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Preview: Nick Gillespie: Reason Magazine articles.

Nick Gillespie: Reason.com articles.





Updated: 2017-02-23T00:00:00-05:00

 



Reason Reflects on Four Decades of Libertarian Journalism

2017-02-22T15:15:00-05:00

Three Reason editors-in-chief arrived at the International Students for Liberty Conference to discuss four decades of reporting. Marty Zupan, who edited Reason in the 1980s; Nick Gillespie, editor in the aughts; and current magazine editor Katherine Mangu-Ward have all covered world events from a libertarian perspective.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Josh Swain and Krainin.
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Flemming Rose Against the Worldwide Suppression of Speech

2017-02-10T12:11:00-05:00

Flemming Rose isn't going to watch the decline of free speech without a fight. In 2005, while an editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Rose commissioned twelve cartoons about Muhammad to encourage artists to overcome self-censorship. Extremists responded to the cartoons with attacks on western embassies and riots, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people. Now Rose has written The Tyranny of Silence, a defense of his decision to publish the cartoons and a guide to unfettered expression in the 21st century. "I'm not willing to sacrifice freedom of expression on the altar of cultural diversity," he says. As politicians across the world respond to the challenge of multiculturalism with censorship, campus speech codes, and the persecution of journalists, Rose explains why openness is the proper political response to a globalized world. Rose is no rogue provocateur. He is one of the planet's most committed defenders of free speech, the open society, and enlightenment values of tolerance and human rights. Edited by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Josh Swain and Mark McDaniel. INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT Nick Gillespie: Today we're interviewing Flemming Rose at the Cato Institute and the author most recently of The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate Over the Future of Free Speech. In 2005, while an editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Rose commissioned a series of cartoons about the prophet Mohammed as an exercise to stop self-censorship. Eventually, terrorists and extremists responded to the cartoons with violence, attacks on western embassies and riots creating a death toll that reached at least 200 according to the New York Times. Rose is no rogue provocateur. He is one of the planet's most committed and articulate defenders of free speech, the open society and enlightenment values of tolerance and universal rights and that is why I'm particularly happy to have the opportunity to talk with him today. Flemming Rose, welcome. Flemming Rose: Thank you for those nice words, Nick. It's wonderful to be here. Nick Gillespie: Let's take the pulse of free speech in the decade since the Mohammed cartoons came out. Since then, we've seen any number of violent reprisals against free speech, probably most catastrophically the gunning down of a good part of the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, but we've also seen the continuing rise of hate speech laws in Europe and a stultifying climate rise on U.S. campuses and other college campuses. Are things good for free speech generally right now or not? Flemming Rose: If we take the long-term historical view, yes, free speech is in better shape than in the 17th century or the 18th century or even the beginning of the 20th century. No doubt about that, but if we look in a shorter-term perspective, let's say the past 20, 30 years, I think free speech is in worse shape. Free speech is in bad standing. You can see it when you check out statistics. Freedom House puts out a report every year; Reporters Without Borders in Europe do the same thing in other institutions and the trend is the same all over. For the past approximately 10 years, freedom of the press and freedom of speech is in decline and I think that is the new thing. We know China. We know Cuba. We know North Korea, Russia, where things usually are in bad shape, but the new trend is the freedom of expression is in decline even in western Europe. Nick Gillespie: What forms does it take, say, in Western Europe? Are reporters being, if not put in jail, are there legal actions against them or is it a chilled atmosphere where people just don't talk about certain things? Flemming Rose: It's both. I mean, just to give you an indication, in the first half of 2015, France, of all countries in the world, was the most dangerous place to live for a journalist. Nick Gillespie: Meaning that he would get arrested or you would get beaten up? Flemming Rose: You would get beaten up or being gunned down. That's, of course, not the case anymore, but a couple of years ago, I inter[...]



3 Reasons Trump Is Wrong to Oppose Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

2017-02-09T17:37:00-05:00

Here are three reasons why President Donald Trump is wrong to oppose civil asset forfeiture reform.

