Tag Archives: gary johnson

Iowa Libertarian Party Gubernatorial Primary Attracts Historic Newspaper Endorsement

The Iowa Libertarian Party is set to have its first-ever gubernatorial primary in the state in June of this year after Gary Johnson’s 2016 presidential election totals triggered major party status for the state’s Libertarian Party for at least this year’s election.

Johnson received 3.8 percent of the Iowa vote in 2016, well above the 2 percent benchmark that unlocks major party status for the subsequent election. However, in order to maintain major-party status, a Libertarian Party candidate must achieve 2 percent again in a general election in another state-wide race.

“Being a major party has its privileges, including the ability to hold special conventions and primary elections. That means Iowa voters, when they vote early or head to the polls on June 5, can choose to vote in the Libertarian Party primary… There are also significant disadvantages, especially a struggle for exposure. That’s one reason why the Des Moines Register editorial board decided to make an endorsement in the Libertarian primary race,” wrote the Des Moines Register editorial board.

Given that they are rare events, major newspapers’ editorial boards have in the past almost never weighed in on state-level third-party primaries. The attraction of such an endorsement represents an elevation of the prominence and credibility of the Libertarian Party.

The 2018 Iowa Libertarian Party gubernatorial primary pits Council Bluffs business consultant Jake Porter against Des Moines-based musician and former journalist Marco Battaglia for the party’s nomination for governor. Both candidates presented the cases for their campaigns in a joint interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board, which can be seen in full below.

The Des Moines Register ultimately issued its endorsement to Jake Porter.

“Porter’s experience and clearer articulation of his positions make him better able to make a case for his party in the fall. He is the better choice for Iowa Libertarians who hope to maintain their major-party status,” the editorial board wrote.

It added, “Porter has campaign experience, having run for secretary of state in 2010 and 2014. He says that during the 2014 campaign, he identified a voter registration glitch. Voter preferences for the Libertarian or Green parties were not being properly recorded if Iowans registered through the driver’s licensing process. Porter said he worked with Republicans and Democrats to resolve the error.”

The Des Moines Register pointed to some of the candidates’ positions that the editorial board supports, such as Porter’s advocacy of automatic restoration of felons’ voting rights after they have completed their punishments, the elimination of excessive occupational licensing for services such as hair braiding, and the streamlining of state boards and commissions. The Register praised Battaglia for promoting greater access to mental health services and his interest in getting money out of politics, though it claimed that “he lacked concrete proposals for how to accomplish that.”

While the editorial board did endorse Porter as the candidate best able to keep the Libertarian Party above the 2 percent benchmark required to maintain its major party status, it did say that it would be unlikely to endorse the party’s nominee in the general election as the Des Moines Register considers Porter’s plan to eliminate the state’s sales tax and Battaglia’s plan to phase out the state’s income tax “untenable.”

Current, Former Elected Officials Join New Mexico Libertarian Party

Following the 2016 presidential election in which Gary Johnson obtained 9.3 percent of the vote in New Mexico, the Libertarian Party in the state has obtained major party status for 2018 elections, allowing candidates to run under the party ticket without facing the typically mountainous signature-collecting obstructions that usually hamstring third-party candidates. Consequently, the newly-strengthened party has picked up two noteworthy free agents from the Republican and Democratic parties.

Current New Mexico state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, one of a sparse number of Republicans capable of winning a state-wide race in the state in recent years, switched his registration to the Libertarian Party last month. According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, Dunn’s office manages 9 million surface acres and 13 million mineral acres of trust land, the proceeds of which help fund education in the state, and he has recently locked horns with Republican Governor Susana Martinez in disagreement over the use of the State Investment Council, which may explain his exodus from the party.

Meanwhile, The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that Dunn is planning to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator from New Mexico Martin Heinrich in this year’s election, with a filing deadline approaching on February 6.

Dunn’s son, ex-Republican attorney A. Blair Dunn, is also launching a bid for New Mexico attorney general under the Libertarian Party brand. “We’re in it to run to win. It’s a lot easier if we have credible candidates for New Mexicans to come to the middle and find us,” said A. Blair Dunn.

Speaking of which, former Democratic state Rep. Sandra Jeff recently switched her party affiliation to Libertarian and is vying for secretary of state. The Las Cruces Sun-News notes that during Jeff’s three terms in the state legislature, she often broke party ranks and voted with Republicans on the floor.

New Mexico libertarians also currently have options in two congressional races. Candidates Grady Owens and Chris Manning are running in the second and third congressional districts respectively.

As of last count in November 2017, 7,261 New Mexicans have registered under the Libertarian Party, representing under 1 percent of registered voters. The party has announced an organizational convention on March 3.

The last time a third-party obtained major-party status in an election in New Mexico was in 1994 when the Green Party achieved 10 percent in a failed bid to challenge then-Republican Gary Johnson in the state’s gubernatorial race.

Former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has indicated that he plans to campaign for New Mexico Libertarian Party candidates in upcoming elections.

DONEGAN: With GOP, Democrats in Turmoil, Libertarian Party Makes Historic Gains

The unexpected, meteoric rise of celebrity presidential candidate Donald Trump has torn the Republican Party asunder, causing many leading GOP politicos that once represented the party’s establishment and conservative wings to suggest that they might support a third-party candidate.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has become the unlikely voice of a new younger generation of progressives that are fed up with the status quo that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represents. Many freshly-inspired voters and activists have recently stepped into the political process only to feel themselves being stiff-armed by Democratic Party superdelegates, party insiders whose votes have more weight than those of rank-and-file voters.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: Debunking the Lesser-of-Two-Evils Voting Theory]

Amid these melees, America’s best organized third party, the Libertarian Party, has found itself suddenly achieving a series of victories that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

Earlier this month, the Libertarian Party became a ballot-qualified party in Oklahoma, a state with such mountainous ballot access restrictions that no third-party presidential candidate had appeared on the ballot there since the year 2000.

The party is also prepping for its first-ever nationally-televised presidential primary debate at 9 p.m. EST on Friday on Fox Business Network’s Stossel program.

Even more shocking is the fact that a recent national Monmouth University poll of registered voters which tested Libertarian Party frontrunner Gary Johnson against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump found Johnson at 11 percent support, just 4 percent shy of the 15 percent support level required to qualify for the general election presidential debates.

[DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

If former two-term Republican New Mexico Governor Johnson, a socially-liberal and fiscally-conservative self-made businessman, were to find himself in the general election debates with Trump and Clinton, he would be the only candidate onstage with executive experience in government, an unusual claim for a third party candidate to be able to make.

The only remaining Republican and Democratic primary candidates with executive experience are Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the Republican side and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who once served as mayor of Burlington, Vt., on the Democratic side.

The Libertarian Party’s organizational success has even reportedly caught the attention of some major-party candidates who dropped out of their primaries earlier this year.

Libertarian Party chairman Nicholas Sarwark told The Washington Times on Wednesday, “We have been approached by candidates who have dropped out of the old party races about running on the Libertarian Party ticket. At this point, none of them have jumped in … but we have explored the options and talked to them about the logistics of it, what they would have to do, how they would be able to become part of the process.

Sarwick declined to say which candidates had approached the party.

