Congress Should Lead FCC by Example, Adopt Clean STELA Reauthorization

Yesterday’s FCC meeting was unabashedly pro-cable and anti-broadcaster. The agency decided to prohibit television broadcasters from engaging in the same industry behavior as cable, satellite, and telco television distributors and programmers.

The resulting disparity in regulatory treatment highlights the inherent dangers in addressing regulatory reform piecemeal rather than comprehensively as contemplated by the #CommActUpdate. Congress should lead the FCC by example and adopt a “clean” approach to STELA reauthorization that avoids the agency’s regulatory mistakes.

The FCC meeting offered a study in the way policymakers pick winners and losers in the marketplace without acknowledging unfair regulatory treatment. It’s a three-step process.

  • First, the policymaker obfuscates similarities among issues by referring to substantively similar economic activity across multiple industry segments using different terminology.
  • Second, it artificially narrows the issues by limiting any regulatory inquiry to the disfavored industry segment only.
  • Third, it adopts disparate regulations applicable to the disfavored industry segment only while claiming the unfair regulatory treatment benefits consumers.

The broadcast items adopted by the FCC yesterday hit all three points.

“Broadcast JSAs”

The FCC adopted an order prohibiting two broadcast television stations from agreeing to jointly sell more than 15% of their advertising time using the three-step process described above.

NSA exploiting loophole to search for Americans’ communications

When President Barack Obama stood before the media to defend NSA’s surveillance programs in June, his words reassured Americans that federal agents were not listening to their calls and that the content of their emails was not being read. He stated that the only thing that the agency was actually doing was to look at the duration of calls and specific phone numbers.

By suggesting that the NSA was not capable of examining the contents of emails and calls, President Obama misled the population, or at least that’s what a letter written by the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has confirmed.

According to the letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the NSA used legal authority to obtain data and search for Americans’ details within the agency’s database. According to Clapper, the queries into details pertaining to US persons that were used to obtain further information on non-US persons were carried out lawfully. All procedures were reportedly consistent with what FISA court had already approved.

According to Clapper’s letter, looking for specific data on foreigners by performing searches that made contents of emails and phone records of US persons accessible is also consistent with the fourth amendment.

Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Act covers most of the bulk collection of records carried out by the NSA. According to Clapper’s interpretation of the Section 702, agents can collect data pertaining to phone or email of US persons without an individual warrant. This procedure takes place when agents have reasons to belief foreign persons are holding the communications as well.

Wasserman Schultz stumped when ask about Obamacare fixes

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) says “there’s no specific bill” that would “fix” the issues with Obamacare. In fact, she says there are no glaring problems with the law that come to her mind.

In a segment yesterday on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd asked Wasserman Schultz for an example of problems she would address legislatively, or, as the host said, “Give me a bill right now you would introduce to address a problem.”

“Well,” the DNC chair said, “there’s no specific bill, actually, right now that I would [introduce].” Todd followed up asking, “You don’t view, there’s a legislative problem, do you, that needs to be fixed?”

Wasserman Schultz claimed that the issue with addressing problems with the law is because Republicans won’t sit down at the table with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats. That’s an ironic comment. Democrats passed Obamacare without Republican support in both the House and the Senate.

Harry Reid loves billionaires as long as they support Democrats

 Steyer Infection

American Commitment is calling out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for his hypocritical attacks on libertarian-leaning billionaires who have engaged in the political process. The conservative action organization has produced a new ad that ties Reid to Tom Steyer, a big-dollar Democratic donor aiming to bring down the Keystone XL oil pipeline:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is accused in a new ad of hypocrisy when it comes to decrying the influence of billionaire donors in politics.
[…]
“The hypocrisy of Harry Reid disparaging successful Americans on the floor of the U.S. Senate, while he helps Democratic senators collect campaign contributions from shadowy, dirty energy billionaires is astonishing,” Phil Kerpen, the president of American Commitment, said in a statement. “If Harry Reid believes anything he says, he should stand up to the Steyer brothers and help the American people by supporting the Keystone Pipeline and opposing new energy taxes that only benefit special interests.”

A spokesman for the group told The Daily Caller that the $50,000 ad campaign will run online starting Tuesday in battleground Senate states like Louisiana, North Carolina, Arkansas and Michigan. These states are places where the Democratic Senate Majority super PAC is attacking the billionaire Kochs for pouring money into groups that are running ads against liberals.

A third of Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured

One of the measures of “success” for Obamacare will be the number of uninsured Americans who signed up for health plans on the state and federal exchanges.

Taking into account the disruption to the health insurance market because of the law and other ways the administration could have approached reform, there’s not one way to look at this question. But it’s still an important gauge, given that access to health coverage for the uninsured was one of the driving themes behind Obamacare.

Robert Laszewski, an insurance industry consultant, says it’s one of the two major questions on which we should judge the success of the law.

“Obamacare was enacted, and the private health insurance market fundamentally changed, so that we could cover millions of people who previously couldn’t get coverage,” he noted. “To what extent have we reduced the ranks of the uninsured––how many of these people who enrolled were previously insured and how many of them were previously uninsured?”

The White House still doesn’t know how many people who were previously uninsured signed up for health plans. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday that the administration ” expect[s] there to be a good mix of people who were previously uninsured who now have insurance,” adding that this is a hard figure to measure.

