Hey, Jay Carney, communism isn’t cool

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin is responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million people — through purges, famine, and other government policies — during his 30-year communist regime. The death toll on his watch put him behind only Mao Zedong as the most murderous dictator in history.

Despite the death toll under communist regimes, which were responsible for the deaths of 94 million people in the 20th Century, the ideology has been embraced, so to speak, in pop culture. Because cool, or something.

You’ve no doubt seen people wearing t-shirts featuring Che Guevara’s likeness. Known as the “Butcher of La Cabana,” this murderous thug oversaw the execution of some 2,000 people.

This author saw a tourist sporting apparel with a Soviet hammer and sickle outside the White House just this past weekend. You can even buy clothing with Mao’s image, lest you be without a shirt featuring a dictator whose regime killed 45 million people.

CBO sees a bigger river of red ink under Obama’s budget

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that budget deficits will be nearly $1.7 trillion greater under President Barack Obama’s budget than the estimates released last month by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The two agencies frequently conflict on budget projections. The OMB sort of takes a guess on what economic growth will look like over a 10-year period and scores a president’s tax and spending agenda based on those estimates. The CBO, however, is more restrained in its approach.

The discrepancy between the two reports is due to the CBO’s assumption that current law remains largely unchanged. The nonpartisan fiscal research agency also believes that tax revenues will be $1.8 trillion lower than the OMB, which is due to less rosy economic projections over the next 10 years (2015-2024).

President Obama’s budget estimates that budget deficits over the next decade will come in at approximately $4.93 trillion (Table S-1 of the OMB report). But the CBO estimates that deficits will be significantly higher, at $6.56 trillion (Table 1 of the CBO report), or $1.64 trillion greater than the administration’s estimate.

Here’s a look at the year-by-year differences:

Two-thirds of voters want Congress to continue IRS investigation

Americans aren’t satisfied with overtures from President Barack Obama that there isn’t a “smidgen” of corruption at the Internal Revenue Service. A Fox News poll released yesterday found that two-thirds of voters want Congress to keep digging until there is accountability for the targeting of conservative groups:

The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”

By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the IRS until “someone is held accountable.” An all-time high of 78 percent thought lawmakers should investigate the IRS in early June.

The poll shows agreement across party lines: Majorities of Republicans (77 percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (57 percent) favor Congress continuing to investigate until “someone is held accountable.”

Good luck with that. President Obama and congressional Democrats have no desire to cooperate with inquiries into the IRS’s actions, despite the fact that conservative groups were explicitly singled out for scrutiny.

Lois Lerner, the disgraced ex-IRS official at the center of congressional inquiries, is the obvious person who could be held accountable, but she’s refused to testify at committee hearings.

House Republicans move forward on Benghazi, analyzing testimony for contradictions

A group of House Republicans are reviewing testimony provided by witnesses who have testified in front of congressional committees looking into the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans.

In an interview with United Liberty on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained that he and several other House Republicans have been reviewing testimony from congressional witnesses to look for contradictory statements.

Westmoreland said that he went to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) approximately six weeks ago to get his blessing to form a group consisting of members of three key House committees — Oversight and Government Reform, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs. He wanted members with prosecutorial experience to build a potential case.

“We would look at the testimony, we would look at a list of witnesses that have testified in front of Government Oversight and Foreign Affairs,” Westmoreland told United Liberty. “And we would look at them, and we would look at their testimony and see if there [were] any contradictions in testimonies that may have been presented by somebody else at another committee.”

Boehner’s staff contacted Westmoreland two weeks later, offering staff support to assist the group as it reviews some 50,000 pages of testimony and interviews.

“[I]t’s a small group,” said Westmoreland. “We don’t want any big committee chairs, we wanted the average run-of-the-mill kind of guy that could look at this and not be on TV every night, or be doing interviews and trying to make a lot of gain out of it, because the American people, they want to know the truth, and that’s what we’re doing our best.”

Today in Liberty: IRS tracking license plates, Amash outraises primary opponent

“People acting in their own self-interest is the fuel for all the discovery, innovation, and prosperity that powers the world.” — John Stossel

— IRS among agencies using license plate-tracking: Several federal agencies, including the IRS, have contracted with vendors to use license plate-tracking technology. “Bloomberg News reported that the IRS and other government agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to Livermore, Calif.-based Vigilant Solutions before the Department of Homeland Security dropped a plan for similar work after privacy concerns were raised,” Fox News reports. “The Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, DHS and U.S. Marshals Service have also awarded contracts to Vigilant for access to its records or tracking tools, according to the report.” There are obviously some big issues with this. “These systems treat every single person in an area as if they’re under investigation for a crime,” said Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with EFF, “that is not the way our criminal justice system was set up or the way things work in a democratic society.”

