“Government should stay the hell out of people’s business.” — Barry Goldwater
— The rant that started it all: It was five years ago today that Rick Santelli went into an epic rant against President Obama’s mortgage bailout proposal. “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July,” Santelli said in his rant. “All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I’m gonna start organizing.” That rant served as a catalyst for the Tea Party movement, not in July, but a few days later, on February 27, 2009. We’ll have more on this later today.
— Afghanistan problems linger: With a new Gallup poll showing that the number Americans who believe the nearly 13-year war in Afghanistan was a mistake at an all-time high, Washington is now staring down a “no-win legacy” in the country that once gave safe-harbor to al-Qaeda. “At the moment, they’re losing and losing badly, as Washington is plumbing new depths of pessimism about the outlook for the nation that President George W. Bush and his team once vowed to transform,” Politico notes this morning. “There’s no talk of ‘victory,’ or how the U.S. should spend its share of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, or how to use the peace dividend from a world made safe from Al Qaeda. Instead, the discussion has boiled down to a debate over whether the future will bring a quick implosion or a slow-motion collapse — and whose fault it would be.”
— CBO’s minimum wage report directly contradicts Obama: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) damaged the White House and congressional Democrats’ case for a higher minimum wage yesterday with a report showing that the effect of the policy would be 500,000 fewer workers. Philip Klein has taken some of President Obama’s public comments on the issue and compared them to the economic realities presented by the CBO. Promises of fairy dust and unicorns may work in a speech, but it’s not going to make businesses’ payrolls, folks.
— Rand Paul at BlogBash: If you’re going to CPAC, you may want to try to catch Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) at BlogBash, a project of the National Bloggers Club. The event will be held in the evening on Thursday, March 6, which just so happens to be the one-year anniversary of his epic filibuster. More BlogBash details are available here. The Kentucky senator is slated to speak to CPAC attendees on Friday.
— Tea Party Express endorses Amash: Citing his strong support for civil liberties and his opposition to Obamacare, the Tea Party Express endorsed Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) in his reelection bid. “When it comes to fighting for liberty and the Constitutional principles that make this country great, there is no stronger warrior than Justin Amash. He has worked to find common ground with Democrats when possible and bucked the establishment of both parties when necessary,” said Amy Kremer, chair of Tea Party Express, in a statement yesterday. “There is no one else in D.C. that is more transparent and honest about his or her votes than Congressman Amash. His thoughtful, fresh approach to legislating is exactly what America needs if we are going to tackle the unsustainable size, cost, and intrusiveness of the federal government. I am proud to stand with Congressman Justin Amash as he seeks a 3rd term in the United States House of Representatives.”
— Libertarian case for Mitch McConnell: Though he isn’t exactly the most popular politician in the country — or in Kentucky, for that matter — Jim Antle presents the “libertarian Republican” case to reelect Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “The Senate Republican leader has also moved in Paul’s direction on substantive issues. He supported Rand Paul’s filibuster on drone use, appearing on the floor to say, ‘I think it’s entirely appropriate that the senator from Kentucky engage in an extended debate with the support of his colleagues,’” wrote Antle. “McConnell broke with House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in opposing a resolution that would have allowed President Obama to use military force against Syria.”
— NSA to reveal spying reforms: Don’t count on much really changing when it’s all said and done, but the National Security Agency will deliver spying “reform” recommendations to President Obama this week. Oh, and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander wants you to know that he’s not happy about the amount of data the agency is collecting. “I can’t tell you that that number is true, but I can tell you that its not where we want it to be,” Alexander said in a speech on Friday. “But it has been sufficient to go after the key targets that we’re going after.” So…why does the NSA want more data?
— Speaking of NSA spying, Hillary Clinton has said nary a word about it: Politico noticed that on Monday afternoon. “As the national debate over the National Security Agency’s broad array of data collection programs has rolled on, courts, lawmakers, blue-ribbon panels and even Obama himself have weighed on the legality, effectiveness and wisdom of the snooping,” wrote Josh Gerstein. “Clinton has not.” That’s rather odd for someone who is kicking around the idea of a presidential campaign.
— Number of Americans renouncing citizenship jumped in 2013: The United States’ complicated, overbearing tax system caused 3,000 Americans to renounce their citizenship in 2013. “The numbers for 2013 represent a dramatic spike — triple the average for the previous five years,” CNN Money noted. “Some of the rush is coming from expats who are tired of dealing with complicated tax filings — which are only getting worse as new regulations come into effect.”
— State support of right-to-carry has grown substantially: Via Dave Kopel comes this chart showing the growth of “shall issue” states, meaning those that will issue gun permits to those who meet statutory criteria, compared to states that will only issue permits based on some demonstrated need. As you can see, more and more states have drifted away from “may issue” laws over the last 28 years.
— House of Cards a Tea Party show: If you haven’t finished the second season of the political drama/thriller, don’t bother clicking the link. There be spoilers ahead. Will Rahn of The Daily Caller notes that some of the topics and legislative issues tackled in the new season of House of Cards make it the “most tea party show ever.” One of the political issues tackled in the show is entitlement reform. After all, it’s fiction, right? “‘Why keep fighting it?’ says Frank Underwood, the House Whip-turned-Vice President antihero, as he persuades his fellow Democrats to raise the retirement age to 68,” writes Rahn. “Indeed, everyone on the show sees boosting the retirement age as essential to keeping Social Security solvent, with the exception of limp-wristed liberal Rep. Donald Blythe, who eventually caves anyway.” Rahn also notes that Democrats are portrayed as generally terrible people and political enemies of the fictional Walker administration are harrassed and imprisoned, not to mention killed.
— Federalist Society to host panels on NSA surveillance: The Federalist Society, a group of conservative and libertarian legal scholars and lawyers, will host a symposium on Monday, February 24 on the NSA surveillance controversy and President Obama’s proposed reforms. The event will feature panels on the FISA Court and the NSA bulk metadata collection program. Details about the event are available here.
If you work for a liberty-minded organization, think tank, or candidate, please send tips, news, or event information to jason-at-unitedliberty(dot)org.