The Ferguson Report Should be the Catalyst for National Criminal Justice Reform, and Conservatives Should Lead

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After briefly flirting with using the DOJ report on the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson police department to continue tone deaf whining about the #HandsUpDontShoot protest slogan, conservatives are finally coming to realize the real importance of the report. It should be the catalyst for nationwide criminal justice reform, and they should lead that effort.

This week, leading conservative publications RedState, National Review, and Commentary all have long posts explaining in depth the horrific actions of the Ferguson PD and why conservatives should be leading the charge for reform, not making excuses.

For example, the police department, allegedly a public safety organization, was primarily used to pad the city budget:

There’s a major problem with arithmetic in the minimum wage debate

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The debate over Congress raising the minimum wage nationwide is all about numbers. What the rate should be, how many people it would help, how many jobs it would cost, how easy it would be if Evil Rich People just surrendered their money instead. But at least one of these numbers is horribly skewed, resulting in a false narrative about how many people are scraping by on pennies an hour.

The latest brick in this narrative construction project is a report from the Institute for Policy Studies showing that if all the bonuses given to Wall Street bankers were instead distributed among people working minimum wage full time, their income would double. Wow! Let’s do that! For the children! Quick, grab your pitchfork, I’ll get my torch!

Not so fast.

The report cites 1,007,000 as the number of people working full time making the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 or less. Is that right? IRS data for 2013 shows the number of people working 35 hours per week or more at or below hourly minimum wage to be exactly that number. But there’s a huge problem with that figure - it includes people who get tips.

Waiters and other tip-paid professions have a different minimum wage than most other hourly workers: currently $2.13. “What? How can anyone live on that?!”, you might gasp. They don’t, of course. $2.13 is only the base salary they are required to be paid. They are paid tips based on their performance on top of that, which usually adds up to much, much more than even the standard $7.25 minimum wage.

Operation Backbone: Fresh Air in a Cynical World

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Politics is cynical and weird. It is often far removed from the finer choices people make every day: to be good parents, do the right thing by their communities, serve their country, sometimes even to disability and death. So when politics intersects with individuals making those choices — as it did with the not-too-distant discussion over the shortcomings of the Veterans Affairs Administration and how well they were, or were not, caring for our veterans — it’s sometimes hard to see the light.

But Mike Sformo, Navy Veteran and founder/CEO of Operation Backbone, may have found some way to heal the misunderstanding and rebuild the public — and veteran — trust in the VA. And, most importantly, help those veterans and their families who are fighting to overcome the physical and emotional tolls of battle, and who make the hard decision to push through the pain every day.

According to the OPBB website, Sformo says he started the organization mostly for the wives:

“I actually created Backbone for wives and spouses of wounded veterans in mind. I became very upset thinking about how I would feel if my wife Maria would have to hold up all that weight on her own—the weight of the family, bills, kids, school, plus the weight of a wounded husband! All that while trying to maintain as normal a life for our children.

Many wives and spouses of wounded veterans do this with little or no help from their families because many live far away due to the orders, bases, and locations of the military. So I initially created Backbone for the wives to have a simple and direct route for helping to take car of their soldiers who have incurred the most severe wounds on and off battle while protecting our great nation.

Fox News Tops Trust Rankings, Liberals Livid

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Rush Limbaugh. Citizens United. The Constitution. Evangelical Christians. Tax cuts. Republicans. Ann Coulter. Guns. The Founding Fathers (those rich, old, privileged white guys who formed our government). School Choice. Money in Politics (unless, you know, it is hundreds of millions coming from labor unions and billionaire socialists). Meritocracy. Abstinence. Fossil Fuels. Ann Coulter. The South.

Arguably, any and all of these things fall below Fox News on the list of Things Liberals Hate With A Burning Passion.

Which means that a recent poll from Quinnipiac has liberal ideologues pulling their hair out. According to Quinnipiac, Fox News, which 29% of Americans name as the most trustworthy network, either network or cable, has outpaced CNN (22%), CBS News and NBC News (both at 10%), ABC News (8%), and MSNBC (7%) as the most trusted news source on television. The same poll found that respondents believe that information provided now by news shows are less trustworthy (48%) than several decades ago, when news was dominated by the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) and later, with the addition of CNN.

In fact, MSNBC’s viewership has dropped so low that a recent post on the Fox News Facebook page about a toddler surviving a car crash and 14-hours in an icy river had more “likes” (60,673) than MSNBC had average viewership for the latest reporting period (55,000). For fans of the rabidly leftist MSNBC, that has got to be galling.

The Senate Letter to Iran is Dumb, But Not Unprecedented

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In case you still consider the left to be great defenders of free speech, please be advised that nearly half the US Senate is being accused of treason for the heinous crime of writing a letter.

That letter, written by the junior senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, was sent to Iran. In it, Cotton and the other 46 signatories lay out the constitutional case that a potential nuclear disarmament (or armament, depending on your perspective) deal must be approved by Congress. Here is the full letter:

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Cotton is right, of course. While the chief executive conducts foreign policy, he can only make treaties with the consent of 2/3 of the US Senate. But that’s precisely what makes this so silly and pointless.