1. Civil forfeiture lets law enforcement basically steal stuff from people.

Civil asset forfeiture allows cops and federal agencies such as the FBI to seize cash and property of suspected criminals but it doesn't require them to bring any charges against their targets or even show that they were in any way involved with wrongdoing.

In 2014, for instance, a Philadelphia couple had their house seized after police arrested their son for possessing $40 worth of heroin while living there. The parents weren't charged with any crime but in Pennsylvania and many other states, owners of seized property must prove their innocence to get their stuff back.

2. Civil forfeiture creates terrible incentives for police.

In many cases, the agency that seizes property and cash gets to keep a big chunk of it to fund purchases of equipment and pay personnel costs. In Mississippi, state narcotics officers alone seized $4 million in cash, cars, and even couches in 2015. In the Magnolia State, cops only get to keep 80 percent of the value of seized assets, but in 26 states law enforcement can keep 100 percent of their asset-forfeiture haul, giving them an incentive to grab as much as possible, especially since it's time-consuming and expensive for defendants to go to court.

3. Civil forfeiture is extremely unpopular.

Although most states do their best to hide how much civil forfeiture goes on, it is an increasingly unpopular practice because it so obviously contravenes basic notions of justice. Even in deep-red states—such as Ohio, Utah, and Mississippi—polls routinely show massive majorities in favor of reform once voters understand just how unfair and non-transparent the process is. In fact, when President Trump threatened to "destroy" the career of a Texas state senator, he could have been referring to any of four politicians, three Republicans and a Democrat, who were deeply involved in asset-forfeiture reform efforts.

Civil asset forfeiture reform is an idea that's time has come, in Texas and elsewhere, whether Donald Trump is ready or not.

Video written by Nick Gillespie. Graphics and editing by Meredith Bragg and Joshua Swain.

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Everything You Need To Know About Neil Gorsuch (Including Roe v. Wade)

2017-02-02T10:45:00-05:00

Georgetown Law's Randy Barnett sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to weigh in on Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme court.

Barnett said he was cautiously optimistic about Gorsuch. "Of all the people on [Trump's] list, he was certainly near the top," Barnett said. Gorsuch, he says, is well-read, smart, and a staunch defender of originalism like Justice Scalia.

"There's the old 'framers intent,' which people say if they don't know what they're talking about," Barnett said. "Gorusch says 'original public meaning,' which means he knows what he's talking about" when it comes constrained interpretation of laws.

Barnett said he believes the addition of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court could have a significant impact on whether or not a reinterpretation of abortion rights is in the future. "Roe v. Wade is not settled," Barnett said. "Could [a decision] happen? I think it could...in the sense that it's been contested since it was decided. As a result I can seem them undoing it and sending [the issue of abortion] back to the states."

Barnett's latest book is Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People. Go here for video and text of our interview with him about that.

Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by Josh Swain and McDaniel. Music by Simon Mathewson.

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Texas Is a Model for a More-Libertarian, More-Diverse America: Avik Roy

2016-12-19T16:15:00-05:00

"In Texas, the Mexicans have always been there.... There's not this sense that Mexicans are foreigners," says Avik Roy, Forbes opinion editor and the co-founder and president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP).

Roy believes Texas, a majority-minority state, offers a good counter-example for libertarians and conservatives anxious about immigrants and non-Europeans changing American political culture. The Lone Star State is not only doing very well economically, says Roy, there's a sense of inclusion that doesn't exist in many other states.

"It's not just a free state in the sense of policy, but there really is a sense that everyone feels, whether Anglo or Latino, that freedom has made their lives better," Roy tells Reason's Nick Gillespie. "This indigenous thing called Tex-Mex has been around for a very long time. It's simply not treating the others as if they were others...that attitude makes a huge difference."

