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Libertarian Party condemns government persecution of Bitcoin exchange vendor

June 7, 2017

Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee, released the following statement today:

The Libertarian Party vigorously condemns the trumped-up case against Randall Lord, a former Libertarian candidate, who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for the victimless “crime” of operating an unregistered money service business involving Bitcoin, a digital currency.

Trading bitcoins is perfectly legal. Major retailers such as Microsoft, Expedia, Dell, Overstock, and Whole Foods accept bitcoins. Prosecutors targeted Lord for not being registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury, and for not being licensed to operate as a money service business in his home state of Louisiana.

Despite Lord’s conscientious objections to government control of currency, the Shreveport resident attempted to comply with the laws and regulations governing Bitcoin. He filed for registration with FinCEN, but the bureaucracy misplaced his filing, for which he now faces almost four years in prison.

Lord was not licensed in Louisiana because state officials had told him that Bitcoin is not a currency, and therefore he didn’t have to have a license to operate. Then in March 2013, FinCEN expanded the definition of “currency” so they could pull exchanges like Lord’s under their regulatory control. 

Lord pleaded guilty to not having a state license, but later he proved to the court that the state did not require one. Then a federal court ruled that “unlicensed” could also mean “not registered with the Treasury Dept.” and refused to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea and take this issue to trial.

Every aspect of this case is a travesty:

·         Politicians’ insatiable addiction to spending, which they finance by printing dollars out of thin air, devaluing the dollar and in turn creating the demand for alternative currencies such as Bitcoin;

·         the contemptible government regulations these very politicians enacted to obstruct Bitcoin trading, and which were used to prosecute Lord;

·         the bumbling FinCEN regulators whose ineptitude set Lord up for prosecution (unless it was deliberate that they “misplaced” Lord’s filing);

·         the use of multiple taxpayer-funded federal agencies—the IRS, FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service—to go after Lord for openly trading a legal commodity and harming no one;

·         the failure of prosecutors to show any intent by Lord to violate the law;

·         the harsh sentence imposed on Lord, which appears intended to intimidate others who trade in bitcoins, much like the life sentence imposed on Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht; and

·         the government’s as-yet uncertain plans to confiscate Lord’s assets, including possibly his home, adding to his family’s distress.

Randall Lord has long opposed the federal government’s tax-and-spend policies and the Federal Reserve Bank’s manipulation of the dollar. He did his part to try to change these onerous laws and regulations when he ran for U.S. House on the Libertarian ticket in 2014 and 2012, receiving 27 and 25 percent of the vote, respectively.

This case illustrates that the problem is not a well-meaning, civic-minded family man like Randall Lord who offers a service to people aiming to preserve the value of their hard-earned money.

The problem is overspending by federal politicians, their manipulation and regulation of currencies, and grandstanding prosecutors who get rewarded for convicting people rather than for achieving justice.

The solution is to overturn the sentence of Randall Lord, repeal onerous laws and regulations, and stop federal government overspending so that the dollar will stop losing value, jobs will be plentiful, and Americans will be financially secure.

Please add your voice to ours in demanding freedom for Randall Lord.

Listen to an interview of Randall Lord in a Lions of Liberty podcast here.

Libertarians Support Obamacare Repeal, Not Replacement

April 10, 2017

While Democratic and Republican representatives in Washington debate on how to alter or replace “Obamacare,” the Libertarian Party stands resolute in calling for a full repeal without replacement.

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, the Libertarian Party of Louisiana (LPL) State Central Committee passed unanimously the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party supports the free market and recognizes it as the most efficient and fair means of trade; and

WHEREAS, healthcare is a need too important to trust to the bureaucracy of the state; and

WHEREAS, no free person should be forced to purchase or subsidize the purchase of any product against their will; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Libertarian Party of Louisiana calls for the full repeal of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” known as Obamacare, without replacement.

The LPL supports free market solutions and believes that giving people more freedom always yields better results than forced solutions. 

 “Unlike the Democratic and Republican Parties, Libertarians support individual liberty in all areas and healthcare is no exception.  We support voluntary charity and the free market; the government getting in between you and your doctor only causes harm.” said LPL Communications Officer, Keith Thompson.

Thompson went on to say “Even from an economic standpoint, the Republican’s plan makes no sense.  They claim that it saves money, but only when comparing it to Obamacare projections, not when compared to the free market.  Americans are fed up; it’s time to demand that the government get out of your wallet, out of your bedroom, and out of your hospital room.”

The Libertarian Party is America’s largest third party with over 14,000 registered members in Louisiana. Their platform supports individual liberty, free market economics, and civil liberties.  To learn more about the Libertarian Party visit LP.org.

Libertarian Party to Muslims: We stand with you.

January 29, 2017
Via LP.org: In the early morning hours of January 28th, a fire broke out in the Victoria Islamic Center in Victoria, TX. It quickly destroyed the whole building. The cause has not officially been determined.

Two weeks ago, another mosque, the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, in Austin, TX, burned. Again, the cause of the fire has not been officially determined.

Both mosques have previously been vandalized. And the mosque in Victoria was burglarized last week.

Regardless of the causes of these fires, the Libertarian Party extends sympathy to the Muslim communities in these towns and across America.

As one member of the mosque in Austin, TX, said, “We are all just praying it wasn’t a hate crime.”

Indeed. The Libertarian Party hopes that these fires were caused by some innocent accident. But the fact that our Muslim brothers and sisters even have to worry about hate crimes perpetrated against them or their buildings of worship is a sad statement on current affairs in America.

