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Government-mandated middle men keep innovative company Tesla out of five states

Rep. Thomas Massie's Tesla

There’s an odd regulation Democrats and (mostly) Republicans have enacted in five states — and the reason for its enactment is still unclear.

Consider this: You want to buy the latest iPhone 6. Today, you can go to your nearby Apple retailer and pick one up directly from the company. In this instance, the manufacturer (Apple) is also the retailer. There are many companies like this, which both manufacture their goods and then sell them directly to consumers, either online or at a physical location.

But in five states it’s illegal for one type of manufacturer (in this instance, an automobile manufacturer) to sell directly to consumers. Most of the automobile industry sells its stock through licensed dealers. Manufacturers sell their automobiles at wholesale rates to dealers, who then mark up the price of the vehicles and sell them to consumers. You wouldn’t necessarily walk up to a General Motors plant and pick up a Cadillac. That’s just not how it’s done.

In Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, and now Michigan, politicians are advancing protectionist policies that ban consumers from buying directly from automobile manufacturer — namely Tesla, the electric car company founded by billionaire inventor and investor Elon Musk.

The Washington Post has the story:

What’s good for General Motors dealers is good for America.

Feminists have really beclowned themselves with their latest…

FCKH8 Feminist Video

Some days you just have to wonder how much longer our culture can survive. We were once a nation that valued knowledge, enlightenment, hard work, honesty, and charity, among other noble character traits. Now, it seems we have become a nation of narcissistic, selfie-taking, self-indulgent, dim-witted brats who throw tantrums until we get our way.

Last week I turned on the radio, only to have my ears assaulted with a local radio station’s discussion of an ad released a few days ago by an organization called FCKH8, the title of which is “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism.” The ad features young girls, who appear to be between six and eight years old, who repeatedly vomit the “F-bomb” as a way to shock the audience and get attention for their message, which is, essentially, that women are victims (if you want to see it you’ll have to Google it…I won’t dignify it by linking to it).

The ad starts off with several very young girls, dressed up in princess outfits, saying “Pretty…pretty…pretty…” when suddenly one screeches “What the F***?! I’m not some pretty F-ing helpless princess in distress…I’m pretty F-ing powerful!”

Seriously? This is how you make a point? By getting little girls to parrot the raging victimization rant of grown women ticked off at life? By making these little girls sound like common trailer trash rather than teaching them to embrace the strength of their femininity? Far from making me more likely to consider their opinions, it disgusted me to see the depth radical leftists (whether vulgar feminists demanding equality, or radical environmentalists calling for global warming “deniers” to be imprisoned) will sink to bully their way to public policy victories.

If Republicans take back the Senate on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell will kill Obamacare*

Mitch McConnell on Obamacare

With just five days to go before the 2014 midterm elections, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell clarified his position on repealing Obamacare if Republicans take the Senate.

From an emailed statement through his spokesman to the Washington Examiner today:

Leader McConnell is and has always been committed to the full repeal of Obamacare, and he’ll continue to lead efforts to repeal and replace it with patient-centered reforms that enable greater choice at lower costs. He knows it won’t be easy, but he also believes that if Republicans are fortunate enough to take back the majority we’ll owe it to the American people to try through votes on full repeal, the bill’s most onerous provisions, and reconciliation.

This statement comes on the heels of a Fox News interview where McConnell noted that — without a Republican in the White House and 60 votes in the Senate — full repeal would be unlikely:

It would take 60 votes in the Senate. Nobody thinks we’re going to have 60 Republicans. And it would take a president — presidential signature. No one thinks we’re going to get that.

McConnell’s spokesman indicated Senate Republicans could vote to repeal Obamacare through reconciliation, a procedural trick used to pass budgetary legislation by simple majority, or 51 votes. Still, President Obama would not sign that legislation.

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).

Teamsters to Uber: If we can’t beat you, we’ll join you

DC Taxicab Protest

As hundreds of cab drivers ensnarled traffic in downtown Washington, D.C. this morning at the behest of the Teamsters Local 922, the Council of the District of Columbia passed trailblazing legislation that “[embraces] innovation, [supports] consumer choice and [empowers] small business owners,” according to a post on Uber’s blog.

From the BuzzFeed account:

The controversial bill [B20-753], dubbed the Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Act of 2014, has been heavily opposed by the taxi unions for not creating a level playing field but praised by Uber for codifying safety standards they say have already been in place.

The legislation “could be a model for the rest of the country and maybe the world,” said David Plouffe, Uber’s chief strategist and former aide to President Barack Obama, in a Q & A session with the Washington Post.

That’s great, right? A win for consumers, who are overwhelmingly pleased with Uber’s service, and entrepreneurs, who are clamoring to drive for Uber and other ride-sharing apps.

