Obama Solving Voter Apathy by Antagonizing Voters

vote or die

If you’re looking for a solution to voter apathy, the last place you should look is anywhere that involves legislation. Barack Obama predictably suggested that it might not be a bad idea to make voting madatory in the U.S. Anyone that didn’t see this coming must have missed the new Oregon law that will automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they apply for or renew driver’s licenses and I.D.’s.

While it might be tempting to suggest that Obama simply wanted to outdo Oregon with his proposal, it probably has more to do with the fact that just making sure that more people are registered to vote won’t necessarily increase the number of people that actually cast ballots. The real issue is apathy, and the president’s solution is to simply force people to the polls. More cynical observers will also point out that the step after that would be to inform people who they must vote for in a given election.

Five Things That Are Right with the Congressional Budget Process

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog published a listicle by public affairs consultant John Feehery (once a spokesman for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the moderate, more timid successor to revolutionary Newt Gingrich), opining on the messy federal budget process. My attempts to reach Reid Epstein, the blog’s editor, to offer a counterpoint were fruitless, so here are five reasons we should be thankful for the current federal budgeting process.

Chairmen of House and Senate Budget Committees Propose Good Budgets, Particularly Compared to Obama’s Spendthrift Plan

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a budget that would impose new taxes and add a couple of trillion dollars to the burden of government spending over the next 10 years.

The Republican Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees have now weighed in. You can read the details of the House proposal by clicking here and the Senate proposal by clicking here, but the two plans are broadly similar (though the Senate is a bit vaguer on how to implement spending restraint, as I wrote a couple of days ago).

So are any of these plans good, or at least acceptable? Do any of them satisfy my Golden Rule?

Here’s a chart showing what will happen to spending over the next 10 years, based on the House and Senate GOP plans, as well as the budget proposed by President Obama.

Ayn Rand and the Nature of Net Neutrality (Among Other Things)

markcuban

Most politically-minded people, from all corners of the spectrum, are familiar with Ayn Rand, particularly her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, where society’s “producers” drop out and create a new society distinct from the machinations and manipulations of the “looters”. In fact, the Occupy Wall Street group, in some weird parody of Rand’s ideas, tried to do something similar, if almost exactly inverse, to what Rand’s Galt’s Gulch group managed to achieve. They failed in New York, however, because they forgot the most basic rule: you can’t be a looter and achieve success on your own. Looters and moochers must, by definition, take from others. Hence, Occupy Wall Street, a dirty collection of the most useless layabouts seeking an easy way to be subsidized in their effort, was an abject failure.

Mark Cuban, inarguably an entreprenurial producer of high caliber, surely knows this. And so it’s a little surprising he’s a little surprised that the effort to regulate the internet and socialize online interaction looks so remarkably like what he’s read in Rand’s novels. Because, as Robert Tracinski of The Federalist points out, Net Neutrality is just the latest in a long line of regulatory regimes that Rand predicted with almost scary accuracy lo these many years ago.

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:

letter

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.”

 


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