Jason Pye

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Republicans must abandon corporate welfare and learn to leave Americans alone if they want to win elections

The Republican Party has a fever, and Sen. Rand Paul has the cure. In an interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at last week’s Lincoln Labs’ Reboot Conference, the Kentucky Republican explained that the GOP can find electoral success if they learn how to stay out of Americans’ personal lives and abandon corporate welfare.

Paul and Gillespie chatted about several topics — including the seemingly shifting political dynamics in Silicon Valley, innovation and regulations, and foreign policy — before moving onto

“I think Republicans could only win in general if they become more live and let live — ‘leave me alone,’” said Paul. “Grover Norquist will talk about this sometimes, this ‘Leave Me Alone’ Coalition.” He explained that the GOP may not be a “pro-choice, pro-gay marriage party,” but he envisions one in which people with differing views on social issues work together to limit the federal government.

“And I think that live and live, agree to disagree kind of amalgamation in the party will allow us to be big enough to win,” he said, adding that Republicans can reach out to reach out to Millennials with a pro-privacy, anti-NSA message. 

Clown show at the IRS: Tax agency chief now says they’ve found the backup tapes he previously claimed they didn’t have

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was just kidding, guys. The federal agency he oversees totally has those backup tapes that he previously told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had been recycled. But whether or not Lois Lerner’s emails are on them remains to be seen:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.

The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”

It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking.

The latest revelation in the IRS comes just days after the House Oversight and Government Reform released testimony from Thomas Kane, the IRS official in charge document compliance, who suggested that the backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails may not have been recycled after all.

Today in Liberty: Get ready for a post-election regulatory onslaught, Audit the Fed may be moving closer to a vote in the House

“America started with a concept of limited government, designed to protect and improve the life, liberty and property of citizens, and has ended with a concept of unlimited government, capable of restricting our life, liberty and property in the name of protecting us from ourselves. America started with a concept of residual individual sovereignty, designed to respect the autonomy and equality of citizens, and has ended with a concept of limited liberty, presumptively unavailable and parsed out reluctantly by an all-powerful sovereign. America started with a concept of federalism, designed to better protect individual liberty, and has ended with a concept of nationalism, exercised vigorously to stifle controversial liberties recognized by the state. We have done all of this, experienced these foundational changes, without the benefit of a constitutional amendment. We have allowed mere legislative majorities, often motivated by morality, passion, and prejudice, to take away our most precious liberties. We should be ashamed.” Elizabeth Price Foley

Socialist weasel Michael Moore hates capitalism so much that he owns 9 homes

Turns out that constantly bitching about capitalism can make a personal really, really ridiculously wealthy. Michael Moore, the documentarian shady filmmaker behind Capitalism: A Love Story and Sicko, owns a lot a property for someone who supposedly doesn’t like rich people, according to divorce records obtained by The Detroit News:

The filmmaker, 60, who split his time between a home here and one in New York, is leaving his wife of 22 years, Kathy Glynn.
[…]
By reaching a settlement, Moore avoids a trial that could have aired dirty laundry common in high-proile breakups and impugned his long-hewn image as a common man by disclosing details of his comfortable life.

His hit movies and best-selling books have begat a lifestyle far from most ballcap-wearing, duck-waddling denizens of Flint.

Moore and Glynn own nine properties in Michigan and New York, including a Manhattan condo that once was three apartments. CelebrityNetWorth.com pegs their wealth at $50 million.

In legal pleadings, Moore blames his wife for the expansion of the 10,000-square-foot home on Torch Lake, which has a value of $2 million.

These people are begging Leftist heroine Elizabeth Warren to run for President, and they’re terrible

The same sort of creepy cult of personality that Barack Obama was able to build among his core supporters is beginning to take shape around Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Because crazy. Or something.

Basically, the Left views Warren as some sort of heroine and they want her to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, even if that means taking challenging Hillary Clinton. And drafting Warren apparently her involves a horrible song and footage of her cult from last weekend’s Netroots Nation conference:

Everything is terrible. This so freakin’ awful that the immediate reaction is: “Wait, this has to be a parody of how creepy and weird the Left’s personality cults can be.” Nope. It’s a thing, and it’s the worst.

Bruce Braley was so busy running for reelection that he didn’t bother to show up for VA oversight meetings

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) has apparently forgotten that his constituents elected to him to, you know, actually show up and do his job. The Iowa Democrat, who’s running for U.S. Senate, has been missing-in-action from his committee duties, according to a report from The DesMoines Register:

Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.

A few months later, news reports exposed systemic problems in patient care that have since resulted in the resignation head of the federal department of veterans affairs.