According to Roy, who has advised politicians such as Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, one of the goals of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity is to challenge the conservative view that holds racial and ethnic minority groups can only be appeased through more statism and redistribution and should thus be written off when it comes to building political and economic coalitions.

"Free markets have lifted more people out of poverty than anything that has been invented by man," says Roy, "We don't usually talk about free markets in that way."

Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by Austin Bragg and Meredith Bragg. Music by Simon Mathewson.

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Sorry, Elon Musk! Driverless Cars Will Take Longer Than You Think.

2016-12-05T10:00:00-05:00

If you listen to Elon Musk, driverless cars are a technology that are just around the corner.

"I really consider autonomous driving a solved problem," Musk said in June 2016 in The Guardian. "I think we are probably less than two years away."

But, Bob Poole, Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy at Reason Foundation is skeptical of Musk's timeline. "Skepticism is coming partly from researchers [...] at UC Berkeley, at Carnegie Mellon, at MIT who say this is a much harder problem than a lot of people, including Elon Musk, make it out to be."

Poole suggested to Reason TV's Editor in Chief, Nick Gillespie, that it will take a few decades at least before engineers are able to figure out the unexpected surprises of driving on city streets, not to mention the high cost of implementation into a market of cars that are not driverless. Further, Poole points out that once driverless options are available, they may completely throw a wrench in city transportation projects that are projected to take 30 to 40 years to build.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Editing by Paul Detrick. Shot by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein.

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Reason's Secret Recipe for Nutrient-Rich Coverage of the Trump Era

2016-12-01T17:00:00-05:00

Warning: Our actual recipe for covering politics in the coming year doesn't actually include eggs (cage-free, of course), milk (raw and unpasteurized), poultry (no left or right wings, thank you very much), Fruit Loops, and booze. Instead, we'll be combining investigative reporting; a commitment to "Free Minds and Free Markets"; in-depth interviews with friends and foes; a brand-spanking-new daily podcast (subscribe for free!); and award-winning videos that inspire other outfits to follow suit (watch this from us in 2013, read this from Rolling Stone in 2014, and then watch this from Vice's Weediquette in 2016). Since 1968, when we began as a humble mimeographed magazine, Reason has broken the mold of tired left-right politics and provided a radically alternative way of thinking about politics, culture, and ideas—one that says all of us should be the authors of our own lives, planners of our own destinies, and masters of our own domains. As important, we're not only giving you a heads-up about really bad government policies and actions that threaten to limit our freedom, we're showing the ways in which people all over the world are using human ingenuity and technological innovation to create the world they want NOW. From printing 3D guns to making the moral case for free trade to showing how amateur filmmakers are building on legendary franchises such as Star Trek, you'll read about it, watch it, or hear about first at Reason. Over the past 12 months, Reason.com averaged 4 million monthly visits and Reason TV videos doubled their audience, pulling more than 2 million views here, at Facebook, and at YouTube. With a small but dedicated staff, we publish thousands of words every day at Reason.com and covered the ups-and-downs of the Libertarian Party presidential campaign like nobody else. We are your voice for libertarian ideas in the media, appearing on thousands of TV and radio shows, making the case for maximum human freedom and minimal government. We love what we do—and we can't do it without your help. That's why we're hosting our annual webathon through Tuesday, December 6. We're asking readers of this site to make tax-deductible donations in dollars and Bitcoin to Reason Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that publishes our award-winning journalism in video, audio, and print form. Different giving levels come with different levels of swag: $100 Reason magazine sub (includes print or digital) {digital includes access to archives of 46 years of Reason Magazine} Receive invitations to Reason events in your area. $250 Includes print and digital subscription to Reason plus a Reason T-Shirt custom designed for this webathon by Reason Magazine art director Joanna Andreasson. Receive books by Reason authors. $500 All of the above and a copy of the film "Can we Take a Joke?" $1,000 Receive all of the above plus a private lunch in Washington, DC with a Reason editor and an invitation to Reason Weekend. $5,000 Receive all of the above plus a Reason 1oz silver Bastiat Coin & 2 tickets to the Reason Media Awards in NYC (includes VIP seating and a reception with Nick, Katherine, & Matt). $10,000 All of the above & 2 tickets to Reason Weekend for 1st time attendees. The 2016 election was about the weirdest campaign in history, pitting two manifestly unpopular candidates against one another, with neither one being able to win in a convincing fashion. Historically low numbers of Americans identify as Republican and Democrat, and more of us are libertarian than ever before. The coming year will be a hinge point for America, one where reactionaries on the right and left will try to maintain the same policies and mind-sets that have brought us a decade of anemic economic growth, endless war and surveillance, and an inability to define a positive, open-ended future. In such a world, Reason's journalism—print, online, video, and audio—has never been more[...]