New executive orders have barred entry of people from 7 countries that are mostly Muslim. We’ve heard talk of registries for Muslim Americans. And we’ve heard a lot of nasty rhetoric from the President and others. Muslim Americans have every reason to feel uncomfortable. And their concern should be the concern of every American.

Libertarian Party Chair, Nicholas Sarwark, says, “America was founded on freedom, including and perhaps especially freedom of religion. It is central to who we are as Americans and it is values such as this that make our country great. When we lose sight of these values, our country ceases to be great.”

He continues, “There are two real threats here: One is the infringement on people’s rights to live and worship as they see fit. The other is the complacency that some Americans have about it.”

The Libertarian Party calls on all Americans not to be complacent when the rights of one group, any group, are infringed. Sarwark says, “When we allow one group’s rights to be degraded, we are degrading the human rights of all of us, and degrading our country.”

Today and everyday, the Libertarian Party stands for the rights of all people, all the time.

Today and everyday, the Libertarian Party says to our Muslim brothers and sisters, we are with you. We have your back. We’ll do our best to speak out and amplify your voice. We hope and pray that a registry is never created. But if one is, we will oppose it vigorously and you can rest assured that many of our members will register themselves in protest. We will speak out against travel and immigration bans. We will speak out loudly against any and all acts of violence or destruction that may be committed against you. When your rights and humanity are infringed upon, we stand with you.

Reason Magazine: Thank You, Gary Johnson, for Being the Best Thing in 2016!

January 4, 2017
From Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine on January 3:

Before we completely flush 2016 down the memory hole, let us pause to remember Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who generated a record number of votes as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president. If there was anything good that happened in 2016—a year filled so much awfulness that even the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series after a thousand-year drought—it was Governor Gary Johnson‘s ramshackle campaign to bring a very different way of thinking and talking about national politics to America.

Gary wasn’t perfect and I still don’t really comprehend anything about that tongue-thing while talking to NBC reporter Kasie Hunt, who was understandably all like, Get me the hell out of here. But in the end, Johnson pulled almost 4.5 million votes (3.3 percent of the total), compared to 1.3 million votes (1 percent) four years ago. Of course, all of us who voted for Gary Johnson wanted him to do better still, but the world exists to disappoint us believers in small government.

I choose instead to focus on what I think were two major themes that Johnson introduced into national politics that will have a very long shelf-life. He might have scratched out tiny numbers in the final tally, but the little acorns he planted in November will grow into might oaks over the coming years, as confidence in government continues to fade, the nation’s finances continue to deteriorate, and we all realize that we need a different approach to the size, scope, and spending of government.

First, he was the first politician in forever who had the temerity to say what we all know to be true: That most Americans are socially liberal (or tolerant) and fiscally conservative (i.e. responsible). Libertarian purists will denounce such a formulation as lazy or incorrect or insufficiently Misesian or Hayekian or Randian, but the way that Gary put it is exactly right in political terms. Most Americans have no problem with immigrants (except that we seem to be attracting fewer and fewer of them), legal or illegal. … a majority of Republicans favor some sort of legal status for illegals. The same is true about marriage equality, pot legalization, and abortion rights….Growing majorities are OK with living in a more-cosmopolitan, more-globalized America where you’re free to travel, work, and mix with whatever people, food, and music you want. It’s not simply coastal elites who are dining out more; goddamn Kroger stores in Ohio have sushi bars in the produce sections. If Texas is the near-future of America, the one thing you can say about it is that it’s pretty comfortable with all sorts of mixing. And yet, somehow neither this reality—or the idea that people want a government that does less and costs less—isn’t represented by either major party. Indeed, according to Gallup, 54 percent of us agree that “government is doing too much” while just 41 percent say the government should be doing more. What’s more, for the first time, Gallup data shows that libertarian is the single-the-libertarian-moment-is-so-over-that-l” largest ideological bloc at 27 percent, bigger than conservative (26 percent), liberal (23 percent) or populist (15 percent). That was the essential message of the Johnson campaign and if it got drowned out somewhat by various gaffes and world events, it isn’t going away any time soon.

Second, and more controversially, I think, Gary Johnson incarnates what we will come to expect from politicians and presidents. Hillary Clinton was imperious and hyper-credentialed to a fault, Donald Trump was simply a bullying blowhard…Johnson presented himself as experienced and competent—he had a great run as a two-term governor of New Mexico and had built two successful businesses—but also relentlessly human. He didn’t pretend …be all things to all people. As the government is inevitably scaled down due to financial constraints, we will also want to scale down the people and the personalities that operate it. We don’t need louts like Donald Trump or distant technocrats like Hillary Clinton or rhetorical masters such as Barack Obama any more. One of the most-attractive things about Johnson to me was that he didn’t need to own every room he walked into, didn’t need to be a super-genius or ultra-coiffed glibmeister with a canned line about everything in the world. Rather, at his best, Gary came off as a motivated and capable everyman, the sort of person you would trust to do right by you, own his mistakes, and move forward in the best faith possible.

The tragicomedy of America is that we mostly get the government we demand. For all his faults, Johnson articulated the broadly felt desire for government that does less and costs less and personified a down-to-earth politician. In doing so, he prototyped what the politics and politicians of the future will be like. Gary, we hardly knew ye, but we will, and sooner than most of us think.

LNC chair interviewed on Lions of Liberty podcast

December 29, 2016

Libertarian National Committee chair Nicholas Sarwark was interviewed on the Lions of Liberty podcast on December 28.

In the podcast Nicholas discusses the state of the Libertarian Party after the November election, the Johnson – Weld 2016 presidential campaign, and political messaging.

Click here to listen to the podcast.