Don Graham



  • Opening Massachusetts? Gov Baker’s plan is not enough!

    Massachusetts needs to shift gears to enabling its citizens to be responsible voluntarily, to supporting private and local initiative, and to focusing resources on targeted protection of the vulnerable.

    Today, after nearly two months of shutdown, Governor Baker announced the details of “Phase 1” of his plan to re-open Massachusetts. While there is some progress with this announcement, the detailed list leaves many questions open. And in areas where it is clear, it does not go far enough - by a long measure. 

    The changes announced today continue to put an undue burden on local businesses giving an advantage to large chains. It is not reasonable to allow large crowds into some stores, while limiting local shop owners that don’t have capabilities such as online-shop presence to only curbside pickup. At a minimum the state should have set clear safety requirements that are applied consistently for large and small businesses alike. The capacity limit of 25% for offices is overly restrictive, hitting smaller businesses harder than large corporations that can afford advanced digital infrastructure.

    Another example of a key problem is the lack of a clear and expedient plan for opening child care services. Even if we accept that the school year is ending digitally, summer programs all over the state have been cancelled. This leaves families in a dire situation, even if businesses reopen. How can you go to work when you have to take care of your kids at home? Children are already paying a high price for the shutdown. It is time to let them out again.

    The situation for preventive healthcare and non-COVID related issues continues to be murky at best. Worldwide, there is a growing concern over the health impact of care not given due to the forced shutdown of non-COVID related services. And while the Massachusetts plan is moving towards restoring services, a faster change is needed.

    The COVID-19 pandemic poses a great risk, especially to those with an already weakened health. It was and continues to be important to ‘flatten the curve’ of exponential spread in order to avoid overwhelming the health care systems. At the same time we can not risk ‘flattening’ the economy or giving up our civil rights, because both can and will cause even greater harm in the long-term. All indications are that the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19 will be with us for the long-haul and we need to develop a sustainable way to deal with it. That can only work with voluntary compliance to well understood best practices.

    Instead of central planning with a government-mandated shutdown that has further undermined civil liberties and worsened the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts should have enabled its citizens to be responsible voluntarily, should have supported private and local initiative, and should have focused resources on targeted protection of the vulnerable. It is time to shift gears and move in that direction.

    One thing that the COVID-19 crisis has made clear, is that Massachusetts needs a change in its political landscape. Join the LIbertarian Party and help us bring about that change.


  • Protect Freedom in the COVID Crisis, End The Government-Forced Shutdown

    The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts (lpmass.org) adopted a resolution calling for the protection of Civil Rights during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and for an end to the Government-forced shutdown.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a serious crisis and is threatening lives, especially of those with a weakened immune response and of the elderly. In addition, the reaction to the crisis has created a significant economic problem, putting the livelihood and, in some cases, the lives of many more at risk. On top of these issues, people are dealing with the sheer human impact of uncertainty, fear, and the loss of the ability to move freely or even see family, as well as the loss of loved ones. For some this is leading to some level of mental health challenges. Government regulation in general and the government response to the crisis in specific has in multiple ways contributed to worsening the situation. It will take a tremendous effort to overcome this challenge. 

    Voluntary social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations for those who have that option, as well as closure of schools and cancellations of mass-events have probably been effective tools in slowing the further spread of COVID-19 and the resulting potential overload of the health care system.

    However, the COVID-19 crisis has also led to another push for more executive power on every level of government. The fear of the pandemic has also paved the way for an unprecedented support for even blatantly unconstitutional measures. The lockdown and the practice of government officials making arbitrary decisions on ‘essential’ businesses - sometimes as in the example of firearms retailers driven by an ulterior political agenda -, or the attempt by the Department of Justice to allow unlimited detention are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The fining - and in some cases apparently arrest - of citizens for alleged violations of distancing or stay-at-home orders without a concrete risk to others, are an unacceptable government overreach - they are just more victimless ‘crimes’.

    This is happening after the failure of government to address the problem before it became a crisis and even its direct contribution to the problem. Examples are government red tape preventing private initiative to develop appropriate testing capabilities, or the now rescinded guidance to not wear masks in public. Bureaucratic control and mismanagement has hampered progress, limited individual initiative, and caused suffering beyond the government apparatus. The many cases of medical workers being punished for taking initiative to mitigate the shortage of protective equipment are a saddening example of that. However, only the government is claiming a monopoly to actively prevent others from solving problems. And government measures of expanding reach and undermining civil rights in a crisis have a habit of sticking around and developing a life of its own. The fact that the Patriot Act was just renewed in Congress almost two decades after the horrific terrorist attack of September 11 can serve as a reminder of that.

    Any infringements on individual rights need to have a solid reason. However, there is an increasing amount of data suggesting that voluntary social distancing, cancellation of mass events, and enabling the vulnerable to self-protect has been effective to slow the spread of COVID-19, while the government forced lockdown of the economy has likely contributed little beyond those effects - at tremendous cost. The Robert Koch Institute (roughly the German equivalent to the CDC) has pre-published a study that visualizes that clearly:

    This shows that new infections dropped significantly after cancellation of mass events and social distancing recommendations 03/09, continued to fall after cross-state guidelines were agreed in Germany on 03/16, but that it leveled out even before the economic shutdown was put in place for Germany on 03/23. This study is likely suffering from the same challenges of incomplete data as most, and there are significant regional and local differences calling for local decision making based on the concrete situation in a specific area. 

    The public is well advised to be wary of the expanding government reach, surveillance, and erosion of civil rights, as well as the long-term impact of the unprecedented forced lock-down orders.  

    Many are taking a moralistic approach to the debate, citing the Pandemic of 1918 as an example to warn against relaxing successful measures too early. While that Pandemic indeed should serve as a warning, at the same time, the Great Depression and its contribution to the Rise of Fascism and World War II should also serve as a reminder that an extreme economic downturn has a very real human cost. And the effects of the full shutdown are already being compared to the Great Depression by economists, putting lives at risk in 2020 and beyond. 

    Individual responsibility is the basis of any successful effort to address this crisis. Libertarians support voluntary social distancing to ‘flatten the curve’ of the COVID-19 spread and mitigate its potential to overwhelm the healthcare infrastructure. The position of the Libertarian Party is that any response must be ​scientifically justified and not based on speculation; that the response must respect and protect civil liberties and balance its long-term effects. 

    Overall, the urgently needed improvement of the situation can best be achieved by removing bureaucratic hurdles and supporting local and private initiative in combination with a focused containment and protection strategy.  Most importantly it must be focused on voluntary compliance with social distancing and self-isolation based on a positive test or on proven exposure to the infection. 

    The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts calls for an end to the government mandated shutdown of the economy and to the curtailing of civil liberties, as well as and the discriminatory treatment of businesses that might not be politically in favor. This should be replaced with a more efficient and just approach, that builds on voluntary social distancing, targeted isolation of the infected, as well as on enabling the vulnerable to self-protect. Key to that is broad availability of testing to the general population in order to identify the infected and the part of the population that has had previous exposure and, based on the current scientific consensus, is likely to have at least temporary immunity. This also implies the continued cancellation of mass events and mandatory government programs such as schools, or for example signature petition requirements for elections.

    Read more:

    The Libertarian Policy Institute has put together a deeper exploration of these options.

    LAMA Resolution on freedom in the Covid crisis.




  • LAMA State Committee

    Position Name Email Address
    Chair Don Graham chair@lpmass.org
    Treasurer  Cris Crawford treasurer@lpmass.org
    Recording Secretary Derek Newhall secretary@lpmass.org
    Political Director Michael Burns political@lpmass.org
    Membership Director Andrew Moore membership@lpmass.org
    Communications Director John Dixson  communications@lpmass.org
    Operations Director Jonathan Drury operations@lpmass.org
    Technology Director Daniel Riek technology@lpmass.org
    Fundraising Director Vacant fundraising@lpmass.org
    Archivist Charlie Larkin charlie.larkin@lpmass.org
    Fundraising Marc Mercier marc.mercier@lpmass.org
         
         

     



  • 2018 Libertarian State Convention

     

    We've really finalized our schedule for convention day!

