Federalism Works! Don’t let Washington take a cut of local police funding


From the Monday edition of the New York Daily News comes a shocking editorial revealing that Congress is so dysfunctional and hell-bent on cutting spending that it has even slashed a program that pays for bulletproof vests for police officers.

In 2010, the feds helped buy 193,259 vests nationwide at a cost of $37 million. This year, the number is just 51,910 — because funding fell to $19 million and the Justice Department now covers only one-third of a vest’s price instead of half.

But wait. Why is the federal government subsidizing local police forces?

The answer is pretty simple: the federal government subsidizes everything. It’s particularly fond of subsidizing state and local government services. In 2011, Washington paid for just under 25% [PDF] of all state and local expenses. So technically the 1/3 bulletproof vest funding is still relatively large compared to the 1/4 funding of all other local services.

Americans must push back against Obama’s unconstitutional domestic spying program

Obama Domestic Spying

The Obama administration is pretty upset by news released by two of the few American corporations that liberals usually adore — Apple and Google. What have these corporations done to incur such wrath? Apple started it with the announcement that its iPhone 6 is being released with an encrypted operating system which will likely take years for government spies to crack, and worse (for government), Apple will not retain their users’ passwords, meaning they can’t divulge user data even if subpoenaed by the federal government. After Apple’s announcement, Google revealed that it will also provide additional protection for users, by setting as the default encryption on its OS to thwart government snooping.

The wailing Cassandras roaming the halls of the CIA and FBI temples are of course prophesying of the apocalyptic destruction that will result from this development, claiming terrorist attacks are more likely now because they will not be able to tap the communications of terrorists plotting to kill us.

And while that may be theoretically true, an argument can be made that it may actually improve their capabilities because now, instead of trying to sift through the phone calls and text messages of 310 million American citizens, they will now be forced to do actual investigative work by focusing their limited resources on only those people that have shown a likelihood of being involved in terrorist activities.

‘Affirmative Consent’ blurs the lines between consensual sex and sexual assault on campus

Sexual Assault on Campus

When it came to educating young people about respecting personal boundaries, the rules were very simple and generally easy to understand: no means no. This was particularly true when it came to teaching young men that when things were getting ‘hot and heavy’ with someone they were making out with that if the woman at any point said ‘no’ it was time to back off (and perhaps should take a cold shower once he got home). For as long as I can remember, society was ‘teaching men not to rape’ to coin a phrase.

The ‘no means no’ standard was by no means a perfect standard. Sometimes the ‘no’ would have to come after the man successfully kissed the woman or tried to progress to the next level. Some women ‘froze’ and were unable to verbalize or otherwise communicate to her date she didn’t want to progress to the next level and would regret the encounter. And despite all the best efforts to teach men no to rape women, a small percentage of men raped women anyway.

Republicans can win single women voters by relating to “Waitress Moms” and “Alpha Strivers”

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

D.C. McAllister has a rather lengthy piece on what it will take for the Republican Party to attract more women voters over at The Federalist:

It would help the GOP and doubting pundits to realize that the war on women is really the “war on single women.” Only by grasping this reality will the GOP develop an effective outreach. But it doesn’t stop there: single women voters are not a monolithic group. They’re not all alike, and they can’t be treated the same. They have different values, and they’re affected by issues in different ways—and the GOP needs to figure out which of these single ladies they can actually persuade to vote for Republican candidates.

With these women in mind, they need to focus, hone their message, rebuild trust, be authentic, reflect strength in their advocacy of conservative principles, and communicate those principles in a convincing and compassionate way.

Yes, the Right is losing single women. But this article (and the book it stemmed from) focuses on the fact that it’s not that simple. Younger, single women are getting older every day, and it is not clear that they are getting more Republican…

There is an opportunity among to attract women voters from the groups that Celinda Lake and Kellyanne Conway call the “Waitress Moms” and the “Alpha Strivers.” Though many “Multicultural Mavericks” are libertarians, it could be that they identify more with the Democratic Party than the GOP as a result of their parents, school, or community.

Twitter sues feds in effort to reveal how many times the government attempts to spy on you each year


It appears that Twitter — of all the tech companies with whom millions of Americans interact daily — is again one of the only among the giants to actually make good on their promise to protect user data, even if it’s just by being transparent about what they’re being asked to share.

Twitter is suing the United States government, claiming its First Amendment rights are being violated. The case, filed Tuesday in the Northern District Court of California against both the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, concerns the number of National Security Letters (NSLs) Twitter receives from the feds every year. These NSLs demand that Twitter hand over user information.

The gist of the case is that Twitter wants to include the exact number of requests it receives every year in its annual transparency reports. But right now, it is not allowed to. Thanks to the way current non-disclosure provisions are set up, Twitter is prohibited from sharing exactly how many NSLs it receives every year. Service providers like Twitter, Google, and Facebook can only provide a rough range or a percentage increase.

