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[VIDEO] How the Federal Government Is Killing Free Speech on Campus 

“The vocal minority of students who actually want censorship—who want to be protected from ideas they don’t like—they’ve always existed,” says Reason associate editor Robby Soave. “But in the last five years they have gained institutional power on these campuses.”

pro-censorship

From microaggressions and trigger warnings, to the shouting down and assault of controversial speakers, the climate on American college campuses have shifted sharply away from the classical understanding of free speech and inquiry that were once the bedrock of higher education.

campus-censorship

Soave, who reports on political correctness and on college campuses for Reason, sat down with Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch at Reason Weekend, the annual event hosted by the Reason Foundation, to talk about the state of free speech on American colleges and universities.

Edited by Alex Manning. Camera by Paul Detrick and Todd Kranin

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Obama Presidency to End with $20 Trillion National Debt 

Dave Boyer reports: When President Obama signs into law the new two-year budget deal Monday, his action will bring into sharper focus a part of his legacy that he doesn’t like to talk about: He is the $20 trillion man.

“The Boehner-Obama spending agreement would allow for unlimited borrowing by the Treasury until March 2017. This deal piles on billions of dollars to the national debt by increasing spending over the next three years and then not paying for it for a decade — with half of the offsets not occurring until 2025.”

— Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation

Mr. Obama’s spending agreement with Congress will suspend the nation’s debt limit and allow the Treasury to borrow another $1.5 trillion or so by the end of his presidency in 2017. Added to the current total national debt of more than $18.15 trillion, the red ink will likely be crowding the $20 trillion mark right around the time Mr. Obama leaves the White House.

“Of this $154 billion, about $78 billion is paid for honestly. The remaining $56 billion of the legislation — mostly the war spending increase and interest costs — is not paid for at all.”

When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.

Joker-billionaire-burning-money

“When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.”

“Congress and the president have just agreed to undo one of the only successful fiscal restraint mechanisms in a generation,” said Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union. “The progress on reducing spending and the deficit has just become much more problematic.”

“We will be raising the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion. We will be giving President Obama a free pass to borrow as much money as he can borrow in the last year of his office. No limit, no dollar limit. Here you go, President Obama. Spend what you want.”

— Sen. Rand Paul

Some budget analysts scoff at the claim made by the administration and by House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, that the budget agreement’s $112 billion in spending increases is fully funded by cuts elsewhere. Mr. Boehner left Congress last week.

[Read the full text here, at the Washington Times]

“The Boehner-Obama spending agreement would allow for unlimited borrowing by the Treasury until March 2017,” said Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. “This deal piles on billions of dollars to the national debt by increasing spending over the next three years and then not paying for it for a decade — with half of the offsets not occurring until 2025.” Read the rest of this entry »


New Kids on the Block: Heritage Foundation News Site ‘Daily Signal’ to Launch in June

Photograph by Matt Eich for Bloomberg Businessweek Bluey, Lysaught, and Trinko at the Daily Signal headquarters

Photograph by Matt Eich for Bloomberg Businessweek
Bluey, Lysaught, and Trinko at the Daily Signal headquarters

For Businessweek writes: Last year the conservative Heritage Foundation had more influence on the direction of the Republican Party than just about anyone else—and not necessarily for the better. Over the summer, the conservative think tank’s president, former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, teamed up with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other lawmakers on a cross-country tour to convince party activists, and eventually GOP leaders, that they could stop Obamacare by refusing to fund it.

 “We came to the realization that the mainstream media had really abdicated the responsibility to do the news and do it well.”

DeMint forced a showdown because he wanted Republicans to unify around his vision of an unapologetic hardline conservatism—a vision he thinks most Americans will support if given the chance. That led to a government shutdown, a collapse of conservative will, and plenty of angry recriminations from fellow Republicans.

Heritage, run by former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), hopes a sleeker, more mobile-friendly design will help the site appeal beyond the conservative demographic catered to by sites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller.

Heritage, run by former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), hopes a sleeker, more mobile-friendly design will help the site appeal beyond the conservative demographic catered to by sites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller.

“We plan to do political and policy news, not with a conservative bent, but just true, straight-down-the-middle journalism.”

— Geoffrey Lysaught

Now Heritage has a new plan to exert its influence and, its leaders hope, win converts to the cause. On June 3 it will begin publishing the Daily Signal, a new digital news site whose primary focus will be straight reporting. “We came to the realization that the mainstream media had really abdicated the responsibility to do the news and do it well,” says Geoffrey Lysaught, vice president of strategic communications at the Heritage Foundation, who will also serve as publisher. The site aims to rectify the conservative perception that mainstream news slants to the left. “We plan to do political and policy news,” says Lysaught, “not with a conservative bent, but just true, straight-down-the-middle journalism.”

