The Daily Caller

“Whither the ‘Challenge and Question Authority’ Liberals?”

That’s the title of an opinion piece I wrote for The Daily Caller which you can read in its entirety here.

A selection:

…in the market for political representation, the powerful thrive on market failure. Economics teaches us that (near-) perfect information is a prerequisite for well functioning markets. Thus, in the market for political representation, the press plays the critical role of finding and relaying information to the public it otherwise would not have, of correcting an information asymmetry. When the press cannot (or does not) do its job, or when the government will not allow it to do so, the government enjoys surplus political capital (support, votes, power) at the expense of the governed.

It is deeply troubling that reporters have succumbed so far to this paradigm of failure that an incident like Friday’s [kerfuffle between The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro and President Obama] shocked the status quo such that a veteran Washington reporter found himself castigated openly by his colleagues.

I hope you’ll read the rest, and share with your friends!

Cross-posted.

New Jersey rejects atheist license plate, conservatives chortle

For the second time in as many years, a New Jersey resident has been denied a customized license plate with an atheist message. In August 2013, a man was denied the licence plate “ATHE1ST” because a Motor Vehicle Commission clerk found it “offensive.”

And last week a woman was denied her requested for an “8THEIST” plate on the commission’s website. The former request was eventually granted, and the current one almost certainly will as well, especially since the woman has filed a federal lawsuit.

While the 2013 denial was an explicit in-person objection, Shannon Morgan’s request of “8THEIST” was only denied by the automated online system. Morgan said she “attempted to contact the state Motor Vehicle Commission in November and March, according to the lawsuit, but received no response or explanation”, while the commission says it reviews “every request personally.”

It is unclear whether the initial request of “8THEIST” was reviewed “personally” since it appeared to be immediately rejected by the online system, or whether the personal reviews are only of appealed requests. Also unclear is whether Morgan’s request has actually been appealed through the proper channels and/or reviewed by the commission. Regardless, after several months of no response from state officials, she has decided to file suit instead.

Former IRS Officer Drafted Secret Regulations Restricting Non-Profits in 2012

After President Barack Obama defended his administration’s handling of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives, an email sent from Treasury official Ruth Madrigal to then IRS official Lois Lerner obtained by the House Committee on Ways and Means, indicated the former official’s intentions to change 501(c)(4) regulations without disclosing the move.

The “off-plan” to which the email referred to was planned in 2012, while conservative groups were being directly targeted by the IRS. According to The Daily Caller, the rules thought out by Lerner restrict the political activity of conservative groups by keeping non-profit associations from being free to participate in several political activities.  The “off-plan” changed what the IRS sees as “candidate-related political activity,” placing previously acceptable activities like voter registration drives under the political activity category, thus not recommended for 501(c)(4)’s.

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) had harsh words regarding Lois Lerner and her off-the-record plan during the House committee meeting that disclosed the contents of the email.

Emails show IRS, White House illegally disclosed taxpayer information

Discussions between the Internal Revenue and the White House over a lawsuit pertaining ObamaCare’s contraception mandate led to the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information, according to The Daily Caller, which obtained emails between the parties from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

Top Internal Revenue Service Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division, also received an email alongside White House officials that contained confidential information.

Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight.

The emails provided to Oversight investigators by the IRS had numerous redactions with the signifier “6103.”

Senate Democrat Holds Resolution Honoring Margaret Thatcher

Bob Menendez

The Daily Caller reports that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is actively working to prevent a vote on a resolution offered by Senate Republicans that would honor the life and work of the late Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, for reasons that have yet to be made clear:

While the House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Thatcher last week, Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, objects to some of the language proposed by Republicans in the Senate’s version, sources said.

A copy of the proposed resolution, which would be offered by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, honors “the life, legacy, and example of British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher.”

Another source said Democrats want to “black out everything but a few lines acknowledging her service as prime minister.”

Reacting to the news, conservatives slammed Menendez.

“I don’t know if he’s blocking the Thatcher resolution because he likes Socialism or because he holds women in such low regard, but Senator Menendez should drop his objections immediately,” Matt Hoskins, the executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, told TheDC.

Chris Matthews: “I’m so glad we had that storm last week”

Via Jim Treacher at The Daily Caller, Chris Matthews is apparently happy about Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath because he believes that it helped President Barack Obama win the election last night:

“I’m so glad we had that storm last week. ‘Cause I think the storm was one of those things. No. Politically, I should say. Not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”

Even Scary Larry is shaking his head. You’re not supposed to say it, Chris.

