Jason Pye

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Today in Liberty: GOP Senator’s Obamacare lawsuit dismissed by a federal judge, Kevin McCarthy smears Rand Paul in Kentucky

“I used to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought being ‘patriotic’ and loving my country meant never questioning foreign wars. I was all rah rah America! show ‘em who is boss!…Boy…things change. I saw too many men in their early 20s who lost limbs in war. Their entire lives destroyed. Young 22 year olds dealing with post traumatic stress. Unable to live a normal life. Too many mothers crying over caskets. They will never be able to cope with losing their son or daughter at such a young age.”Julie Borowski

Vulnerable Democratic senator dismisses complaints of lost health insurance coverage under Obamacare as “anecdotal”

President Barack Obama made it pretty clear when he was trying to sell his healthcare reform proposal that Americans would be able to keep their coverage: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

But that has proved to be untrue for many Americans. PolitiFact handed President Obama the dishonor of “Lie of the Year” for 2013, noting that “the promise was impossible to keep” due to the narrowly written “grandfathered plan” regulations. And by the end of the year, nearly 5 million Americans received notices in the mail telling them that their health plans had been canceled because of Obamacare.

Caught in the crossfire were vulnerable Democratic senators who repeated President Obama’s misleading — to put it nicely — talking points. Among them was Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who promised on at least two occasions that Arkansans would be able to keep their coverage under Obamacare.

But when presented with the concerns of his constituents over the weekend during an appearance on local television, Pryor pushed back. “Let’s look at those stories and get inside of those stories,” he said. “A lot of this is anecdotal.”

Innovation is not a crime: Memphis has actually set up a task force to stop Uber, Lyft drivers from making a living

 Memphis has actually set up a task force to stop Uber, Lyft drivers from making a living

The war on Uber and Lyft has taken an unusual turn. It hasn’t been uncommon for regulators and politicians, usually at the behest of the antiquated taxicab industry, to take action against these and other app-based ridesharing companies.

The Virginia Department of Transportation, for example, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Uber and Lyft warning the two companies to stop operating or face fines. The agency, however, eventually backed off.

But Memphis, Tennessee, a town known for the Blues and great barbecue, has taken the crackdown against ridesharing to a strange new level. Regulators in the city have actually created a task force to target Uber and Lyft drivers:

Aubrey Howard is the head of the Memphis Permits department, “We are not attempting to curtail commerce. What we want is if they are going to do business here they have to follow the rules.”

Howard says if the companies are willing to pay the cost of permits and car inspections, they are welcome to stay.

Until that happens, he said the city is planning to send Memphis police officers after rideshare drivers, “We think sending out a task force will make these companies move a little faster.”

Howard says the main focus is passenger safety.

The city needs to know the people driving these cars can pass a background test with the FBI and pay the permit fees to be on the road.

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.

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