How does this help Heritage? The Daily Signal will also publish an opinion section aimed at a younger audience that isn’t thumbing through the editorial pages of theWall Street Journal. Heritage is betting that these readers, attracted to the Daily Signal’s news, will find themselves persuaded by the conservative commentary and analysis that will draw on the think tank’s scholars and researchers. Read the rest of this entry »


Power to the People: Tea Party’s grassroots momentum smashes the business lobby’s monopoly on GOP fundraising

K-Street takes a backseat as a new movement disrupts traditional big business fundraising authority. Will corporate interests seeking to influence elections switch brands and align with Democrats?

The election of Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul indicated the end of K Street's stronghold on the GOP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

The election of Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul indicated the end of K Street’s stronghold on the GOP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

TIMOTHY P. CARNEY writes: How did the Republican Party become so splintered and so infused with hard-line conservatives?

Don’t blame redistricting. Don’t chalk it up to anti-Obama fervor.

Republicans have become an unruly bunch of scorched-earth conservatives because the Tea Party smashed the business lobby’s monopoly on GOP fundraising.

Here’s a story of where the GOP used to be:

Back in 2006, I asked a couple of conservative Republican congressmen to give blurbs for my book on corporate welfare. “My boss loves the book,” one of their top aides said, “but we’re not going to put his name on it.” Why not, I asked. “Who do you think funds his campaigns?” she whispered. “It’s not the Family Research Council.”

In short, the conservative congressman was happy to fight the good fight, but he wasn’t willing to upset Big Business because that’s where the checks came from — and no checks meant no re-election.

Back then, to raise money, Republicans had to go to K Street.
Call your former chief of staff who was now at a lobbying firm, have him host a fundraiser. Your ex-aide would show up with colleagues carrying $2,500 checks and with corporate clients handing over $5,000 checks from their political action committees.

Although K Street was the road to campaign cash, the party leadership was often the path to K Street. This helps explain the power dynamic in the pre-Tea Party GOP. Read the rest of this entry »


Republicans and Democrats are treating the 2012 election like a mandate. Are they both wrong?

A scene from the 1995 government shutdown. (Charles Tasnadi, File/Associated Press)

A scene from the 1995 government shutdown. (Charles Tasnadi, File/Associated Press)

Political scientist Gabriel Lenz‘s theory — or findings — make me wary. At first glance, I absolutely don’t agree. According to Lenz, it’s not the policy agenda, or ideology, or even political identity of the candidate that voters rally around. It’s the candidate and brand that motivates the voting choice, and loyalty. The voters accommodate the rest, after that, even if they don’t agree with the politics, or policy, they stick to first. True? I doubt it. (disclaimer, my oversimplification or even mischaracterization of Lenz’s work isn’t meant to mislead, my too-brief exposure to his idea leaves me under-qualified to really explain it)

Do voters switch party affiliation–switch brands–so casually? Not identifying with any set of values or approach to governing, simply following the brand and ‘leadership’ style they like better? Regardless of whether the candidate is Republican, Democrat, Liberal, or Conservative, really? Name one person–one voter–you know that fits this rudderless description. I can’t think of one.

Based on observation, the exact opposite appears to be true the overwhelming majority of the time. Excluding voters who identify as Independents (swing voters, of which there’s only a relatively narrow band) most voters will try to elect candidates they don’t even like that much, or identify with, in order to push back against the political party they hate–the opposing party. Or to rally behind the party they most identify with. Voters stubbornly identify with an ideology, a “policy position”, even when it’s irrational, contradictory, or self-defeating, and often vote the policy party line, out of sheer bull-headed habit. Voters don’t freely slide back and forth between being Conservative, or Liberal, depending on the candidates’ personal leadership style, temperament, character, or media image.

Or do they?

Amazon description of Lenz’s book:

In a democracy, we generally assume that voters know the policies they prefer and elect like-minded officials who are responsible for carrying them out. We also assume that voters consider candidates’ competence, honesty, and other performance-related traits. But does this actually happen? Do voters consider candidates’ policy positions when deciding for whom to vote? And how do politicians’ performances in office factor into the voting decision?

And goes on to suggest, policy doesn’t matter to voters. Not as much as we’ve been led to believe. Again, I’m not convinced. I’ll have to explore more of Lenz‘s argument, to see if it holds up. But if it does hold up, it could mean most of us are drastically misreading how voters think and respond. And most of the elected officials in Washington are reading them wrong, too. When Republican leaders, or Democrat leaders, claim to have a mandate, based on the outcome of a recent election, and use this perceived mandate like a weapon, believing it gives them added authority or legitimacy, they could be completely, utterly, suicidally, spectacularly wrong.

