By Mike Tront

Amidst the jubilant celebration of Cuban Americans upon hearing of Fidel Castro’s death, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a very different take.  Here is the full eulogy from the head of the Canadian government:

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”

No mention of Castro’s firing squads, the extreme poverty he’s forced upon the Cuban people, or the fact that he’s brutally done everything he can to stop people from freely leaving his giant prison camp of an island he’s developed.

Thankfully, the people of Twitter have made Trudeau pay with countless hypothetical eulogies Mr Trudeau might have given for histories most brutal people.  I’ve pulled some of the best and put them here for your enjoyment, including one of my own:

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For more head to Twitter and follow the hashtag #TrudeauEulogies


mike

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By Mike Tront

Being a libertarian around election time has its ups and downs.  On the positive side, election time is the only time when people actually care about what libertarians have to say!  On the other hand, being a third party means we have to listen to cries of “supporting your team means the bad team will win!”  The “bad team” being the Democrats or Republicans, depending on who we’re talking to.

This election is unique, though.  Never have there been two more hated people running for president.  This hatred, coupled with the normal derisiveness of politics, pretty much ensures that whomever wins in 2016 will lose in 2020.  The cruel fact is that the only person who can lose to Hillary Clinton is Donald Trump, and vice versa!  So unless we have a repeat of Trump vs. Hillary in 2020, we’re going to have a new president in 2020.

If Trump Wins

Although it seems like a long shot for him to win now, Trump has come back many times before after being counted out.  So what if he does win?  What would four years of Trump really look like?  Well, if you’re thinking that he will change Washington in any way, shape, or form, you will be disappointed.  Just like Obama had every intention of putting his mark of “change” on the country, while failing miserably, so too will Trump.  Whether it’s the entrenched bureaucracy, enemies on both sides of the isle, or just simply his own unwillingness to give up the power he just won, government will only get bigger.  Not smaller.

Troops will continue to be engaged abroad, thus creating more enemies and more attacks on the U.S.  The currency will continue its inflation and inevitable march toward disaster.  Unfunded liabilities will only get worse.  The debt will continue ballooning.  The War on Drugs will continue to rage, thus creating more problems and distrust with police in our inner cities. Trump has no plans to tackle these problems with small government solutions.

In other words, a Trump presidency will be looked at as a failure.  This is particularly bad because Trump is seen as a true “outsider.”  So instead of blaming the system for the inevitable decline, the country will collectively blame Trump himself.  This will lead to a resurgence of the establishment candidates.  This will also lead to people generally being gun shy about supporting newcomers and outsiders.  The Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders types will have an even harder time after a Trump presidency.

A Trump presidency will not only make things worse during his four years in power, but it will also make it harder to bring support behind an actual candidate friendly to human liberty in 2020.

If Hillary Wins

We all know that Hillary is doing her victory lap right now.  The media, and the general public, don’t care about her “pay to play” allegations.  And Trump is an increasingly unlikable man for larger parts of the public with each passing day.

So, as my title suggests, how will Hillary bring an even larger freedom movement in 2020?  First, she will have the same failures that Trump will have.  Increasing war, debt, unfunded liabilities, inflation, police violence, etc will lead to the U.S. being worse off leading into the 2020 election.  But with one important distinction.  Hillary is the ultimate establishment candidate.  Her failures might just be the straw that breaks the camels back.

The big government policies of Bush II led to the Ron Paul movement.  Now we actually have a few libertarian republicans in Congress.  The big government policies of Obama has led to the Bernie Sanders movement.  Even though Bernie is a big government type as well, some of his supporters seem to be friendly to many aspects of libertariansism.  In fact, Hillary is so scared of these democratic voters leaving her for Gary Johnson that she’s actually running attack ads against Johnson.  Who would have ever thought that libertarians would be relevant enough in politics to run attack ads against?  This is great news for our movement.

So what would happen after we have another four years of establishment, big government policies and people running the show?  Especially from a president as widely disliked as Clinton?  We can only hope this will be enough to push people from both sides of the isle to really look at smaller government solutions.  Rand Paul has already shown his desire to become president.  In 2020 he won’t have his Senate race to worry about, and hopefully he’s learned that embracing liberty is a much better selling point than his strategy of courting the republican establishment.  Justin Amash has also hinted at his desire to run for president at some point in the future.  There’s no one more consistent than him in Congress when it comes to defending liberty.

Then of course we have the rise of the Libertarian Party.  Gary Johnson, for all his faults, has propelled the Libertarian Party into the mainstream media.  There’s a very real chance that he could get 5% of the vote this year, which would be five times more votes than they’ve ever received.  This would also mean the Libertarian Party would become eligible for federal matching funds.  The combination of more press and more money to campaign with could lead to more libertarian ideas entering the news cycles, thus leading to more liberty friendly candidates getting a shot at the presidency.

