The Lame Duck Threat Online Consumers and Small Businesses Should Fear

Heritage Action Internet Sales Tax

It’s 2014, and American consumers are increasingly making purchases online. This trend shows no signs of changing. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his ideological allies are scheming to throw a wrench in the works. Online shoppers who enjoy the benefits of tax free online shopping may no longer be able to do that if Sen. Reid gets his way. Small online businesses are currently taxed on sales only where they have a physical presence and therefore political representation. If the Internet sales tax becomes law, they will no longer have that freedom, which is a violation of federalism.

Reid announced in September that he will do whatever it takes to pass an Internet sales tax bill, the misleadingly named the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), after the midterm election.  The bill would place burdensome regulations on small online businesses and would entail a massive expansion of state taxing authority. Because only 35 percent of Americans support Internet sales tax legislation, he plans to attach it to a very popular ban on Internet use taxes known as the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA).

The GOP Needs to construct its own foreign policy narrative

On Tuesday, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb — who many remember as former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, and even more recall as a respected novelist and fierce Marine of the Vietnam era — stood at the podium of the National Press Club and announced that he’s at least considering a run for president in 2016.

 

He was frank that he’s assessing support and will decide in several months if he’s all in. And, as expected, he was asked questions about positions already being staked out by the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and how he felt given his expertise —and there’s no doubt he’s an expert on matters of national defense — about our current engagement with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The takeaway was that we have a very incoherent foreign policy in these matters and we’d do well to develop and communicate a more concrete set of strategies. “It is not a healthy thing when the world’s dominant military and economic power has a policy based on vagueness,” he said. And that’s a reasonable thought. Somewhere in there was also the mention that we shouldn’t be an occupying force in that region of the world, but that was hardly a surprising position for someone known as one of the harshest critics of the Iraq War under Bush.

He also talked about economic fairness and even touched on corporate cronyism, as is typical of someone at least attempting to hash out a platform. But the talk of war is of interest because, almost immediately following his speech, media pundits that were in attendance began tweeting and writing that Webb had given an impassioned “anti-war” speech, possibly to set him in opposition to “hawkish” Hillary Clinton.

Another Isolated Incident: Cops face no charges for shooting black man looking at pellet guns in Wal-Mart

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In Ohio it is now apparently legal to shoot a black man who is carrying (what appears to be) a gun…if you’re a cop.

A grand jury in Greene County, Ohio decided on Wednesday not to indict either of the two police officers who responded to a 911 call about an armed man in the Beavercreek Wal-Mart store. One of the officers shot the man, 22-year old John Crawford III, who turned out to be talking on a cell phone carrying an unloaded pellet gun that he had taken off the shelf of the store.

Store video of the incident shows Crawford just standing still at the end of an aisle in the pet section, waving the toy gun casually back and forth by his side, then falling to the ground as the armored officers approach with their rifles drawn.

In the 50-Year War on Poverty, Bureaucrats Have Won While Both Taxpayers and Poor People Have Lost

We know the welfare state is good news for people inside government. Lots of bureaucrats are required, after all, to oversee a plethora of redistribution programs.

Walter Williams refers to these paper pushers as poverty pimps, and there’s even a ranking showing which states have the greatest number of these folks who profit by creating dependency.

But does anybody else benefit from welfare programs?

Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation explains in the Washington Times that the War on Poverty certainly hasn’t been a success for taxpayers or poor people. Instead, it’s created a costly web of dependency.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. …Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution. Last year, government spent $943 billion providing cash, food, housing and medical care to poor and low-income Americans. …More than 100 million people, or one third of Americans, received some type of welfare aid, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient.

Here are some of the unpleasant details.

White House Foreign Policy Dangerously Changes by the Day

When word filtered out yesterday that President Obama, on the heels of his reiteration of “no boots on the ground” to the military men and women at CENTCOM, had instructed the Pentagon that he was the final say on any individual airstrike in Syria (“…[to] better ensure the operation remain focused on his main goal for that part of the campaign: weakening the militants’ hold on territory in neighboring Iraq.”), pundits rightly began to ask questions.  Allahpundit at HotAir had several, including the possibility that Obama must consider our new engagement a “counterterrorism” measure rather than a traditional war:

Doomed to repeat history: Funding Syrian rebels could create another Libya-like foreign policy crisis

Watching history repeat itself was not enough for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

The senator from Kentucky took the stage yesterday morning and didn’t stop talking until he made sure the public and the empty chamber had listened to his concerns.

During his remarks on the floor of the Senate, Paul highlighted his reasons to oppose the amendment authorizing president Obama’s plan to provide training and arms to what he calls moderate rebels in Syria. The plan passed both the House and the Senate as an amendment to the continuing resolution funding the government until December 11.