What do you think?

The Washington Post‘s John Sides posted an article exploring this, I’ll let him explain it better:

John Sides reports: The seemingly imminent government shutdown has brought out a familiar argument from both Democrats and Republicans: “The last election proves we’re right.” Democrats think Obama’s victory in 2012 settled issues like health-care reform.  Jonathan Chait sums up this view when describing congressional Republicans’ proposed conditions for raising the debt ceiling:

The fact that a major party could even propose anything like this is a display of astonishing contempt for democratic norms. Republicans ran on this plan and lost by 5 million votes.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans see the election differently.  Only a week after the election, Paul Ryan dismissed the idea of that Obama got any mandate, noting that Republicans were returned to the House as well.  More recently, former Sen. Jim DeMint took an even stronger view.  As Joshua Green describes it:

DeMint, Cruz, and all those trying to defund Obamacare drew precisely the opposite lesson from the last election than just about everyone else did. “Republicans were told, ‘Don’t do anything. Don’t be the issue. Don’t stand for anything. Make it about Obama,’ ” DeMint says. “What happened in 2012 was that there was a void of any inspiration, any attempt to lead. It certainly wasn’t because the party was too conservative—it was because there was no conservative leadership at all!”

Both sides are wrong.  Elections don’t convey policy mandates because most voters don’t vote on policy.  Instead, they vote based on longstanding loyalties to one party or the other.  As political scientist Gabriel Lenz shows, rather than using policy to choose a candidate, voters more often choose the candidate first, and then mold their policy views to fit those of the candidate they support.  Party comes before policy. Read the rest of this entry »


The Movement Strikes Back

Texas CruzRobert Costa writes: As the deadline to fund the federal government nears, Republican leaders are struggling mightily to come up with legislation that can pass the House. Over the weekend, leadership staffers fired off anxious e-mails and uneasy veteran House members exchanged calls. Both camps fear that a shutdown is increasingly likely — and they blame the conservative movement’s cottage industry of pressure groups.

But these organizations, ensconced in Northern Virginia office parks and elsewhere, aren’t worried about the establishment’s ire. In fact, they welcome it. Business has boomed since the push to defund Obamacare caught on. Conservative activists are lighting up social media, donations are pouring in, and e-mail lists are growing. Read the rest of this entry »


Carville: Ted Cruz Most Talented, Fearless Republican Politician I’ve Seen in 30 Years

I saw this live on Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos broadcast, and it got my attention. Carville’s observation is surprising only in how solitary and contrary it is, coming from Democratic party figure. Carville’s appearance is revealing. He’s one of the few in this camp that isn’t missing the bigger picture. He’s saying what is already obvious to non-Democrats. Yes, Cruz is a fascinating and dangerous guy. He has the potential to be a powerful campaigner, standard-bearer, and persuasive communicator, it’s true. Cruz is absolutely fearless. Cruz’s willingness to leap ahead of rank, step on toes, pick fights, and make people uncomfortable isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. 

There’s a reason Cruz is eager to debate his opponents, and his opponents are eager to change the subject. It’s Cruz’s strength. He may look like everyone’s negative stereotype of a cocky backwoods Texas Junior politician, but he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve. Cruz is a weaponized Ivy Leaguer, a Harvard Debate Champion. Mark my words, in a few years, Cruz will have a collection of trophies: the heads of slain opponents mounted above his fireplace.

While most of Cruz’s Democrat opponents (and some Republicans, too) are busy trying to dismiss Cruz, brand him as annoying and irrelevant, Carville’s the first guy to actually get it.

It’s uneasy, seeing praise like this from the opposing camp, it makes me wonder what Carville’s motive is. Carville is a peculiar guy who rarely censors himself.  While Carville has a habit of speaking his mind–still–I see it as a warning. Beware of talk show stunts like this.  Perhaps it’s harmless straight talk, and there’s no hidden agenda here. But I wouldn’t bet on it.  —  the Butcher

ABCCarville

VIDEO LINK  (I tried embedding it, but had to settle for an outbound link)

Via Breitbart.com

JAMES CARVILLE: I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I’ve seen in the last 30 years. I further think that he’s going to run for president and he is going to create something. I’m not sitting here saying he’s going to win, and I think Senator DeMint is right. I’ve listened to excerpts of his speech in South Carolina. He touches every button, and this guy has no fear. He just keeps plowing ahead. And he is going to be something to watch. And a lot of Republicans feel this way, George, and you hear this a lot: “If we only got someone who was articulate and was for what we were for, we would win elections. And we get these John McCains and these Mitt Romneys and these squishy guys that can’t do anything.” Well, there’s one thing this guy is not – he ain’t squishy, not in the least.

via Carville: Ted Cruz