The Ethical Argument for Free Trade - Daniel Hannan on Brexit

2016-11-28T12:00:00-05:00

Daniel Hannan is one of Brexit's biggest champions. A Member of the European Parliament and a leading Euroskeptic, Hannan's advocacy of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union has earned him international attention. While critics regarded the "Vote Leave" campaign as a dangerous retreat from globalization, Hannan has made consistent, libertarian arguments for withdrawal as a path towards greater democracy and free markets.

Noting the E.U.'s sluggish economic growth rates and its failure to establish free trade agreements with China and India, Hannan believes the U.K. should take charge of its own economic destiny. "I want people to be making the ethical argument for free trade as the supreme instrument of poverty alleviation, of conflict resolution and of social justice," Hannan says. He adds, "It's the multinationals that thrive on the distortions and the tariffs and the quotas, he says. "And it's the poor who will benefit most from their removal."

Hannan pushes back against the charge of Brexit as a symptom of xenophobia. Following the Brexit win, he says, poll numbers demonstrate that voters were most concerned with sovereignty. "All of the polls were very clear that the biggest issue was democracy. Immigration was a very distant second," he says. "People wanted a sense of control and I think that's a perfectly legitimate thing."

With Brexit not taking effect until 2019 and the terms of withdrawal not yet negotiated, the United Kingdom's future has rarely seemed so uncertain. In two year's time, the U.K. will have the opportunity to decide on its own policies of trade and immigration. Hannan is confident his country will do the right thing.

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Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Alex Manning. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein.




Will Trump Make Infrastructure Great Again?

2016-11-22T11:00:00-05:00

"What we know [about Trump] so far is that he talked a lot about crumbling infrastructure and the need to make America's infrastructure great again," says Bob Poole, Searle Freedom Trust Fellow and the Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation. "This suggests a big new emphasis on some kind of federal transportation program."

Poole sat down with Nick Gillespie to discuss the transportation policies likely to be introduced in the new Trump administration and reasons for libertarians to feel hopeful when it comes to the president-elect's infrastructure plan. "I'm encouraged by what I see," says Poole, who cites the involvement of Shirley Ybarra, a former Reason Foundation fellow and Secretary of Transportation in the state of Virginia, as a sign that Trump will look to public private partnerships as part of his transportation strategy.

During the campaign, Trump proposed a transportation plan that would cost at least $500 billion dollars, but has been vague as to how the program would be financed.

Poole says that the best way to raise funds is to treat infrastructure as a public utility. "People get their highway bill every month like they get their electric bill and water bill," Poole states. "They're paying for what they use and only what they use. They're not subsidizing a whole bunch of other projects that they never see."

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein. Music by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena and Jingle Punks.

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Donald Trump and the Coming Battle Over Legal and Illegal Immigration

2016-11-18T10:50:00-05:00

"So long as people are coming here to live peacefully and work peacefully," says Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia, the burden should be on the government "to show to us why they shouldn't be here."

Dalmia sat down with Nick Gillespie to talk about the scary prospects for U.S. immigration policy in the incoming Trump administration. Particularly worrisome is that Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) is Trump's chief adviser on immigration. He's uniquely dangerous, Dalmia says, and has broken with the Republican Party by opposing high-skilled immigration—even floating a proposal to scrap the H1-B visa program.