In an unconventional political year in which the Republicans seem poised to nominate an unhinged celebrity that shouts profanities in speeches and the Democratic frontrunner is also facing the specter of a possible FBI indictment for mistakes that raise questions about her handling of classified national security information, the Libertarian Party’s current frontrunner might find himself in an opposite-day general election scenario where the third-party candidate is the only one who can emphasize his record as governor in an effort to cast himself and his party as more serious and presidential than the circus-like atmosphere of modern major-party politics. At a moment in which voters seem to prefer outsiders, the Libertarian Party can also play up its anti-establishment credibility as the best-organized third party alternative to what has been a generations-long Republican and Democratic stranglehold on U.S. politics.

For more election coverage, click here.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Gary Johnson: Fox Business to Host Libertarian Party Presidential Debate

John Stossel is reportedly planning to host a nationally-televised Libertarian Party presidential primary debate on his show on Fox Business Network, possibly in March.

An announcement posted Tuesday on 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate and former Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s official Tumblr page read:

The Gary Johnson 2016 campaign has confirmed with Fox Business’s Stossel that Gov. Johnson will be delighted to participate in a televised debate among Libertarian Party presidential candidates, hopefully in March. We will of course leave the formal announcement of the debate details and date to the Stossel show, but want to express our gratitude to Mr. Stossel for working to find a date for this important event that will not disrupt any planned Libertarian Party activities and that is actually doable for all the candidates who are involved.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Political commentator Austin Petersen, also a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, said in a Tuesday statement cited by his online magazine The Libertarian Republic, “After quite a back and forth last week over whether there would be a nationally televised Libertarian Party presidential debate between myself and the other frontrunners, we just got word a few hours ago that there’s a chance we might be able to make this debate happen! That’s Tremendous news! We can’t wait for the opportunity to meet Johnson and [John] McAfee head to head… We’re planning on confirming, however we are going to be spending our time doing every bit of due diligence today just to make sure that the dates won’t interfere with any state or local LP activities we may already be committed to.

It is not yet known which candidates Stossel is planning to invite to the debate. Petersen’s statement seems to imply that the debate could at a minimum include Petersen, former Gov. Johnson, and software developer and fellow 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate John McAfee.

[RELATED: Johnson: Fiscally Conservative, Socially Tolerant Voters Alienated by Iowa Results]

The Libertarian Party’s official website lists twelve 2016 presidential candidates. In addition to Johnson, Petersen, and McAfee, the party’s candidates currently include Marc Allen Feldman, Cecil Ince, Steve Kerbel, Darryl Perry, Derrick Michael Reid, Jack Robinson Jr., Rhett Smith, Shawna Joy Sterling, and Joy Waymire.

The Libertarian Party’s delegates will select its nominee at its national convention, which is set to take place on May 26-30 in Orlando, Florida.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Johnson: Fiscally Conservative, Socially Tolerant Voters Alienated by Iowa Results

Former two-term New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson, who is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president in 2016, issued a statement on the results of the Democratic and Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa on Monday.

To no one’s surprise, the Republican who emerged from the Iowa Caucuses did so under a banner of social intolerance and carpet bombing,” said Johnson of GOP winner and U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton narrowly beat U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders. “Just as predictably, the Democrats endorsed a candidate who has never seen a federal program, regulation or expenditure she doesn’t like,” added Johnson.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Johnson opined that the outcome of the caucuses show that Democrats and Republicans “are not going to nominate a candidate who represents the real majority in America – independents who are fed up with the partisan dance that has given us a $20 trillion debt, endless war and a government intent on eroding the very liberties it is supposed to be preserving.

The libertarian-leaning candidate on the GOP side in the 2016 race, Sen. Rand Paul, fell short of expectations with his fifth-place finish in Iowa, causing him to suspend his campaign on Wednesday.

The pundits have become fond of talking about ‘lanes’ to electoral success. Where is the lane for the millions of Americans who are fundamentally conservative when it comes to the size and cost of government, but just as fundamentally tolerant when it comes to individual and civil liberties?” asked Johnson.

[RELATED: Gary Johnson Responds to President Obama’s State of the Union Address]

Johnson’s comments come just as pundits are beginning to wonder whether the support base that had been backing Sen. Paul will shift to another GOP primary candidate or an independent.

Where that support will go is hard to predict, because Paul isn’t ideologically aligned with any of the [GOP] frontrunners,wrote The Charlotte Observer’s Peter St. Onge.

According to The Associated Press, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says he plans to attempt to win over Rand Paul’s supporters. Ohio Gov. John Kasich told ABC News on Wednesday that he believes he has a chance to capture some of Paul’s support base.

A July 2015 Truth in Media Consider This video highlights the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Joshua Cook Interviews Libertarian Presidential Candidate Austin Petersen

In an interview with Truth in Media’s Joshua Cook, Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen discussed his 2016 campaign.

Petersen told Cook about his philosophical differences with his opponent, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, stating that he would love to debate Johnson and discuss issues that Americans care most about. Petersen also discussed the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Petersen told Cook that he didn’t believe that the ‘liberty’ movement was dead and that young people are still interested in less government and more freedom.

Petersen said that he believes that he can grow the Libertarian Party in 2016.

Listen to the interview above to learn more about Petersen and his campaign.

Former N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson Launches Bid for Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson announced on Wednesday that he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

According to KRQE News 13, Johnson made his announcement from the New Mexico state capitol in Santa Fe.

In 2012, Johnson launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination before he went on to win the opportunity to be the Libertarian Party’s standard-bearer in the general election. Johnson obtained almost 1.3 million votes for president in the 2012 general election, the most ever by a Libertarian Party candidate.

[RELATED: Exclusive Post-GOP Debate Interview With Gary Johnson]

A fiscal conservative who won the governorship twice in what was a majority Democrat state, Johnson topped headlines in 1999 when he took a controversial and early stance in favor of marijuana legalization, making him the highest ranking U.S. politician to have done so by that time in modern history.

Reason notes that Johnson scheduled a Wednesday appearance on Cavuto: Coast to Coast to publicize his 2016 presidential announcement. A campaign website also went live on Wednesday.

Rumors began to fly about a potential Johnson campaign announcement after he stepped down as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. last week.

I am announcing my candidacy right now for the Libertarian nomination. I do believe that crony capitalism is alive and well. It’s Democrats and Republicans that contribute to that. I’d like to be that choice that is not going to succumb to that,” said Johnson on Cavuto: Coast to Coast according to Politico.

The Daily Caller pointed out that Johnson told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto, “I think the biggest problem facing this country is the $20 trillion debt that we will have when Obama leaves office. Government is too big, it’s unwieldy, it’s out of control, we need to get control.

He added, “On my deathbed, I’m hoping that I look back and believe that I was the voice of reason in all this, regardless of how many votes I end up garnering.

For more election coverage, click here.

Exclusive Post-GOP Debate Interview With Gary Johnson

“After last night I believe now that the Republican nominee is going to be Carly Fiorina,” says Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former two-term Republican governor from New Mexico. “I think Carly Fiorina won the debate hands down. I thought she was clearly impressive, that she was dynamic,” said Johnson, but “I disagree with her on a lot of things she had to say.”

Johnson told Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook in an exclusive interview that he disagreed with Fiorina on her marijuana policy. Johnson, who is fiscally responsible and socially liberal, noted that when U.S. Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.), NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J) and Carly Fiorina were discussing drug laws, there was talk of utilizing treatment options rather than incarceration. “That’s a really old model, the notion to pledge support for treatment over incarceration,” said Johnson, particularly for marijuana.

“The Republican Party is behind the eight-ball on a lot of issues that are directly impacting the country and the world and it’s just too bad.”

“With the exception of Huckabee who supports the Fair Tax, nobody is really talking about how to grow to the economy and how to bring about economic growth,” said Johnson.

Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook asked Johnson, “If you were President, what would you do regarding foreign policy in the Middle East right now?”

“We need to recognize our enemy and our enemy is radical Islam,” Johnson responded.

“We can do a better job of drying up the funding of these terrorist organizations. And that  would include money coming into the United States. And it doesn’t involve boots on the ground and it doesn’t involve dropping bombs. But there is a real threat. Of late, I am not Islamicphobic, I’m Shariaphobic,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he wasn’t going to run as a Libertarian as this moment. “There’s no real advantage to getting out there at this point. You’ve got the Republicans that are sucking all the air out of the room, and for that matter, same with the Democrats,” said Johnson.

“I hope to be the Libertarian nominee and I hope to be able to be the voice of what I think is the philosophy of most Americans, which speaking with a broad brush stroke, is being fiscally responsible and socially liberal- the definition of a classic liberal which I think most of us in this country falls in that category,” said Johnson.

Watch the video above, and download our podcasts: PodBean | Itunes

Gary Johnson: One Debate Rule is Preventing Real Choice in POTUS Elections

By Glenn Davis IVN – Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and potential 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate, discussed the current lawsuit challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) in an exclusive interview for IVN.

Among the plaintiffs in the suit, which concerns violations by the CPD and the Federal Election Commission, are the Green Party and the Libertarian National Committee. The purpose of the suit is to change the rules that obstruct third party candidates from participating in presidential debates.

The CPD was created by the Democratic and Republican parties “for the express purpose of keeping third party and independent candidates out of debates,” according to the plaintiffs.

Governor Johnson’s Our America Initiative and related project, Fair Debates, are at the forefront of the efforts to reform the debate rules.

A similar suit was filed prior to the 2012 campaign. In his interview, Johnson compared the outcome of that suit and the current action:

[pull_quote_center]“It’s important to note that our 2012 suit was, unavoidably, filed very late in the process. Ironically, we had to be excluded in order to have a claim, and the CPD was very careful to not formally exclude anyone until right before the first debate. That timing issue clearly hurt our case.” – Gary Johnson[/pull_quote_center]

Johnson argues that the CPD has been “very open and, frankly, arrogant in their intent to exclude candidates other than the Republican and the Democrat.” He also claimed the CPD has “gone to extraordinary, documented lengths to ensure that no other nationally-televised debates can ‘compete’ with their own.”

Johnson has a lot at stake. In his 2012 bid for the presidency, he placed third, with under 1.3 million votes. He knows that to stand a real chance at the presidency, the first hurdle is winning the lawsuit.

What outcome constitutes a win? Johnson answered:

[pull_quote_center]“A ‘win’ is very simple. If there are to be nationally-televised debates, they must include all candidates who are constitutionally qualified to serve and who appear on enough states’ ballots to potentially be elected in the Electoral College.” – Gary Johnson[/pull_quote_center]

According to the lawsuit, current CPD rules require “a candidate to poll at 15% in an average of five national polls taken in mid-September.” The plaintiffs argue that this is biased against independent and third party candidates, who do not receive the national attention generated by those running in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

“Simply removing the arbitrary polling requirement eliminates any potential bias and subjectivity from the decision as to who will be on the debate stage. That is the most straightforward and realistic solution,” Johnson explained.

The CPD case cites polling data that shows a “record number of Americans – well over 40% – now identify themselves as independent, and 62% say they would vote for an independent candidate for president in 2016.”

So why should it be so hard to reach the 15% threshold?

[pull_quote_center]“Unfortunately, while a majority of voters clearly are not satisfied with their ‘major party’ choices, they are also vulnerable to the perception, institutionalized by the Republicans and Democrats, that those are their only real choices. The debates are a big part of that perception, and the news media plays along.“ – Gary Johnson[/pull_quote_center]

According to Johnson. research shows that $100 million in spending would be required to match the media coverage automatically granted to the Republican and Democratic candidates.

“In short, reaching 15% without the inherent advantages enjoyed by the ‘major’ parties is virtually impossible,” he contends.

Elaborating further, Johnson stated: “Achieving ballot access in dozens of states is a monumental, expensive process that provides a more-than-adequate and perfectly logical threshold. If a candidate can be elected, he or she should be allowed to participate. There is no need for any polling requirement.”

Other groups have also joined the campaign for more open debates. Yet, public complacency on the issue may be a barrier to building grassroots support for these efforts. Is there enough public awareness and support for efforts to open up debates?

“Not yet,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t enough in 2012 to deter the CPD from its exclusionary ways. Thousands of voices need to become millions, which is why the Our America Initiative’s effort is so crucial.”

To generate these millions of voices requires money – a lot of it – and Johnson does not underestimate the role this will play:

[pull_quote_center]“Timing is obviously important, and frankly, an important element of that timing is funding. The CPD will have unlimited resources from its corporate and special interest supporters, and will use those resources to bury us with motions and other delaying tactics. It is essential that we have the resources to fight back and get a timely resolution.” – Gary Johnson[/pull_quote_center]

“We have a strong case, and when both the court and the public have an opportunity to see the lengths to which the Republicans and Democrats have gone to seize and maintain control over the debate process, we believe we can ultimately prevail,“ Johnson concluded.

Grassroots efforts have a history of overcoming great odds to achieve change. With a little help from the courts, that could become a reality for the 2016 presidential campaign and have a major impact on election dynamics this coming year and in the future.

GOP Primary Poll: Who’s Your Pick?

Featured below are highlights of last week’s Truth In Media coverage of Republican presidential candidates, followed by a GOP Presidential Primary Poll.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused the New York Times of being untruthful about why the newspaper was keeping his book off of the besteller’s list. The New York Times alleged the book was selling only because of “strategic” bulk purchases; this claim was refuted by Cruz and his publisher, HarperCollins. Read more here: Ted Cruz Accuses New York Times Of Lying About Bestseller List

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) co-sponsored a pro-marijuana legislation bill to allow legal marijuana businesses to gain access to banking services. Read more here: Rand Paul Co-Sponsors Bill to Allow Legal Pot Businesses to Access Banking Services

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made critical comments about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) over the weekend at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, insisting that the former POW was “not a war hero.” As the statement drew a negative response from the crowd, Trump made attempts to clarify his opinion of POWs and John Mccain. Read more here: Donald Trump Says McCain No War Hero: ‘I Like People Who Weren’t Captured’

Earlier last week, Reason published a portion of an interview with former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, who expressed concern over the GOP’s image in light of Trump’s previous statements criticizing immigrants: “He is appealing to a segment that I’ll just label racist, and it exists and it’s out there, and, you know what? I don’t want to have anything to do with it,” Johnson said. Read more here: NM Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson Says Trump Hurts GOP Brand By Appealing to “Racist” Voters

Vote in our GOP poll below:

This poll has ended. Thank you for voting!

NM Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson Says Trump Hurts GOP Brand By Appealing to “Racist” Voters

On Wednesday, Reason released a teaser clip, seen above, of an interview conducted by Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest last week in Las Vegas with former two-term New Mexico Republican Governor and 2012 Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson. In the clip, Johnson said that Trump’s campaign messaging is hurting the Republican Party’s brand.

For context, Reason notes that Trump kicked off his campaign in June by claiming that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists… some, I assume, are good people.

In the interview, Gillespie asked Johnson, “Do you think that Trump represents anything legitimate in the Republican Party or among the American [body] politic? Because he is now like number two in some Republican polls.

