The New York Times

NSA Scandal Brings Opportunity for Constitutionalists

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During the commencement address last month at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama talked up what he views as the virtues of big government and told graduates that they should “reject” those who warn of tyranny.

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works,” President Obama told the students. “They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner,” he continued. “You should reject these voices.  Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

Since that speech, four major scandals have emerged — the Benghazi cover-up, the Internal Revenue Service’s politically-charged targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, the Justice Department’s war on the First Amendment, and, now, the National Security Agency’s broad seizure of millions of phone records. Each of these scandals bring a unique dynamic to the political landscape, but the NSA scandal is one that the blame is equally spread between the Obama Administration and members of both parties in Congress.

The NSA’s complete disregard for the Fourth Amendment has drawn outrage from all sides. The New York Times notoriously Leftist editorial board wasted no time in condemning the Obama Administration for its secrecy.

Defending Cato from Paul Krugman’s Inaccurate Assertions

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Writing for the New York Times, Paul Krugman has a new column promoting more government spending and additional government regulation. That’s a dog-bites-man revelation and hardly noteworthy, of course, but in this case he takes a swipe at the Cato Institute.

The financial crisis of 2008 and its painful aftermath…were a huge slap in the face for free-market fundamentalists. …analysts at right-wing think tanks like…the Cato Institute…insisted that deregulated financial markets were doing just fine, and dismissed warnings about a housing bubble as liberal whining. Then the nonexistent bubble burst, and the financial system proved dangerously fragile; only huge government bailouts prevented a total collapse.

Upon reading this, my first reaction was a perverse form of admiration. After all, Krugman explicitly advocated for a housing bubble back in 2002, so it takes a lot of chutzpah to attack other people for the consequences of that bubble.

But let’s set that aside and examine the accusation that folks at Cato had a Pollyanna view of monetary and regulatory policy. In other words, did Cato think that “deregulated markets were doing just fine”?

Sandra Fluke: Totalitarian

Apparently a reporter at the New York Times Magazine didn’t get the memo that left-wing feminist hack Sandra Fluke’s 15 minutes were long past up. The reporter, Andrew Goldman, tracked Sandra down to get her er…..thoughts on some issues related to her call for the American people to pay for her birth control.

First up: About Rush Limbaugh’s despicable comments calling her a “slut” and attempts to have him taken off the air.

Free speech is a complex area legally, but it’s important to recognize that there are distinctions between one’s ability to express an opinion versus one’s ability to use F.C.C.-regulated airwaves to do so, and also one’s ability to engage in speech versus one’s ability to engage in slander.

First of all, there is no moral defense for what Rush Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke. If Rush Limbaugh called my mother, wife, daughter, girlfriend, sister, or any other woman I care about a slut, I would have some choice words for him. As a Southern boy, I was raised by my single mom to show women respect. However, I will defend to my death Rush Limbaugh’s right to free speech.

Fire Harry Reid: New polls show Republicans winning the majority in the Senate

A round of new polling released on Sunday shows that Republican candidates have the edge in enough Senate races to take the majority in the upper chamber in the 2014 mid-term election and then some.

The poll was conducted by YouGov in coordination with CBS News and The New York Times finds that Republicans would win the eight Senate seats, handing them a 53-seat majority. The Upshot notes that, based on the new round of polling, Republicans have a 60 percent chance of taking control of the chamber.

Here’s a look at the most relevant races:

State Democrat

Poll

Obama to call for an end to NSA bulk data collection

The New York Times reported late yesterday evening that President Barack Obama will supposedly call for an end to the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program, leaving data in the hands of phone companies:

The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a legislative proposal for a far-reaching overhaul of the National Security Agency’s once-secret bulk phone records program in a way that — if approved by Congress — would end the aspect that has most alarmed privacy advocates since its existence was leaked last year, according to senior administration officials.

Under the proposal, they said, the N.S.A. would end its systematic collection of data about Americans’ calling habits. The bulk records would stay in the hands of phone companies, which would not be required to retain the data for any longer than they normally would. And the N.S.A. could obtain specific records only with permission from a judge, using a new kind of  court order.
[…]
The new type of surveillance court orders envisioned by the administration would require phone companies to swiftly provide records in a technologically compatible data format, including making available, on a continuing basis, data about any new calls placed or received after the order is received, the officials said.

They would also allow the government to swiftly seek related records for callers up to two phone calls, or “hops,” removed from the number that has come under suspicion, even if those callers are customers of other companies.

Democrats less willing to compromise on hot topic issues

Republicans vs. Democrats

How is it that Republicans are always blamed for gridlock and partisanship when Democrats are less willing to compromise on some of the biggest issues being debated in the United States? You’ve heard the narrative that’s pushed by President Obama and Democratic lawmakers, taken almost unquestionably by the media.