Either way, we’re in for another four years of big government.  I’m not ready to start a Libertarians for Hillary movement, but there’s no doubt that she’ll create more dissatisfaction with big government, and thus more people seeking out libertarian solutions in 2020.

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By Mike Tront

Understandably, many libertarians are not enthused about Gary Johnson being the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president this year.  He has many good libertarian views, but he just doesn’t seem to apply these principals across the board.  To make matters worse, his running mate, Bill Weld, is on record supporting many anti-libertarian policies over the years.  For these reasons, it is becoming trendier in libertarian circles to throw their support behind other candidates.  Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party nominee, is one of them.

I can respect someone who isn’t supporting the Johnson/Weld ticket on the account of their flaws.  What doesn’t make sense is to say Johnson isn’t a good enough libertarian, but then support someone like Castle!

To be fair, Castle says many good things in his platform.  Right away he talks about ending the federal reserve system as well as ending overseas interventions.  However, just like Johnson, he has many core beliefs that are directly opposed to libertarianism.

Immigration:

Darrell Castle’s immigration policy looks like it was stolen from Donald Trump!  In an interview with LibertyHangout.org, when asked about immigration, Castle said this:

I believe that securing the border, i.e. protecting it so that no one enters without consent and halting immigration completely until that is accomplished is one of the most important issues America faces. The halt to immigration would last until we could be sure who is coming in and with what intent.

Castle doesn’t say build a wall, but I’m not sure how else he’s planning on “halting immigration completely.”  For a guy who’s interested in smaller government, this immigration policy would amount to a massive federal bureaucracy.  To be effective it would need powers beyond our imagination.

Even when asked this: “Should the government increase or decrease the amount of temporary work visas given to high-skilled immigrant workers?” he replied with “decrease.”  What is libertarian about using force to stop American companies from hiring much needed engineers, doctors, designers, and scientists?

LGBT Issues:

His party, the Constitution Party, holds this view:

The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has instituted. We are opposed to any judicial ruling or amending the U.S. Constitution or any state constitution re-defining marriage with any definition other than the Biblical standard.

Sounds like same sex marriage is off the table!  Castle himself said this: “Take the government out of marriage and instead make it a religious decision.”  Libertarians can agree that government shouldn’t have any role in defining marriage, but religion has nothing to do with it.  It is simply a contract made between two people, one that can’t be stopped by any government or church.

His stance, then, seems a bit murky.  He seems to want government out of the way, but he stops short of saying same sex couple should have the right to get married if they wish.

When it comes to same sex couples adopting children, however, he is not murky at all!  He flat out says “gay couples should not be able to adopt children

Whatever you personally believe, I can’t imagine any libertarian worth their salt that would say we need government to flat out ban adopting children to same sex couples.

Eminent Domain:

Another big issue is eminent domain.  Self-ownership and private property are the two basic principles we libertarians adhere to.  Eminent domain, the ability for the government to take private property without consent, is the opposite of libertarian.  Castle supports eminent domain as long as “fair market value is paid to the property owner.”  Value is subjective, however, and if someone is not willing to voluntarily sell you something, that means they personally value it more than what you’re offering.  Just because you take something by force, and give the victim what you feel is “fair value,” it doesn’t make it right.

Marijuana:

Although Castle supports ending the drug war, he apparently doesn’t want marijuana legalized.  In his own words when asked “Do you support the legalization of Marijuana?his response was “i support decriminalization not legalization

This is a pretty big distinction.  Decriminalization means the government can, and most certainly will, fine people for consuming marijuana.  This will also keep it on the black market, as legitimate companies wouldn’t be able to sell marijuana.  Thus the crime and violence associated with prohibition will continue, just with fewer prisoners.  This is hardly a libertarian position.

Death Penalty:

Whether or not you think capital punishment is moral, I think we can at least agree that government shouldn’t ever administer it.  I myself wrote that in a completely private criminal justice system, capital punishment may be used from time to time for certain heinous acts.

Castle, however, fully supports government use of the death penalty.

Women in Combat:

This is a bit off the wall, but apparently he was asked “Should the military allow women to serve in combat roles?” and he said “No”!  

If the U.S. is ever attacked, I don’t see any reason why anyone should forcibly stop a woman from defending herself, her family, her property, and her community.

Castle vs. Johnson

Clearly if we pick and choose there’s plenty to like and dislike about both of these candidates.  If you just happen to like one more than the other based on your personal ranking of importance on their different issues, I can respect that.  But if you’re in the “We need a true libertarian candidate and Gary Johnson isn’t it!” camp than there’s no way you can support Castle either.  He is far from a libertarian.