Paul Krugman offered $25,000 a month to rail against income inequality

When he’s not talking fondly of the economic stimulus effects of natural and unnatural disasters, Paul Krugman likes to complain about income inequality. The Nobel laureate’s columns are frequently filled with class warfare rhetoric, what he sees as the “rising inequality on middle-class Americans.”

Krugman, however, has been offered a cushy part-time gig at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Luxembourg Income Study Center, according information obtained by Gawker through an open records request.

The offer letter to Krugman states that he’ll earn $225,000 over nine months ($25,000/month), though he “will not be expected to teach or supervise students” in his first year. He will, however, be expected to “contribute to [the] build-up of LIS and the inequality initiative” as well as “play a modest role in public events.”

In addition to the $225,000 salary, what the school referred to as a “relatively comfortable perch,” Krugman will also receive $10,000 annually for research and travel as well as a graduate assistant who will work 15 hours per week. He’ll also be reimbursed for moving expenses up to $10,000.

Rand Paul on Bundy Ranch: We should give federal land back to Nevada

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) disagrees with Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) assessment of the tense situation in southern Nevada between the Bundy family and the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Reid told reporters this week that the situation isn’t over, despite the federal agency’s decision to stand down over the weekend. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it,” he said. “So it’s not over.”

Paul, however, says that Reid has it wrong. In an interview with a Kentucky-based radio station, the potential 2016 presidential candidate questioned the need for armed federal agents threatening the Bundy family and explained some of the history of the situation.

“I think there’s an opposite thing to what Harry Reid said, and that’s that the federal government shouldn’t violate the law,” Paul told WHAS, “nor should we have 48 federal agencies carrying weapons and having SWAT teams.”

63% of Millennials believe Obama often lies to the country

A Fox News poll released this week found that 61 percent of Americans believe President Barack Obama lies to the country about important matters, while just 15 percent believe that he always tells the truth.

As one might imagine, Republicans and Democrats have differing views on the question. For example, 85 percent of Republicans believe President Obama lies most or some of the time on important matters, while 59 percent of Democrats believe he lies only now and then or never. Independents, however, are more likely to side with Republicans.

The more interesting figure is the percentage of Millennials who believe President Obama has a lying problem. The poll found that 63 percent of registered voters under the age of 35 believe he lies to them most or some of the time.

Chris McDaniel: We need more responsible people running the government

Chris McDaniel

The Republican Senate primary in Mississippi has become ground zero for the battle between the GOP establishment and the grassroots.

In one corner there is Sen. Thad Cochran, who first went to Washington in 1973 and has fallen in love with the smell of the marble on Capitol Hill. In the other is state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a conservative seeking to shake up the status quo.

McDaniel, 41, is the one conservative primary challenger who has a legitimate shot of taking down an incumbent Republican. He’s saying the right things on the campaign trail, pushing fiscal conservative ideas and constitutional principles that appeal to base voters in Mississippi.

What helps McDaniel’s case is that Cochran has become one of the most squishy Republican in the Senate. The long-time Senate Republican recently earned a dismal 63% rating from the American Conservative Union, far worse than GOP colleagues facing primary challengers.

It would seem that McDaniel’s message is making headway, though polling out of the state has been scant. The most recent poll, conducted by Harper Polling, found Cochran’s lead in the race has fallen to 17 points from 23 points in December. Other polls, however, have found that the race is within single digits.

Jimmy Carter wants Obama to reject Keystone XL

Jimmy Carter

The man who oversaw an energy crisis has come out strongly against the Keystone XL pipeline. In a letter with other Nobel laureates, former President Jimmy Carter urged President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the pipeline, claiming that allowing the project to move forward would worsen climate change:

“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change,” Carter and the others wrote in an open letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. 
[…]
Carter and the other Nobel Prize winners suggest to Obama that rejecting the $5.4 billion project would help the environment.

“You know as well as us the power of precedence that this would set,” states the letter, published in Politico. “This leadership by example would usher in a new era where climate change and pollution is given the urgent attention and focus it deserves in a world where the climate crisis is already a daily struggle for so many.”

Rejecting Keystone XL “would signal a new course for the world’s largest economy,” added the group of Nobel laureates, which includes South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and landmine activist Jody Williams.

 
 


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