     

    8:00 - Registration opens

    9:00 - Business session. Reports, nominations for state committee, brief speeches by state committee candidates

    10:00 - Keynote Speech by Paul Jacob - "Winners and Losers - What Can we Do?"

    11:00 - Other business

    11:30 - Voting closes

    11:45 - Lifetime achievement award

    12:00 - Lunch with remarks by former Governor William Weld

    1:00 - Main Room - Justin O'Donnell, Selling Liberty

    1:00 - Breakout Room - press conference

    1:45 - Main Room - Caryn Ann Harlos, History of the Statement of Principles

    1:45 - Breakout Room - Veterans' Panel moderated by Matt Welch

    2:30 - break

    2:45 - Main Room - Pete Kofod, Blockchain security and cryptocurrency

    2:45 - Breakout Room - Issues panel

    3:30 - Main Room - Carla Gericke - Defending the 1st Amendment right to film police encounters

    3:30 - Breakout Room - Elected officials panel moderated by Matt Welch

    4:15 - break

    4:30 - Meet Ben Franklin

    5:30 - Closing remarks

    6:00 - Breakout room - VIP reception

    6:30 - Dinner Banquet, Radley Balko, speaker

    7:30 - Screening of "This is Vermin Supreme"

    Join libertarians from Massachusetts and beyond for the annual convention of the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts. This year we are poised to outshine recent conventions with a fantastic venue, the new MGM Springfield hotel and casino. We have a stellar lineup of speakers and are continuing to add as many as we are able to pack into a full day of speakers, workshops, and fine catering. After opening the convention with a keynote speaker, official convention business will be completed by lunch, at which time an impressive array of speakers and workshops will be available for members and non-members both.

    Please consider becoming a sponsor. Bronze ($250), Silver ($500), Gold ($1250) and Platinum ($2500) sponsors help us compensate our great speakers, and they come with benefits. All sponsorships include the price of a full convention package. All sponsors have reserved seating at the banquet, and Silver, Gold and Vibranium sponsors are invited to a VIP cocktail reception. Gold sponsors can bring two guests, and Vibranium sponsors can fill an entire table for eight - a great way to sponsor students and activists! Sponsorships are available for purchase on the Eventbrite ticketing site.


     

    Thanks to our sponsors!

    Platinum  
    Gold 

    Chris Rufer, Jeremy Fishman

    Silver 

    Cristina Crawford, Peter Everett, Jeff Lyons

    Bronze

    Daniel Riek, David Blau, Robert Clark, William F. Weld, Terry Reiber, Irwin Jungreis

     

    Will you join the list of sponsors and support liberty in Massachusetts?



    BUY TICKETS HERE

     

    DATE AND TIME

    Sat, October 13, 2018
    9:00 AM – 9:00 PM EDT

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    LOCATION

    MGM Springfield Hotel and Casino
    One MGM Way
    Springfield, MA 01103

    View Map

    SPEAKERS

     

    Radley Balko is an award winning writer for the Washington Post, where he blogs and reports on criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties. He was previously a senior writer and investigative reporter at the Huffington Post, and a reporter and senior editor for Reason magazine. He is author of the books "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces" and "The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South" (co-authored with Tucker Carrington). His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Mississippi Supreme Court and two federal appeals courts. He also occasionally writes about the music and culture of Nashville, where he lives. In 2017 he was given the Bastiat award for journalism by the Reason Foundation.


