Which States Have the Most Libertarians?


…To see which states have the most libertarians, I use six measures: Libertarian Party presidential vote share in 2008 and 2012, Ron Paul contributions as a share of personal income in 2007-8, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson contributions as a share of income in 2011-12, and “adjusted” Ron Paul primary vote share in 2008 and 2012. Ron Paul vote shares are adjusted for primary vs. caucus, calendar, number of other candidates, and the like.

This is no guarantee that laws and policies in your new digs will be to your liking (for that, look here). But you might find some new friends who will gripe about them with you…(read more)


Jeb Bush Facing Resistance From Some Conservative Voters

Patrick O’Connor writes: Jeb Bush has a challenge in winning over Republican voters.

Some 42% of Republican primary voters say they couldn’t see themselves supporting Mr. Bush for the GOP presidential nomination, compared with 49% who said they could, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

The results underscore an early theme of the Republican nominating contest: Mr. Bush might be the favorite of many top donors and operatives, but he faces hurdles in appealing to the party’s voters, giving him little room to maneuver in what promises to be a crowded field.

Of potential presidential candidates tested in the Journal/NBC poll, three others—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie , businessman Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham—drew more resistance among people who plan to vote in a Republican primary.

Some 74% of GOP primary voters say they couldn’t see themselves supporting Mr. Trump, compared with 23% who were open to backing him. Some 57% said they wouldn’t likely back Mr. Christie, compared with 32% who were open to the idea.

For Mr. Graham, of South Carolina, 51% of GOP primary voters said they couldn’t see themselves supporting him, compared with 20% who could. Other likely GOP candidates produced lower levels of opposition. Full results of the poll will be released Monday at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

In contrast with Mr. Bush’s position among Republicans, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintains a relative stranglehold on the Democratic nomination, with 86% of Democratic primary voters saying they could see themselves supporting her and just 13% saying they couldn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

Unlikely Success Engine: Barack Obama, Libertarian Manufacturing Machine


“You Libertarians out there should thank me!”

Roger L. Simon writes:  Forget Ron Paul, or even his son Rand, by far the greatest booster of libertarianism in America today is unquestionably Barack Obama. With the astonishing ineptitude of his all-pervasive statism, the president is manufacturing libertarians everywhere he goes.

And it’s not just the massive Obamacare boondoggle, although that’s the worst and most public example at the moment, every aspect of the administration from the extraordinary (and growing) deficits to the clueless foreign policy is an advertisement for the overweening incompetence of big government.

As Bill Clinton told us in his 1996 SOTU, “The era of big government is over.” It just took us another seventeen years – with five of them under this metastasizing bureaucratic monstrosity of Mr. Obama – to get there.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Biden Mullet. Not Photoshopped



The Rise of the Libertarians

Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Attends Townhall Meeting At U. Of Maryland

Duke Cheston writes: Much of the recent growth in libertarian activism emerged after Ron Paul’s 2008 failed presidential bid, when Jeff Frazee, Paul’s national youth coordinator, founded Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). Aided in part by the right-of-center activist training group the Leadership Institute and its team of field representatives, YAL now boasts chapters on over 380 campuses and a membership of some 125,000 students. Another libertarian group, Students for Liberty, has since seen exponential growth since its founding in 2008. At the end of 2008, there were 42 campus groups in the SFL network. By 2013, SFL claimed an affiliation with 930 groups worldwide: 767 in the U.S., over 100 in Europe, and a few dozen in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

David Deerson, who was the president of UNC-Chapel Hill‘s YAL chapter until he graduated in May, says that his personal story is a “microcosm” of the growth of the liberty movement on campus. When he arrived at UNC as a freshman, he sought out the student libertarian group. There were only about four people regularly attending the weekly meetings, and they didn’t do much in terms of activism. But by the time Deerson graduated, roughly 25 people attended weekly meetings, and the group–now a chapter of YAL–was winning awards for its activism.

Deerson credited the growth of the club to the training he received from Students for Liberty and to changing attitudes among students. A handful of studies lend credence to this view. A 2011 study by UCLA scientists found incoming students to have more liberal views, but only on social issues, meaning that there are more students who identify as fiscally conservative and socially liberal–in effect, libertarian. A 2012 survey by the Panetta Institute found that 30 percent of college students have libertarian beliefs. Indeed, the present time seems to be a “libertarian moment” for the entire country, as statistician Nate Silver has suggested.

Read the rest of this entry »

The U.S. Could Totally Kill Edward Snowden With A Drone Strike

Here’s how

By David HamblingA panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline taken from a path around Victoria Peak
A panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline taken from a path around Victoria Peak Photo by David Iliff via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent PopularScience.com post, contributing writer Kelsey Atherton suggests that Edward Snowden is at no risk from a U.S. drone strike in Hong Kong because of Chinese air defenses and the risk of collateral damage in the densely populated city.