Without hesitation, Johnson declared, “He is appealing to a segment that I’ll just label racist, and it exists and it’s out there, and, you know what? I don’t want to have anything to do with it. It embarrasses me, and, like I say, I think the electorate will paint the entire Republican Party with a broad brush as a result of Trump, and it won’t be a positive.

The above clip comes from a longer interview that Reason says will be released in its entirety tomorrow. Reportedly, Johnson said in the interview that he is considering whether he will seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president in 2016 and will make his decision over the next few months.

Johnson is known for plunging head-first into controversial debates. In 1999, the then-governor shocked politicos by coming out in favor of the legalization of marijuana, making him one of the highest-ranking US politicians to do so by that point in history.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

NM Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson Feigns Heart Attack to Mock Anti-Pot Crusader at CPAC

At the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference’s marijuana legalization debate, former Republican Governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson, a supporter of legalization, faced off against ex-Congesswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, a former nurse who opposes legal pot. In the above-embedded video, Buerkle said, “Let’s talk about marijuana. You have a 1 in 5 higher chance of having a heart attack within the first hour after you smoke marijuana. There are legitimate side effects to this drug.”

Before she could continue, Gary Johnson began clutching his chest and dropped to the floor, pantomiming a heart attack in an obvious mockery of Buerkle’s Reefer Madness-esque claim. The largely college-aged conservative crowd burst into laughter in response to Johnson’s joke.

Said Buerkle in response, “You know, I think the Governor has had great fun with his humor, but it isn’t funny that we’re putting our kids and the future of this country at risk.”

However, Buerkle’s argument that marijuana is putting college students at CPAC at a 1 in 5 increased risk of having a heart attack one hour after marijuana use is a significant mischaracterization of the findings of a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School survey, published by Circulation, of 3882 acute myocardial infarction patients who were asked about their marijuana use around four days after suffering a heart attack. The study’s findings did not suggest that perfectly healthy college students have a “1 in 5 higher chance” of suffering a heart attack within an hour of smoking marijuana. A more realistic characterization of the study would be that its findings suggest that there may be a possibility that someone already at risk of heart attack could face an increased risk, similar to that associated with sexual intercourse or strenuous exercise, of that heart attack occurring within one hour of smoking.

Another study by Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, published in the American Heart Journal after the one mentioned by Buerkle, tested this theory further and found no statistically significant increase in mortality for acute myocardial infarction patients who habitually used marijuana.

A Primer on Compromise for Libertarians

“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” – Mark 3:25
“Politics at its purest is philosophy in action” – Margaret Thatcher
“Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” – Thomas Jefferson

compromise is should

Whereas to many outside the liberty movement, including the mainstream media, politicians like Rand Paul seem quite libertarian, many Americans who actually call themselves “libertarians” seem to despise Rand Paul for not being libertarian enough in various areas, and so they call him a “neo-con” or a “shill” or similar.

To other libertarians, Rand Paul is exciting not only because he’s standing up for important pro-liberty and pro-Constitutional positions but also because he’s getting significant parts of the libertarian message into the mainstream, and doing it in a way that isn’t making everyone roll their eyes and marginalize him as some kind of a kook. The latter may be his most important work because culture drives politics, and cultural change is what makes political change stick.

Among the latter subset of liberty-lovers, there is some frustration in the perception that as a movement, we actively refuse to make the best of every opportunity (and goodness knows we have so few of them) to move the dials of the cultural and political mainstream toward liberty.

Like it or not, it is almost impossible to discuss political effectiveness without an understanding of the nature of compromise. Speaking as an insider of the liberty movement, I believe we have a particularly uncomfortable relationship with it, which we must examine if we are going to cease to be political outsiders.

A good way in to the topic is to consider the sentiment, felt by so many of us who realize that both sides of the political duopoly (or monopoly disguised as a duopoly) are responsible for the destruction of our liberty: “I’m sick of supporting the lesser of two evils.”

What does that really mean? For a libertarian, liberty is the direction of the Good, and tyranny is the direction of evil. In a complex society of competing interests, and especially in politics, you almost never get to move directly toward where you want to go (your version of the Good). Imagine it on a diagram. Draw a line from where we are to where we want to be: we are moving in the right direction when we move not more than 90 degrees from the direction of that line.

On our political spectrum of evil (tyranny) to good (liberty) stand those who would actually make things worse than they now are. They want more Patriot Act, more state killing without due process, more NDAA, more curtailments of speech, more invasions of privacy, more welfarism – especially corporate , and more militarism. In 2012, Romney and Obama both fitted that description. In other words, they stood between where we are and the “evil” end of our spectrum. To support either was to move more than 90 degrees away from the line to the good that we are seeking to follow.

And indeed, if you thought one was less bad than the other, then you could accurately call him the “lesser of two evils”.

I wonder if, though, in its passion, the liberty movement sometimes mistakes the lesser of two goods for an evil? For consider another situation. Consider two imperfect candidates (the word “imperfect” is redundant, of course: people are not perfect). One that stands between where we are as a nation and the Good (liberty) cannot be said to be “the lesser of two evils”. At worst, he is the “lesser of two Goods” – since should he take office, we’d have moved in the direction we are seeking to go, even if not as far as we would wish, and even if not along that direct line to the Good.

Let’s say you like the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson on nearly everything; you like the Libertarian Party because it’s unapologetically libertarian. And let’s say you like Rand on civil rights and due process, but think he’s as bad as Obama on everything else. (I don’t think this is reasonable, but there are plenty of Libertarians who say this, so let’s go with it for the sake of argument.)

If that’s what you think, then don’t call Rand the lesser of two evils. Call him the lesser of two Goods. If you don’t actively support Rand because you have a more libertarian alternative, that is great, but take great care before standing against those who support him – for one simple reason. If he were running the country, in important respects, we’d have shifted closer to your ultimate destination … not just politically, but, more importantly, because one of the greatest media platforms in the land would be in the control of someone who promotes – and normalizes – many libertarian ideas, rather than in the hands of someone who promotes – and normalizes – statist ones.

“That’s all very well”, say some libertarians, “but even if I like him on some issues, look at how he’s sold out on others, and on his endorsements”. This is worth considering because someone’s consistency speaks to their integrity and you can only really tell the value of someone’s principles when you see the price he’s prepared to pay to defend them.

To stick with Rand Paul as an example, when he endorsed Romney in 2012, I felt physically sick for most of the day. I campaigned against Romney fervently – as fervently as I campaigned against Obama, and as fervently as I had campaigned for Ron Paul. I did so out of principle. Which begs the question, does that mean that Rand’s endorsement of Romney necessarily violated the principles on which my campaigning against Romney was based – or worse, was an act of selling out? Put simply, how could a person who campaigned against Romney on principle support a man on the same principle, who campaigned for him Romney?

When Rand ran for Senate in Kentucky, he made a deal to gain the support of the Republican party, which he calculated he needed to be able to win the Senate seat, if and only if he supported the eventual presidential nominee of the party in 2012. So in 2012, Rand kept his word. What did he get for keeping his word and doing that (literally) nauseating thing of endorsing Romney? Simply, he got the platform that has enabled everything he has done since. Now we might say, “but he didn’t have to: he could have won in KY without selling out”. Perhaps. But that is a hypothetical and necessarily uncertain. Rand had to make an actual decision to maximize his capacity to achieve a specific purpose. What we know is that he made that decision for a reason and he got the result he played for.