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Justin Monticello. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein. Music by Silent Partner.

For more from Dalmia on immigration, listen to our recent podcast interview below.

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Biting the Hands that Feed Us: Food Laws vs. Culinary Reality

2016-11-14T15:25:00-05:00

As our world becomes more hyper-individualized, our taste in food is following suit. From cooking in our own kitchens to finding new creative dishes at restaurants, we're all becoming artisanal chefs and demanding gourmands. Yet politicians and activists, often in a misguided attempt to keep us safe, are passing increasingly bizarre and counterproductive laws to keep us from buying, making, and eating the food we want.

In Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable, lawyer Baylen Linnekin gives readers a view of the overlooked consequences of the many absurd rules baked into America's food system. Since at least the New Deal, he writes, overreaching buttinskies on the federal and local level have tried to shut down entrepreneurs, charities, and even home gardeners who are just trying feed themselves and others. From the U.S. Department of Agriculture dictating how butchers cure meat to New York City's then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg banning food donations to homeless people to banning berry-picking in public parks, no food practice seems too small to regulate in the name of safety.

A solution, says Linnekin in an interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie, is to simply emphasize good outcomes rather than rigid processes. Linnekin, who founded the nonprofit Keep Food Legal and has served as an expert witness in an ongoing federal First Amendment food-labeling lawsuit, also writes about "food freedom" at Reason.com every Saturday (check out his archive here).

Edited by Joshua Swain. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Swain. Music by Podington Bear.

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The Case for Optimism About Trump's Presidency

2016-11-11T15:40:00-05:00

Since the election of Donald Trump, we've been talking to libertarian policy experts about what a Trump presidency will bring to health care, education, foreign policy, and the justice system. The people we talked to are Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, Lisa Graham Keegan, former head of education in Arizona, historian Thaddeus Russell, legal scholar Randy Barnett, and defense attorney and legal blogger Ken White of Popehat.

To our surprise, the mood is one of skeptical optimism. All agree that Trump is likely to hand off the details of policy and day-to-day operations to his cabinet secretaries and administrators. In many cases, those people are almost certain to be preferable to ones selected by Hillary Clinton. And even when when they are not, there's reason to believe that a resurgent Congress and bureaucratic inertia will put a stop to Trump's worst desires.

Here are excerpts from recent Reason podcasts. To hear the full conversations, subscribe to the Reason podcast at iTunes and don't forget to rate and review us.

Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Jim Epstein. Graphics by Austin Bragg.

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Economic Growth, Coherent Foreign Policy, Trust in Govt: What WON'T Be Settled Today