It’s true that a strike by a Predator or Reaper drone, which can’t penetrate air defenses and cause significant collateral damage with standard weapons, could be ruled out—but the military and the CIA have plenty of other drones up their sleeve.

A morbid thought experiment: Hong Kong is an island; it’s a port city surrounded by deep water. In 2008 the Navy demonstrated something called Submarine Over-The-Horizon Organic Capability—launching and controlling a lethal Switchblade drone from a submerged sub.

The Switchblade is a one-use drone, powered by a quiet electric motor, that weighs about six pounds and flies up to 50 mph for 15 minutes. Switchblade carries a high-explosive warhead that can blow up everything within a 1-, 5-, or 7-meter range around the drone; it can take out an individual, or a truck. A high-resolution video camera in the nose allows a human operator to verify the target before detonating the drone. This is a far less destructive than the 20-pound warhead on the Hellfire missiles fired by Reaper drones, which can cause considerable collateral damage.

Although they won’t give operational details, the Switchblade has received good reviews from users in Afghanistan, where the drone has been deployed since late 2012.

If Snowden could be accurately located in Hong Kong, then a midnight Switchblade strike would be an option. Submarine launch means that the strike would be covert, and even if investigators piece together the exploded drone, it would be difficult to pinpoint where it came from (though most of us could probably guess). GPS guidance could take the Switchblade within visual range of a target, and then the human operator could steer it into, say, the window of Snowden’s hotel room.

The small size of the warhead means that collateral damage would be limited to anyone else in the room with Snowden. Switchblade can fly at a height of a few hundred feet, so it is unlikely anyone would notice or recognize a small, silent drone flying in the dark—especially in a busy place like Hong Kong.

Of course, Switchblade is comparatively well-known. Many of the details are classified, but it is an acknowledged project. The U.S. military and intelligence community also operate a number of other drones which have not yet been acknowledged, including some camouflaged as large birds and designed to operate covertly. These may even have far more impressive capabilities than the Switchblade.

Political considerations make a drone strike against Edward Snowden in Hong Kong highly unlikely. However, we should not underestimate the technical capabilities that already exist for carrying out such a strike.

(So why wouldn’t the U.S. government just send a guy with a gun to kill Snowden? First, they don’t necessarily have an agent in place—and people leave a trail that can be traced back. As in Pakistan, drones are a lot more reliable and easier to control than local assassins. And James Bond doesn’t exist….)

David Hambling is a London-based technology journalist and author.

via Counterpoint: | Popular Science

EVEN BAMBI ISN’T SAFE! Snowden: Hey, I could have wiretapped anyone’s e-mails, including the president’s personal account

Snowden: I could have wiretapped anyone’s e-mails, including the president’s personal account « Hot Air

Snowden suggests he could have accessed the president’s personal e-mails. Is that crazy? I hope so. I don’t know. via  Hot Air

He says he was granted broad “wiretapping” authorities. In a video interview with The Guardian, Snowden claims to have had incredibly broad authority to wiretap Americans, saying “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal e-mail.”

He also told WaPo reporter Bart Gellman that national intelligence wouldn’t stop at killing a reporter in the name of protecting especially sensitive information. Is that crazy? I hope so. Ithink so, simply because reporters who break big national-security stories aren’t known to disappear or meet with accidents. But I don’t know.

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end,” [Snowden] wrote in early May, before we had our first direct contact. He warned that even journalists who pursued his story were at risk until they published.

The U.S. intelligence community, he wrote, “will most certainly kill you if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information.”

On the one hand, that sounds like a Ron Paul fan muttering under his breath. On the other hand, this guy’s scoop about PRISM has in fact been borne out as other government sources have confirmed the program’s existence. It’s hard to sneer at someone for being paranoid after he’s just exposed massive data-mining of Americans’ electronic communications. The one question to which I keep returning is how Snowden could have gotten hold of all this information. Could he really have done it all himself given his place in the natsec food chain? CIA officials are confused too:

For instance, Snowden said he did not have a high school diploma. One former CIA official said that it was extremely unusual for the agency to have hired someone with such thin academic credentials, particularly for a technical job, and that the terms Snowden used to describe his agency positions did not match internal job descriptions.

Snowden’s claim to have been placed under diplomatic cover for a position in Switzerland after an apparently brief stint at the CIA as a systems administrator also raised suspicion. “I just have never heard of anyone being hired with so little academic credentials,” the former CIA official said. The agency does employ technical specialists in overseas stations, the former official said, “but their breadth of experience is huge, and they tend not to start out as systems administrators.”

A former senior U.S. intelligence official cited other puzzling aspects of Snowden’s account, questioning why a contractor for Booz Allen at an NSA facility in Hawaii would have access to something as sensitive as a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“I don’t know why he would have had access to those . . . orders out in Hawaii,” the former official said.