So that endorsement, when seen in its full context, has moved the dial toward liberty inasmuch as Rand has, since making it, stood against the NSA, against drone killing of Americans without trial, against militarization of the police, against unconstitutional declaration of war, and all the other things Rand and his staff have stood for since he’s been in the US Senate. Did the endorsement make me sick? Absolutely. Does that mean I stand in judgment against of it from a libertarian position? Based on the analysis above, of whether the net effect of his actions was to nudge the culture toward liberty or away from it, I cannot – because principles are made valuable when they are acted upon.

As the liberty movement comes of age, it will have to understand that, whereas some endorsements and other political moves are made purely out of principle, some are made – and must be made – strategically to better place a principled politician to act on his principles. Usually, those of us on the outside of the game cannot see, or even guess, the factors that a politician must consider in the strategic calculation at the time he must make it – and we cannot see the outcome until much later.

When Rand endorsed McConnell a few months ago, what was the calculation then? More libertarians were sickened. McConnell is a partisan, after all – and a partisan man of a party that has undoubtedly promulgated anti-libertarian after anti-libertarian policy. Was Rand’s endorsement of him a compromise of principle or a means to gain something that will enable him to get support for a practical change in the direction of some principle in the future?

A fair answer must consider this: is it better to make an unprincipled declaration to be able to make positive principled change – or better to make only principled declarations and thereby be excluded from being able to make that principled change?

Even more important is this question: is it better to go along with a bad state of affairs when you believe that your overt support cannot make it worse if it enables you subsequently to do good – or is it better to state one’s opposition to that current state of affairs from the get-go but in so doing reduce your chance of being able to put your principles into practice and change it with great effect later?

Clearly, good and principled people can and do answer both of those questions differently. But the differences in answers are not necessarily themselves differences of principle: they are just as likely to follow from differences of beliefs about method or strategy.

All this means that a political act cannot be judged in isolation from the context in which it is made – both situational, and personal. When it comes to the horse-trading of politics, we, the public, are very far removed from the game. We have no idea, say, of what was given or taken for that endorsement of McConnell. Does the fact that McConnell’s victory speech stakes out for the first time ever (?) a non-interventionist foreign policy indicate that Rand’s strategic concessions are bringing concessions from the Republican party on philosophy? I don’t know, but if so, great – because that’s exactly how you want to make those trades: make concessions that make nothing worse, to win concessions on that actually make things better. (Consider the political equivalent of exchanging Federal Reserve Notes for gold.)

But we still haven’t gotten to the most radical challenge of political compromise for principled citizens: we are often too quick to label as “compromises of principle” decisions that not only aren’t compromises of principle at all, but are their very opposite – principled compromises. For example, if a statement or endorsement is not going to actually make a practical difference to anyone’s liberty in the short-run, but has a significant chance of enabling the person who makes it make a material difference to our liberty in the long-run, then at the level of principle, the statement or endorsement is not a compromise at all: it is actually principled act inasmuch as it is a step toward the practical manifestation of principle.

While the unapologetic statement of principles is a critical component of cultural and political change, principles that never become more than statements are worthless. Libertarians have been purely stating their principles for a long time – and look at where we are. Let’s at least allow that playing to win is a reasonable approach for a libertarian and/or Constitutionalist politician who wants to be in a position where his principles can have a practical and long-lasting impact.

Winning means being in the game. It also means collecting enough good cards throughout the game to be able to play a strong hand for liberty when the opportunity to make actual change arises.
If you can’t stomach that game, then don’t play it. But if you are of the “no good can come of politics” mindset, please be careful of taking a position whose logical consequence is that all who fight for liberty within the political process are irredeemably compromised – for that position is denied by history time and time again. Throughout a thousand years of Anglo history, the established political process, with all its flaws, has been the arena in which the hard-fought improvements in liberty, won by the People, moved first in the culture, have been secured for future generations. In times and places where it hasn’t been, change has typically been violent (think of the Russian revolution, or the French revolution), and less successful in securing liberty at all.

Indeed, fighting for liberty “in the system” vs. “outside the system” is an entirely false dichotomy: history and common sense both say that when real society-wide change happens, it reflects attitudinal changes outside of politics that are eventually realized in the political establishment.

One of my favorite examples is that of Thomas Clarkson, a student of my alma mater, who in 1786 wrote a thesis on the “slavery and commerce of the human species”. He spent two years travelling on a horse around England, interviewing people, collecting information, sharing information, talking about the issue of slavery, publishing engravings of instruments used on slave ships etc. He wrote another tract in 1788, “Essay on the Impolicy of the African Slave Trade”. There were myriad currents and reasons that explain the shift in Britain against slavery, some to do with the economics of empire, others to do with the loss of the American colonies. But none of that marked the actual beginning of the end of the slave trade: that came because of a principled politician, but a politician nonetheless, called William Wilberforce, who directly incorporated Clarkson’s work in a speech in Parliament in 1789 that resulted in the vote to end slavery. It may not have been able to have been done without Clarkson. But it certainly could not have been done without Wilberforce – or someone else playing the game of politics, as committed as he was to advance the one libertarian issue the country was ready for, compromising as necessary as he, and his supporters, went.

I campaigned against Romney for president, on principle. The organization with which I am associated campaigned against him fervently, supporting Gary Johnson, also on principle. But I don’t get to sit in judgment of Rand on principle – because my context was not, and is not, his. Rand was operating in a world where such a compromise may enable him to do more for liberty than I can do. In other words, a compromise that for me would definitely have been one of principle, for him may, have been just methodological.

That the same principle can result in different decisions in different contexts has profound implications for political strategy. Once we admit that we never can fully know the context in which others operate in, the humility gained should help us not divide our small libertarian house against itself.

I wonder if there are a few Libertarian Party supporters, or Independents, who are reading this, and caring about liberty as I do, can’t imagine voting for Rand for president if Gary Johnson was also running. Just as I endorsed Johnson in 2012, I’d be delighted to see him run again in 2016. But remember this. If Johnson becomes the Libertarian nominee for president in 2016, and there is every sign that he shall, it will be because of the compromise he made to run and win as a Republican for Governor of New Mexico, in which capacity he did more for liberty – and especially economic liberty – in his state than any Libertarian or unaffiliated governor has ever done.

That’s unfair because there hasn’t been a Libertarian or unaffiliated Governor? Well, exactly.

It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that soon, libertarians and Constitutionalists may have the opportunity in a Presidential election to choose between a very small chance of moving the country a long way toward liberty (say by a vote for a Libertarian Johnson for President) or a much larger chance of moving it toward liberty but less far (say by a vote for a Republican Rand for President). Good libertarians can make that call differently, but none can claim without arrogance that those who decide differently are choosing the lesser of two evils: in this case, they’ll be deciding between two goods. That is a fundamentally different thing, especially when you consider that even the lesser of two goods on paper might become the greater of the two if it is better placed to do the Good it wants to do.

This is emphatically not an article written to endorse Rand Paul or Johnson or any other politician. Rather, it is a plea for libertarians who put more weight on moving the dial toward liberty at all and libertarians who put more weight on the need to turn the dial a long way, to recognize that we are not opponents. It’s the very fact that each of us is using liberty as the primary metric for choosing whom to support – that, in other words, we are all seeking to move to the Good – that puts us on the same side.

Of course, there are those who just hate all parties and the electoral process, on principle. And that is a perfectly defensible position too. But the problem is the same, because the measure of Good is not just what you stand for; it’s what you deliver. (That is a truth that all libertarians see clearly when it comes to Republicans who talk about small government and individual rights and deliver none of it, or even its opposite. Consistency demands we apply it to ourselves.)

