Oh, in case you forgot, House Democrats really hate the First Amendment

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats will introduce a constitutional amendment today designed overturn recent Supreme Court decisions by repealing political speech protections in the First Amendment:

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will introduce the House’s version of legislation that would overturn decisions like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC — court cases that helped create modern-day super PACs and stripped rules limiting aggregate limits on donations.

The amendment would give Congress and the states the power to regulate campaign financing, fundraising and spending, including money spent by independent expenditures.

The proposed constitutional amendment sounds a little different from the one proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and backed by most Democratic senators. The original text of the upper chamber’s version, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, would give Congress the power to regulate political speech.

The intended effect of both amendments, however, is to undermine political speech. Because, in Orwellian American, gutting a civil liberty protected by the Bill of Rights is what passes for an election year issue. Or something.

Today in Liberty: NSA spying damages the United States’ reputation as a beacon of freedom, crony Ex-Im pals pressure Boehner

“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” — Milton Friedman

— Land of the Free?: The disclosures about the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs have damaged the world’s view of the United States as a country that protects individual liberties. “In 22 of 36 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2014, people are significantly less likely to believe the U.S. government respects the personal freedoms of its citizens. In six nations, the decline was 20 percentage points or more,” Pew Research notes. “Still, the U.S. has a relatively strong reputation for respecting personal freedoms compared with the other major nations tested on the survey. A median of 58% believe the American government respects individual liberties, while 56% say this about France, 36% about China, and only 28% say it about the Russian government.” Notice that Brazil and Germany, two countries on which the U.S. reportedly spied, are at the top of the list.

Democrats are falling over themselves to get away from Barack Obama’s failing presidency

With just under four months to go until election day, vulnerable Senate Democrats are doing everything they can to avoid any ties to President Barack Obama or his agenda — you know, the agenda they’ve all supported over the past six years, and The Hill has taken notice:

Democrats in tough reelection races have a blunt message for President Obama: Keep away.

Obama’s approval ratings are in the basement and show no signs of improving, so Democrats are keeping their distance. On the stump, in campaign ads and at fundraisers, Obama’s absence is increasingly conspicuous.

Democrats are voicing their displeasure with his policies and campaign advisers are telling candidates to avoid being photographed with him, so as to deny Republicans effective visuals for campaign ads.
Many of the Democratic senators elected in 2008 rode to office on Obama’s coattails. Six years later, they’re asking, “Barack who?”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last week avoided being at his own fundraiser while Obama was there, excusing himself on the grounds that he had to attend votes at the Capitol.

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Grover Norquist’s quest to reduce the size of government and keep your taxes low

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and friends and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

Grover Norquist is one of the most well-known figures in conservative politics. Americans for Tax Reform, the organization he founded in 1985, has become a powerhouse in politics, driving the conversation on taxes, labor policy, and regulation.

United Liberty caught up with Norquist last weekend at FreedomFest in Las Vegas and asked him how he got involved in politics and the conservative movement as well as where he thinks the movement is headed over the next few years.

“I was active early on in politics. Back in [the 1970s], I worked on the Nixon campaign because I was concerned about the Soviet Union, and I just stayed involved in politics. If you decide to get involved early, it just kind of stays with you,” Norquist told United Liberty.” It’s kind of like learning to play tennis. Once you’ve learned, whenever there’s a tennis game, you join. If you’re involved in politics, every time there’s an election or a fight, you get in.”

Norquist explained that the central issue he’s working on at the moment is reducing the size and scope of government, especially at the state-level where there are plenty of opportunities due to the fact that Republicans control nearly half of the state legislatures.

In Memoriam: Andrew Kaluza, 1987 - 2014

Andrew Kaluza and Ron Paul

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

— John Donne, “Meditation XVII”

The “liberty movement” lost one of its own over the weekend with the untimely death of Andrew Kaluza, 27, in a tragic car accident.

Friends and acquaintances took to Facebook and Twitter to sing his praises.

Lucas L., who attended the University of Texas at San Antonio with Kaluza and joined the Young Americans for Liberty chapter Kaluza founded, remembered:

I met Andrew Kaluza during my first semester of college at UTSA. I remember I was just an awkward, shy kid when I walked into my first YAL meeting. At first I was so intimidated by the group because they were all much smarter than me and more well-versed in liberty. I remember how Andrew immediately made me feel welcomed. He would stand at the front of the room and lead the discussion. He encouraged debate and wanted everyone to feel like their opinion mattered. Andrew is very much responsible for inspiring me to continue learning about liberty. The truth is that he inspired a lot of people. I will deeply miss him and his relentless optimism and kindness. I will never forget how he and the rest of UTSA’s YAL made me feel like family. Here’s to you Andrew, may you rest in peace.

