State of Perpetual Punishment

Provisions tucked into a Republican bill relaxing Wisconsin's concealed carry would allow felons to possess antique firearms. Right now, felons in Wisconsin can't own firearms for the rest of their lives. 

Hunter___Dog_2.jpgWisconsin's constitution (Article I, Section 25) clearly states that “The people” have the right to bear arms for “any lawful purpose.” Do ex-felons stop being people for the rest of their lives? 

Many people believe that most felons are violent. That simply is not true. With mandatory sentencing guidelines, most drug possession charges are felonies. So are check fraud charges, tax offenses, and other frauds. As a result, Wisconsin has a huge group of former felons today who were guilty of victimless crimes and the majority are entirely non-violent. 

My favorite example of an ex-felon is Martha Stewart. In Wisconsin's system of perpetual punishment, she would be prohibited from lawfully exercising her constitutional right to bear arms because of a dispute with federal law enforcement. Who seriously considers her a danger to the community? Libertarians want former lawbreakers who have paid for their crimes to fully become productive and participating parts of our society once again. 

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Let People Die With Dignity!

Discovered that our support for letting individuals have control over their life and death has been noticed. Compassion and Choices https://www.compassionandchoices.org/ reported:

Strong Libertarian Party Support for Medical Aid in Dying

The medical aid-in-dying movement and the Libertarian Party share important core values: individual rights, personal liberty and self-ownership. 

By a 6-1 margin (86% vs. 14%), Libertarians overwhelmingly agree that terminally ill patients should be allowed to choose medical aid in dying as an end-of-life option.

 

 candle_light_death_with_dignity_2_creative_commons.jpgMany Request Medical Aid in Dying Because of the Concern Over Loss of Personal Autonomy 

Medical aid in dying (also known as death with dignity) is a medical practice in which a terminally ill, mentally capable person with a prognosis of six months or less to live requests, obtains and -if their suffering becomes unbearable - self-ingests medication that brings about a peaceful death. Prior to providing a prescription for such medication, doctors must confirm that the person is fully informed and provide them with information about additional end-of-life options, including comfort care, hospice and pain control.

A primary reason terminally ill people request medical aid in dying is concern that their illness will diminish their personal autonomy

 Research conducted in Oregon suggests that having medical aid in dying as an option actually relieves worries about future discomfort, pain and loss of control.

Strong Public Support for Medical Aid in Dying

The American public consistently supports medical aid in dying by large majorities and the issue is of great importance to voters, as measured by national independent polling outlets such as Gallup (68 percent support in May 2015) and The Harris Poll (74 percent support in November 2014). State-by-state polling also indicates that majority support cuts across demographic groups.

 But wait, there's more!

 

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Prison—Not Justice

“A 23-year-old Rothschild man was sentenced Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court to nine years in prison for providing heroin to a man who later died of an overdose in Weston.” Wausau Daily Herald, 9/13/2017

So, a Rothschild dealer sold something to a guy who wanted to buy it in Weston and later died. “Reckless homicide by the delivery alcatraz_prison_block_cc_img.jpgof drugs.” What a crock.

A heroin epidemic has been expanding enormously for the last several years. While politicians offer failed solutions, the real solution is to legalize drugs. 

There are two causes for this drug problem:

  1. The War on Drugs which creates profit incentives in the black market for the distribution of the most dangerous drugs.
  2. The pharmaceutical-medical-FDA complex, or Big Pharma, which profits from treating pain with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.

 In a free market, heroin would come in an unadulterated pharmaceutical grade form of various identified doses. It would have warning labels and instructions. Someone might have to consult a medical doctor or pharmacist before purchasing heroin, or might have to go to a clinic. The producers, distributors, and retailers would have some liability for negligence. Before it was made illegal in 1914 one of the most popular heroin products was Bayer’s Heroin.

 

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Libertarian Response to North Korea

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un has launched another missile, probably the country’s longest-range missile to date. The missile was launched in open defiance of President Donald Trump’s threats of fire and fury if further test launches and nuclear bomb development continue in North Korea.policeman.jpg

“Clearly, Trump’s bellicose threats had the opposite of the intended effect,” said Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “This kind of verbal grandstanding is one way wars get started. A nuclear war with North Korea is a war no one would really win. And the casualties, particularly in South Korea, would probably be in the millions. For all their faults, and they were legion, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama had the common sense to avoid this kind of escalation.”

