Today in Liberty

Today in Liberty: Join Amash’s Rebel Alliance, Celebrate Human Achievement

“Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it.” — Will Rogers

— Why buy coverage when you don’t have to?: Serious question. Obamacare’s individual mandate is meaningless, at least for the first two years. So meaningless in fact that Americans can escape it by claiming virtually any hardship. “Filed for bankruptcy in the past six months? Had medical bills you couldn’t pay in the past two years? Been a victim of domestic violence? Received a shut-off notice from a utility company? If you don’t want to buy insurance under Obamacare, you don’t have to. No penalty,” Politico explains. “The individual mandate may be the most despised part of Obamacare, but the reality is that it’s much smaller than people think. It’s riddled with exemptions, hardships and other loopholes that allow millions of people off the hook for enrollment by March 31.”

— Keep Calm and Join the Rebellion: Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-MI) end of quarter money bomb began this morning. As of 7:15 am, he’s already raised $6,021.14. Amash is facing an establishment-backed primary challenger. “We’ll fight their army of starched collars and pinstripe suits with a different type of army — the grassroots,” the campaign says via Facebook. “The great news is that we far outnumber them. For every $1,000 check a lobbyist can cut to Brian Ellis, I’m confident there are 100 grassroots supporters who can send Justin $35 at www.justinamash.com.

Today in Liberty: Republicans should brace for a bitter fight in 2014, Obama ups ante against Kony

“Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes — and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?” — Barry Goldwater

— What’s to come for Republicans: Erick Erickson has some wise words over at RedState this morning about what Republican-base voters should expect from Democrats, who are staring down potentially heavy losses this year. “What the Democrats will do to offset their turnout operation is voter suppression efforts. They will use every story possible to embarrass Republicans. Attacks on the Republican base; mischaracterization of statements; taking remarks out of context; highlighting unknown Republicans at the local, county, and state level who’ve said something that can be spun — you name it, the Democrats will do it,” wrote Erickson. “They will abandon the case for themselves and instead try to keep Republicans at home or embarrass them into voting for a Democrat. You will see the full media bias as national news networks, newspapers, and web sites focus on random local Republican politicians demanding to know if Candidates X, Y, and Z support that person’s remarks.”

Today in Liberty: CNN stoops to a new low, our insurance salesman-in-chief

“The proverb warns that ‘You should not bite the hand that feeds you.’ But maybe you should if it prevents you from feeding yourself.” — Thomas Szasz

— CNN apparently now run by Alex Jones: CNN has been following the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 almost nonstop for several days now, seeing it as ratings gold. But the cable network’s coverage, which had already jumped the shark, fell to a new low last night when host Don Lemon asked panelists “is it preposterous” to think a black hole caused the plane to crash? CNN is still relevant, they said. Give it a chance, they said. It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

— Insurance Salesman-in-Chief: The presidency used to be considered a prestigious office with heavy influence and gravitas. But the influence of the office has been reduced to appearances on radio and television talk shows as President Obama tries to sell his healthcare law to a skeptical public, the latest of which will be a live interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The appearances are targeted to reach a certain audience and it’s probably a smart strategy to get a message to the crowd they’re trying to reach. At the same time, however, it’s just sad to see a president reduced to being a cheap insurance salesman. Well, that and a college basketball expert.

Today in Liberty: NSA watchdog left in dark about spying, Dem pundits see writing on the wall

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” — P.J. O’Rourke

— House GOP Obamacare alternative still missing: Republicans have made Obamacare repeal a central part of their campaign platform, but they’ve yet to coalesce around a single set of specific proposals to pitch to voters, even though there’s been a lot of talk about rolling out a plan this year. “Republicans aren’t even convinced they will find consensus on any specific set of new health care bills. The ideas they’re discussing — the ability to buy insurance across state lines, wider use of health savings accounts and cutting federal regulations — are the same principles they have kicked around since 2009,” wrote John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman. “But the party is not much closer to finding a proposal — or set of proposals — that would garner enough Republican support to pass the House.”

— Who’s watching the watchers?: The Defense Department’s internal watchdog was left in the dark about the NSA’s most controversial domestic surveillance program. “The bulk of that is in reviews that we have done, and in the collaborative work that we have done with the NSA IG,” Anthony Thomas, who is charged with oversight over the NSA, told The Guardian. “From my own personal knowledge, those programs, in and of themselves, I was not personally aware.” Oh, and he’s not investigating the NSA over the programs either, despite the ongoing controversy. That’s comforting.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul leads GOP field, NRA files brief against NSA spying

“A limited state with free economic systems is the soil where the liberty tree blossoms.” — Orrin Woodward

— The most transparent administration ever: Remember that promise? Yeah, about that. “More often than ever, the administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy,” the Associated Press reports. “The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that halfway through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records. In category after category - except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees - the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.”

