Today in Liberty: 288,000 jobs added in June, Obama’s new monarchy, federal “privacy” board not interested in privacy

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” — Declaration of Independence.

— June jobs report: The economy added 288,000 jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent. Economists had projected 215,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate would hold steady. The labor participation rate — the percentage of Americans working or looking for work — was unchanged at 62.8 percent, maintaining a 35-year low.

— Pretty sure the founding generation rejected monarchy: But you wouldn’t know that if you read the news today. We now have a president who has not only claimed the power to create laws and ignore those passed by Congress, but also kill American citizens merely accused of terrorism, denying them their rights to due process and trial by jury. “This week marks the anniversary of America’s birth as a free nation, when we fought a war against a tyrant and seceded from his kingdom. We thought we had banished tyranny from our shores. We thought we had ratified a Constitution that would compel the government to respect our natural rights. We thought we had established a society based upon the rule of law,” Judge Andrew Napolitano explains in his latest column, which focuses on the recently released drones memo. “We were wrong. We have gone from an inherited tyrant to an elected one. I have never heard President Obama say this, but it seems logical that if he thinks he can lawfully kill Americans abroad, he also thinks he can kill us here.”

— Federal “privacy board” not that interested in online privacy: The federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Board released a report yesterday in which the five members said that backdoor searches of Internet metadata collection are “legal,” or something. “The Privacy and Civil Liberties Board concluded, in its long-awaited report released Tuesday night, that the collection program—which involves obtaining data from service providers like Google and Yahoo using an order from the FISA Court—is clearly legal and authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Wired reports. “While the board found that certain aspects of the program are questionable and ‘push the program close to the line of constitutional reasonableness,” essentially its five members concluded unanimously that the core of the so-called Section 702 program is “clearly authorized by Congress, reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, and an extremely valuable and effective intelligence tool.’” The full report is available here (PDF). The board had previously said that the federal government’s bulk collection of phone metadata is illegal and should be brought to an end. The report is unacceptable, given how revealing Internet metadata can be, and has brought out a strong rebuke from privacy organizations. “This is a weak report that fails to fully grasp the civil liberties and human rights implications of permitting the government sweeping access to the communications of innocent people,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a press release. “It is jarring to read this report just weeks after the House voted to limit the NSA’s ‘backdoor’ searches, and just days after the Supreme Court’s cell-phone-search decision defending privacy rights in the digital age. The Supreme Court, Congress, and the American people have recognized the need for fundamental reform. It is disappointing that the board’s report does not.”

— Must crush CRAPitalism: All too often, capitalism is blamed for economic problems in the United States. But John Stossel, in his latest column, says crony capitalism — or “crapitalism,” as he calls it — is really the problem. “Capitalism is great because it lets entrepreneurs raise money so they can scale up and get their products and services to more people. If there is free competition, innovators with the best ideas raise the most money, and the best and cheapest products spread far and wide,” Stossel explains. “But it’s crapitalism when politicians give your tax money and other special privileges to businesses that are ‘most deserving of help.’ Often those businesses turn out to be run by politicians’ cronies.” He cites several examples of cronyism in action, including Solyndra, the failed, politically-connected alternative energy company. But he spends much of the column talking about the Export-Import Bank, which he calls the “biggest funder of this crony capitalism,” noting that the Bank picks winners and losers in the marketplace and feeds off taxpayers.

— Target folds to pressure from anti-gun group: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense has been able to create enough pressure to force another major chain to ask customers not to bring firearms into its stores. “Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law,” Target CEO John Mulligan said in a statement, via The Hill. “This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.” The request is, of course, entirely unenforceable if the gun owner conceals the firearm, though they should respect the request. This is, after all, private property. Just the same, gun owners would be well within their rights to find another store at which to do business.

— SCOTUSblog deserves to be credentialed to cover the Supreme Court: A Senate committee recently declined not to renew SCOTUSblog’s press credentials to cover the Supreme Court. The blog dedicated to coverage of the nation’s High Court, which boasted some 800,000 hits by 2 pm  on Monday, was denied access because it fails the “fundamental test of editorial independence” due to the fact that its founder and publisher, Tom Goldstein, often argues before the Court. The New York Times editorial board, however, says that Senate committee should reverse its decision. “”These arguments are tenuous at best. Litigating is not lobbying, but, even so, the committee has credentialed, among others, foreign journalists from state-run publications whose countries routinely lobby. And Mr. Goldstein has erected firewalls to assure that the firm’s work does not editorially influence the blog,” The Times notes. “The committee should reconsider its edict. Professional standards are necessary, but, by any measure, Scotusblog meets them. Its importance is demonstrated by its audience, which is not just top journalists and members of the public. According to the site’s internal data, Scotusblog’s single biggest user is the Supreme Court itself.” SCOTUSblog provides a useful service to the public, breaking down opinions to make them more understandable and presenting opinions from all sides of cases that go before the Court. It should be credentialed.

