Rand Paul is doing more than any other Republican to reach out to voters, and that could put him in the White House

Libertarianism is starting to become so popular in the media that it’s annoying. Mainstream outlets like the New York Times Magazine, Time, Washington Post, and Politico are trumpeting the rise of libertarians within the Republican Party and the country as a whole, as well as Rand Paul’s corresponding march toward a 2016 campaign.

This week the civil libertarian Vice joins the chorus with as friendly a profile as you can hope for from a leftist publication. Vice uses Senator Paul’s recent unexpected Time op-ed as a launching point to tout his mass appeal on a wide array of issues:

Militarized police supporters in Congress such as Nancy Pelosi get big bucks from defense contractors

The recent stories coming from Ferguson, Missouri have stirred the police militarization debate by putting the spotlight on the police’s use of “surplus” war gear to contain a mass of protestors in the suburbs of St. Louis.

The protests followed the killing of Michael Brown, and while most are peaceful, local police — and now the National Guard — have proceeded to use rubber bullets, tear gas and other aggressive methods such as curfews to fight locals and even journalists covering the events.

Without proper coverage, it’s nearly impossible to know what is truly going on in Ferguson, especially because the Federal Aviation Administration banned helicopters to fly below 3,000 feet over the region as soon as the unrest began. News crews often use helicopters to cover live events, but with the ban, law enforcement agents on the ground have a free pass to act according to their understanding of the situation.

No accountability.

One essential piece of this equation, however, is missing from the public debate; lawmakers who support the government’s program allowing the distribution of leftover war gear and weapons to local police departments are also the same lawmakers who receive a considerable amount of financial support from defense contractors.

Police should wear body cameras to protect themselves when they’re accused of wrongdoing

body-mounted camera

It seems that there is at least one area of agreement (with caveats) between some in law enforcement and some civil libertarians: cops should wear body cameras. The how, when, and where is still a question for all concerned but at least there seems to be some agreement on the broad outlines.

PoliceOne.com’s editor-in-chief Doug Wyllie argues that police departments should embrace the idea of body mounted cameras on almost every police officer. Wyllie writes:

In the week following the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson (Mo.), many have asked me for a comment and/or my commentary on the matter. My reply has generally been, “What, precisely, might that comment be? We know very little detail regarding the incident itself, so any ‘analysis’ on my part would be tantamount to irresponsible speculation. Further, analysis of the rioting and looting (and police response to same) would be redundant — we’ve got reams of columns on crowd control tactics and strategies.”

One thing, however, merits mention in this space. It’s directly related to the first thought that came to my mind when news of this tragedy broke: “Man, I hope that officer was wearing a body camera.”

The Pentagon has a $43 billion slush fund that the Obama administration is using to bypass Congress to intervene overseas

One of the funniest parts of the very funny movie Office Space has to do with the ridiculous requirement, and the related dialogue, regarding cover sheets on TPS reports. You remember:

Why is this relevant in a piece about the Pentagon and allegations that their Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, account has become little more than a slush fund “threatening to become a permanent repository for unneeded projects and bad ideas”, as William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, recently opined in the Los Angeles Times? Because they are both examples of the perniciousness of bureaucracy and, specifically, the “business speak” that accompanies it.

As the Times piece notes, there are several (almost hilariously) broadly defined budget items in the fiscal year 2015 OCO war budget, despite the fact that the US is winding down its presence in Afghanistan to fulfill one of President Obama’s stated goals.

Nearly half of that $43 billion is earmarked “to carry out the entire array of support activities by units and forces operating in the Central Command area outside of Afghanistan, including … the Arabian Gulf region.”

College Republicans plan to spend $2 million on outreach at universities, but that’s not enough to win over the youth vote

college students

Liberty-minded activists have been saying for what seems forever that the GOP needs to pay attention to winning the youth vote, or die. The fact that the party establishment has been essentially ignoring this voting bloc has been a source of consternation for pundits and political strategists alike. Now, it seems that this message is finally getting through, but it still isn’t being addressed anywhere near as well as it could be yet.

The College Republican National Committee is tossing some money — $2 million to be exact — at building a campus-based program to court young voters. It’s a nice gesture, but honestly isn’t much more than that. As of 2011, there were 2,870 four-year colleges in the U.S. — the schools that it is safe to assume that the GOP will focus on in this endeavor.

While it’s not realistic to think that they will attempt to launch some sort of outreach program on each and every one of those campuses right away, the honest truth is that if they are taking this seriously, the long-term plan needs to include them. So, that means that officially, the Republicans are prepared to commit approximately $700 per campus for this initiative.

Yes, there are nebulous promises of more money down the road, but we’ve seen this in other outreach programs before. The only concrete numbers available indicate that this is probably going to be a limited experiment by the party, or that this is lip service to grassroots organizers that have been calling for this sort of investment for years.

