Jason Pye

Recent Posts From Jason Pye

How tech entrepreneurs Scott Banister and Peter Thiel are making Silicon Valley more friendly to Republicans like Rand Paul

Silicon Valley

Don’t look now, but Silicon Valley is being driven in a more libertarian direction. No, it may not happen overnight, but the efforts of a couple of well-respected entrepreneurs are sowing the seeds of liberty in the tech industry, which has generally had a leftist tilt.

Politico took note of the efforts of Scott Banister, a PayPal board member and tech investor, who spent much of the latter part of last week with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Silicon Valley as he courted tech donors and spoke at Lincon Labs’ Reboot conference in San Francisco.

“I think politicians usually have so little understanding of this space or they’re so not aligned with our interests,” Banister told Politico. “I think Rand both gets it and he’s very aligned.” Banister also indicated that he’ll some involved in helping Paul raise money for a presidential bid. “I think the good news is that I think Rand will have a very broad base of financial support,” he said.

Paul does indeed views that appeal to the Silicon Valley crowd. He has been among the most vocal opponents to the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs and he’s talked up Internet freedom. That’s red meat for the tech industry, which has been hit financially by the spying controversies that have boiled over under President Barack Obama.

Tolerance: FreedomWorks’ Deneen Borelli and C.L. Bryant verbally attacked for showing up at the NAACP convention

FreedomWorks' Deneen Borelli and C.L. Bryant verbally attack for showing up at the NAACP convention

FreedomWorks was able to land a booth this year at the NAACP’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada where they hoped to share free market ideas. But Deneen Borelli and Rev. C.L. Bryant received some blowback for — gasp! — daring to show up.

A women who identified herself as “Adrian Jones” approached the booth and began berating Borelli and Bryant for their association with FreedomWorks and the Tea Party movement. While the two black conservatives tried to explain what they believed, Ms. Jones barely let them get a word in edgewise.

“They don’t stand for any of the values of what the NAACP stands for. They don’t need to be in here,” Jones said after she went off on Bryant and Borelli. When asked why she was bothered by their presence at the NAACP convention, Jones replied, “The billionaire Koch brothers is funding the FreedomWorks. That’s what has me upset.”

Watch the video below via Progressive Today:

Obama’s drones program needs some real congressional oversight, and Ted Yoho’s Drone Reform Act would make that happen

The Central Intelligence Agency has, for years, been engaged in a secret drone war, carrying out operations in the Middle East to hunt down terrorist leaders. While it’s understandable that some measure of secrecy is needed to carry out its duties, for far too long Congress has been unable to perform any meaningful oversight of the Agency’s activities.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) is trying to change that.

Yoho introduced the Drone Reform Act (H.R. 5091) earlier this month. This legislation would consolidate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, or “drones,” as they’re known to most Americans) into the Department of Defense.

“The CIA’s main mission is intelligence collection and analysis. It should not be in the business of military strikes. This legislation will bring our armed drone fleet under the jurisdiction of the DOD, where it should be,” Yoho said in a press release announcing the legislation. “If our national security requires drone strikes abroad, then one agency should be held accountable to the American people.”

Original cosponsors of the Drone Reform Act include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), John Conyers (D-MI), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The Drone Reform Act, Yoho’s office explains, would mean more accountability in the budgetary and appropriations process. The CIA’s budget is heavily redacted, even to members of Congress, meaning that lawmakers cannot properly account for funding and resources.

Today in Liberty: House GOP slams Harry Reid’s dictatorial Senate rule, voters remain skeptical of military intervention

“Conservatives who want to seal the border because liberal elites have taken over are directing their wrath at the wrong people. The problem isn’t the immigrants, it’s the elites and their multiculturalist predilections who want to turn America into a loose federation of ethnic groups. Conservatives are right to complain about bilingual education advocacy, anti-American Chicano studies professors, Spanish-language ballots, ethnically gerrymandered voting districts, La Raza’s big government agenda, and so forth. But these problems weren’t created by the women changing the linen at your hotel, or the men building homes in your neighborhood.”Jason Riley

Oh, look, phony populist Elizabeth Warren backs the Export-Import Bank’s brand of corporate welfare

So, something hilarious happened. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who staked her claim in politics as anti-big business, anti-bank populist, was invited to join Heritage Action to take down the crony Export-Import Bank.

Well, Warren turned down the offer. Why? Because, despite her populist rhetoric, the Massachusetts Democrats is, apparently, totally down with the Export-Import Bank’s corporate welfare ways (emphasis added):

The Tea Party-aligned group sent a letter today to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat known for taking populist stands against corporate America, inviting her to speak about  ending the lender “and the political favoritism it engenders.”