Couple receives pre-marked voter registration card from Covered California

Couple receives pre-marked voter registration card from Covered California

Facing a lawsuit threat from voting rights groups, Covered California, the Golden State’s Obamacare exchange, began sending out voter registration cards to those who had enrolled in a health plan. But one couple was surprised to find that their voter card had been pre-checked for the Democratic Party:

The couple – who did not want their identity revealed – received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

They have lived in La Mesa for years and they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.
[…]
Covered California began mailing out voter signup cards to nearly 4 million enrollees last week after being threatened with a lawsuit by voting rights groups. But that does not explain the pre-filled out voter registration card.

“It’s a waste of money because there’s an awful lot of people who are going to get this that are already registered and they don’t need to. I can see that, but I can’t see putting x on the form before it’s given to me in a little bitty box that nobody’s really going to notice,” said the recipient of the mailer.

Church-Burning Thugs and other Liberal Intolerance

For all their demands for tolerance, no group in America is more intolerant than the political left. It is not enough to simply debate issues on the merits; no, statist liberals use every weapon at their disposal to crush dissenting voices, including political correctness orthodoxy, badgering by the media, outright bullying by leftist mobs, and of course, government force.

This is not tolerance, this is tyranny.

At a time when leftist Democrats have had near-total control of government for half a decade, with trillions and trillions of deficit dollars spent on their core policies and programs, Democrats are panicked because the American people are seeing clearly the epic failure of the liberal agenda. Add to that the disastrous health care law which gets worse with each passing day, and Obama’s approval ratings are dropping faster than Bill Clinton’s pants in a roomful of interns.

So what to do when you’ve had total control, with nothing but a long line of failures in your wake? Why, you attack your opposition as racists, hate-mongers, xenophobes, and in general, as people who are so evil that it is a moral offense even to listen to anything they have to say. Why debate the message when you can destroy the messenger?

To those who don’t keep up with current events (outside of which Kardashian sister is sleeping with whom, or the depths of skankification to which Miley Cyrus has descended) this might sound hyperbolic and overblown. However, there are myriad examples from which to peruse, and these are just a few.

Few places in America can claim to be more liberal than the campuses of the various institutions of the University of California system. Here “diversity” is considered among the highest virtues unless, of course, you are a pro-life conservative.

Bright spot for Obama: Europe still loves him

President Barack Obama may be dogged by low approval ratings in the United States — you know, where it matters. But he can look forward to book tours and speaking engagements in Europe when presidency is over, because they still love him:

Crowds lined the streets of Brussels, The Hague and Rome to catch a glimpse of Obama’s motorcade. The crowd watching Obama’s speech at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels was described as “star-struck.”

Obama is so popular in the Netherlands, where he began his trip, that there’s an Obama Club, PRI reports. Its members get together and discuss issues relevant to Obama’s presidency, including foreign policy and diversity.

“These countries in Western Europe are really Obama countries,” historian Willem Post told the PRI radio show “The World.” “I think that has to do with the fact that this is a U.S. president who calls himself a global citizen [and urges] diplomacy first.”

Wait, what? President Obama “urges diplomacy first”? Like he did in Libya in 2011 and, more recently, tried to do in Syria, right? Europe may still be buying unicorns and fairy dust, but in the United States, the economy is stagnant, nearly five years after the official end of the Great Recession. We’re spending more as a percentage of the economy than before the recession, racking up a national debt of more than $17.5 trillion.

Thomas Massie, Justin Amash to Participate in War On Youth Town Hall

YAL War on Youth Townhall

The current prevailing political trends have been failing the predictions of their original proponents.

Higher minimum wages and the implementation of health care mandates that force companies to spend more to maintain employees on the payroll are just a few of the many policies that have been linked to the many difficulties that teens and young adults have been facing in the past decade.

The current job market for teens is the toughest on record and the type of solutions that are now being supported by the Obama administration do nothing to solve the problem but aggravate it. Once higher minimum wages kick in, the current administration’s solution will prove to be yet another impediment to the entry of inexperienced or young individuals with little or no experience in the workforce.

Because these policies lead to constant harassment that young Americans are forced to struggle with daily, Congressmen Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) will be participating in a “War on Youth” town hall, which will take place in Arizona.

The Glendale Community College chapter of Young Americans for Liberty will host the event. If you can’t make it, YAL will be broadcasting the event live online on April 3, at 7 p.m. EDT or 4 p.m. PDT.

Viewers can send in their questions to both congressmen by using the hashtag #WarOnYouth.

Rand Paul leaves GOP, joins Libertarian Party

In a move that is sure to send shockwaves through the Washington establishment all the way to the 2016 presidential election, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has announced Tuesday morning that he is leaving the Republican Party and joining the Libertarian Party.

“I’m not leaving the party,” the Tea Party standard bearer said in a statement, “the party has left me.” Paul has long considered himself a libertarian Republican, so this announcement simplifies that description considerably, while leaving uncertain how he will caucus his votes in the Senate.

This also puts the younger Paul on the opposite trajectory as his father, former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who ran for President first as a Libertarian in 1988 then later as a Republican in 2008 and 2012.

Senator Paul has of course not officially announced his candidacy for President, but given his campaigning, fundraising, and network-building over the last two years, that is all but certain. It is unclear how this latest move affects those plans. Paul’s statement doesn’t mention the future 2016 campaign directly.

It is certainly a historic move, though. This makes Rand Paul officially the first Libertarian in Congress. In most years, there are Libertarian Party candidates for House and Senate races across the country, but they rarely get more than 1-5% of the general election vote. If anyone can improve on that performance, it may be a sitting US Senator.

However, it is unclear if Paul will have a chance to prove that any time soon. He is up for reelection for his Senate seat in 2016, but he may opt to run for President instead. Officials in his home state of Kentucky were already working to change state election law, which currently prohibits candidates from running for both Senate and President in the same election.

 
 


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