Cato Institute responds to Obama’s State of the Union speech

Last night, President Barack Obama was supposed to speak on the State of the Nation, but in usual fashion, he turned it into a campaign speech. In case you missed it, you can watch it here or read the transcript. Don’t forget to watch or read the Republican response offered by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

There was nothing in the speech that was ground-breaking. It was more of the same tired themes, such as his divisive class warfare rhetoric (much of it was inaccurate) and tearing down businesses. No substantive defense was offered for the failed economic policies that he continues to push.

Some of the policy experts from the Cato Institute, the Washington-based libetarian think thank, parsed the themes that Obama relayed and found much to be disappointed in:

Rand Paul explains incident with TSA

Fresh off his detenion by TSA officers at Nashville International Airport on Monday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, has written an explanation of the incident:

Today, while en route to Washington to speak to hundreds of thousands of people at the March for Life, I was detained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for not agreeing to a patdown after an irregularity was found in my full body scan. Despite removing my belt, glasses, wallet and shoes, the scanner and TSA also wanted my dignity. I refused.

I showed them the potentially offending part of my body, my leg. They were not interested. They wanted to touch me and to pat me down. I requested to be rescanned. They refused and detained me in a 10-foot-by-10-foot area reserved for potential terrorists.

I told them that I was a frequent flier and that just days ago I was allowed to be rescanned when the scanner made an error. At no time did I ask for special treatment, but I did insist that all travelers be awarded some decency and leniency in accommodating the screening process.

My detention was real and I was repeatedly instructed not to leave the holding area. When I used my phone to inform my office that I would miss my flight, and thus miss my speech to the March for Life, I was told that now I would be subjected to a full body patdown.

I asked if I could simply restart the screening process to show that the machine had made an error. I was denied and informed that since I used my phone, to call for help, I must now submit or not fly.

Washington Examiner labels Gingrich as a Washington insider

We’ve noted Newt Gingrich’s anti-conservative points on multiple occasions, mostly recently my post yesterday on his support of an individual mandate for health insurance coverage. This isn’t the only stain on his record, it’s merely one of them. We could easily point to his support of Medicare expansion or TARP as further evidence. We could also point to Stephen Slivinski’s article here from last month explaining how Gingrich betrayed the revolution that brought Republicans to power.

Chris Christie to nominate openly gay mayor for NJ Supreme Court

Governor Chris Christie continues to earn my respect.  Even if he personally is against gay marriage and eventually opposes efforts to legalize it, he has once again made a move that is sure to anger social conservatives by nominating Bruce Harris, the openly-gay mayor of Chatham Borough, to the state Supreme Court.  In addition, Christie has also nominated Phil Kwon, who would be the first Asian-American on the state’s high court.

Some might also recall that Christie nominated a Muslim-American, Sohail Mohammed, to the bench last year, drawing cries from some conservatives that he was “supporting Sharia law” or some such nonsense.  It does my heart good to see a prominent Republican willing to stand up to the more intolerant segments of the GOP.  If only the party as a whole would follow his socially progressive lead.

Rising Energy Costs…Obama Keeps His Promise

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama flatly proclaimed that under his policies electricity rates would “necessarily skyrocket.” For once, Obama can’t be accused of breaking a campaign promise. Unfortunately it is not just electricity rates, but energy prices in general, that have skyrocketed. One look at your huge electric bill, or $3.50/gallon gasoline in winter, and you’ll realize Obama meant what he said. In fact, the Obama administration is quietly waging a full-scale assault on fossil-fuel based energy, which accounts for the vast majority of all energy produced in America, while at the same time throwing taxpayer money down a rat hole lined with Democrat-donors and special interest groups.

As our illustrious campaigner-in-chief would say, “Let me be clear!” This is not by accident. He has filled his Cabinet and administration with “greenies” like Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu (who has stated that he wants to force gas prices in the U.S. up to European levels of around $7-10/gallon).This is a conscious, concerted effort. Obama openly brags that he will bankrupt coal companies, which generate almost half of the electricity produced in the United States today. Using the simple Law of Supply and Demand, what do you think will happen to electricity prices if you cut the generating capacity in half? If you said prices will “necessarily skyrocket”, then come get your gold start and go to the head of the class.