Sarwark continued, “Kim is the worst kind of evil communist dictator. We know from most of our post WWII experience, however, that intervention by the United States in foreign countries to fix their governance problems usually backfires. The most obvious examples are Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Korea itself. The people in those countries are mostly worse off now than when we became militarily involved.”

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We have a different idea

We have a different idea for the proper role for our state government. Want to help elect Libertarians? Want to run for office? Stay tuned.

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What can Wisconsin do to end racial income inequality?

Wisconsin’s racial inequality has consistently been ranked as worst in the country. Year after year, the racial disparity of income has been so vast, it’s difficult not to notice. Why is that?

Well first off, Wisconsin incarcerates more minorities than any other state in the union. That should be alarming. When anyone gets incarcerated, the first thing it does is ruin that person’s chance of better employment, because employers are less likely to hire convicted felons; or those with a string of misdemeanors on their record. Once you get into the state system, it’s difficult to get out. Those who serve jail time are often due restitution after their time served; so even if the state claims they “paid their debt to society,” they haven’t yet paid their debt to society; they may have $20,000-$30,000 in debt pay off; keeping them poor and keeping convicts away from any opportunity of recovery.

What offenses are minorities being convicted for?  In 2013 an article, NPR broke down some hard numbers. The numbers are skewered by the city of Milwaukee - a city that is known to be the most segregated city in America. Milwaukee, a city that grew from its heavy German socialist roots, can be seen on maps as a place where you can draw a line right on the highway to show exactly where minorities live vs where whites live. Also, roughly a third of these are considered to be non-violent offenses. While non-violent offenses include theft and vandalism, it also includes things such as unpaid parking tickets, driving with expired tabs or un-registered vehicles, speeding, etc. In 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyzed 46,000 traffic stops and found that minorities get stopped more than whites do inside city limits. The result was staggering, in fact - a black person is seven times more likely to get pulled over than a white person. This was an even greater disparity than southern cities like in Charlotte North Carolina.

Lastly to note, the other lion’s share of these convictions, per NPR’s analysis, shows the offenses are drug-related offenses.

Does this mean that minorities are using drugs more often than whites, though? Not at all. This can simply mean that minorities are being convicted more of drug offenses, while turning a softer eye towards whites. In fact, a recent study by Duke University, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, discovered that whites abuse drugs more than minorities, not less. Despite controlled variables of socioeconomic status, substance abuse rates turned out to be 9.0% for whites, 7.7% for Hispanics, 5% for African Americans and 3.5% for Asians and Pacific Islanders. And seeing that whites are a majority, 9% of whites are millions more than 5% of blacks.  A 2010 study by the ACLU actually confirms that blacks are multiple times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana. This arrest rate is higher in Waukesha county nearby. The conclusion of the study is a heavy recommendation to legalize marijuana to alleviate this disparity.

These are telling statistics that paint a rather disturbing picture of our state. It means police could very well be racial profiling, while also exploiting the war on drugs to keep minorities both in prison and poor. 

What can be done, then?

Two clear, simple things that can be done is both end the war on drugs and end racial profiling within the police force. Incarceration cripples anyone’s chances of both opportunity and growing wealth over time. Police need to stop spending their time jailing people that may or may not have addiction issues and spend more time actually tracking down murderers, rapists, thieves, vandals and con artists - people who are actual criminals. 

But one element not often talked about is how the police are using traffic stops to both invade our privacy and become revenue generators for the state. Along with additional training of our police force to educate annually (or even twice a year) about the importance of racial harmony between the police and the community, we need to see a sea change in how the police patrols our roads. Thankfully, Milwaukee has taken steps in that route, issuing less than half the tickets they did ten years ago. But that hasn’t alleviated where they enforce those tickets - according to Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, police are conducting more traffic stops in “high crime neighborhoods” but issuing less tickets. High crime neighborhoods are, right now, those neighborhoods where they issue more arrests for drugs, which is de facto going off of older historical data pointing at racial profiling data.  And even if they are issuing less traffic tickets, they can use these stops to search for drugs and arrest for drugs instead. 