I, too, am a purist by instinct. At Thomas Clarkson’s university, I studied physics and the philosophy of science. For purists, I recommend these subjects heartily.

But now I’m doing politics – and political purism, alas, is a contradiction in terms.

Truth in Media: The Root of Police Militarization

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In the latest episode of Truth in Media, Investigative Journalist Ben Swann looks at the root of America’s current problem with the militarization of police.

“The militarization of America’s police forces has captured the nation’s attention, largely because of Ferguson, Missouri,” said Swann. “But what media has not told you, is how police forces got militarized in the first place, and why militarization is about a lot more than just military equipment.”

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in August. His death triggered protests, some of which led to rioting and looting.

Swann points out that what really “stunned the nation” was the way police responded to the protests. Rather than responding like a police force that intended to serve and protect, Ferguson police responded like a military unit, complete with armored vehicles and flash grenades. Swann said that for millions of Americans, “this was a stunning site on American streets.”

Swann said that while Benswann.com has been working to raise awareness about the militarization of police for over a year, “the rest of the media acted like they had no idea.”

The program ignored by the mainstream media is the 1033 program. Also called the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, this platform is used by police departments to obtain military equipment. Swann explains:

“It is a federal program that provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety.”

While the 1033 program does provide armored vehicles and flash grenades, it also provides police departments with other emergency supplies that go beyond weaponry.

Larry Kirk, the Police Chief in Old Monroe, Missouri, which is just a few miles from Ferguson, said that he is against banning the 1033 program altogether, due to the fact that it gives smaller departments certain supplies they would not have been able to afford.

However, while Kirk is in favor of keeping the program, he is also one of the few police chiefs in the country who is opposed to departments receiving military weapons. Kirk explained that he is skeptical about the level is militarized weapons that he has seen come through the program recently.
“Being realistic, there is no reason I would ever need an MRAP,” said Kirk. “Most departments would never need one.”

Swann further described the “MRAP,” which is one of two armored vehicles that police departments are given by grant, through the 1033 program. The vehicles, which were originally made to fight in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, were kept by the Department of Defense after the wars cooled down, and are now being granted to local police departments.

According to a report from the New York Times, “about 500 planes, helicopters, and mine-resistant armored vehicles have been obtained, alongside 94,000 machine guns.”

Swann said that following the protests in Ferguson, Americans began to realize the size and scale of the military equipment that was available to local police, and they “began calling for police departments to do away with military vehicles.”

Swann also pointed out that while the mainstream media has covered the protests, it hasn’t worked to provide Americans with the keys to the root of the problem.

“What media has not helped the public understand is that the real problem with militarization is not military equipment,” said Swann. “It’s the use by police of military tactics.”

Swann gave three examples of incidents in which police used military tactics to serve warrants on drugs:

The first example occurred in Detroit, Michigan, when 7-year-old girl Aiyana Jones was awakened in the middle of the night by a stun grenade developed for wartime raids, called a “flash bang,” which was thrown by a SWAT team, and immediately set fire to her blanket. Following the release of the grenade, the SWAT team stormed into the house, and mistakenly shot Jones through the neck, killing her.

A second incident occurred in Tucson, Arizona, when a SWAT team attempted to serve a search warrant as part of a multi-house drug crackdown. Jose Guerena, an Iraq war veteran who lived in the house, instructed his family to hide while he got his gun, after his wife became alarmed at the sight of a shadowy figure standing in their front yard, holding a gun. Guerena retrieved his gun – leaving the safety on – and stepped into the living room. The SWAT team then entered the house and shot him 60 times.

Swann noted that the police “have still never said whether they found drugs” in Guerena’s home.

A third example occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, when a SWAT team visited a family’s home in search of a small amount of drugs they believed were in the possession of the family’s nephew. The parents, three daughters, and a 19-month-old baby boy were asleep in a converted garage when police opened the door and threw a stun grenade in. The grenade landed in the 19-month-old baby’s crib. It blew a hole in his chest, and resulted in such severe burns that the baby was placed in a medically induced coma.

Swann said that, according to author Radley Balkow, “The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.”

These raids have become increasingly frequent, with as many as 40,000 occurring every year. Swann pointed out that the raids are “needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers.”

“Despite what the media spin-doctors will tell you, militarization has nothing to do with the war on terror, and it has everything to do with perpetuating the war on drugs,” Swann said.

Kirk said that he believed the United States has created so many different wars, from the war on crime to the war on drugs, that it has left police officers in the perpetual state of needing to be a “warrior.”

“If you continue to tell people they are in a war, you are going to create warriors,” said Kirk. “You are going to create soldiers that you are now putting on the street.”

Swann traveled to Washington DC to investigate the root of militarization. He noted that although DC has military gear and uses military tactics, “it does not participate in the 1033 program.”

Swann spoke with Seema Sadanandam, the ACLU Director of the Nation’s Capital. Sadanandam explained that while the picture of tanks in the streets was the “most visceral and extreme example” that came out of Ferguson, there is more to the concept of police militarization.

Sadanandam said that the fact that DC does not utilize the 1033 program would be surprising to members of the black communities who have been “subjected to law enforcement’s militarized war on drugs.”

While DC does not participate in the program, it does use military tactics on a daily basis. One of the tactics used, is referred to as the “jump out car.

Sadanandam explained that a “jump out car” is an unmarked car containing four to six officers, dressed in tactical vests, who jump out of the car to ambush their target. “They literally jump out of the car and surprise people,” said Sadanandam, who went on to say that the main objective is to convince people to submit to a so-called “consent search.”

According to Sadanandam, the tactic of using jump out cars is only acceptable in black, brown, and indigent communities, and is not seen in all-white communities.

“In Dupont circle, for example, which is a largely white community and where we know that there is regular cocaine use and cocaine possession, you would never see jump out cars jumping out on a group of white men in business suits, and police saying they fit the description of regular cocaine users,” said Sadanandam. “That would be considered completely unacceptable.”

Swann attended a meeting in southeastern DC, where black residents gathered to express their frustration with militarized police. He noted that people living in these neighborhoods say militarization for them is “not about the idea that so many of us have been confronted with” in the last few months. Instead, it is something they have been dealing with their entire lives.

Orlando Bego, the Pastor of Centerpoint Baptist Church, said that in the midst of the events in Ferguson, the nation was watching the wrong problem, and that getting rid of the 1033 program will not solve the real problem.

“Ferguson is not new,” said Bego. “It may be new for the mass of people who watch it on media outlets, but for people who live in inner city, urban neighborhoods, that is a common tactic that is used.”

Bego believes that even if the 1033 program were eliminated, the military mindset instilled in police officers would still be present. He said he dreads the day that his 10-year-old son, who currently wants to grow up to be a police officer because he views officers as heroes who serve and protect, is “pulled over for driving while black,” or “stopped and harassed for making eye contact.”

Ben Swann maintains that while Americans should be outraged at the idea of militarization, it should not be just because police show up in tanks to a protest. It should be because of the tactics that have been used by police for years, such as using battering rams to knock down people’s doors, and throwing stun grenades through windows, all for the sake of serving drug warrants.

“The militarized mindset isn’t about gear, it’s about tactics,” said Swann. “When we talk about things like ‘no hesitation targets,’ where police are taught to shoot a child holding a gun, or shoot a pregnant woman holding a gun, at what point do we as a public tell police, ‘Stop. We want you to hesitate.’”

Swann noted that while there are still many men and women who become police officers to serve and protect their communities, the problem occurs in the militarized way they are being trained. “They’re being taught to kill or be killed, that every suspect they encounter could be their last encounter, and that every person walking the streets of every community, is a threat, when in fact, it’s simply not true,” Swann said.

