Archive for the ‘National’ Category
OUR FOUNDING FATHERS understood that tyranny wasn’t likely to come from a foreign invasion but from the step-by-step erosion of our freedoms by an expanding government. This is what we are facing today. Most people have no conception of the slippery slope we’re on.
Two ominous trends threaten us. One is the monstrous growth of the regulatory state, whereby “independent” agencies, such as the EPA and the FCC, are creating countless rules that carry the force of law. These entities, not our increasingly emasculated Congress, are today’s real lawmakers. More and more they conjure up mandates based on whim and fact-free ideology. And often these diktats are written in vague or ambiguous language that gives bureaucrats oppressive discretionary powers.
Traditional Cabinet departments, such as the Treasury, are also engaging in government by decree. The Treasury recently issued a legally dubious rule to stop so-called inversions, whereby a company changes its headquarters’ mailing address to one outside the U.S. to save on taxes. Bureaucrats rightly calculated that companies wouldn’t undergo the years of uncertainty involved in fighting this decree through our oft slow-as-molasses court system.
Read more by Steve Forbes at Forbes.com
–SNIP– Then disaster struck. We were about 25 miles away from Galesburg, Illinois. Galesburg has good interstate-highway access on I-74 and is a major hub for the BNSF. The town of about 12,000 people had Knox College, a large Maytag factory and warehouse facility, and a factory for Butler Buildings. Thanks to NAFTA, GATT, and, to a much lesser extent, labor unions, Maytag closed down. Butler Buildings was bought out by an Australian concern, which announced that, because of productivity issues at the Galesburg plant, it was to be closed. In a short time, 4,500 decent-paying jobs had been lost. Then firms that depended on business from Maytag and Butler Buildings, or from their employees, folded. Gates Rubber also cut back its workforce. Gary Goddard, the Galesburg city manager, watched as his several decades of work to build up his town evaporated. Many people in my town commuted to Galesburg. People would work full-time in Galesburg, and farm full- or part-time. Now, an economist would say this happens because of inefficiency, and the failure of manufacturing is all part of the “creative destruction” that is an essential engine of capitalism. But what I have seen here in the heartland of the United States is only the destruction; the creation takes place offshore. Making a god of efficiency denigrates the much more important goal of effectiveness. Efficiency (as Peter Drucker writes) is doing the thing right, while effectiveness is doing the right thing. Of course, ideologues firmly believe that effectiveness is purely automatic: Progress is inevitable! But that is not the reality I have seen.
Read more by Steve Berg at ChroniclesMagazine.org
Maybe you heard about the tribute Kevin Durant paid to his mother last week. You probably missed the one he paid to his dad.
Both came during Durant’s acceptance speech after being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Maybe you don’t follow sports; maybe you’ve never heard of Durant; maybe you think a pick and roll is a roadside produce stand. You still should see the video.
–SNIP– The absence of fathers matters.
We have evolved a society wherein we pretend the opposite is true. The disappearance of fathers is now nearly the norm. Almost one in four American children lives in a household without their biological dads. For brown kids, that number stands at about 28%. For black kids, it’s a little better than half.
Mass incarceration and the War on Drugs certainly have played a role in this. But just as surely, a role is also played by the new social more that says it’s OK for a man or a woman to be feckless, for him to wander away because he is immature, selfish and young, for her to have a baby on her own because the clock is ticking and, really, she doesn’t need a man for anything more than sperm. This is the new morality, the new American mind-set.
And we tell ourselves it’s OK, . . .
Read more by Leonard Pitts at JSonline.com
At the beginning of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to close an exploitable loophole in asset forfeiture laws. State and local law enforcement agencies often sought federal “adoption” of seizures in order to route around statutes that dumped assets into general funds or otherwise limited them from directly profiting from these seizures. By partnering with federal agencies, local law enforcement often saw bigger payouts than with strictly local forfeitures.
The loophole closure still had its own loopholes (seizures for “public safety,” various criminal acts), but it did make a small attempt to straighten out some really perverted incentives. But deep down inside, it appears the DOJ isn’t really behind true forfeiture reform. In fact, it seems to be urging local law enforcement to fight these efforts by pointing out just how much money these agencies will “lose” if they can’t buddy up with Uncle Sam.
It’s been a while since I’ve reported on the lawless and barbaric practice of civil asset forfeiture. However, just because it hasn’t been a focus doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Indeed, it appears the same federal agencies that couldn’t find a bank executive they didn’t want to coddle, take particular pleasure in harassing and abusing average Americans generally, and small businesspeople in particular.
Read more at LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
THE PANAMA PAPERS opened yet another window on the global system of financial corruption, showing how political leaders and businesses use shell companies in secrecy havens like the British Virgin Islands and many US states to evade taxes and hide corruption and other crimes. Yet the system of corruption depends on another factor beyond secrecy, one that is perhaps even more important: impunity. Impunity means that the rich and powerful escape from punishment even when their malfeasance is in full view.
Read more by Jeffrey D. Sachs at BostonGlobe.com
Why do liberals hate science?
The Left has long claimed that it has something of a monopoly on scientific expertise. For instance, long before Al Gore started making millions by claiming that anyone who disagreed with his apocalyptic prophecies was “anti-science,” there were the “scientific socialists.” “Social engineer” is now rightly seen as a term of scorn and derision, but it was once a label that progressive eggheads eagerly accepted.
Masking opinions in a white smock is a brilliant, albeit infuriating and shabby, rhetorical tactic. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Science is the language of facts, and when people pretend to be speaking it, they’re not only claiming that their preferences are more than mere opinions, they’re also insinuating that anyone who disagrees is a fool or a zealot for objecting to “settled science.”
Read more by Jonah Goldberg at NationalReview.com
One of the great differences between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives will freely admit that they have an ideology. We’re kind of dorks that way, squabbling over old texts like Dungeons and Dragons geeks, wearing ties with pictures of Adam Smith and Edmund Burke on them.
But mainstream liberals from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama — and the intellectuals and journalists who love them — often assert that they are simply dispassionate slaves to the facts; they are realists, pragmatists, empiricists. Liberals insist that they live right downtown in the “reality-based community,” and if only their Republican opponents weren’t so blinded by ideology and stupidity, then they could work with them.
This has been a theme of Obama’s presidency from the start.
Read more By Jonah Goldberg at The Washington Post
Charles Ortel: ‘This is a charity fraud’
The Wall Street analyst who uncovered financial discrepancies at General Electric before its stock crashed in 2008 claims the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has a number of irregularities in its tax records and could be violating state laws.
Charles Ortel, a longtime financial adviser, said he has spent the past 15 months digging into the Clinton Foundation’s public records, federal and state-level tax filings, and donor disclosures. That includes records from the foundation’s many offshoots—including the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Clinton Global Initiative—as well as its foreign subsidiaries.
According to Ortel’s reports, the contribution disclosures from the Clinton Foundation don’t match up with individual donors’ records. He also argued that the foundation is not in compliance with some state laws regarding fundraising registration, disclosure requirements, and auditing rules.
Read more by Alana Goodman at FreeBeacon.com