But take heart, victims of Hurricane Sandy. Your lives may be ruined, but try to see the bigger picture: At least President Obama didn’t have to give a concession speech.

Yep. That pain, suffering, and death is all good news because it apparently got Obama re-elected last night. What an ass.

Taxpayers to foot hefty bills for former presidents

We all know that President George W. Bush was a fiscal nightmare, largely laying the groundwork for his successor. Veronique de Rugy noted in her analysis on spending under Bush, that domestic spending alone went up by more than 20% in his first term. He expanded Medicare and expanded the bloated federal bureaucracy.

And even though he’s not in office anymore, The Daily Caller notes that Bush is still a burden to taxpayers thanks to a free ride for expenses given to former presidents:

Former President George W. Bush is budgeted to receive the most money from taxpayers of all the living ex-presidents.

Bush, the most recent former president, is requesting more than $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars for fiscal year 2013, according to a budget proposal document prepared by the General Services Administration.

Among expenses, the GSA budget document says the younger Bush is requesting $85,000 for phone costs. Hannah Abney, a spokeswoman for Bush, declined to comment on that when reached by The Daily Caller on Tuesday.

This is something from which all living presidents benefit. For example, Clinton has been budget just over $1 million; so just picking on Bush isn’t fair, but at the same time it’s hard not to equate this sort of spending with pork projects for companies already turning a profit.

Republicans are better informed than Democrats?

While surfing the web this weekend after getting from home BlogConCLT, I came across this story at The Daily Caller, claiming that a new poll from Pew Research shows that Republicans are more open-minded and more informed than Democrats:

Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats.

On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”

The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.

“Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge,” said the study, which noted that Democrats outscored Republicans on five questions by an average of 4.6 percent.

The widest partisan gap in the survey came in at 30 points when only 46 percent of Democrats — but 76 percent of Republicans —- correctly described the GOP as “the party generally more supportive of reducing the size of federal government.”

I spent the weekend in Charlotte chatting with some great people, however, I also heard several people making fun of libertarians and cracking jokes about how Barack Obama, as a small child, once tried dog meat — as if that is going to matter to voters in the fall. So I’m inclined to chuckle at the notion that Republicans are “open-minded.”

Kagan should recuse herself from ObamaCare case

Even though she has recused herself in past hearings and decisions where she had some sort of involvement, it doesn’t seem that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will do the same when ObamaCare reaches the nation’s High Court. However, new e-mails that have surfaced show that she is anything but an unbiased party merely trying to determine the law’s constitutionality:

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday requesting answers to Kagan’s involvement after emails revealed Kagan enthusiastically supporting President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as possibly orchestrating legal defenses for the act.

The emails, obtained by Judicial Watch and originally reported by CNSnews.com, show Kagan and other administration officials setting up meetings to discuss how to counter legal challenges to the health care law.

In a March 21, 2010 email exchange with Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, who also served in the Justice Department at the time, Kagan expressed enthusiasm — so much so that it apparently required two exclamation points — at the news of the law’s impending passage through Congress.

“I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing,” Kagan wrote to Tribe in one of the emails.

Earthquakes, stimulus and the Broken Window

Some Keynesians, such as Larry Summers, are claiming that the recent earthquake in Japan - truly a devastating and saddening event that has claimed the lives of thousands - could help that country’s economy:

It may lead to some temporary increments ironically to GDP as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake Japan actually gained some economic strength.

Over at The Daily Caller, Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, debunks the notion floated just days after this disaster:

After expressing sorrow for the people of Japan, former White House economics adviser Larry Summers said, “it may lead to some temporary increments in GDP as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake, Japan actually gained some economic strength.” Any economist is dead wrong to claim that there is a silver lining in a natural or man-made disaster. As it turns out, earthquakes and tsunamis are not stimuli. Destruction will not create prosperity.

As economics Professor Steven Horwitz notes, “If one really believes such disasters are good for the economy, even in the short run, then one should positively recommend burning down neighborhoods and destroying farm machinery. After all, think of the demand for construction workers and equipment, as well as the demand for manual labor on farms that would generate. Why we’d be rich as kings in no time, right?”


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