5 Things You Need to Know About ACTA

In the midst of last week’s protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), I suggested that “[w]e’re fighting an uphill battle” against the powerful forces that want to censor the internet in the name of anti-piracy. Since then, many pundits and bloggers have been striking a triumphalist note now that both SOPA and PIPA appear to be dead in the water. But the best rule of thumb when you think you’ve beaten those who would erase our civil liberties is to reject complacency and assume that you haven’t. When they look like they’ve lost they’re usually just regrouping. The recent MegaUpload bust should prove that.

But if you’re still not convinced, you probably haven’t heard of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The U.S. Trade Representative’s office declares ACTA “the highest-standard plurilateral agreement ever achieved concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights.” A 2008 report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation makes clear that ACTA would accomplish at an international level what SOPA/PIPA were supposed to accomplish here in America. We, along with eight other nations, signed ACTA on October 1, 2011.

If you haven’t heard of ACTA before, here are five things you need to know:

Tea Party Thomas: Boston Bruins goalkeeper pushes for limited government

As is often the case with victorious professional sports teams, the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins were honored this week in the White House.  Absent, though, was star goaltender Tim Thomas, a big part of the Bruins’ run for the Cup.  Thomas explained why he did not attend on his Facebook page:

“I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT”

Now, sports figures and other celebrities making political statements is not exactly out of the ordinary.  What is unusual is that the statement carries a very distinct right-leaning, even libertarian flavor.  In fact, it sounds like it could come from a Ron Paul supporter.

SOPA: Freedom and the Internet, Victorious

Yesterday, I spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about the massive online protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) and the PROTECT IP Act (“PIPA”), legislation that poses a dire threat to the Internet and to liberties that our enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

You can watch my speech and read the transcript below:

Long ago, Jefferson warned, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” The exceptions to that rule have been few and far between recently, and ought to be celebrated when they occur.

One did this past week with the announcement that supporters of the so-called “Stop On-Line Privacy Act” and the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” have indefinitely postponed their measures after an unprecedented protest across the Internet.

SOPA and PIPA pose a crippling danger to the Internet because they use the legitimate concern over copy-right infringement as an excuse for government to intrude upon and regulate the very essence of the Internet - the unrestricted and absolutely free association that links site to site, providing infinite pathways for commerce, discourse and learning.

The State of Our Union is Dire

Tonight President Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address, but something that happened yesterday illustrates the true state of our union far better than anything you’ll hear tonight. As we reported yesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was detained by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at the Nashville International Airport. Paul was detained by TSA officials after refusing an invasive full body pat-down following some kind of anomaly in the body scanner’s reading. Some might argue that there’s nothing to get worked up about here. After all, shouldn’t we expect senators to be treated like everyone else? But it is precisely because everyday citizens are subjected to these invasive procedures on a daily basis that Sen. Paul’s detention is so alarming. His high-profile detention by the TSA serves as a reminder that Americans are having their privacy violated every day on their way through the nation’s airports.

You probably won’t hear about Sen. Paul’s detention by the TSA in President Obama’s address tonight. You’re not likely to hear anything about it in the GOP response delivered by Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), nor even in the Tea Party response offered by businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain (R-Ga.). You probably won’t hear about the National Defense Authorization Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act, or any of the other manifold ways that Washington has undermined the Bill of Rights. But whether our politicians want to raise these issues or not, these are the issues that define the state of our union in the 21st century. And the state of our union is dire.

Gingrich picks up steam in Florida

Coming off a big victory in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich is riding the momentum into Florida. A week ago, polls out of the Sunshine State indicated that Mitt Romney was the runaway favorite, leading by as much as 26 points in mid-month. That has dramatically changed as the “inevitability” of Romney winning the nomination has come into doubt.

The latest two polls out of Florida show Gingrich up, but to give you an idea of the swings in this race, below are the numbers out of the state from Rasmussen, including the poll released yesterday. See if you can follow along as we view the fickle nature of the conservative movement.

Poll Romney Gingrich Santorum Paul Perry
1/22 32% 41% 11% 8%
1/11 41% 19% 15% 9% 2%
11/8 24% 19% 1% 3% 4%

Rasmussen didn’t poll during the big jump in Gingrich’s number in December, but CNN, SurveyUSA, and NBC News polls all showed him eclipsing 40%. But you can see it in the Rasmussen numbers, Gingrich has seen a 22 point swing in 11 days. And Romney has seen his 22 point advantage turn into a 9 point deficit.


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