Limited Government

Bill Gates Sides with FBI Against Apple and It Is No Surprise

Bill Gates

If anyone was really surprised at the fact that Bill Gates broke ranks with Silicon Valley on the Apple v. FBI issue, they obviously have not been paying attention. As TechCrunch reported, he is blithely claiming that the FBI is just being absolutely truthful, and that there is no way that they have a desire or intention of using whatever mechanism Apple might come up with to fulfill their request ever again.

No, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim Cook was telling the truth about his products. There would be no way to make a backdoor into an iPhone or anything else a “one-time use” fix. Gates knows this, and is lying if he claims otherwise.

Of course, if this had anything to do with Microsoft at all, it’s safe to assume that Gates would be singing a totally different tune. No, it doesn’t matter how much he clarifies his statement on Apple. The bottom line remains the bottom line, and his comments need to be seen as a back-handed attempt to level the playing field when it comes to security in tech.

Inverted Federalism: How Washington bribes and shackles your state with your own tax dollars

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Conservatives and libertarians complain about the perversion of American federalism over the last 75-100 years. Everything has become a national issue, and federal tax dollars support even the smallest local projects, either directly through grants or indirectly by subsidizing some projects, which frees up local funds for others. Since the source is far removed from the recipient, often this funding is wasteful, not really needed, or dubiously requested. We don’t usually get to see this problem up close, but I did today.

This morning my wife and I brought my eldest child to school for the first time for testing and registration. There were a stack of forms to fill out about the handbook, riding the bus, behavior, school lunches, and residency. The last two were the focus of the registrant’s particular attention. We explained to her that while we are selling our house and planning to build a new one we are living with relatives temporarily. “Oh!”, she said. In that case, we should apply for a federal homeless student program “because it will bring in more federal money.”

Oh?

We’re not actually homeless, though. Not even close. We live in a very nice home while its owners are out of town on business most of the time and until we build our own. But when confronted with this situation, a public school official’s first instinct was to turn it into a hardship case to take advantage of federal largesse.

Does This Mean Hillary’s Presidency Would Last Eight Seconds?

Via The Hill, here’s presumptive 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, former U.S. Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton riffing on people who oppose the government’s many intrusions into private life, and on The Future of American Society™ (emphasis added):

“When people diss the government — we’re really dissing ourselves and dissing our democracy,” Clinton said. “This is my last rodeo, and I believe that we can leave not just the country in good shape for the future, but we can get a deep bench of young people to decide that they want to go into politics.”

If You Want Real “Social Justice,” Support Free Markets and Small Government

Originally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.

 

Since almost everybody wants a society that is just, that presumably means we all favor “social justice.”

But in the American political system, the phrase has been adopted by those who favor bigger government and more intervention. Sort of the way “solidarity” and “social” are code words for statism in Europe.

Leftists think that this phrase gives them the moral high ground, but shouldn’t we judge “social justice” by outcomes rather than intentions?

Is statism really compassionate if it actually winds up lining the pockets of wealthy insiders?

Is statism really compassionate when it gives people an excuse to be stingy, as we see in Europe?

Is statism really compassionate when it means less long-run growth and lower living standards for ordinary people?

The answers to those questions probably depend on one’s definition of a just society.

The Straw that Broke the Federalist Camel’s Back

Recently when discussing with a friend Tammy Duckworth’s new proposal for breastfeeding rooms to be installed in all airports, I suggested that while it might be a worthy goal, it has no business being a nationally mandated policy. Fortunately, my friend did not retort aghast that I was against privacy, breastfeeding, or women, as is so often the case in debates with our leftward neighbors:

Bastiat

Instead, my progressive friend responded that the federal government already controls airports, and this one additional mandate would hardly be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Though the federal control of airports itself is dubious, it occured to me that, while not much of a logical argument in favor of this particular example, this is actually the perfect metaphor for federal regulation as a whole.

No, one additional piece of straw on the back of a camel will not break it. But how would one place straw on a camel’s back anyway? With the hump(s), it would likely roll right off to the ground and not weigh down the camel at all, at least after a certain amount of straw. Similarly, any one single regulation is not likely to make any regulated private business, organization, or individual unsustainable.

Hillary Clinton’s Obtuse Pot Policy Exposes the Dubious Right-Left Dichotomy of Every Issue

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The Daily Beast has a bit this week about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming donor clash over marijuana policy. Her position as recently as last year is that marijuana is a gateway drug and would be legalized, even medicinally, at great risk to society.

“I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states,” she told KPCC radio last July.

This is at odds with big donors she’s meeting in California soon, as well as the general public, which supports legalizing it completely. That, of course, means that Hillary’s position on the issue will almost certainly “evolve” before 2016 gets too much closer. But if she doesn’t, she could end up to the “right” of her Republican challenger here.

That raises the question of whether marijuana prohibition is even a cause of the right or the left to begin with. Currently it’s assumed to be a liberal issue, and polls support that by showing huge majorities of Democrats favoring legalization but much smaller numbers of Republicans.

Matt Lewis Is Right: Rand Paul Is Wrong on Term Limits, Here’s Why

(Editor’s note: this post first appeared on George Scoville’s personal blog.)

The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis has a really important piece up this morning critiquing Rand Paul’s rhetoric on congressional term limits from Paul’s announcement of his 2016 presidential campaign yesterday. During his speech, Paul said, “We limit the president to two terms … It is about time we limit the terms of Congress.”

Here are the counterpoints Lewis offers (emphasis added):

Five Things That Are Right with the Congressional Budget Process

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog published a listicle by public affairs consultant John Feehery (once a spokesman for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the moderate, more timid successor to revolutionary Newt Gingrich), opining on the messy federal budget process. My attempts to reach Reid Epstein, the blog’s editor, to offer a counterpoint were fruitless, so here are five reasons we should be thankful for the current federal budgeting process.

Chairmen of House and Senate Budget Committees Propose Good Budgets, Particularly Compared to Obama’s Spendthrift Plan

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a budget that would impose new taxes and add a couple of trillion dollars to the burden of government spending over the next 10 years.

The Republican Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees have now weighed in. You can read the details of the House proposal by clicking here and the Senate proposal by clicking here, but the two plans are broadly similar (though the Senate is a bit vaguer on how to implement spending restraint, as I wrote a couple of days ago).

So are any of these plans good, or at least acceptable? Do any of them satisfy my Golden Rule?

Here’s a chart showing what will happen to spending over the next 10 years, based on the House and Senate GOP plans, as well as the budget proposed by President Obama.

Ayn Rand and the Nature of Net Neutrality (Among Other Things)

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Most politically-minded people, from all corners of the spectrum, are familiar with Ayn Rand, particularly her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, where society’s “producers” drop out and create a new society distinct from the machinations and manipulations of the “looters”. In fact, the Occupy Wall Street group, in some weird parody of Rand’s ideas, tried to do something similar, if almost exactly inverse, to what Rand’s Galt’s Gulch group managed to achieve. They failed in New York, however, because they forgot the most basic rule: you can’t be a looter and achieve success on your own. Looters and moochers must, by definition, take from others. Hence, Occupy Wall Street, a dirty collection of the most useless layabouts seeking an easy way to be subsidized in their effort, was an abject failure.

Mark Cuban, inarguably an entreprenurial producer of high caliber, surely knows this. And so it’s a little surprising he’s a little surprised that the effort to regulate the internet and socialize online interaction looks so remarkably like what he’s read in Rand’s novels. Because, as Robert Tracinski of The Federalist points out, Net Neutrality is just the latest in a long line of regulatory regimes that Rand predicted with almost scary accuracy lo these many years ago.


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