Republicans argue that Braley, who missed 15 of the 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee meetings in 2011 and 2012, has shown a lack of commitment to conditions within the health care system for veterans.
[…]
Veterans affairs have been in public floodlight because of news reports about sometimes-fatal delays for veterans waiting for care at VA hospitals, and fraudulent record-keeping meant to cover up the delays. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs, of which Braley was a member for two years, is responsible for oversight over the operations at the VA.

Another reason to fire Harry Reid: His “nuclear option” allowed Obama to pack the D.C. Circuit Court with Leftist judges

In November, amid the Obamacare rollout disaster, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed that Republicans’ “unprecedented obstruction” had forced his hand, he had no choice but to invoke the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for most judicial and executive-level nominees.

Really, though, the true motive was to pack D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second-most powerful court in the country, with Leftist judges appointed by President Barack Obama. The court regularly hears legal cases dealing with regulations and rules written by federal agencies. It has also been a thorn in the side of the Obama administration.

Although he’s denied in speeches on the Senate floor, Reid admitted that he was trying to tilt the court during an August 2013 interview with a Nevada radio station. “We’re focusing very intently on the D.C. Circuit,” said Reid, according to Talking Points Memo. “We need at least one more [seat filled]. There’s three vacancies. And that will switch the majority. So we’re working on it.”

That brings us to the yesterday’s decision in Halbig v. Burwell, in which a three-judge panel court ruled that the IRS acted outside of its statutory authority by extending subsidies to consumers who enrolled through the federal Obamacare Exchange.

The Obama White House’s whining doesn’t change the fact that the IRS illegally tried to rewrite Obamacare

The White House may not like the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ panel decision in Halbig v. Burwell, but President Barack Obama need only look to his own administration for what is yet another smackdown by the judicial branch.

Judge Thomas B. Griffith realized the impact the decision could have on the availability of Obamacare subsidies for consumers who purchased plans on the federal Exchange. He was mindful, however, of the role the judicial branch plays in interpreting statues. And, in this instance, the Internal Revenue Service acted without authority by authorizing subsidies to consumers in states that refused to participate in Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act, in §1311, makes it very clear that subsidies were limited to states with established Exchanges. Claims that Congress intended to apply the subsidies broadly, including to the federal Exchange, rang hollow. “The fact is that the legislative record provides little indication one way or the other of congressional intent,” Griffith wrote, “but the statutory text does.”

Rather than illegally promulgating guidance to dole out subsidies, the Obama administration should have gone to Congress to seek a legislative remedy to fix the problem. That’s something President Obama just wasn’t willing to do, whether it was pride holding him back or the prospect of having to try to forge a compromise with House Republicans on the law.

Today in Liberty: There are some new details about Lerner’s hard drive, oral arguments scheduled for another big Obamacare case

“Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation from government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.” — Ronald Reagan

So, there’s no evidence that Lerner’s hard drive was destroyed: This sordid mess just keeps getting crazier. Tech experts are asking questions about Lois Lerner’s hard drive, but the powerful tax agency isn’t answering them. “There is a certification of destruction any time a piece of equipment is sent to a disposal company,” the head of an IT trade group said, according to Politico. “Where is that?” Questions like this are coming on the heels of the testimony of an IRS official who said that he wasn’t sure that the backup tapes on which Lois Lerner’s emails were destroyed. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this morning at 10am. We’re expecting fireworks. So, yeah, popcorn.

WaPo columnist says that Millennials should move back home to help cut costs so they can pay for those expensive student loans

Hey, Millennials, you worked hard for four years in college, and now you’re ready to find a job making a lot of money in the field in which you studied as well as find a place of your own to settle down.

And, then, comes  reality. You’re left with thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt that’s going to take you several years to pay off and that degree you worked hard to receive isn’t helping you find a job related to your major. Now, you’re stuck trying to figure out how you’re going to achieve your own individual version of the American Dream.

Well, Michelle Singletary, a business columnist at the Washington Post, has a brilliant idea (not really) to help you cut back your expenses so you can work on paying down student loan debt until your finances have improved: move back home and live with your parents.

“When people ask me about what they should do about their student loans, I ask: What are you willing to do to get rid of them as fast as you can?” Singletary writes. “And here’s my suggestion: Live for as long as you can with your parents, relatives or anyone who will allow you to stay rent-free or charge you a super-low rent.”

It has come to this.

In many instances, students have lived away from home in college dorms or their own housing to get the full experience of a four-year education. Young people, who have a particular fondness of their independence, may not want to go back home after they’ve left school.

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