“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” — Milton Friedman
Today in Liberty: Obama may take more unilateral action on immigration, Medicare and Social Security are still very, very broken
Audit the Pentagon: The Defense Department is wasting your money, and it’s time for Congress to put a stop to it
In the film Independence Day, President Thomas Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman, is absolutely stunned to learn that the Defense Department had constructed a massive complex, known as Area 51, to hide the existence of aliens.
“I don’t understand, where does all this come from?” he asks. “How do you get funding for something like this?” Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch) sarcastically replies, ”You don’t actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?”
While there isn’t an alien threat (or is there?), the Defense Department has become rife with waste. Businessweek takes note of a recent Government Accountability Office that documents the spending problems at the Pentagon:
Across the military, the average major Pentagon acquisition comes in at 40 percent over budget, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. In spite of the Pentagon’s well-documented history of profligacy, the Congress continues to enlarge its responsibilities. The DOD’s mandate now includes wide-ranging scientific and medical research and international infrastructure projects, diffusing the focus on its core mission—like buying planes that don’t set themselves afire on the runway. That’s a disservice to America’s military and a burden to the country’s taxpayers.
Hypocrites: House Democrats only want transparency and government oversight when a Republican is in the White House
Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee aren’t even trying anymore to pretend like they care about the White House’s lack of transparency. They’ve long defended the Obama administration from scandals, often appearing like they don’t care that the White House tried sell a lie to Americans about Benghazi or that the IRS targeted organizations simply because of their political views.
But a lesser controversy brought out a revealing admission from a couple of Democrats on the House’s primary oversight committee.
During a Friday hearing on alleged violations of the Hatch Act by the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, Delegate Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC) blasted her Republican colleagues on the committee for trying to get to the bottom of this latest controversy.
Holmes is upset that Republicans have subpoenaed David Simas, director the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, to testify over the use of a taxpayer-funded government office for partisan political activity. The White House, however, has refused to comply, absurdly and arrogantly claiming executive privilege. Simas has missed the two recent Oversight hearings on the matter.
“I agree that there are circumstances where you don’t need wrongdoing, but you need a predicate for a subpoena. You need more than a fishing expedition,” Norton complained. “You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation of powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation of powers government.”
A round of new polling released on Sunday shows that Republican candidates have the edge in enough Senate races to take the majority in the upper chamber in the 2014 mid-term election and then some.
The poll was conducted by YouGov in coordination with CBS News and The New York Times finds that Republicans would win the eight Senate seats, handing them a 53-seat majority. The Upshot notes that, based on the new round of polling, Republicans have a 60 percent chance of taking control of the chamber.
Here’s a look at the most relevant races:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to back Democrat Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, claims she’s more “pro-business” than Ted Cruz
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce took a central role in the Republican civil war last year, pledging $50 million elect purportedly “pro-business” candidates in the 2014 election. The Chamber played a big part in the reelection of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) last month, pouring $1.2 million in the Magnolia State to help knock off his conservative primary challenger.
Establishment Republicans like to defend the Chamber. They say the Chamber is a crucial ally for the GOP, especially in the 2014 mid-term election. Well, good luck defending this one, guys. The Chamber is reportedly planning to endorse Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) over Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in the Louisiana Senate race:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly throwing support behind Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), according to the group’s national political director, Rob Engstrom.
Engstrom told the audience at a Committee of 100 meeting that the group would support Landrieu in her fight to win re-election, according to The New York Times’ Joe Nocera.
Keep in mind that this race is key to Republicans taking control of the Senate this fall. There’s still a path to a majority without Louisiana, at least on paper, but it’s hard to see it taking shape without a win there. Now, the Chamber claims that that “no decisions have been made” on this race. But it fits a pattern:
Intervention comes in all shapes and sizes: U.S. spent over $32 million in failed soy farms in Afghanistan
Interventionism is pretty bad. Disguising it as economical jumpstart measures with honorable goals is just as bad.
You might be used to referring to intervention solely as policies related to military involvement overseas, but often enough, the U.S. government involvement in the economical lives of other nations is linked to what the government officials, not entrepreneurs or seasonal investors, see as a viable project.