Snowden: I could have wiretapped anyone’s e-mails, including the president’s personal account « Hot Air

Could this guy really have done it all himself or did he have an accomplice further up the chain who wanted this to come out but wasn’t prepared to suffer for the disclosure? Snowden is a perfect leaker: He’s young and idealistic, which makes him more sympathetic to the public, and he’s unmarried and without children, so he has less to lose than someone older with more family obligations might. He may have agreed to take the fall in the name of exposing a government program to which he objected, and his accomplice may have agreed to provide him with the documents in return. (If you think it’s unlikely that a veteran analyst might suffer a crisis of conscience, meet William Binney.) I take it right now the FBI’s sifting through Snowden’s communications over the past year or so with NSA officials to see if he had any unusual recurring communications with anyone higher up. Or maybe I’m talking straight out of my ass and Snowden really did pull this off himself. That was my point up top — as a layman, there’s simply no way to know what’s likely or unlikely. Most conspiracy theorists latch on to outlandish explanations because, deep down, the conspiracy makes them feel better than the reality. I’m doing that too here. I’d rather believe Snowden was working with someone than that one rogue midlevel IT operative could tap the president’s secret GMail account or break open the inner sanctum of U.S. national security. We’ll see.

Exit question one: A guy with access to one of the NSA’s most sensitive tools tells them he needs a few weeks off to get treatment for his epilepsy, then hops a plane to Hong Kong(!) — and no one at the agency suspects anything until it’s too late? A point oft-repeated on Twitter yesterday after he outed himself is that the fact that he was able to pull this off at all kinda sorta explodes the NSA’s rationale for massive data-mining in the first place. Exit question two: Can we safely assume that, if we’re bugging more or less the entire Internet, we’re not in fact at China’s mercy when it comes to cyberespionage? Every week brings a new story about Beijing rifling through American businesses’ records; last week came news that the Obama and McCain campaigns were hacked by China in 2008. Why are they able to do that if the feds are so far ahead technologically that they can track a person’s movements virtually moment to moment from their data footprint? I realize the technology in data mining and hacker defense is different, but it’s weird to think the feds have all but mastered the former and yet trail in the latter to an almost catastrophic degree.


 via  Hot Air

The Last Radicals

Interesting item by By Kevin D. Williamson

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats. 

In the public imagination, homeschooling has a distinctly conservative and Evangelical odor about it, but it was not always so. The modern homeschooling movement really has its roots in 1960s countercultural tendencies; along with A Love Supreme, it may represent the only worthwhile cultural product of that era. The movement’s urtext is Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, by A. S. Neill, which sold millions of copies in the 1960s and 1970s. Neill was the headmaster of an English school organized (to the extent that it was organized) around neo-Freudian psychotherapeutic notions and Marxian ideas about the nature of power relationships in society. He looked forward to the day when conventional religion would wither away — “Most of our religious practices are a sham,” he declared — and in general had about as little in common with what most people regard as the typical homeschooler as it is possible to have.

English: Source: http://historyproject.ucdavis...

“People forget that some of the first homeschoolers were hippies”

says Bob Wiesner, a counselor at the Seton Home Study School, a Catholic educational apostolate reporting to the bishop ofArlington, Va. In one of history’s little ironies, today most of homeschooling’s bitterest enemies are to be found on the left. “We don’t have much of a problem from conservatives,” Wiesner says. “It’s the teachers’ unions, educational bureaucrats, and liberal professors. College professors by and large don’t want students who can think for themselves. They want students they can indoctrinate, but that’s hard to do with homeschoolers — homeschoolers push back.” He relishes the story of a number of graduates of his program who attended a top-tier Catholic university and enrolled together in theology classes taught by the school’s most notorious liberals. They were of course more conversant with church orthodoxy than were many of their instructors. “The professors hated them. But the kids had fun. The president of that college at that time was trying to clean up the theology department, so when the professors would complain, he would call the students in and tell them to try to be polite — with a wink and a nod.”

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 020

One of those liberal professors is Robin West of the Georgetown law school, who wrote a remarkably shallow and evidence-free jeremiad against homeschooling that was published to the journal’s discredit in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly. More a work of imagination than one of scholarship, the article ignores the wealth of data suggesting that homeschooling is a largely upper-income and suburban phenomenon, and that homeschooled students typically outperform their public-schoolpeers. West offers a caricature of homeschooling families far removed from reality: “The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.” Education scholar Brian D. Ray, who specializes in homeschooling, found that West’s claims “basically have no foundation in research evidence,” and pointed out to the contrary that “repeated studies by many researchers and data provided by United States state departments of education show that home-educated students consistently score, on average, well above the public school average on standardized academic achievement tests. To date, no research has found homeschool students to be doing worse, on average, than their counterparts in state-run schools…


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