 

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By Mike Tront

For the vast majority of the population, those of us who have been educated in public schools, or consume our news from main stream media outlets, we know that the Environmental Protection Agency is here to protect the environment.  Mainly from evil businesses who seek to pollute public lands, waters, and air in order to increase their profits.

This is a noble cause, but one that is actually not served by the EPA.  In fact, just like the Department of Defense makes us less safe with their offensive war strategies, and just like the Department of Education reduces educational opportunities by enforcing a public school monopoly, the EPA actually permits and allows pollution to happen by these profit seeking businesses.

Take for example this current fight over the dumping of fracking wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico.  From the article:

Under the EPA’s current and draft permits, offshore drillers are allowed to dump an unlimited amount of fracking and acidizing chemicals overboard as long as they are mixed with the wastewater that returns from undersea wells. Oil and gas platforms dumped more than 75 billion gallons of these “produced waters” directly into the Gulf of Mexico in 2014 alone, according to the Center’s analysis of EPA records.

These large volumes of wastewater cannot contain oil and must meet toxicity standards, but oil and gas operators are only required to test the waste stream a few times a year. Monsell said these tests could easily be conducted at times when few or no fracking chemicals are present in the wastewater.

This is basically every EPA fight in a nutshell.  Environmental groups seek to stop businesses from polluting, then those businesses claim that the pollution isn’t harmful.  These groups and businesses then lobby and donate to politicians, and government sets standards that the businesses have to follow in order to pollute.

Environmental groups get to claim a small victory, but also get to soak their donors for more money since their job isn’t done yet (and it never will be!)  Businesses get to continue to pollute on public lands and waters, while using their influence to encourage favorably written regulations (like the now famous act that limits liability for oil spills.)  Politicians and lobbyists get to continue to stay in power and rake in money from all sides.

Who’s to Blame?

Clearly the current system is flawed.  The blame is often focused on these businesses for their desires to pollute.  This may be a logical and correct way of looking at it, but the businesses aren’t the root cause of the problem.  Government is.  More specifically, government ownership of lands and bodies of water is the problem.

Just like government creates incentives for poor and downtrodden people to make a living off collecting welfare, it also creates incentives for businesses to pollute on the very lands it is entrusted to protect.  Instead of blaming downtrodden people for collecting welfare, and instead of blaming businesses for polluting on public land, the real solution to both problems is getting government out of the way.

Fixing The Problem

The first step to fixing pollution is privatizing.  Everything.  Rivers, lakes, forests, lands, everything.  The fact is, there is nothing inherently wrong with polluting.  As long it’s done exclusively on your own property, and no damage is done to anyone else’s property as a result of your pollution, there’s no need to stop it.

At this point, however, pollution will become very expensive.  Take the above fracking wastewater issue as an example.  For the oil companies to be able to dump their wastewater in the ocean, they’d either have to own a significant amount of ocean, which would cost millions, if not billions of dollars to acquire.  Or, they’d have to pay the owners of the ocean they’re drilling in for the right to dump the wastewater.  If this wastewater is truly harmless, and wouldn’t hurt the ocean in any significant way, the owners may allow the dumping for a small fee.  However, if it will damage the ocean, it wouldn’t make sense for the owners to allow this to happen.  It simply wouldn’t be profitable.

In a free market, without government allowing companies to simply use public lands and waters as a dumping ground, companies would have to bare the true cost of their pollution.  It wouldn’t make sense to spend millions and billions of dollars buying up lands and bodies of waters just to then destroy them, as it would be much cheaper to innovate a way to produce their goods with significantly less pollution.

The second step to fixing the problem is to eliminate any laws that cap the liability of polluters.  After all, if it becomes too expensive for me to buy lands and bodies of water to pollute on, and no one will lease me land to pollute on, why not just dump on other people’s property?

Not only should I be liable for any and all damage done to the property of others, but if I intentionally damage or pollute the property of others I should be held criminally liable as well.  Just like in real life, if I accidentally drive into a parked car, I’m civilly liable for the damages, but I won’t end up in jail.  If it can be proven that I intentionally drive into a parked car, I can now be charged criminally and possible end up in jail as a result.

Without these current protections provided by government, both from liability and criminal prosecutions, companies will be put in a position to find a way to produce their goods without destroying the environment.  Nothing will eliminate all waste and pollution, but a free market would force companies to either pollute their own land at their own significant costs, or actually find an innovative way to change their production in a way as to significantly reduce or eliminate pollution.

 

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By Mike Tront

The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series in Major League Baseball since 1908.  This year, however, they are the favorites to win it all.  With less than a week to go in the season they have long had their division title clinched.  While the players are battling on the field for the World Series, the front office of the Cubs is fighting a different battle.  As their team wins more games, and as their players become more popular, people are making money selling merchandise not approved by MLB or the Cubs.

