The reaction to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s Wall Street Journal column on Middle East interventionism isn’t surprising. Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post called Paul “ignorant” and suggests he could be lying about the arguments for and against. Adriana Cohen at the Boston Herald called him “clueless” and someone who should “wake up to reality.” Pema Levy at Newsweek says Paul is just trying to copy a page out of President Barack Obama’s 2008 playbook regarding opposition to the Iraq War. The Democrats called Paul’s foreign policy slogan “Blame America. Retreat from the World.”
This isn’t true at all. He told Breitbart.com on August 27 he was in favor of airstrikes against ISIS, but wanted to talk to Congress first. That’s the Constitutional stance because Congress has to approve war.
Mary Landrieu finds herself in another scandal: Louisiana Democrat claims Washington as her home on federal filings
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is under fire yet again. The Louisiana Democrat has been caught up in a scandal involving her use of taxpayer-funded charter flights around the state she represents that also included stops at campaign fundraisers. But she’s now facing accusations that she doesn’t actually live in Louisiana, according to the Washington Post:
In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.
Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records.
On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street.
Big Business and big government cronyism is bad for taxpayers and consumers: Let the free market work
There’s a common misconception that people in favor of free markets love corporations. That isn’t the case.
There’s nothing wrong with a business being highly successful and expanding operations. The question becomes what happens when their operations end up getting involved in government and when government tries to influence business.
This is an issue a lot of groups have struggled against. Both the original Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street protests were against the government-big business bailout of 2008/2009. The solutions were much different. The Tea Party wanted the government and businesses to be separated and not mix with each other. Occupy (outside of it’s not-top hits) wanted businesses taxed to eternity and capitalism destroyed.
The problem with Occupy’s solution is it expands the role government has in people’s lives. The idea of using higher taxes against businesses and “the rich” doesn’t work (just look at France). Burger King is also an example because of their plan to leave the U.S. if they merge with Tim Hortons. Paying taxes isn’t patriotic, despite what President Barack Obama thinks.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly known as ISIL or ISIS, has been a threat in the Middle East for some time, but you wouldn’t know that from the reaction of President Barack Obama and administration officials.
The Islamic militant group’s bloody and violent rise in Iraq, which came into focus for the United States in June, appeared to catch the White House by complete surprise. Nearly three months later, President Obama has yet to form a coherent strategy to deal with ISIL, something to which he owned up on Thursday afternoon:
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, we don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said in a press conference Thursday of seeking congressional approval for additional airstrikes in the Middle East.
Obama has been under pressure to expand U.S. bombings from Iraq to Syria, but his advisers remain divided about the prospect of military intervention there.
For his part, the president seemed to suggest Thursday that he was less interested in using military action in Syria than Iraq.
“My priority at this point,” Obama said, “is to make sure the gains that [ISIS] made in Iraq are rolled back.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is the darling of the political left. They can’t get enough of her. The Massachusetts Democrat’s willingness to take on corporate special interests, especially Wall Street and big banks.
But Warren’s anti-big business populism only goes so far. She recently came out in support of the reauthorization of the Export Import Bank, the controversial New Deal-era agency known for issuing taxpayer-backed loans to politically-connected big businesses. Unlike Warren, it’s conservatives that are trying to end the Bank’s brand of cronyism.
The Club for Growth released a nearly 3-minute video this week exposing Warren’s hypocrisy, pointing out that Ex-Im represents is exactly the type of corporate welfare that the Massachusetts Democrat should be against:
There’s no ambiguity about the process by which the United States can enter into a treaty. The Constitution, in Article II, Section 2, states that a president “shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”
The ratification process is a very specific limitation on presidential power, one that provides a legislative check on the executive branch. But President Barack Obama can’t be bothered by the constitutional process. The New York Times reports that, in his latest move to get around Congress, President Obama’s State Department is negotiating a climate deal at the United Nations to update a 1992 treaty with new emission reduction targets (emphasis added):
Lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming.
American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.
Since I’ve been in Washington for nearly three decades, I’m used to foolish demagoguery.
But the left’s reaction to corporate inversions takes political rhetoric to a new level of dishonesty.
Every study that looks at business taxation reaches the same conclusion, which is that America’s tax system is punitive and anti-competitive.
Simply stated, the combination of a very high tax rate on corporate income along with a very punitive system of worldwide taxation makes it very difficult for an American-domiciled firm to compete overseas.
Yet some politicians say companies are being “unpatriotic” for trying to protect themselves and even suggest that the tax burden on firms should be further increased!
In this CNBC interview, I say that’s akin to “blaming the victim.”
It’s never too late to wage a war on something you deem terrifying – if you’re the government. A recent report has highlighted the obvious: Washington has no idea of what to do with all the easy taxpayer cash it has access to.
It’s almost as if bureaucrats aren’t good at spending your money wisely!
According to The Week, the federal government is using a grant offered to the National Science Foundation to target memes. That’s right; Washington has used about $1 million of your money to finance a database of memes they deem suspicious. Officials, following instructions that tell them to single out any “suspicious memes” or any “false and misleading” political ideas that may have turned into memes, hunt for these images by browsing through social media websites.
The Indiana University is the official headquarters for the special “war on memes” department. The official title of the program is “Truthy.” It’s reportedly inspired on Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” concept.
And what do officials do while browsing for potentially life-threatening memes?
They look for the origin of the memes so they may identify the source as a professional political activist or just a good old Internet user like you, for an instance.
While the program seems harmless enough on the surface, one million dollars thrown at an effort to catalog memes and identify their sources so that the federal government can put up a web service offering the public info on suspicious meme trends seems eerily close to what a thought police would look like. Or am I just seeing things here?
Mike Huckabee has joined a group called World Congress of Families (are they Workers too?) in opposing “sexual radicals” who previously opposed their upcoming conference in Australia. Unclear if the group also opposes long-haired hippie music, flowers, and Woodstock.
The letter signed by Huckabee and dozens of other theocrats and social reactionaries, including former Texas Congressman and terrible dancer Tom DeLay, claims to support the “international pro-family movement”. They of course specifically define the “natural family” as “a man and women united by faith and tradition, raising their children in a loving environment.” They don’t say if the combination of singular “man” and plural “women” is an intentional endorsement of polygamy or an unintentional one, nor if non-religious or childless couples count as families. They would probably grudgingly admit they are, as long as the genders were of the approved variety.
The end of the letter illuminates the real problem with Huckabee & Co’s worldview (and subsequent politics):
Although Washington isn’t running $1+ trillion budget deficits — like taxpayers saw from fiscal years 2009 to 2012 — the river of red ink is still flowing rapidly. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new report this morning in which it revised upward the budget deficit for the current fiscal year (emphasis added):
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday raised its projection for this year’s federal deficit to $506 billion.
The budget office’s last report in April had projected the deficit for fiscal 2014 would top out at $492 billion on Sept. 30.
But the CBO said it is increasing the deficit figure now, in part, because receipts from corporate income taxes are turning out to be $37 billion less than expected.
This year’s deficit projection represents a major drop from the other years of the Obama presidency. Last year’s deficit was $680 billion, compared to the $1.1 trillion deficit the government racked up during Obama’s first year in the White House in 2009.
The CBO says the budget deficit will fall to $469 billion in FY 2015 before it slowly begins to tick back upward again. As you can see in the chart below, the budget deficit will approach $1 trillion by the end of the 10-year budget window: