Monday, August 25, 2014

Progressives' War on the Economy

Several recent articles illustrate the painful economic consequences of liberal-progressive rule. Contrast these against the final article below showing the economy of Texas under conservative rule.

Real Household Incomes Fall 5.9% Under Obama — "From this analysis, Americans have lost real income gains during an economic recovery for the first time in American history."

ObamaCare Slows Hiring, Raises Prices in 5 States: Fed Survey — "In a Philadelphia Fed survey of regional manufacturers out Thursday, 18% said they employ fewer workers due to the Affordable Care Act than they would in its absence. Just 3% say employment levels are higher as a result. Further, 18% said part-timers make up a greater share of workers due to ObamaCare ... just 1.5% said they've scaled back part-time work in response."

Government Dependency in America Nears Tipping Point -- "New data on federal public assistance programs show we've reached an ignominious milestone: More than 100 million Americans are getting some form of 'means-tested' welfare assistance..." [chart right].

Now consider this from AEIdeas:

Chart of the Day: Texas Jobs — "The chart tells a powerful and important story about the strength of the Texas economy, which has experienced an employment increase of more than 1.3 million workers since late 2007. In contrast, civilian employment in the other 49 states is still almost 1.3 million jobs below the December 2007 level!"

Donatelli: What Part of Constitution Do Liberals Still Support?

"[W]hat is most radically different about the Obama liberals’ interpretation of the Constitution is its neutering of the Bill of Rights," writes Frank Donatelli. "To be sure, liberals never had much good to say about the Second, Ninth and 10th Amendments, but now they’re striking at other amendments, even those they once revered."

Donatelli highlights several examples of liberals' recent abandonment of the Fifth and (perhaps most surprisingly) First Amendment rights as well.
Ironically, the only constitutional provision to limit government power that liberals still champion is the right of “privacy,” which of course is found nowhere in the Constitution.

In recent years, many Democrats have sought to rebrand “liberalism” and “progressivism.” This is not just a cosmetic name change. Liberals of a generation ago accepted limits on government action, especially those limits contained in the Bill of Rights. Progressives, by contrast, have always found limits on their power to be inconvenient. ...  If progressive government in this administration has taught us anything, it is that liberties that run counter to great progressive ambitions are in serious danger.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Social Media: Faster Way to Spread Evil and Good

Alex Byers @ Politico makes an interesting case that "social media was the kerosene that turned fire in Ferguson into a national blaze." Why?  Because “social networks like Twitter highlight tensions in the moment rather than calm them ... On the ground, social networks have been a key part of how protesters have organized and established a support system. It’s also given a digital megaphone to those who have taken a leading role in the demonstrations…”

Added to ISIL’s video of journalist James Foley’s beheading and Jihadists' successful use of new media to organize globally, it’s a reminder that technology has merely given us a newer, more rapid communications system which, like communications systems of old, can be used to spread evil as well as good.  The question is whether its great speed will diminish, rather than strengthen, our individual and collective capacity for critical thought and problem solving.

See #Ferguson: Social Media More Spark Than Solution

How Relationships Today Affect Success of Marriages Later

"A new study shows that the more relationships you've had prior to marriage, the less likely you'll have a good marriage," writes Mollie Hemingway, reporting on a new study from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

She highlights findings in the study that point to the kinds of sound pre-marital decisions made today can improve our chances of marital quality and success. Read more in What You Do Before you Say 'I Do' Matters for Marriage Happiness.

So We Went Naked for Nothing?!?

"A team of security researchers from the University of San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins plans to reveal their own results from months of testing [the] same model of scanner"—TSA's Rapiscan full-body x-ray scanner—that made us virtually naked to TSA at airports for years, reports

"Not only did [researchers] find that [a] weapon-hiding tactic worked; they also found that they could pull off a disturbing list of other possible tricks, such as using teflon tape to conceal weapons against someone's spine, installing malware on the scanner's console that spoofed scans, or simply molding plastic explosives around a person's body to make it nearly indistinguishable from flesh in the machine's images..."

Read the rest to find out how costly the security illusion was and where these scanners are still being used.

Liberty with Virtue or Vice

Rachel Lu has a thought-provoking article on the much blogged-about “libertarian moment.” She examines the differences between the “libertine libertarian” perspective (a 'vice' focused liberty leading to James Poulos’s pink police state) and “conventional libertarian” perspective (a 'virtue' focused liberty leading to smaller government undergirded by stronger family, community, and economic systems), and what’s at stake for Millennials going forward.

In If Millennials Want Liberty, They Need Virtue, Too, the author concludes:
“I do not believe this grim dystopia is inevitable. Human cultures are remarkably dynamic, and ours has ‘good bones’; we still have a chance to show young Americans that there are better alternatives than the tired non-solutions of the progressive Left. But we have to understand that the culture wars and the size-of-government wars are connected on a deep level. If we can’t persuade the young to embrace some version of conventional morals, promises of prosperity and greater autonomy will not save our Republic. …

“The good news is that Millennials, although largely dismissive of conventional morality, have only the vaguest notion of what they are rejecting. A relatively superficial makeover may be enough to make old ideas seem exciting and new. But the project is most likely to succeed if we can seize the libertarian moment by re-committing ourselves to the fusionist compromise. Libertarians and social conservatives do need each other, and not only for the purposes of building a winning coalition. We need each other in order to present a complete and satisfying conservative vision.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Judge Demands Answers from IRS After Contradictory Testimony

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (AP)
"U.S. District court Judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to come up with new answers after IRS employees contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lois Lerner's hard drive," reports the Daily Caller.
Sullivan ruled that “the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014″ on four issues: the IRS’ attempted recovery of Lerner’s lost emails after her computer allegedly crashed, bar codes that could have been on the hard drive, IRS policies on hard drive destruction, and information about an outside vendor who worked on IRS hard drives.

Recent documents from nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS, which Sullivan is presiding over, showed that IRS technology officials contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lerner’s hard drive.

Aaron Signor, an IRS technician that looked at Lerner’s hard drive in June 2011, said in IRS court filings that he saw no damage to the drive before sending it off to another IRS technician, leading some in the media to suggest that the lost emails scandal is basically over. But Signor’s statement, issued in response to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, does not jibe with sworn congressional testimony.

Sullivan's order seems to have been motivated by the obvious contradiction. 
See also Judge Orders IRS to Turn Over More Info on Lois Lerner Emails.