Submitted by David B Beaver

Businessman, inventor, novelist and long-time Libertarian and political activist Ken Krawchuck announced October 1, 2017 his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania. The gathering to view the announcement was a small and friendly, but not at all unlively one. The first hour of the event consisted of a friendly meet and greet I which Mr. Krawchuck to took the time to shake hands with and meet each supporter individually. In doing so he engaged each attendee with a warm greeting and friendly demeanor and even offered a bit of lighthearted humor, at one point even displaying an impeccable Donald Duck impression with uncanny perfection. In showing his human side, however, he did not fail to present the attributes of a bold leader and skilled public speaker.

 

When he took the stage the gubernatorial candidate delivered a stirring speech with passion, eloquence, and unmatched intellect. It is no doubt this third party candidate will give his other two opponents a run for their money. While speaking he criticized Pennsylvania and its government on a wide variety of issues ranging from what he described as an oppressive drug policy, a racist court system, out of control government growth, spending and taxation, and even a militarized police force. He also called for an end to second-class citizenship for homosexuals, minorities, and other groups he asserted were being unfairly treated by the state government, citing, for example, the states refusal to acknowledge a recent federal decision on marriage equality.

 

“We need a separation of marriage and state,” Krawchuck said. “Just as we have a separation of church and state.”

Despite his strong libertarian beliefs during the time of questioning, he presented intelligent and even unexpected answers to questions going beyond libertarian stereotypes and cliches. When asked about education for example while touting the advantages of private and charter schools (which he noted educate students for half the cost of their public alternatives) he also advocated expanded options for parents, which would include allowing parents to send their children to any public school they desire rather than limiting them to their district of residency and allocating educational funding appropriately.

 

He acknowledged the race to win the governor's seat would be a difficult one especially due to biased election laws that require him to gather nearly triple the signatures of his Republican and Democrat opponents and even harshly fining third-party gubernatorial candidates who had failed to do so. This, he said was despite the fact the state constitution (which he held in his hand throughout most of the speech and referred to as his “job description and advocated its teaching as an educational standard in public schools) stated, “All elections shall be free and equal”. Indeed it would seem Pennsylvania election law and ballot access requirements have failed to adhere to this constitutional requirement.

 

Despite this, however, he was very enthusiastic at his chances of winning especially, he said if his supporters could drive voter turnout, which in recent elections has been at an all-time low across the state.

 

The reaction of passers-by who were few and far between on this quiet Sunday afternoon at the State Capitol in Harrisburg could be described as a mix of passing curiosity and positively piqued interest. One heckler, however, was not so impressed shouting at the gathering too, “Go home!”

 

Despite this, Mr. Krawchuck ignored the heckler and continued unfazed to deliver his speech calling for reform in state government and an end to its many unjust policies. The crowd also agreed that the movement he advocated for was not going anywhere. Why? Because As Mr. Krawchuck and his supporters shouted several times throughout the gathering with signs to support their voice, “Enough is enough!”

 

As this gubernatorial candidate spoke with both passion and eloquence, and of course a touch of unmatched and superior intellect one thing became evident. This candidate was a force to be reckoned and it is no wonder the other parties are doing all they can to make sure his voice is unheard both on the stage of debate and on the ballot at the polls on election day.

 

 

Despite their efforts, however, more and more Pennsylvanians as they grow weary of the establishment that currently runs this state, “Enough is Enough!” Maybe it's time for a change.  

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Submitted by David Beaver

Lately there has been a great deal of buzz surrounding various controversy medicines from foreign systems like Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese to homeopathic and herbal remedies, and of course the practice of medicine, which employs the use of what the federal government sees as "illicit substances. This has become a rising and even more, eye catching trend with the rise of medicinal marijuana in states where it has become legal as well as in the face of the opioid epidemic that has many in the medical and political community on high alert.

 

Opioid deaths are indeed on the rise and while many have arisen from the abuse and ultimately overdose of heroin, an even larger portion can be claimed by legal prescription opioids. These include methadone, which has been used to help ween opioid actives off of more serious drugs as well as various prescription painkillers as well as elements used in common anesthesia methods. According to the Center for Disease control from the periods of 2000-2015 alone, 500,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses, and 91 die a day from opioid overdoses. Noting the sales to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies have quadrupled from 1999-2010 they acknowledge that prescription opioids are a driving factor in these increases of opioid-related deaths.

 

Due to this disturbing trend, the authorities are on high alert for anything resembling drugs that share traits with their prescription counterparts, including the safer opioid alternative kratom. Kratom has been used to treat addiction and dependence on more serious opioids as well as in soothing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It has also been used in the treatment of severe pain and in alleviating the horrors associated with PTSD in U.S war veterans. According to University of Mississippi kratom researcher, Chris McCurdy, whose research has been discussed in Forbes Magazine, despite the great deal of fear that has been aimed at kratom due to the opioid epidemic, the opioid content of kratom is much lower than both its illegal and prescription alternatives in opioid content and its opioids are far less potent . Kratom is a natural plant that grows in the wild and is available to patients in leaf form or more potently as an extract. Some people have taken it in capsule or form or have brewed it into a tea. In the state of Pennsylvania, however, it is currently only legal to burn as an incense and is not labeled for internal use. While not as effective, this method has been shown to work in some patients as well.

 

 

According to McCurdy, there has been a great deal of research surrounding its use as an opioid cessation method or alternative through the country of Malaysia.