The only catch is that’s not necessarily true. In a recent poll, CBS News and The New York Times asked Republicans and Democrats if they would consider voting for a candidate who didn’t share their views on issues like gay marriage and global warming. The results, well, contradict everything we’ve been told:

On the issue of global warming, 56 percent of Republican respondents said they would consider voting for a candidate that did not reflect their views on that issue. Only 44 percent of Democratic respondents said the same. On same-sex marriage, 47 percent of Republicans said that they would support a candidate whose views did not mirror their own. 43 percent of Democrats agreed.

On increasing the federal minimum wage, 59 percent of Republicans said they would consider supporting the candidate who does not reflect their views. 45 percent of Democrats would do the same. Finally, on the issue of abortion rights, Republicans again proved to be more flexible than Democrats. 42 percent of GOP voters said they would vote for a candidate who does not comport with their preferences on that issue. Only 36 percent of Democrats agreed.

NY Times backs IRS’s anti-political speech rules

The New York Times’ editorial board — packed with purported journalists who make their living under the protections of the First Amendment — is strongly backing the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service’s proposed rules that would limit nonprofit groups from engaging in debates over public policy:

The problem of secret money began in 2010, with the loosening of rules that was prompted in part by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Political operatives like Karl Rove realized that “social welfare” groups were allowed by the tax code to accept unlimited donations that did not have to be disclosed. They could then use that money to run political attack ads. Though the tax code says the groups, known as 501(c)(4)s, could not be engaged primarily in political activity and still keep their tax exemption, that was easy enough to get around by claiming the ads had some kind of civic purpose.

By the 2012 election, these groups were spending $300 million and were often the dominant voice in major races. The Koch brothers, in particular, got around the tax code provision by moving tens of millions among a huge number of nonprofits so that it was almost impossible to determine the purpose of each group, let alone who the donors were.

KS Senate: Pat Roberts’ residency comes into question

Pat Roberts

Facing insurgent conservative primary opposition, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is trying to downplay a story from The New York Times in which he acknowledged that “he did not have a home of his own in Kansas,” the state he represents in Washington.

“The house on a country club golf course that he lists as his voting address belongs to two longtime supporters and donors — C. Duane and Phyllis Ross — and he says he stays with them when he is in the area,” wrote Jonathan Martin at The Times. “He established his voting address there the day before his challenger in the August primary, Milton Wolf, announced his candidacy last fall, arguing that Mr. Roberts was out of touch with his High Plains roots.”

Roberts told Martin that he has “full access to the recliner,” before adding that “[n]oboday knows the state better than I do.”

Roberts is facing a conservative primary opponent, Milton Wolf, a doctor and President Barack Obama’s cousin. The insurgent conservative is running on an anti-Obamacare, limited government platform. He has painted Roberts as part of the Washington establishment, telling Republican primary voters that the senator is out of touch with Kansasans.

Wolf has been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, RedState, and the Republican Liberty Caucus.

NY Times: 2.5 million fewer full-time jobs is totes cool

It seems that The New York Times is pulling directly from White House talking points about Obamacare. In response to the devastating CBO budget report released yesterday, the paper’s editorial board says that 2.5 million fewer full-time workers in the labor force by 2024 is actually a good thing (emphasis added):

The Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by 2.5 million over the next decade. That is mostly a good thing, a liberating result of the law. Of course, Republicans immediately tried to brand the findings as “devastating” and stark evidence of President Obama’s health care reform as a failure and a job killer. It is no such thing.
[…]
The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage. Workers can seek positions they are most qualified for and will no longer need to feel locked into a job they don’t like because they need insurance for themselves or their families. It is hard to view this as any kind of disaster.

Uh. What? Obamacare incentivizes people not to work so that they can gain greater subsidies for insurance coverage, thus reducing their productivity. How can that be considered a good thing in the mind of any rational person?

Michael Moore: “Obamacare is awful”

Michael Moore, the far-leftist “documentarian,” penned an editorial at The New York Times on New Year’s Eve in which he marked the first day of insurance coverage for those who purchased plans on the exchanges by declaring that “Obamacare is awful.”

“For many people, the ‘affordable’ part of the Affordable Care Act risks being a cruel joke. The cheapest plan available to a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year in Hartford, Conn., will cost $11,800 in annual premiums,” wrote Moore. “And their deductible will be $12,600. If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year.”

Those comments echo conservative critiques of Obamacare, which generally revolve around the mandates and other requirements of the law that are responsible for raising the cost of health insurance coverage. Insurers have tried to hide the cost of these government-approved health plans by raising deductibles.

Moore also noted that Obamacare is a “pro-insurance-industry plan,” which, again, is a criticism of the law from many conservatives. Andrew Stiles of the National Review, a conservative magazine, explained how insurers collaborated with the Obama Administration to push the law on Americans.

Moore isn’t exactly praising Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. He wants to scrap Obamacare and implement single-payer system, though he refers to it as “universal quality health care.” But that’s a distinction without a difference.


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