Today in Liberty: Facebook CEO expressed NSA frustrations to Obama, CFOs say minimum wage hike would curb hiring

“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” — Edmund Burke

— Pen and Phone: In its latest executive action, the Obama administration has decided to reverse cuts to Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies that it previously said would be trimmed because of the Budget Control Act, better known as the sequester. “Last year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the subsidies would face a roughly 7 percent cut under sequestration,” The Hill reports. “Budget officials changed that in their latest report, removing the subsides from a list of programs the sequester will hit.” Presumably, the administration will have to cut elsewhere in the budget to make up for preserving these subsidies.

Today in Liberty: #LibertyKaraoke raises $9,000 for Massie, Democrat says Constitution is 400 years old

Today in Liberty is a daily round up of recent political news and other interesting stories presented with liberty-minded commentary. We frequently keep tabs on liberty-minded politicians and candidates in these updates. We also inject some humor on occasion. Click here to receive Today in Liberty every morning via email.

— Establishment strikes at Amash: Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-MI) primary challenger, Brian Ellis, released the first ad of his fledging campaign, falsely attacking Amash for supporting “gender-selection abortion.” Amash’s campaign says that the measure in question “would not have made a single abortion illegal,” rather his spokesman said that it “would have created a thought-crime.” Amash has a 100% rating from the National Right to Life for the current session. Politico recently reported that donors are abandoning Ellis’s campaign, so take the ad for what it is: desperation.

Today in Liberty: Republicans win in FL-13, Obama’s approval rating hits new low

“There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.” — Edward Snowden

— Republicans hold on to FL-13: Though most political analysts had given Democrats a slight edge in the special election, David Jolly (R-FL) defeated Alex Sink (D-FL) last night in Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District. This was the race Roll Call said that “Democrats can’t afford to lose.” Sink outraised and outspent Jolly. Even when outside groups are accounted for, Sink had an advantage. While it’s true that the GOP had control of the district for many years, it had been trending Democratic. President Obama, for example, won FL-13 in 2008 and 2012. Most Republicans are saying that this race was a referendum on Obamacare, and they’re right. That’s where Jolly staked his claim, while Sink wanted to “fix” the law. Though a close race, as every suspected it would be, voters in FL-13 rejected Obamacare. We’ll have more on the 2014 implications a little later today.

Today in Liberty: Some Dems missing from “talkathon,” election day in FL-13

“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” — Ayn Rand

— Oh, Fox News, STAAAAAHP: Another morning, another anti-Edward Snowden rant on Fox and Friends. “Edward Snowden is a terrible person, the worst in the world. Here’s a clip of Charles Krauthammer agreeing with me.” Yeah, there are some legit complaints about Snowden, like his seeking asylum from Russia, not exactly a bastion of liberty, but the guy tried to handle things the right way by taking his concerns about the NSA’s surveillance programs to his superiors. They didn’t listen, so he went to the media. In our minds, Snowden is more a hero than anything else for exposing programs that ignore the protections guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment. We also believe that he’s raised some other excellent points about the federal government wasting its resources. But neo-cons are gonna neo-con, and don’t you dare ever question them.

Today in Liberty: Sanctions won’t hurt Russia, Senate Dems to push climate change

“There is a great and tumultuous battle underway for the future, not of the Republican Party, but the future of the entire country. The question is, will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion, or will we be sunshine patriots retreating under adverse fire?”Rand Paul

— Sanctions against Russia won’t work: Steve Chapman says that the push for sanctions against Russia is an exercise in futility, given that sanctions often don’t work. Rather, he explains, Russia could be its own worst enemy. “[O]ur best hope is that he bites off more than he can chew. The invasion of Afghanistan looked like a success at the outset, but it spawned a fierce insurgency that cost thousands of Soviet lives, forced a humiliating retreat and helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union. The farther Putin pushes and the longer he stays the more likely this occupation will end in tears,” writes Steve Chapman at Reason. “There is a very slim possibility that Western economic sanctions will undo his ambitions in Ukraine. There is a better chance that those ambitions will undo themselves.”


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