Today in Liberty

Today in Liberty: NSA collecting photos for facial recognition, Senate GOP targets Obama EPA’s anti-coal regulations

“We all know from our own experience that a hallmark of bureaucracy is the waiting list. Waiting lists at the post office and the DMV are merely annoying and inconvenient. Waiting lists at our doctor’s offices and hospitals can be fatal.” — Congressman Tom McClintock

Today in Liberty: Clinton dismisses Benghazi as a “political slugfest,” Amash leads establishment challenger by 30 points

“Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.” — Thomas Jefferson

— Hillary Clinton won’t participate in Benghazi “political slugfest”: The former Secretary of State is basically daring the Select Committee on Benghazi to subpoena her as a witness. Clinton dedicated an entire chapter in her forthcoming book, Hard Choices, to the 2012 terrorist attack. “I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country,” Clinton writes in her new book, according to Politico. “Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.” Because answers are so overrated. House Democrats are participating in the select committee at the urging of Clinton allies to insulate her from attacks that could hurt a 2016 presidential bid.

Today in Liberty: Obama ‘extremely troubled’ by VA report, economy contracted in 1Q, Snowden speaks about NSA power

“Every once in a while, somebody has to get the bureaucracy by the neck and shake it loose and say ‘stop doing what you’re doing.’” — Ronald Reagan

Today in Liberty: Obama to escalate U.S. intervention against Syria, Labor unions want employers to pick up Obamacare costs

“The role of government is to strengthen our freedom — not deny it.” — Margaret Thatcher

— NSA whistleblower says he was trained as a spy: NBC News is teasing its interview with Edward Snowden with a clip of the NSA whistleblower explaining that he wasn’t simply a low-level hacker and technical analyst. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas — pretending to work in a job that I’m not — and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” Snowden told Brian Williams. “So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.” Snowden was employed by Booz Allen, a defense and intelligence contractor, when he obtained documents and information about the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, but he also worked directly for the CIA. The Snowden interview, his first with an American television network, will air tonight on NBC at 10 pm.

Today in Liberty: Amateur hour at the Obama White House, Senate Republicans pushing for a new “Contract with America”

“I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light.” — Edward Snowden

Today in Liberty: Democrats sticking by Obama on the VA scandal, fight over NSA spying moves to the Senate

“When I mentioned monetary policy, the kids started cheering. Then a small group chanted, ‘End the Fed! End the Fed!’ The whole crowd took up the call. Many held up burning dollar bills, as if to say to the central bank, you have done enough damage to the American people, our future, and to the world: your time is up. People know. Even people aged 18-21. But, they need someone to put it into words.”Ron Paul

— Senate Democrats quiet on VA secretary’s future: It’s not surprising that most Democrats have chosen to keep quiet about VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, ostensibly endorsing President Obama’s inaction. What is surprising, however, is that vulnerable Senate Democrats, with their political careers and control of the chamber on the line, are towing the party line. “As of Thursday afternoon, not a single Democratic senator had called for Shinseki’s resignation,” Alexander Bolton writes at The Hill. “And Senate Democrats have been slow to embrace House-passed legislation that would give Shinseki the authority to fire senior executives.” Now, Senate Democrats have said that there should be accountability and called for an investigation into the wait times that have led to the deaths of 40 veterans, but the problems at the VA aren’t new, they’ve been around for a while, and this was something President Obama pledged to address when he ran in 2008, and nothing has been done.

Today in Liberty: Obama’s lackluster response to VA scandal, House to vote on a severely weakened USA Freedom Act

“The government was set to protect man from criminals — and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government.” — Ayn Rand

— VA scandal isn’t going away: President Barack Obama finally spoke about the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but didn’t do much other than continue to express outrage on the reports of the fraudulent wait times and mismanagement at VA hospitals. He’s standing behind VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, at least for now, as Democrats join Republicans calling for his dismissal. Unlike the IRS scandal and Benghazi, the problems at the VA and the deaths of 40 veterans aren’t something that the White House can blame on partisanship and try to sweep under the rug. The outrage is bipartisan, and only growing louder. And perhaps the most concerning thing about the sordid mess is that President Obama and the White House treats it as though it’s an unproven allegation.

Today in Liberty: Let’s Stand With Rand against drone strikes, Harry Reid threatens to go nuclear again

“People must fight for something that they want to achieve, not simply reject an evil, however bad it may be.” - Ludwig von Mises

— McConnell wins renomination in Kentucky: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took 60.2 percent of the vote over conservative primary challenger Matt Bevin. “The tough race is behind us; it’s time to unite,” McConnell said last night. “To my opponent’s supporters, I hope you will join me in the months ahead and know that your fight is my fight.” Conservative groups that backed Bevin got behind McConnell before he uttered those words. FreedomWorks, for example, sent a statement calling for unity that landed in our inbox at 7:31 pm, not long after the media called the race for McConnell and before he gave his remarks. “Matt Bevin’s principled challenge helped Senator McConnell rediscover his conservative principles come November,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said. “Competition always breeds stronger candidates, and there is an improved conservative candidate heading into the general election as a result.” Likewise, Erick Erickson, editor of RedState, tweeted this before polls in Kentucky closed.

Today in Liberty: Democrats seek election strategy from an unpopular president, California Senate passes anti-NSA bill

“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.” — Thomas B. Reed

— Happy Primary Day: Voters in six states, including Georgia and Kentucky, will head to the polls to cast their votes in party primaries. The race for the Republican nomination in Georgia will be one of the most-watched of the night. While polls show three candidates (David Perdue, Jack Kingston, and Karen Handel) are eyeing two runoff slots, low voter turnout could turn things upside down. In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is expected to easily win renomination. Republicans in Oregon are expected to nominate Monica Wehby to take on Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in what appears to be a competitive race. That is is Wehby’s personal issues don’t knock her out of contention.

Today in Liberty: NSA reform at front and center of American politics, GOP Senate candidates won’t back McConnell

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” —  Robert A. Heinlein

— House could take up the USA FREEDOM Act this week: The Washington Examiner reports this morning that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has “tentatively placed” the USA FREEDOM Act on the calendar for consideration this week. The weekly floor schedule notes that the bill is “subject to a rule,” which means that amendments could be limited and vetted by the House Rules Committee in advance. The USA FREEDOM Act is the best of the reform proposals introduced in recent weeks. Normally we’d use the “it’s happening” gif to express our glee, but we have a story about the latest developments on this issue later today that is causing us to hold back.

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