    Carla Gericke is a writer, activist, and former lawyer. Born in South Africa, she emigrated to America in 1994 after winning a green card in the Diversity Visa Lottery. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Gericke is President Emeritus of the Free State Project. In 2014, she won a landmark First Circuit Court of Appeals case that affirmed the First Amendment right to film police officers. She was named one of New Hampshire Magazine's "2014 Remarkable Women" In 2016, she ran unopposed in the New Hampshire State Senate District 20 Republican primary, and is the Libertariancandidate for State Senate for Goffstown and Manchester Wards 3, 4, 10, and 11 in the general election.

    Caryn Ann Harlos is the current Libertarian Party National Secretary and former Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee. She is also the Chair of the Libertarian Party Preservation Committee, former Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of Colorado, and former Colorado State Coordinator with the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus. She is also a Life Member of the Libertarian Party. She is married to Wayne Harlos who is the current chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

     

    Paul Jacob (born 1960) is an American activist, organizer, and advocate for legislative term limits, initiative and veto referendum rights, and limited government in the United States. He writes a weekly column for Townhall.com and his short radio commentary feature, "Common Sense," is syndicated by the Citizens in Charge Foundation on over 120 radio stations around the U.S. He has held positions with the U.S. Libertarian Party, U.S. Term Limits, Americans for Limited Government, the Citizens in Charge Foundation and the Sam Adams Alliance.

     

    Peter Kofod is a leading security expert with over twenty years of technical and leadership experience in Information Technology, including the development of secure hosted services for the transportation industry as well as designing and managing networks in the utility and defense sectors. A renowned speaker and thought leader on issues of Internet security, system management, trustless systems, and privacy, Peter has also served as an advisor to the committee for network security at the American Public Transit Association and has led various red Team efforts, including full mission profile penetration testing of transit authority rail control systems. He recently spoke to the United States Secret Service on network and cyber security as well as on the resiliency of trustless systems such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

     

    Internationally known historian and actor Christopher Lowell will present Ben Franklin LiveThe most fascinatingly versatile of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin lived a rags-to-riches life marked by scientific achievement, useful inventions, a wide range of social service, and vitally important leadership in the establishment of our Republic. At heart an innovator and entrepreneur, the number, variety, and practicality of his contributions make him unique in American history. Franklin, more than any other, epitomized the emerging, American identity. Rejecting the old values of class and birth as determiners of one’s future, Franklin championed instead hard work, virtue and thrift.



    While only 28 years old, Justin O'Donnell has had a full life of experience, from Serving in the United States Army to working as a Business Sales Consultant. He is experienced in the Insurance industry, holding licenses in all 50 states. A resident of Nashua, Justin has worked tirelessly to promote the ideas of Individual Liberty and Freedom. From helping to organize and participate in local protests to lobbying for election reform in Concord. He also serves as a Regional Representative to the Libertarian National Committee, representing the states of New England as well as New York and New Jersey.

     

    Matt Welch is editor at large of Reason, the libertarian magazine of "Free Minds and Free Markets." He served as Reason's editor in chief from 2008-2016. He is co-author, along with Nick Gillespie, of the 2011 book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America.

    Reason has been a Western Publications Association magazine of the year finalist every year under Welch's leadership, winning five total first-place Maggie awards, as well as another 18 first-place notices from the Greater Los Angeles Press Club. Welch himself has won eight first-place L.A. Press Club awards over the years, for work on subjects ranging from Jackie Robinson to Cuba to the "banal authoritarianism" of Thomas L. Friedman and David Brooks. From December 2013 to January 2015 he was co-host of the nightly Fox Business Network program The Independents.

    Before assuming editorship of Reason in 2008, Welch worked as an assistant editorial pages editor for the Los Angeles Times, as a media columnist for Reason, California correspondent for The National Post, political columnist for WorkingForChange.com, and regular contributor to the Online Journalism Review. Before 1998, he lived for eight years in Central Europe, where he co-founded the region's first post-communist English-language newspaper, Prognosis, worked as UPI's Slovakia correspondent and managed the Budapest Business Journal.

    William Weld is an American attorney, businessman, and politician who was the 68th Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. He was the Libertarian Party's nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election, sharing the ticket with Gary Johnson.