Before the vote, however, Paul raised and urged the empty chamber to put an end to Obama’s plan of arming fighters in Syria who have not proven to be fundamentally opposed to ISIS. “We gave 600 tons of weapons to the Syrian rebels in 2013 alone,” Paul said as he urged his colleagues to keep in mind that the United States is not the only country providing weapons to the rebels.

According to Paul, a Wall Street Journal report detailed “millions of dollars in direct US aid to rebels” from “nearly 8 months ago or more.” As the aid continues to be funneled to rebels in Syria, Paul claims that “no one really knows where that all ended up: Jane’s Terrorism Center noted, the transfer of Quatari arms to targeted groups has the same practical effect as shipping them to Al Nusra, a violent jihadist force.”

By not knowing where these weapons are going and who’s actually making use of the military training, Paul believes passing a resolution that will fund this operation abroad in the hopes that that it might deter ISIS is ludicrous:

Statist Policy and the Great Depression

It’s difficult to promote good economic policy when some policy makers have a deeply flawed grasp of history.

This is why I’ve tried to educate people, for instance, that government intervention bears the blame for the 2008 financial crisis, not capitalism or deregulation.

Going back in time, I’ve also explained the truth about “sweatshops” and “robber barons.”

But one of the biggest challenges is correcting the mythology that capitalism caused the Great Depression and that government pulled the economy out of its tailspin.

To help correct the record, I’ve shared a superb video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity that discusses the failed statist policies of both Hoover and Roosevelt.

Now, to augment that analysis, we have a video from Learn Liberty. Narrated by Professor Stephen Davies, it punctures several of the myths about government policy in the 1930s.

Professors Davies is right on the mark in every case.

This is insane: A Texas man is facing the death penalty for defending his home with deadly force

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In the great state of Texas, it is legal, almost mandatory, to defend your home with deadly force from armed intruders. If someone attempts to climb into your window in the deep, pre-dawn darkness at 5:30 am, you would be justified in shooting them, right? In almost all conceivable cases, yes. Especially in Texas.

But what if the intruder turns out to be a member of a SWAT team attempting a no-knock drug raid on a search warrant? We’re about to find out, but it could mean the death penalty.

Marvin Louis Guy of Killeen, Texas and a female companion opened fire on several men entering their home through windows and doors, killing one and injuring another. The intruders turned out to be members of a SWAT team composed of Killeen police and state organized crime investigative officers who were serving a warrant based on tips from an informant that there was drug trafficking going on in the residence.

Given that it was a “no-knock” raid, the residents did not know that it was law enforcement officers entering their home. No-knock raids are often conducted on search warrants for drug trafficking suspicion to prevent hardened criminals from attacking the cops when they are announced. It didn’t quite turn out that way this time.

Obama marks Constitution Day by referring to our constitutional rights as “privileges”

Today, September 17, is Constitution Day. Spearheaded by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), Congress passed a resolution in 2004 as rider to an omnibus spending bill setting aside this particular day to celebrate the ratification of the Constitution, the document that provides the framework of the federal government and the rights protected under the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in the last several years, perhaps because of the polarization of political opinions in the United States as well as attempts by presidents from both parties attempts consume more power for the executive branch. The revelations about the National Security Agency, efforts to censor speech, expand gun control laws are just the tip of the iceberg of attempts to trample the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

In his presidential proclamation marking Constitution Day, President Barack Obama offered some insight into how he views the Bill of Rights. “Our Constitution reflects the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society,” Obama said in the release. “It secures the privileges we enjoy as citizens, but also demands participation, responsibility, and service to our country and to one another.”

Given that this White House is known for its expansive view of executive power, the fact that President Obama views these fundamental liberties to be “privileges” isn’t too terribly surprising. After all, President Obama treats the legislative branch — which is supposed to be a co-equal branch of the federal government — as an afterthought as it arbitrarily changes statues and even refuses to enforce laws.

Oversight Judge to Blogger: You Were Right about Supreme Court Justice, but We’re Not Going to Do Anything about It

In a stunning move, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct has declined to discipline Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade for violating the state Code of Judicial Conduct when he was Chief Justice, and has dismissed a complaint brought against him by a United Liberty contributor.

Judge Chris Craft, Board Chair of the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct, acknowledged in a letter dated September 5, 2014 that your humble scribe “raised an area of concern” in the ethics complaint I filed against Justice Gary Wade on July 9 for a breach of the court’s rules governing political activity as he campaigned for retention to the state Supreme Court this summer. Judge Craft also says that the Board has addressed the complaint “by other means,” and will not be reprimanding or censuring Justice Wade, and has therefore dismissed the complaint.

 


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