“Militarization takes good cops and teaches them to act like they’re in a warzone,” said Swann. “But the streets of the United States of America are not a warzone, and it’s up to us, the public, to keep it that way.”

Gary Johnson: Choosing Between GOP or Dems is Like Choice of Coke or Pepsi

Washington, DC- Third parties cannot be successful unless the Democratic and Republican parties begin allowing them to participate in televised debates, according to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Speaking to RT’s Erin Ade and Ben Swann, the Libertarian activist laid out what is wrong with the current two-party system, and compared choosing between Democrats and Republicans to choosing between Coke and Pepsi: any difference is merely cosmetic.

Truth in Media: Feds Say Cannabis Is Not Medicine While Holding The Patent on Cannabis as Medicine

Activate: Click here for 10 Steps You Can Take To Change and Confront the Culture on This Issue

For those who believe in marijuana and cannabis freedom, the future has never been brighter. Right now there is an awakening to the benefits of cannabis for medicinal purposes, specifically something called CBD oil. But is the new CBD craze being manipulated by media and politicians? If it weren’t we wouldn’t need to do a show about it.

The first step toward truth is to be informed.

CBD Oil… you’ve probably heard of it by now. Thanks to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and his special report “Weed” millions are now aware of the cannabinoid rich oil being used to help children in colorado with epilepsy. Especially this one little girl Charlotte Figi after whom the Charlotte’s Web strain of cannabis has been named.

I wanted to learn what CBD oil and the push behind it is all about so I traveled to Denver, Colorado. Home to legalized marijuana and the Stanley brothers, the family behind the charlottes web strain of cannabis oil.

The Stanley’s were the ones to prove in Charlotte Figi’s case that CBD rich cannabis oil can prevent seizures in children.

“We have this strain that we were going to use for cancer patients because studies have shown that CBD helps stop the metastasizing of cancer. We went ahead and tried it and after she (Charlotte Figi) had it a week she went a week seizure free” says Jesse Stanley.

Charlotte Figi’s life was transformed by CBD oil. Now to understand what is unique about CBD oil, you have to understand what a cannabinoid is.

In marijuana there are multiple cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBN, CBA, THCA, THCB and over 160 other compounds in the plant including terpenes from the plant that create the most effective medicine.

To be clear, in order to get a high from cannabis you need a high level of one cannabinoid, THC. Again, just one particular cannabinoid. In the Stanley’s case they began growing cannabis with lower THC and higher CBD.

“CBD is known to be a neuro-protectant, it is also one of the few things that causes neuro-genesis. So its not just seizures that this helps in epileptics, it is auto-immune disorders whether that’s cancer, crohn’s, lupus, there are so many different types of things” says Stanley.

Today, in the stunningly short time since Charlotte Figi’s story became famous, the Stanley’s have thousands of patients on a waiting list for their CBD oil. In fact there are thousands of families who have already traveled to Colorado for this CBD oil and thousands more on the way. They are called cannabis refugees.

All of that has led to other states wanting to legalize CBD oil. The governor of Utah signed a CBD bill into law legalizing possession of the oil. A bill in Alabama has passed the legislature and is awaiting the governors signature. Lawmakers in Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin and other states have or will consider CBD bills this year.

“We’re at 20 states right now, so you already have twenty laws on the books that the people wanted or the people’s representatives wanted” says Mark Slaugh of iComply, a Denver based company which is fighting to keep small growers compliant with state regulation on marijuana. There are eight strict guidelines that must be followed. Mark says states are jumping on board with CBD but not with marijuana.

“I think what most politicians don’t realize when they start trying to play where the puck was and not where the puck is going to be is that regulating just one compound greatly underserves most of the patients who really need this medicine. So along the lines of medical efficacy it isn’t reasonable” says Slaugh.

The reality that Mark addresses is how media and politicians are jumping on the CBD train because it doesn’t get you high, but they are ignoring some very important medical facts about cannabinoids.

I talked with Shona Bonda about this very issue.

“I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease. In my first year I had my first bowl resection and i went downhill after that. My immune system recognized that there was something wrong and it essentially attacked itself.” “You’re in pain constantly and you can’t think straight. It’s hard to go through your day to day life when all you can do is think about pain. It is a terrible disease” says Bonda.

Shona’s condition was so bad that her teeth literally became soft and the roof of her mouth had turned black. She couldn’t stand and says she parented her children from the couch. Described a like having a stomach flu every day for years, despite all the medications and doctors, Shona was rotting from the inside out.

Her break came when she saw the YouTube documentary “Run From The Cure” by Rick Simpson which explained how to extract CBD and THC oil from marijuana. Shona had started smoking marijuana just to be able to function but she wasn’t getting better. Shona’s husband at the time wanted to get her a vaporizer… but that vaporizer became the road to so much more.

“He went and got me a very old fashioned vaporizer from the 1970’s. I was reading a book and I pinched off the tube for way too long and oil started forming on the dome. So he went and got a rubber spatula and I started scraping off the oil three times a day and I started putting whatever I could get into a gel cap. Within three days I didn’t need my cane anymore to walk and I started healing quite rapidly. So rapidly that I started to write in a journal” says Bonda.

That journal would become the book, “Live Free or Die”, Shona’s mantra for her own life and the lives of the people she continues to educate across the country on the benefits of cannabis oil.

But politicians and media are making CBD oil into the good kind of cannabis while arguing that THC is the bad kind of cannabis. While that is not how any of this works, that is the case that is subtly being made.

As that happens, two forces will likely come into play. One, in order to push the market away from small sellers and harvesters of CBD oil, states and the feds will likely create a regulatory climate that is so difficult to manage, they will, through cronyism force CBD oil into the hands of a few, which in turn limits supply and forces the price to rise considerably.

Two, big pharmaceutical companies will being putting out a “safe”, “legitimate” form of CBD oil. That is already starting to happen.

“GWB pharmaceuticals out of Great Britain has been producing Evaz which is a 50/50 blend of CBD and THC. They have no real research behind whether or not 50/50 is even the right ratio and they certainly don’t include the other terpenes and other chemical compounds from the cannabis plant. So we could see the bone tossed to the pharmaceutical dog, its certainly a possibility but i think that if more people would take a stand for de-scheduling marijuana, regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol is really the best model to move forward with” says Mark Slaugh.

What you need to know, is where the U.S. government actually stands on this issue. Cannabis, marijuana, is today still a Schedule 1 Drug. That means, according to our government it has no medicinal use and has a high potential for abuse. Does our government really believe that? No. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed for a patent for the use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes.

Also in 1999, HHS filed for a second patent, specifically for cannabis oil for the treatment of disease. That’s right, our government through the taxpayer funded Department of Health and Human Services holds two patents on cannabinoids and cannabis oil to treat certain diseases like alzheimer’s and auto-immune diseases like crohn’s.

Meanwhile, our government through taxpayer funded agencies like the Department of Justice pursue, arrest and in prison Americans who would attempt to access or use cannabis oil to heal their own bodies. Because in public they claim cannabis oil is not medicine and in private they seek to own the rights to that medicine.

Truth means that Humanity is Greater than Politics.

Gary Johnson: “Imagine Life without Having To Deal with The IRS”

Following the latest letter released from former IRS official Lois Lerner, former Governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, added his two cents regarding the controversy with the Internal Revenue Service in an interview with the New Mexico Watchdog.