Ashton J., who served alongside Kaluza in Students for Liberty in Texas, fondly remembered:

Harry Reid is the worst: Senate Democratic leader has all but weeded Republicans out of the legislative process

The toxic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in the United States Senate is the result of the grip Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has on the process in the upper chamber, says Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee blasted Reid for not allowing Republicans to offer amendments to legislation from the from the floor, which, Sessions said, is a partisan move by the Democratic leader to try to protect his at-risk majority in the upcoming mid-term election.

“The reason the Majority Leader will not allow amendments is because he wants to protect his members from actually being held accountable by the voters of the United States of America,” Session said on Thursday. “

That’s what it’s all about. It’s gone on way too long,” he continued. “It’s demeaning this Senate, and he demeans the loyal opposition who are doing the only thing they have as a tool, which is refuse to move forward with a bill if the Majority Leader is going to use parliamentary maneuvers to block anybody’s amendment.”

Hey, Republicans, you need to pay attention to this: Millennials really dig candidates with libertarian leanings

I Stand With Rand

Republicans are trying to figure out how to connect with Millennials — young voters between the ages of 18 and 34 — to break the stranglehold that President Barack Obama and Democrats on them. Well, polling data released late last week by Reason-Rupe offers some great insight into the sort of candidate can win this coveted voting block over:

A majority—53 percent—of millennials say they would support a candidate who described him or herself as socially liberal and economically conservative, 16 percent were unsure, and 31 percent would oppose such a candidate.

Interestingly, besides libertarians, liberal millennials are the most supportive of a libertarian-leaning candidate by a margin of 60 to 27 percent. Conservative millennials are most opposed (43% to 48% opposed).

A libertarian-leaning candidate would appeal to both Democratic and Republican voters. For instance, 60 percent of Hillary Clinton voters, 61 percent of Rand Paul voters, 71 percent of Chris Christie voters, and 56 percent of those who approve of President Obama all say they would support a fiscally conservative, socially liberal candidate.
The fact that a socially liberal, fiscally conservative candidate mainly attracts liberals over conservatives indicates that social issues rather than economics largely drive millennials’ political judgments. It also suggests millennials are more socially liberal than they are economically liberal.

False: White House press secretary says Obama is the most transparent president ever

The White House isn’t just downplaying the letter from a group of journalists blasted the Obama administration’s “politically-drive suppression of the news.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in an interview on CNN, claimed that Barack Obama is the Most Transparent President™ ever:

President Obama is “absolutely” the most transparent president in history, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Sunday after the White House received a letter from signed by a dozen top journalists’ groups complaining about the administration’s policies toward the media.

“There are a number of steps that we’ve taken to give people greater insight into what’s happening at the White House,” Earnest said in an interview with CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Earnest noted that previous administrations had “gone to the Supreme Court” to prevent the release of White House visitor information, but that the Obama administration “releases it voluntarily on the Internet on a quarterly basis.”

“Reporters for years clamored to get access to fundraisers the president hosted or attended that were hosted in private homes,” Earnest continued. “Reporters now have access to those when this president goes to a private home.”

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul absolutely owns Rick Perry on foreign policy, Jon Voight says Obama is tearing the U.S. apart

“The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do it better.” — Thomas Sowell

Lois Lerner’s awful, terrible, really bad week

Lois Lerner's Saga Continues

Lois Lerner really has been having a very bad week - actually, just a couple days.

First, yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the IRS has 30 days to file a declaration that explains exactly what happened to the computers that supposedly lost what could be incriminating emails from and to Lois Lerner.

Then, Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman filed a resolution calling for the House Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest Lerner.

Finally, today U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ordered the Obama administration lawyers to provide information on precisely what happened to Lerner’s hard drive, that supposedly crashed and was recycled in 2011.

What does all of this mean?

Well, the court rulings are admittedly more important than the House resolution, but what it means is that the Legislative branch isn’t the only one interested in getting to the bottom of what Lerner was doing at the IRS anymore. More importantly, unlike the pleas from the House, the Department of Justice isn’t going to find it very easy to just ignore this situation anymore.

Yes, there are a lot of “friendly” judges out there for DOJ to depend on, but that number could reasonably decrease if they choose to ignore what is going on at the IRS. It’s not unreasonable to assume that there will be more talk about calling in a special prosecutor to investigate the situation. This time it will be more meaningful, because it will be coming from the Judicial branch.


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