“We, like you, are frustrated with a political economy that benefits well-connected elites at the expense of all Americans,” Heritage Action Chief Executive Officer Michael Needham wrote. “Your presence will send a clear signal that you are going to fight the most pressing example of corporate welfare and cronyism pending before Congress right now.”

Alas, it doesn’t sound like the former Harvard law professor will be lecturing to Heritage audiences any time soon.

“Senator Warren believes that the Export-Import Bank helps create American jobs and spur economic growth, but recognizes that there is room for improvement in the bank’s operations,” Warren spokesman Lacey Rose tells us in an e-mail. “She looks forward to reviewing re-authorization legislation if and when it is introduced.”

Detroit police chief credits armed citizens — the first line of defense — for falling crime in the Motor City

Detroit Police Chief James Craig

As noted earlier this week, armed, law-abiding citizens are the first line of defense against criminals. Though police serve an incredibly important role in public safety, they simply can’t be everywhere at once, which why it’s so important that people take steps to protect themselves, especially in cities that are notorious for crime.

There’s no better example of that than Detroit, a city whose economic problems are well-known. Motor City police chief James Craig says crime is falling, as the city tries to get out end its woes, which includes a crime epidemic, and he gives partial credit to armed citizens who have sent a clear message to those who would do them harm:

Fed up with crime, some armed Detroiters have developed itchy trigger-fingers — and Police Chief James Craig said lawbreakers are getting the message.
[…]
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

Ex-Im’s crony friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are targeting Justin Amash, West Michigan’s principled conservative

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coming after Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). With a little more than two weeks to go in the Republican primary in Michigan’s Third Congressional District, the Chamber has thrown its weight behind Brian Ellis, Amash’s establishment-backed challenger:

“The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Brian Ellis’ congressional campaign to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. Both candidates in the primary sought our endorsement, and the choice in support of Ellis on pro-growth issues was clear,” Chamber national political director Rob Engstrom said in a statement.

The move comes as no surprise. Amash has long been a thorn in the side of House Republican leadership and pro-business groups, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce had already endorsed Ellis. The national Chamber met with him back in January.

The Amash campaign responded to the endorsement by suggesting that Ellis and his crony friends are trying to buy the race for the status quo establishment, which supports reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and announced a 24-hour money bomb beginning today:

[On Wednesday], we found out that Brian Ellis has dumped more than $800,000 of his own money into the race — and his fundraising numbers were buoyed by an additional $60,000 of lobbyist and D.C. special-interest money.

Seriously?:Justice Department investigators didn’t know about missing IRS emails until they heard about it on the news

That’s right, folks. Deputy Attorney General James Cole told a House subcommittee that the Internal Revenue Service never told Justice Department investigators about the two years of missing emails from the time period in which the powerful tax agency targeted conservative organizations applying for nonprofit status.

Cole made the revelation during a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs hearing on Thursday. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) asked when the Justice Department learned of the missing emails.

“I think we learned about it after that from the press accounts that were in the paper following the IRS’ notification to the Congress,” Cole replied, adding that investigators were looking at “many different forms and sources of those emails.”

Today in Liberty: House Republicans ramp up scrutiny of crony Ex-Im, NSA probably has your “compromising” selfies

“It constantly amazes me that defenders of the free market are expected to offer certainty and perfection while government has only to make promises and express good intentions. Many times, for instance, I’ve heard people say, ‘A free market in education is a bad idea because some child somewhere might fall through the cracks,’ even though in today’s government school, millions of children are falling through the cracks every day.” — Lawrence W. Reed

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Carl Oberg saw first-hand how the sausage is made by bureaucrats and that turned him into a libertarian

Carl Oberg

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and friends and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

Carl Oberg has a great story about how he became involved in the liberty movement and, eventually, signed onto work as the executive director of the Foundation for Economic Education. Simply put, he saw first-hand how federal bureaucrats are influenced by special interests to make policy.

“I worked for seven years for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. So, I was a federal bureaucrat,” Oberg told United Liberty over the weekend at FreedomFest. “And seven years of federal bureaucrat work taught me that I needed to be more of a libertarian, basically.”

Oberg says that his work was in trade policy and he traveled around the world to learn how trade policy is put together, or, as he put it, how the sausage is made. “I learned that it’s a messed up process. It’s a process that’s captured by special interests. And it’s a process that really doesn’t make any logical sense,” he explained. “It’s there to serve corporate interests in America.”

In his down time, Oberg said that he began reading the websites of various libertarian-leaning organizations, including the Foundation for Economic Education, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the Cato Institute.

“I started going to Cato events on my lunch hour in D.C., and started to educate myself. Finally, in December of 2007, I quit my job and I went back to grad school at George Mason University, and got a master’s in economics,” said Oberg. “While I was there, I interned at Cato and interned at a couple other places in D.C.”

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