2016-11-08T10:39:00-05:00

If you think that much of anything related to politics will be settled by Tuesday's election, here's some bad news for you: Nothing that matters is really over. There are at least three major issues facing the country when either President Clinton or President Trump gets sworn in next January. What about economic growth? You may not realize it, but the U.S. has been out of recession for seven years, one of the longest economic expansions in American history. But the average rate of growth since 2009 has been around 2 percent, making this the weakest economic recovery since 1949. Economic growth is essential to improving wealth and standards of living—and it helps to defuse all sorts of explosive political issues, from trade to immigration to welfare. But for all of the 21st century–under George Bush and Barack Obama–economic growth has been much lower than average. Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has articulated a plan that will actually grow the economy. Clinton will jack up taxes and spending on everything, a sure-fire way to keep the economy puttering along. Trump will punch add five-trillion dollars to the national debt, which will also dampen growth. And if the American economy doesn't improve, don't expect anything else too. Who will we bomb next? Hillary Clinton is a hawk's hawk who has voted for, lobbied for, or taken credit for all of our military interventions in the 21st century. Despite such actions—of more accurately, BECAUSE of such actions—the world is a bigger mess than ever. At times Donald Trump sounds like he would be a relative dove and at others, he sounds like a crazy man; at the very least, like Hillary Clinton, he said that he would increase military spending. Neither of them has articulated a foreign policy that will help stabilize the U.S. economy, reduce international terrorism, or bring order to hot spots in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, or Asia any time soon. What do you believe in? Trust in most major American institutions are at or near historic lows—the media, religious organizations, labor, business—you name it. That's especially when it comes to the two major political parties and government in general. Even worse, millennials—Americans between about 18 and 35 years old—aren't just the biggest generation, they are the most skeptical. Who can blame them—or us? The Iraq War was sold on bad information and prosecuted poorly; President Obama's claims that his health care reform would let you keep your doctor was the Lie of the Year, and we've learned that neither Democrats or Republicans give a rat's ass about the government spying on us. Wikileaks and others have exposed Hillary Clinton as two-faced and Donald Trump's is a serial scam artist and bully Neither will address the massive and ongoing evacuation of trust and confidence in government and politics. If anything, they will likely pour gas on the dumpster fire. America is moving rapidly from a high-trust society to a low-trust one and that's really bad news, especially for those of us who want a government that spends less and does less. Paradoxically, people in low-trust countries turn to government in ever-higher numbers. In a cruel and unpredictable world, they want a protector, no matter how untrustworthy. Until the major parties start governing in the light of day and stop nominating candidates who are distrusted by majorities of Americans, don't expect much to change. Except for things to get even nastier, at least until 2020. Written by Nick Gillespie. Video by Meredith Bragg. For charts, links, and more, go here now. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. [...]



Pot, Death, and Minimum Wage: 6 Things to Pay Attention to This Election

2016-11-04T14:46:00-04:00

There's more on the ballot in 2016 than the giant trainwreck on national television. Let's stop rubbernecking for a minute and take a look at 6 other important things at stake on November 8th.

Pot is on the ballot in 9 states, which means some form of legalized marijuana could potentially exist in 29 different states. That could be a tipping point for reform, as public approval for marijuana is at an all time high.

Maine is tired of having a governor that more people voted against than for, so they came up with Question 5, which would implement ranked choice voting in the state. It's a system designed to remove the third party spoiler effect, with voters ranking their candidates and dropping last place finishers until someone has a majority.

Minimum wage hikes are on the ballot in four states, but one to watch is South Dakota, which seems to have realized the negative effect a higher minimum wage has on youth employment, and might decrease the minimum wage for workers under the age of 18.

While three states grapple with putting convicted criminals to death, Colorado might legalize killing yourself. Prop 106 would allow assisted suicide for those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than six months to live, pushing the government out of end-of-life decisions.

California Prop 61 would prohibit state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays. No one knows for sure what the outcome of that would be, but it just might be like that time in 1990 when Congress tried to do the exact same thing with Medicaid. Back then, drug companies responded by raising prices on drugs sold to the VA, and soon enough Congress repealed the mandate. But in defiance of history, economics, and opposition campaigns outspending supporters by around 100 Million Dollars, polls indicate that the measure will probably pass.

One big question on election day will be how many votes can Gary Johnson pull in? If he hits the 5% threshold, the Libertarian party would be classified as a "minor party," and be eligible for matching public election funds. Now, will they take Government money with strings attached?

Produced by Austin Bragg. Narrated by Nick Gillespie.

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Has President Obama Been Good or Bad for Criminal Justice Reform?

2016-11-02T13:00:00-04:00

"I think Obama has been kind of revolutionary [on criminal justice reform] in that he has said things that no other sitting President has ever said before," says Radley Balko, columnist with the Washington Post. "That said, most of the revolutionary aspects of the administration have been about saying things and not necessarily doing things."

Balko writes a column, The Watch, which covers civil liberties and the criminal justice system and he sat down with Reason TV editor in chief, Nick Gillespie in Nashville to talk about progress made in criminal justice reform.

Edited by Paul Detrick. Shot by Detrick, Todd Krainin and Joshua Swain.

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