Why would Cotton & Co bother pointing this out to Iran? His chamber has the last say on any deal with Iran. If anyone needs to be reminded of that, it’s the White House, who has suggested otherwise. To go around the White House and engage a foreign government directly, especially while negotiations are ongoing, is petty and unseemly.

Hillary’s Debutante Coming Out Party; Or, Here’s the Deal with the Private Email Server

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While the media waited with bated breath for Hillary Clinton to come to the podium, it was reported that Jen Psaki at the State Department was letting everyone know that State was going to make the emails related to Benghazi available online. Interesting time for State to break that news, and that still doesn’t address the fact that Clinton has released to State only what she felt necessary to release, as a private server allows one to do.

But that’s the sideshow. The main show happened when Clinton stepped to the microphone and said, “There have been questions about my emails.”

“I opted for convenience to use personal email account, which was allowed, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device,” she said during a press conference after her speech at the United Nations Tuesday. “Looking back, it would’ve been better if I had simply used a second email.”

Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of correspondence to the State Department to evaluate, which department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday would be released on a public website after a review, which could take months.

The former secretary of state defended her process in choosing emails, telling reporters that she and her staff “err[ed] on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work-related.”

Mitchell on Taxes, Part 2: Now the White House Wants to Raise Taxes without Congressional Approval?!?

This was originally posted at International Liberty. You can read Mitchell’s thoughts on the Flat Tax here.

I’m not reflexively opposed to executive orders and other unilateral actions by the White House. A president and his appointees, after all, have a lot of regulatory authority.

This is because, for better or worse, many of the laws approved in Washington basically express a goal and identify some tools. It’s then up to the relevant agency or agencies to promulgate regulations to enforce and implement those tools in order to supposedly achieve those goals.

But here’s the catch. The executive branch has to make at least a semi-plausible case that any given action is consistent with the law.

And the problem with this White House is that it has been using regulations and executive orders to change laws, thwart laws, and ignore laws.

There have been several instances of the White House arbitrarily deciding to ignore or alter major parts of Obamacare.

Dan Mitchell on The Laffer Curve, Tax Progressivity, and Government Revenue. Alternate Headline: Why We Like the Flat Tax

This was originally posted at International Liberty. The follow-up, “Now the White House Wants to Raise Taxes without Congressional Approval!?!?” will be posted here tomorrow.

On the issue of so-called progressive taxation, our left-wing friends have conflicting goals. Some of them want to maximize tax revenue in order to finance ever-bigger government.

But others are much more motivated by a desire to punish success. They want high tax rates on the “rich” even if the government collects less revenue.

Some of them simply pretend there isn’t a conflict, as you might imagine. They childishly assert that the Laffer Curve doesn’t exist and that upper-income taxpayers are fiscal pinatas, capable of generating never-ending amounts of tax revenue.

Hillary Clinton’s email could be far worse for national security than Edward Snowden’s leaks were alleged to have been

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In the months following the Edward Snowden disclosures of NSA surveillance procedures, hysterical establishment hawks chose to warn of the potential damage to national security from the leaks, instead of condemning the blatantly unconstitutional violations of American citizens’ privacy. Even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed Snowden had helped terrorists by releasing that information. As it turns out, the private email servers she was keeping for State Department communications may have been even worse.

Not only were her unarchived communications in violation of 20-year old federal records regulations, they were also terribly, horrifically unsecure.

The government typically uses military-grade certificates and encryption schemes for its internal communications that designed with spying from foreign intelligence agencies in mind. But the ClintonEmail.com setup? “If you’re buying jam online,” says Hansen, “you’re fine.” But for anything beyond consumer-grade browsing, it’s a shoddy arrangement.

Today in Liberty: Email Scandals, Threats to Signature Legislation, and Netflix’s Discovery That Big Government Is No Friend

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Plenty of red meat in the news these days, from Hillary Clinton’s homebrewed email server to the US Ambassador to South Korea getting slashed in the face. Taken individually, these stories are just a fun diversion as part of surprisingly full news cycle. Taken together, however, they represent a potential sea change in how government functions — and how citizens and voters are reacting to it. Not surprising that things are changing in the time of NSA data gathering, a newly confident Russia, and the (continued) rise of the brutal Islamic State. So here’s a rundown for those seeking the little glimmers of liberty buried under the chaos.

CPAC happened last week and there was an air of excitement and momentum surrounding the incredibly deep GOP field leading into 2016’s presidential election. Scott Walker has ramped up his game and Jeb Bush tried to make the case that he’s not just the guy the Democrats would love to see make a run. And Rand Paul, as he usually does, won the straw poll largely due to the contingent of young voters who attend the annual gathering. A really great thing in fact because it means the millenials may actually be migrating to the right at a greater clip than anyone knew. But while Rand won the youth, social media and news data says that Scott Walker’s the one to watch…for now:

 


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