surrendered and endorsed or vowed to at least vote for him reluctantly. These people weren’t really #NeverTrump. The rest of us still are. And never means never.

Things aren’t getting worse, they’re getting more obvious

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On nearly every statistical measure, human society has improved dramatically over the last few decades. War, famine, disease, poverty, infant mortality are all down globally. Violent crime, cancer, teen pregnancy, abortion, drug use are all down nationally. Some of these truths come as a shock to people for one reason: media.

We have 24-hour news networks and social media that act like megaphones for tragedy. Every time someone gets shot, especially when multiple people do, it’s a breaking news event. And every time it’s tragic. But it’s not more common.

Gun deaths have been declining since the early 1990s. Mass shootings, depending on how they’re defined, are even more rare, though by definition prone to spikes.

Unfortunately this year might prove to break the trend on one unfortunate statistic: police gun deaths. Due mostly to the recent massacres in Dallas and Baton Rouge, on-duty police deaths are up nearly to their full-year level last year. Overall, cop assassinations have been on the decline for some time, so hopefully this horrific year will prove to be just an outlier and not the start of a reversing trend.

TX senators propose dueling bills that move justice reform backward

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Texas, the land of liberty, proud former republic, happy to be left alone to grill meat and eat tacos until the end of the earth, is supposed to take care of its own and not demand federal government interference, even when times get tough. But that’s exactly what two bills just introduced by the Lone Star State’s senators do. Neither is necessary or advisable, especially in light of justice reform efforts that do the opposite.

After the horrific police massacre in Dallas last weekend, John Cornyn has introduced a bill to make killing law enforcement officers and other public officials a federal crime with a new mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and option for the death penalty. While a reaction of this magnitude is understandable after Dallas and other recent attacks on police, in reality it’s much more of an overreaction.

Killing a police officer is already a capital offense in almost every state that has the death penalty, including Texas. The country is currently debating whether the states and federal government should have the death penalty at all; adding new qualifications for it should be out of the question, especially when states are handling it just fine on their own.

Bader-Ginsburg’s Trump Comments Beyond Inappropriate

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“The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.” ~ Joseph Story (U.S. Supreme Court Justice, called the “Father of American Jurisprudence”), 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution

I suppose we can finally abandon any pretense that the judiciary is still a neutral body rendering opinions based on an impartial interpretation of the Constitution as written. Rather, the judiciary, and especially the Supreme Court, has become a supra-legislative oligarchy of nine (or eight, for the time being) which imposes its own version of morality and “social justice” upon the roughly 315 million Americans who are expected to abide by its diktats.

Two recent examples tell us all we need to know in this regard.

First, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner a few weeks ago declared his unbridled contempt for the Constitution he is sworn to uphold, stating “I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries — well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century…Let’s not let the dead bury the living.”

#Dallas, #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile: No sides now

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Yesterday afternoon I drove two hours to Baton Rouge to attend a prayer vigil for Alton Sterling, the man killed by police the day before. Governor John Bel Edwards was in attendance and made some remarks in support of the victim, his family, law enforcement, and the community as a whole.

When I arrived home after the two hour drive back, the massacre in Dallas was just beginning. The world turned upside down…

Since last night, the motive of the Dallas killers, or at least one of them, have become clear. The only suspect killed by police told them during the prior negotiations that he “wanted to kill white people.” But he also told them that he was working alone, which almost certainly was not true. So we still don’t know everything.

The frustrating thing for me is that the stated target of “white people” in a police shooting protest necessarily becomes cops, because those are usually the only white people there in significant numbers. Even at the Baton Rouge prayer vigil, which was held in a large black church to be sure, there were almost no other white people in attendance who weren’t part of a media crew or security detail.

A few ways government could, you know, maybe not waste your money.

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1802, Letter to Thomas Cooper

Our federal government is an all-consuming, gargantuan parasite growing ever larger with each passing day. Under the rubric of providing for our every need from cradle to grave, it consumes more and more of our labor. It is, to quote Reagan, “like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

Yet one organization has a blueprint for reining in this ocean of red ink; Citizens Against Government Waste. CAGW has compiled a list of wasteful government spending each year since 1983, and the incorporation of some of its recommendations for the federal budget has resulted in spending cuts of $1.4 trillion.

A short sampling of potential taxpayer savings from this year’s report, Prime Cuts 2016, includes:

- Reducing improper Medicare payments by 50% over five years ($4.3 billion), noting, “Medicare is plagued with the highest reported amount of improper payments of any federal program…Because of its chronic vulnerability to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, the [Government Accountability Office] has for 20 years designated the Medicare program as ‘high risk.’”

- Eliminating federal subsidies for Amtrak ($1.4 billion in one year, $7.1 billion in five years). Amtrak, a government-run railroad, has been in operation for 45 years at a cost to taxpayers of more than $40 billion. It has never turned a profit and now costs taxpayers almost a billion dollars a year, leading Amtrak’s founder to call it a “massive failure”.

FBI: No charges for Hillary. But everything else they said disqualifies her from office.

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FBI Director James Comey held a surprise press conference Tuesday morning. It was announced about an hour before it was scheduled to begin, but with no subject specified, so speculation on Twitter was swift and relentless.

The obvious topic was the correct one: Hillary Clinton’s private email controversy. For 15 minutes, Comey rattled off all the negligence and irresponsibility the FBI had uncovered in their year-long investigation. Since he sees no criminal malfeasance, though, he will not recommend that the Department of Justice pursue charges.

Everything Comey did say, however, should completely disqualify Secretary Clinton from ever holding public office or receiving a security clearance. He basically went over a checklist of everything she said in her first press conference on the issue in March 2015 and proved each one wrong.


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