As BenSwann.com previously reported, in Lerner’s e-mail she warned her colleagues, writing, “We need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”  This warning from Lerner came in the midst of the controversy over missing e-mails, and was followed by an order from a federal judge, demanding IRS officials explain, under oath, how Lerner’s emails disappeared.

Come on, loss of emails? Give me a break,” said Johnson in response to the Lerner debacle. “If that doesn’t outrage anybody who looks at this, then you’re out to lunch.”

Controversies such as the one involving Lois Lerner are no surprise to Gary Johnson, who said, “To a higher degree or a lesser degree this is what happens when you have bureaucrats in charge that can manipulate the system any way they so choose.”

Imagine life without having to deal with the IRS,” said Johnson, who told the New Mexico Watchdog that his ultimate solution would be to end the IRS altogether.

Let’s abolish the IRS, let’s eliminate income tax, let’s eliminate corporate tax, let’s balance the federal budget and if we need a tax, it can be one federal consumption tax,” Johnson proposed.

The federal consumption tax Johnson has in mind would work from a single point of purchase, taxing people only when they spend money on a certain item or service. “I think a great starting point for a debate and discussion over a national consumption tax is, let’s start with the Fair Tax, legislation that has been written up,” said Johnson.

While some may question whether such a change would ever take place, John said, “I believe it will take place because at some point all these smart people will actually get with it.”

Why would any company, anywhere in the world, locate anywhere but the United States, given zero corporate tax?” said Johnson. “The entire world will change their tax structure to emulate no income tax, no corporate tax, no more filing.

Interview: Gov. Gary Johnson Leads Company Producing Marijuana Lozenge

Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the newly named CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., spoke with Annabelle Bamforth of Benswann.com to offer additional information about the company’s products and his evaluation of future marijuana trends.

Cannabis Sativa, Inc. plans to specialize in lozenges containing different blends of marijuana oil for both treating medical problems and pure recreational use. The company seeks to sell the lozenges in states where marijuana is legal. While Cannabis Sativa’s products are not yet on the market, Johnson was able to provide some details about the lozenges.

“A big part of what we’re intending to do is market this CBD oil, which absolutely works. Kids that have epilepsy are showing terrific improvement by using the oil,” Johnson said. “It also works for many types of cancer situations, MS, Parkinson’s.”

Johnson said that CBD is the medicinal active ingredient of marijuana. “Our product, the Cannabis Sativa lozenge, can be just the CBD oil, or it can be the CBD oil in combination with THC. Look at us as Coca-Cola– Coca-Cola Atlanta. What we’re looking to do, is we have these proprietary products, and we’re looking to establish 100 bottlers across the country to manufacture and sell our product. And we have a killer marketing campaign that we will unveil here shortly, so you will be able to identify our products.”

The lozenges are not simply “pot drops”. “There are two different strains of marijuana,” Johnson explained. “There’s the Sativa, which is a stimulus, and then there’s Indica, which is a depressant. So one kind of marijuana is a ‘go to sleep’ marijuana, and the other is a ‘clean your house’ marijuana.”

“So we have Cannabis Sativa- we own the proprietary rights to what we think is the ‘creme-de-la-creme’ of marijuana, in this case Sativa,” Johnson continued. “Everything that has ever been consumed on the black market, for example, has been a mixture of Sativa and Indica. There’s just no other way that it’s not going to be that case. Now that you have legalization, now that you have controlled products, you can virtually provide, in our case, proprietary Sativa strain that is 100% stimulant, 100% Sativa.” 

The ability to isolate Sativa and Indica, blend them together, or remove both entirely from the oil, is a process that not many people are aware of being possible. Marijuana may no longer be a mystery purchase containing unknown amounts of Indica and Sativa.

“You have the medical side of this which is CBD oil,” he said, “and then you mix the CBD oil with THC, and what you end up with on the medicinal side, you end up with competition for Oxycodone and all the painkillers that kill 100,000 people a year and yet nobody has been documented dying from marijuana.”

Johnson clarified that the medicinal lozenges can be “non-THC. No Sativa, no Indica. That oil is a lozenge with healing properties. You know, you bruise yourself, you wrenched your back. You take a non-THC lozenge and your back will be helped. You suffer from epilepsy. Wow, all of a sudden no more seizures. This is a lozenge with oil and no THC. No psychoactives.”

Johnson talked about the importance of cannabis oil being used as medicine when traditional medicines either fall short or are unavailable. “You yourself talked about the example of this woman [Shona Banda, who was interviewed by Ben Swann in May] and the effect that it had,” Johnson said. “You Google ‘epilepsy CBD oil’ right now and you’ll find an array of stories where children’s lives have been turned around.”

“Because of the microscopic presence of THC in this oil, it’s still a Class I narcotic in 25 states and in 25 states these kids are dying. They don’t get access to that oil. That’s crazy. That is just crazy,” said Johnson.

Johnson mentioned another property of marijuana called CBG:  “There’s also another property, another chemical present and it’s CBG, which actually stimulates frontal lobe activity. So it stimulates your brain. Because of prohibition, this chemical has been bred out, because there’s been a focus on more THC and less of everything else, where the ‘everything else’ has some real medicinal benefits.”

When comparing the lozenges to alcohol, Johnson said “I contend that marijuana is a lot safer than alcohol, and so I believe that this makes the world a better place. It makes the world a better place from a standpoint of, you know, helping kids with epilepsy, addressing all these medical issues that currently there are no medications available, making pain relief much, much safer than what is currently available.”

Johnson discussed the importance of proper labeling of the lozenges. “One of the the issues moving forward is labeling. Labeling the products so that people that have never tried marijuana before don’t have a Maureen Dowd experience where, you know, she consumed a 120 milligram dose of marijuana and apparently became comatose. There needs to be labeling. [The effects depend on] whether you decide to have 10 milligrams, or whether you decide to have 50 milligrams, it depends on you and your preferences.”

Personal responsibility and following law is also key, said Johnson. “These are the big issues moving forward, being responsible. Being responsible means complying with all the laws that we do face in this country.”

In Colorado, Johnson said that edible marijuana is generally sold in a package of 100 milligrams, separated in 10 milligram increments. He said that Cannabis Sativa, Inc. could sell packages in 15 milligram lozenges. When comparing the lozenges to smoking, “You smoke marijuana, you know, you get to this level of ‘wow everything seems terrific’ but you have to recharge, you have to smoke some more marijuana after about 45 minutes or an hour. With our product, which is not to smoke it, but you don’t have that. It’s something that I think is a very pleasant experience that lasts, you know, for hours.”

When asked if these lozenges may remove some of the negative stigma surrounding marijuana condemned by opponents as dirty and pungent, and if this might be an option for users who have problems with smoke, Johnson said “I absolutely believe that. People have, rightfully so, have an aversion to smoking. I have an aversion to smoking.”

“Edibles in Colorado are outselling the smoked product significantly,” Johnson continued. “But yeah, an aversion to smoking, it’s a rightful aversion, why smoke it when you can have something very pleasant to suck on?”

When asked about plans to market the lozenges beyond the United States, Johnson said he believes marijuana will be mostly legal in the US within ten years, save a few states. And “so goes the United States, so goes the world. We’re really betting on a legalized environment worldwide.” 

“I can’t tell you why the oil works,” said Johnson, who had previously noted he’s certainly not a scientist. But he hopes for much more research to be done. “Just an open ‘look, these products work, to the private sector, you can legally and scientifically now research this and tell us why it works and how it might work better.’ That’s the future. Very near in the future,” said Johnson.