 

There are some risks of forming a dependence on kratom but they are much lower than their prescription alternatives and the overdose ratio is also much lower. Between the years 2014-2016 there have been 15 deaths reported that were alleged to be associated with kratom, bearing in mind that 91 Americans die each day from their prescription counterparts.

 

Despite all of this the DEA recently tried to reclassify kratom as a Stage 1 Narcotic, which would all but shut down both its use and a great deal of research surrounding it. The DEA has tried to do so before and failed just as it has this time, but it is a never-ending struggle. The kratom community is a growing and active one, and recently defeated this attempt by the DEA who admitted that there had not yet been enough research or consideration of public concern when attempting to execute this measure.

 

 

Perhaps it is just one more example of the government's many attempts to snuff out alternative medicine, which does not always do more good than harm. 

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Libertarian Ken Krawchuk has a big announcement to make!

 


 

Long-time Libertarian activist Ken Krawchuk will be formally announcing his intent to run for the office of Pennsylvania Governor under the Libertarian banner. The announcement will be held on the steps of the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg on Sunday afternoon, October 1, 2017, followed by an evening reception at the Capitol Gastropub, 310 North 2nd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

 

Also participating in the announcement and evening festivities is Don Ernsberger of Lansdale, co-founder of the Libertarian Party. Distinguished Toastmaster Shel Taylor of Harrisburg will be serving as Master of Ceremonies.

 

The schedule of events for the day includes:

1 PM – Meet and greet on the Capitol steps

2 PM – Distinguished Toastmaster Shel Taylor, Libertarian Party co-founder Don Ernsberger, Ken Krawchuk

4 PM – Happy hour at the Capitol Gastropub

5 PM – Dinner

6 PM – Keynote speaker Don Ernsberger, “Tales of Harrisburg and Gettysburg during the Civil War”

7 PM – Fun and games with the Libertarian candidates

8 PM – Social time

9 PM – Closing

For mor information on the After Party click HERE

As Governor Ken will be a voice for principle and will defend our state constitution and the interests of all Pennsylvania taxpayers. This is an opportunity for Libertarians to start the 2018 campaign season strong. All of the major media outlets will be invited, let's make this too big for them to ignore! We hope to see you in Harrisburg.

 

 

 

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Submitted by David B Beaver

 

In July of 2016 Pennsylvania passed a House budget bill with Bipartisan support. This bill included a new tax to be levied on the sale of smokeless tobacco products sold by what can collectively be referred to as the vaping industry. This tax represents one of the state's many attempts to solve or at least help solve its budget crisis, in this case by introducing a new tax. It was projected that the new tax could raise as much as $13 million in revenue within the first year of its passage. Never mind that most critics said these predictions would fall short, and that harm the industry as a whole potentially reducing those figures even further as more of the states vape shops would shut down, the legislature decided the state simply needed the revenue. With the debt clock ticking around $126 billion and climbing as the Legislature continue to unconstitutionally pass unbalanced budgets, we can only assume they are scraping for every penny they can get.

 

The tax itself is considered to be one of the highest of its kind in the nation (a staggering 40%) but is also one of the broadest in scope. The vape tax not only applies to e-vapor liquids (juice) but also to every kind of vaping device AND any component used in its design from the tubes all the way down to the batteries. The new tax also included a retroactive 40% "floor tax" on all current inventory that the states vape shops already had in stock. Upon the bill's passage, the owners were forced to fork out a lump sum. This part of the bill alone, many said, would force store closings throughout the state.



According to Chris Hughes, the owner of Fatcat Vapor Shop:

 

No shop can pay this tax so all shops will be out of business.”

 

Unfortunately, his voice was ignored along with many others, but their predictions proved to be true. In the first five months after the tax's introduction alone over 70 of the states then approximately 300 vape shops had already closed their doors. They lost their businesses and their livelihoods while the state lost revenue.

 

In response to initial criticisms, the tax would simply cause Pennsylvania's vaping customers to send their business out of state by ordering from online retailers they included in the tax a law that required all residents to report any out of state purchases to the Depart of Revenue and pay 40% tax out of their own pockets. If they refused they faced a $5,000 penalty or up to five years in prison. In other words, if you buy an Ecig from out of state from a business operating and paying taxes in another state and forget to tell your local tax collector you could be paying a visit upstate. Odd, considering the state had to close two prisons this year due to budget constraints that they would be looking for more reasons to put us there. Despite this, however, the critics we're right again. Vape shops across the state continue to close their patrons across the state continue to cross the state border either on foot or online, to enjoy their vaping products free of the heavy handed tax.

 

As this crisis continues to haunt the state's industry one small glimmer of hope does come in the form of SB508. This pending state legislation would narrow the vape tax's scope to E-Vapor liquids and reduce its overall rate to only 5 cents per milliliter of liquid. This reasonable compromise has drawn the endorsement vape shop owners across the state along with their patrons, but only time will tell if the general assembly has learned from their mistakes.

 

Meanwhile, there are a few lessons to be learned. The first is that there is simply no substitute for fiscal responsibility, especially if we are ever to solve the states worsening budget crisis. We also see that new taxes for short term revenue end up doing long term, and sometimes even immediate harm.

This whole mess raises another interesting question as well. In the very first line of Article I of the commonwealth's constitution we read:

 

"All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness."

 

So as we approach the taxation of humanity's "vices" and the attempts to tax away from our society what some people don't care we must ask:

 

 

If it is our right to pursue our own happiness, to do things and enjoy things that make us happy, is it ok for the government to deprive the people of those things away through excessive taxation? I'll let you be the judge. 

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