Remove the drug war, remove the crime. Less crime, less incentive to stop more people in traffic, less people in jail, less arrests, less people in the system, less debt, and we see that racial gap close up rather quickly. 

Marijuana economic potentials aside, it’s evident the drug war along with racial profiling is keeping Wisconsin as an incarceration machine for minorities - and keeping them poor. The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin endorses the state to end the war on drugs entirely; and end racial profiling entirely from our police force. It’s an embarrassment to our great state to have our state government to perpetuate racial tensions and racial disparity. Let’s stop putting minorities in jail, shall we?

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Opioid Crisis: the Libertarian Solution

Walker.jpgIn July, the headline read, Gov. Scott Walker Signs 11 Bills Investing Millions In Drug Treatment Programs.

 Libertarians believe Wisconsin government, once again, chose the wrong solution for a growing problem. The Libertarian solution is “More Freedom, Less Government.” We should try it.

 Mark Thornton of the Ludwig von Mises Institute attributes the crisis to the following four causes.

"The Real Cause of America's Opioid Epidemic"

 

  1. Drug Prohibition
  2. The Iron Law of Prohibition
  3. Government intervention in the economy
  4. Aggressive marketing of opioid painkillers to doctors

 Thornton recommends two simple, inexpensive acts which would solve the problem.

  1. End prohibition of hard drugs
  2. Re-legalize cannabis

 “The Opioid epidemic is killing more than 30,000 Americans a year. For most experts, the epidemic is a mystery with regard to its cause and solution. A little progress has been made, but to really eliminate the problem we need to legalize drugs, reduce the size of government, and increase freedom in our lives.”

 

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Party of Principle Perspective: Afghanistan

By Nichols Sarwark, LP National Committee ChairSarwak.png

After toppling the Afghan government almost sixteen years ago, the United States entered into nation building thinking that it would help improve corners of the world that terrorists find inviting. Our country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives in these futile efforts.

According to Forbes: "Since [the initial] intervention in the aftermath of 9/11, roughly 2,400 American military personnel have died and more than 20,000 been wounded attempting to bring democracy to Central Asia. Some 3,500 military contractors have been killed, along with more than 1,100 allied personnel. Overall the US has poured more than $800 billion into the war. Set aside the costs of combat. The US has spent $117.3 billion on relief and 'reconstruction,' that is, attempting to create a functioning state in Afghanistan."

Despite all of this sacrifice and hard work, nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a failure. No matter how sophisticated our military is and no matter how much we sacrifice, nation building is far more difficult than our politicians believed. Not only that, it may create more terrorists than it quells.

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LPWI Resolution: US Foreign Policy

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Government of the United States should immediately begin a transition to a foreign policy that includes:

  • Rejecting the role of “policeman of the world,” ceasing military and covert intervention in the affairs of foreign countries, and using military force only when absolutely necessary to protect U.S. sovereignty, territory, and vital interests, narrowly defined;
  • Substantially reducing the more than 700 U.S. military installations around the world;
  • Curtailing the bloated military budget, allowing resources to be redirected towards cutting the deficit, cutting taxes, investing in America, or any other use as Americans see fit;
  • Reducing the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to a minimum deterrent level, and fully supporting the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
  • Emphasizing diplomacy, law, and cooperation in international relations and dispute resolution;
  • Upholding civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution; and
  • Reining in executive military action.

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Should the Government Protect the Internet from Itself?

Can an industry infected with group think be trusted to police the marketplace of ideas?

Patrick Baird libertarianfederalist.com

In the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked by the “Unite the Right” rally, there were the usual calls to redefine free speech. A New York Times piece, “The ACLU Needs to Rethink Free Speech,” written by housing attorney K-Sue Park, was typical. Park repeats the progressive notion that historically oppressed groups lack access to an equal playing field when it comes to expression, therefore defending the free speech rights of others outside these groups are inherently biased. Most hilariously, Park uses the example of cowed and terrified left-wing college professors suffering at the hands of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

That wasn’t enough for some, however. Within days, numerous participants in the “Unite the Right” had been publicly identified and were subjected to attempts to go after their employment. Many did wind up losing their jobs. Progressives defend this practice by stating that public shaming is a relatively benign means of expressing community norms and eliminating noxious views from society.

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