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‘It was started basically as a scam’: Thom Hartmann scorches the Libertarian Party

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With the major party candidates’ negative ratings at historic highs, millions of Americans are looking to third-party candidates, with libertarian Gary Johnson polling highest among third-party candidates currently. But do libertarians and progressives really see eye to eye on the big issues, as Johnson would like Bernie Sanders supporters to think?

According to Thom Hartmann, not at all.

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“The Libertarian Party was started basically as a scam, as a front group for big business in the United States and very wealthy people,” Hartmann begins, “and, you know, big business doesn’t care if gay people get married, they don’t care if people smoke pot. They’ll give you the social issues, but… the bottom line for the Libertarian Party on every issue—whether it’s Medicare, Social Security, public roads…—[is] let’s privatize [them or]… do away [with them].”

Hartmann gives some examples of where billionaire libertarians would say, “Let’s privatize all the public roads, let’s do away with public libraries, let’s take any kind of function the government can do for the public good” and make it work for selfish reasons. “The idea is, there is no such thing as the public good; there’s only the good for us billionaires, and so if we can’t figure out a way to make a buck out of something, then then we shouldn’t do it,” Hartmann says.

When asked if he thinks that libertarians honestly don’t believe in the key principles libertarians are said to hold about being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Hartmann’s answer is brutally on point:

“I think there are probably some libertarians who don’t understand the history of the Libertarian Party or, you know, are basically functionally useful idiots for billionaires like the Koch brothers.”

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Hartmann then claimed the libertarians were simply setting up a straw man and knocking it over:

“You can dress it up in fancy language all day long and say, ‘Hey, you know, I’m responsible for all of this, everything I’ve accomplished, it’s mine, my body,’ but the reality is you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for public roads or public schools or public education or making sure that your food is safe and your drugs aren’t killing you and things like that… all the things libertarians oppose.”

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Hartmann also noted that privatization of public roads was in David Koch’s 1980 libertarian platform and that the billionaire’s comments can be found on Bernie Sanders’ website.

Watch the best moments from Hartmann’s takedown:

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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