The legislation does create a stricter regulatory framework for UberX than the existing framework for DC cabs, as indicated in this side-by-side comparison:

DC Uber Regulations

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray must sign the bill before it goes into effect.

Millennials are over Obama’s Democrats in 2014, but they aren’t sure which party to call home longterm

Disappointed Barack Obama

Most Millennials became politically aware in the waning days of the Bush Administration and the “Hope & Change”-iness of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. According to a Pew Research report, Millennials supported Obama over John McCain in 2008 by 66%-32%, and Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012 by 60%-36%.

POLITICO suggested in its 2012 election post-mortem that Romney likely would have won had he split the Millennial vote evenly with Obama.

But a Harvard Institute of Politics poll out today shows a dramatic shift in support by Millennials in the 2014 midterm elections (emphasis mine):

A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds slightly more than half (51%) of young Americans who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47 percent favoring Democrat control – a significant departure from IOP polling findings before the last midterm elections (Sept. 2010 – 55%: prefer Democrat control; 43%: prefer Republican control). The cohort – 26% of whom report they will “definitely” vote in the midterms – appear up-for-grabs to both political parties and could be a critical swing vote in many races in November.

Conservatives, don’t be fooled: The Value-Added Tax is bad for America

Libertarians are sometimes accused of being unrealistic and impractical because we occasionally talk about unconventional ideas such as competitive currencies and privatized roads.

But having a vision of a free society doesn’t mean we’re incapable of common-sense political calculations.DM VAT Post Image 1

For example, my long-run goal is to dramatically shrink the size and scope of the federal government, both because that’s how the Founding Fathers wanted our system to operate and because our economy will grow much faster if labor and capital are allocated by economic forces rather than political calculations. But in the short run, I’m advocating for incremental progress in the form of modest spending restraint.

Why? Because that’s the best that we can hope for at the moment.

Irony? Left-Wing Commencement speaker Bill Maher target of latest “disinvitation” protest at America’s most liberal college

Bill Maher

It has become commonplace for students — predominantly liberal ones — at universities to organize against speakers — predominantly conservative ones — in an effort to put pressure on the administration to disinvite those speakers or to have the speakers themselves withdraw.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) calls Commencement season “disinvitation season” for a reason, and they have tracked an alarming increase in the number of speakers who have been “disinvited” to speak to university students, particularly over the last 15 years. Just take a look at the findings from their 2014 report:

The FIRE Disinvitation Chart

But in an interesting turn of events, students at America’s most liberal university — University of California at Berkeley — launched a change.org petition to disinvite notoriously liberal comic and HBO show host Bill Maher.

This author believes speakers of all political persuasions should be encouraged to address students and spark dialog on campuses, which are often touted as the “marketplace of ideas.” This author also realizes that most speakers who are invited to address students on university campuses trend liberal.

Our continued fight for liberty requires “Human Action”

Freedom from Bondage

In his epic work, Human Action, Ludwig von Mises outlines three conditions necessary before a person will act. All three conditions must be met:

  1. The person must feel an uneasiness with the current situation.
  2. The person must have a vision of something better.
  3. The person must have a belief that a particular action will make that better vision become reality.

If we hope to ever get large numbers of people interested in our ideas and willing to act to advance those ideas, we must devise a way to satisfy all three conditions in their minds.

The first condition presents no challenge. Most people already feel uneasiness with the current political setup. Nearly everyone wants a “change.”

But change, to what?

This is a tough question, and one that most people cannot answer. Most lack a clear and preferable alternate vision. They don’t meet Mises’ second criteria. This is what differentiates those of us who understand the philosophy of liberty. We possess the vision. We know what a truly free world would look like. And if we want people to go along with us, we must communicate and spread that vision.

But why don’t more of us do so? What prevents most of us who “get it” from dedicating ourselves to the cause of converting people? Why is there no domino effect, wherein our vision spreads from person to person, with each new convert taking purposeful action to spread the vision? Why do so many people become impassioned with liberty for a time, only to subsequently turn away from what seems to be an intellectual dead end? What prevents their flash of vision from turning into action? The answer is that many never fulfill Mises’ third condition. They lack hope for victory.

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny…” 50 years later, Reagan’s words still ring true

Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater

On this day in 1964 — 50 years ago — Ronald Reagan gave the speech that launched his political career. “A Time for Choosing” was a half-hour campaign video for Barry Goldwater’s ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign.

And though it didn’t achieve its intended result, Reagan’s words still ring true today.

You can view the entire speech here:

There are a number of memorable phrases throughout the speech. The most famous being the “rendezvous with destiny” line:

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Many libertarians eschew the “left-right paradigm” when it comes to politics. Ronald Reagan brushed it off decades before it became commonplace in libertarian discourse:


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