Because knowledge regarding prices and production is dispersed, meaning that not all agents are fully aware of all conditions signaling when it’s time to invest and produce, and when it’s time to lay low, government officials often miss the mark in a big way when attempting to determine what kind of interventionist policy they want to embrace next.
The United States government has ignored these lessons too many times in the past, but most recently, its brutally foolish assertiveness has cost taxpayers $34 million.
Over the past four years, the U.S. has been investing in a campaign to change how Afghans eat, and a major part of the project is associated with aiding the country by helping its farmers to grow soy.
Top taxpayer dollars were used to sustain an effort that involved getting the U.S. into growing soybeans in Afghanistan in the hopes that the crops were a viable commercial crop that would also help Afghans to fight some of its malnourishment issues. Soybeans, some U.S. officials thought, will raise the level of protein in their diets and lead to an agricultural jumpstart, helping the struggling country’s economy to flourish.
Unfortunately, the project was doomed from day one. The first 2011 crop failed. Any other harvest after that also failed to produce enough soybeans, making the project impossible to be carried out.
The collective Leftist freakout over the Halbig decision and unearthed comments of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber got a little worse on Friday and over the weekend as more evidenced surfaced that Congress wrote the law in a way that would pressure states to participate in the health insurance Exchanges or be denied subsidies.
Though he denies that Obamacare was written in a way to deny subsidies to states that opted not to participate in the system, calling his January 2012 comments a “speak-o,” a second instance of Gruber making the same argument has been uncovered by Reason’s Peter Suderman.
Here are the two comments, both of which were made in January 2012. First, here’s Gruber at an event hosted by Noblis, a Virginia-based research nonprofit, on January 18, 2012 via Suderman. You can listen for yourself here:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has been really busy over the last few days. As noted in a separate post, the White House and Democrats really want Americans to think that House Republicans are seriously considering impeaching President Barack Obama.
The DCCC did this in June, too. The House Democrats’ campaign arm sent out several emails after Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he planned to file a lawsuit on behalf of the lower chamber over President Obama’s extraordinary abuse of executive power. The fundraising push worked. The DCCC boasted a $10.9 million haul in June, while the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) raised $9.6 million.
House Republican leaders are, of course, not serious about impeachment. They know that it’s not a smart political strategy, especially in an election year. But you wouldn’t know that from the 11 fundraising emails the DCCC has sent out since Friday morning.
7/25 — BREAKING: IMPEACHMENT
Desperation: The White House and Democrats really want you to think House Republicans are going to impeach Barack Obama
Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way right now: House Republicans are not going to make a serious effort to impeach President Barack Obama. Sure, there are some prominent conservatives, including Sarah Palin, and a handful of House Republicans who’ve floated the idea. But it’s just not going to happen.
The White House and senior Democrats, however, are talking about impeachment like it’s a “thing.” White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer told reporters on Friday at House Republicans are opening the door to impeachment. “I think Speaker Boehner, by going down the path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment in the future,” said Pfeiffer. “I would not discount that possibility.”
The “I” word was used again later in the day by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told Fox News Sunday that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) “made it clear that impeachment is absolutely on the table for House Republicans.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) really wanted to talk about the House lawsuit and possibility of impeachment on CNN. After the end of an appearance on State of the Union on foreign policy crises around the globe, Pelosi had a sad because she didn’t get a chance to talk about the false narrative Democrats are trying to set.
EXCLUSIVE: TN Board of Judicial Conduct Moves Forward with Investigation into Chief Justice Gary Wade’s Campaign Billboard
The Disciplinary Counsel of the Tennessee board that oversees judges’ professional conduct is investigating the state Supreme Court Chief Justice for electioneering violations of the judiciary’s ethical canon.
Correspondence from Timothy Discenza, a former federal prosecutor who serves as the Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct, says that state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade has twenty days to respond to a complaint filed against him, dated July 8, 2014, that United Liberty publicized here nearly three weeks ago.