In a minute, I will argue that there should be no copyright or trademark laws at all.  People and corporations shouldn’t be able own an image or an idea.  Copyrights and trademarks are nothing more than the wealthy creating laws so they can stay on top.  It’s welfare for millionaires and billionaires.

But first, I want to tackle one particular ridiculousness that the Cubs have recently fought for and won.  The above linked article, from the Chicago Tribune, at one point mentions a problem with a specific type of merchandise.  Some shirts have no Cubs or MLB logos on it, but do have a flag with a “W” on it.  This flag, made famous by the Cubs, who fly a “W” flag after every Cubs victory, has been recently ruled to be property of the Cubs by the courts.  This means that no one can sell a flag with a giant blue “W” on a white background without fighting the Cubs and Major League Baseball.

In fact, in 2015, a completely unrelated financial startup was taken to court because their logo is a large “W.”  Even though it is a different color and style as the traditional flag the Cubs fly, they had to spend money to defend themselves.  The suit was eventually dropped, but there’s no way for the legal fees to be recovered.  They thankfully had the resources to defend themselves, but many people and companies don’t.

I’m sure many can agree that trademarking this “W” flag is pretty ridiculous.  It’s not their team logo, it’s not on their uniforms, it’s literally a flag they fly after a win that just has a big “W” on it.  This clearly goes to far.  But I don’t want to stop there.  All copyrights and trademarks laws are wrong.

Objections to Eliminating Copyrights and Trademarks

The first objection that is usually brought up is that companies spend millions of dollars designing, creating, and marketing their logos and ideas and other people shouldn’t be able to profit off this work.

The other major objection to having no trademark or copyright laws is that people will be a victim of fraud and knockoffs.  After all, if a company can’t own a logo or phrase, what would stop me from making my own beer and slapping a Budweiser label on it?  If they can’t own their labels, logos, and phrases, then no law would stop me from doing it and customers won’t know they’re actually not buying Budweiser.

In my mind, these two objections are related.  Companies should protect their reputations and the consumers need to know who they are really buying from.  I totally agree.  My above scenario about creating a fake Budweiser shouldn’t happen in a free market.  So without trademark and copyright laws, Mr. Libertarian, how would this be stopped?

Let’s look at the victim.  The victim in the above scenario isn’t Budweiser, it’s the consumer.  If I sell a product that I made in my basement, but claim it was made at the Budweiser plant, I’ve now defrauded the customer.  Therefore any customer who bought from me has a right to sue me.  I’ve used fraud to take their money.  In a free market, individuals and companies who misrepresent their products would be eliminated fairly quickly.  If every customer you sell your fraudulent product to has the right to sue you, it won’t take long for the class action suit to take you down.

The fake label Budweiser scenario would and should be stopped with or without copyright and trademark laws.  There is, however, one type of person that can’t be stopped in a free market.  That’s the vendor that sells knockoff merchandise so long as they expressly let that fact be known to their customers.

For example, in the article about the vendors selling Cubs merchandise without the permission of the Cubs or MLB, there really is no problem there.  The only potential problem is if the vendors insinuated that the merchandise was authorized or produced by the Cubs or MLB.  So as long as they let the customers know that this isn’t “official” merchandise, no one should be able to stop them from selling it.

What this comes down to is that people and companies can’t own ideas or images or phrases.  Just because I design something in a certain way, that doesn’t give me the right to stop other people from designing their products in a similar way, or even in the exact same way.  The only issue is if someone sells their product and claims or insinuates that I was the one who made it or approved it.

Copyrights and trademarks are nothing more than wealthy companies lobbying government to protect their profits.  The only reason companies can sell merchandise with sports logos on them for twice as much as normal merchandise is because they can use government force to stop others from competing.  Same goes for designer clothing, expensive gym shoes, and any other high end item where you’re basically “paying for a name.”

These companies can charge what they charge because they have exclusivity enforced by the government.  But what if anyone could make a hand bag that is identical to a Gucci bag, right down to the logo, but could charge half the price?  As long as this company expressly lets the consumer know that they are in no way affiliated with Gucci, there is no crime there.

When governments pass laws to regulate businesses and to “help the consumer,” just remember that the people making these laws are being funded by the same companies they are supposedly regulating.  This means that these laws end up helping the entrenched businesses and end up giving the consumer less choices.  Less choice means less quality and/or higher priced goods and services.  Copyright and trademark laws are no different.

 

mike

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Please subscribe for free!  I hate spam and will never sell, trade, or give your email address to anyone.  We’ll send you the latest blog posts as well as content and humor that you can’t get from the site, including This Week in Hypocrisy