This isn’t the first time that tech companies have filed suit on this issue, of course, with Google and Facebook among others waving fists earlier in 2014 that were, perhaps a little too easily, met with compromises until the suit was eventually dropped. Twitter was conspicuously absent during that pushback.

October Surprise! Harry Reid’s Dems scramble to hold the Senate — but Republicans are up in key states

Larry Sabato's Senate Crystal Ball

A string of polls released last night shows Republican Senate candidates up over their opponents in key states with fewer than four weeks to go before Election Day.

The Fox News polls show Republican challengers up in Alaska, Arkansas, and Colorado over their Democrat opponents. The polls also show Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell up over his well-funded Democrat opponent and Kansas Republican Pat Roberts leading his Independent challenger.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, predicts Republicans will gain between five and eight seats (see above map). Republicans need to pick up six seats to take the Senate.

According to Sabato, Republicans are pretty much guaranteed to win in Montana, South Dakota, and Iowa. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) announced it would drop $1 million in the South Dakota Senate race. Polls show the Republican candidate in South Dakota with a comfortable lead, and ad buys can be misleading. For instance, the DSCC could announce a million dollar ad buy and reserve the time, and then cancel it after news of the initial announcement spread.

Most Americans Agree: Government Should Keep Hands Off Private Property

Susette Kelo

(Susette Kelo, pictured above, became the face of eminent domain abuse.)

The concept of government claiming private property for public good is an issue that comes up with a fair amount of regularity, usually on the state or local level. Usually it is a matter of whittling away a small portion of a citizen’s property for something like expanding a roadway or updating infrastructure services, like sanitary sewers. Other times it is a much larger project, that would force the complete surrender of a property. Either way, it seems that the public does not have much faith in government to do what it should.

According to a recent Rasmussen Poll, the vast majority of Americans do not believe the government would use private property claimed for a public project in a way that would actually be beneficial for the community.

Only 22% of Americans trust the government to seize property through eminent domain only for purposes that legitimately benefit the general public. Sixty-four percent (64%) don’t share that trust. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

But the doubt extends beyond just eminent domain: Only 25% trust government PERIOD. Sixty percent (60%) do not. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that keeps tabs on government abuse, or liberty issues in general. However, this distrust appears to be bleeding over to many other issues, from the federal government securing the border if there was comprehensive immigration reform, to equitable enforcement of gun laws. Essentially, the people simply don’t trust the federal government.

Pay to Play: Cronyism is what happens when corporations love big government too much

American Legislative Exchange Council

Radical environmental activists made news last week for complaining that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) opposes taxes and regulations those activists view as necessary to combat global warming. ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson appeared on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” on Thursday to address those accusations, opposite Common Cause CEO Miles Rapoport and Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger.

The program was replete with absurd, perfidious accusations that ALEC supported “corporate” interests. Ironic, considering it is progressive organizations like Common Cause – not ALEC – that support a powerful government capable of doling out favors to entrenched interests.

Hamburger even pointed out at the beginning of the program that “dysfunction” in Washington has been responsible for preventing elected officials from doling out favors to their friends in the business world. “Corporate lobbying has increasingly moved to the states, in part because of the dysfunction, which is – in Washington,” Hamburger said.

“Dysfunctional,” as NPR has explained in the past, is a term applied to Republicans when they oppose measures increasing the size of government.

Supreme Court defaults to liberty and federalism on marriage


In the 15 months since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor in June 2013, which invalidated the strict federal definition of marriage from the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, seven other cases were appealed to the Court, all of which last ruled at the Circuit-level that the state same-sex marriage bans in question were unconstitutional.

In a stunning decision Monday, the Court denied the appeals of all seven cases, meaning the Circuit decisions unanimously striking down those bans are upheld and same-sex couples will soon have equal marriage rights in all states under those Circuits’ jurisdiction.

Nearly everyone expected the Roberts court to grant certiori to the cases and bundle them together to issue a final sweeping ruling on the issue at the end of its next term in mid-2015, so the blanket denial shocked the legal and political communities. It only takes four of the nine justices to grant certiori, so in effect, this was at minimum a 6-3 default ruling in favor of marriage equality.

Pro-liberty Republican governors are slashing high taxes and rolling back big government — and that’s good for taxpayers

Cato Institute Report Card 2014

The Cato Institute released its 2014 biennial report card on America’s governors late last week, and it trumpeted good news for taxpayers in North Carolina, Kansas, Maine, and Indiana. Republican governors in these four states received the ‘A’ rating (states are rated A-F) because they have enacted — since 2012 — pro-growth policies that have reduced the burden on taxpayers and gotten government out of the way for economic development.

Cato highlights its methodology in its executive summary:

[The Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors] uses statistical data to grade the governors on their taxing and spending records—governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades.

Since states are the “laboratories of democracy,” policies enacted from state to state can have wide-ranging effects. Crossing one state’s boundaries into another state can yield dramatically different results. For example, Illinois received an ‘F’ while its neighbor to the east (Indiana) received an ‘A’.

Cato describes the two states tied for first place — North Carolina and Kansas, with an overall numerical rating of 78:


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