What’s So Great About America?: Well, freedom and pretty much everything the Left hates

I recently finished Dinesh D’Souza’s book What’s So Great About America, a book which looks at America past and present and does so with a sense of history and moral clarity which is sorely needed in our day and time. It has become increasingly popular in recent decades for the political left to point to every real and perceived sin committed by America in order to advance the idea that America is no better than any other nation, or worse, that America is actually a force of evil in the world

In doing so, the left intentionally distorts the past, and omits discussion of the tremendous good, often done with great sacrifice in blood and treasure, to advance the cause of liberty throughout the Earth. Written in 2002, What’s So Great About America seems even more relevant today, with the world aflame in chaos and violence, than it was a dozen years ago.

While it is proper to have a discussion of our national sins (slavery comes to mind, first and foremost), it is not just intellectually dishonest, but downright suicidal to breed such contempt for the very nation which, for the first time in history, declared that all men are created equal in the eyes of God and the law, and which declared our rights come not from man, but from God Himself. No longer would we live under the idea of a Divine Right of Kings, but instead would propose that government is the servant of the people, not the master.

Obama, Corporate Inversions, and Grotesque Hypocrisy

Last month, I put together a list of six jaw-dropping examples of left-wing hypocrisy, one of which featured Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

He made the list for having the chutzpah to criticize corporate inversions on the basis of supposed economic patriotism, even though he invested lots of money via the Cayman Islands when he was a crony capitalist at Citigroup.

But it turns out that Lew’s hypocrisy is just the tip of the iceberg.

It seems the entire Obama Administration was in favor of inversions just a couple of years ago. Check out these excerpts from a Bloomberg story.

Meet Arturo Alas: A free market-minded, Constitution-loving Republican taking on a big government House Democrat in California

During Arturo Alas’ congressional campaign HQ grand opening in Covina, California, I had the opportunity to chat with the Republican candidate running against Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) to represent California’s 32nd congressional district. After a surprising top-two primary win, Art Alas hopes to win in November with his free market and constitution-loving message.

The incumbent, Grace Napolitano, has been in Congress since 1999, and many in her district appear to disagree with her on several important issues such as the U.S. role in the Syrian civil war. Could the residents of Covina be persuaded to give a Republican a try? The last Republican politician to have represented the district was Craig Hosmer, who left office in 1974.

United Liberty: What motivated you to run for Congress?

Obama Lecture on Playing by the Rules is Utter Hypocrisy

In a recent weekly address, Barack Obama uttered ten words which every conservative in the nation immediately recognized as absolute truth in a constitutional republic which provides for separation of powers among the branches and levels of government. To quote, Obama stated “You don’t get to pick which rules you play by.”

His statement was made regarding the growing trend of “inversion,” whereby U.S. multinational corporations merge with foreign companies and move their headquarters overseas in order to avoid the double taxation that the United States levies on its companies, a burden suffered by the corporations of no other industrialized nation, which therefore puts American businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

The irony of those words, coming from THAT man, should be lost on no one with an IQ above room temperature.

Obama, more than any president in American history, has shown complete and utter contempt for any constitutional restrictions on his power, and openly mocks and taunts those that express deep concerns for his brazen disregard for the tradition of compromise (as ugly as the process is to get to that end point) that has guided our government for more than two centuries.

Obama talks about having “a phone and a pen,” a reference to his numerous Executive Orders which often bleed over into powers reserved for the other branches of government. Obama has repeatedly claimed this year that he will act unilaterally when Congress refuses to give him his way, and when Congress protests such abuse of power, he glibly responds, “Sue me!”

Hillary Clinton’s big criticism of Barack Obama is that he didn’t go to war against Syria

Back in June, Cato Institute Vice President Gene Healy shed some light on Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record. No, we’re not talking about her cataclysmic failure in Benghazi or any of her other mistakes during her time in Foggy Bottom.

Healy’s warning was that Clinton — throughout the course of her national profile as first lady, U.S. senator, Secretary of State, and, now, Democratic presidential nominee in waiting — has never met a war she didn’t like. She helped present the case for the Iraq war and the ties between Saddam Hussein’s regime and terrorist elements — ties, by the way, that didn’t exist.

More recently, Healy notes, Clinton urged President Obama to intervene in Libya. And, of course, the Obama administration joined the NATO campaign in 2011 to depose the North African country’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The intervention in Libya — which is, basically, in the midst of an internal conflict so violent that both the U.N. and the U.S. have evacuated staffers from their embassies — is generally thought to be one of this administration’s foreign policy blunders.

Clinton was also supportive of U.S. intervention against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. President Obama, however, didn’t take that step, largely due to congressional and public opposition to yet another war.

But Clinton is now criticizing President Obama’s approach to foreign policy, an approach she helped craft during in four years as his secretary of state. In an interview with The Atlantic, Clinton criticized the White House for not throwing its full weight behind the Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s regime:

 


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