— Congressman prohibited from seeing immigrant children in his district: This is pretty unbelievable. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) that he has to come back later this month if he wants to see the facility at a military base in his district where some 1,200 undocumented children are being held. “There is no excuse for denying a Federal Representative from Oklahoma access to a federal facility in Oklahoma where unaccompanied children are being held. Any Member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks,” Bridenstine said in a press release. “What are they trying to hide? Do they not want the children to speak with Members of Congress? As a Navy pilot, I have been involved in operations countering illicit human trafficking. I would like to know to whom these children are being released.” Yeah, HHS may not be trying to hide anything, but denying a member of Congress access to  facility in his district during a time over a heated debate between the White House and House Republicans over immigration just makes the politics surrounding the issue that much worse.

— Job Biden would like remind you that he doesn’t have a shot in hell of becoming the next president: Assuming that Hillary Clinton runs, of course. Nevertheless, the Vice President still thinks he’s a thing. “[P]olitical observers also couldn’t help and view things through a 2016 lens when Biden posed for a selfie with teen sensation Katy Perry last week. The photo, after all came a couple of days after the singer had posed for a picture with Clinton and also offered to write a 2016 campaign theme song. Clinton publicly tweeted at Perry to suggest that she had already written her one—her hit song ‘Roar,’” The Hill explains. “As 2016 inches closer, observers say it’ll be interesting to see how Biden ratchets up the rhetoric to keep his name in the mix.  The vice president, who has made it known he’d like to run for president again, has keep a high profile in recent days. This week, for instance, he was at Obama’s side as the president spoke about how he would use executive action on immigration. And he also attended Obama’s announcement to tap Robert McDonald, as secretary of Veterans Affairs.” Prediction: Biden, who turns 72 this year, will not be the Democratic Party nominee on the off-chance Clinton doesn’t run. He’s too old and he’s too gaffe-prone. Just sayin’.

— Issa invites IRS commissioner to amend his testimony: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has offered IRS Commissioner John Koskinen the opportunity to revise his June 23 testimony. “Recent public statements from William W. Taylor III, the attorney representing former IRS official Lois Lerner, have raised new questions about Ms. Lerner’s Federal Records Act compliance practices and the circumstances surrounding the loss of e-mails and destruction of her hard drive,” Issa told Koskinen in a letter. “Accordingly, I ask that you assist the Committee in reconciling apparent discrepancies between your claims that Ms. Lerner fully maintained records and statements by her attorney that she did not and that it was not her responsibility.” Koskinen told the committee that IRS employees are supposed to print records and maintain them and that Lerner “had hard copy records.” In other words, somebody isn’t being honest. Shocker.

— Speaking of the IRS: A money-hungry Congress is looking at giving the IRS more power to go after people who owe back taxes. “They want to give the IRS more power to investigate you. And enlist private debt collectors to help track down your old debts. If you’re a doctor, they want to seize your Medicare payments. They’d also like a bit more information about the mortgage interest tax deduction you’re claiming,” Politico notes. “Congress may be deadlocked over tax increases, but lawmakers are finding lots of agreement on another way to raise revenue: throwing the book at tax dodgers.” Your passport could even be canceled if you owe Uncle Sam. The reason for the push to give the IRS more tools to go after taxpayers is that Congress wants more money to spend. “Lawmakers are scrambling to find almost $10 billion just to keep a roads maintenance program running through the end of this year, and another $3 billion for new tax cuts promised to start-up companies and other small businesses, bike-sharing programs and theatrical productions, among others,” Politico adds. “Going after tax scofflaws also allows both parties to claim victory. Democrats can say they’re raising revenue, heading off more cuts in funding for government programs, while Republicans can say they held the line on tax increases.” Yeah, but by giving the IRS more power? That’s a terrible idea.

— Clintons have received more than $1 billion from Big Business: While Hillary Clinton has cast herself as a voice of the middle class, the Wall Street Journal points out that she and her husband have been very close with Big Business over the years. “In total, the Clintons raised between $2 billion and $3 billion from all sources, including individual donors, corporate contributors and foreign governments, the Journal found. Between $1.3 billion and $2 billion came from industry sources,” the Journal notes. “The donated funds were split among the Clintons’ political operations, which raised $1.2 billion; their nonprofit foundation, which collected between $750 million and $1.7 billion; and speaking fees, which totaled about $100 million.” Not every potential Republican presidential candidate will be able to hit Clinton on this, given that most of them are tools of the establishment and are also connected to Big Business in some way. But this provides an opening for a populist Republican presidential candidate — someone like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for example — to make a clear distinction.

— VA spends 8.7 million hours on paperwork: The Left says that one of the reasons that the United States should drop health insurers is because it would reduce bureaucracy by cutting out the middleman. Yeah, about that. “[D]espite VA commitments to streamline the process, the agency’s paperwork burden continues to climb. Last year it was just above 7 million hours,” Sam Batkins of American Action Forum notes. “Today, it stands at approximately 8.7 million hours, the highest in recent history.” Batkins offers some solutions to effectively streamline the process and cut down the number of hours spent on paperwork, which, in turn, could allow the VA to put precious dollars to better use, like caring for our nation’s brave veterans.

— Happy Independence Day!: We hope you enjoy the weekend. We’ll be popping open a few bottles of Sam Adams, grilling out with friends, and celebrating ‘Merica as hard as this guy does.

Other items we’re reading this morning:

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