Obama’s real debt and deficit legacy

Source: Town Hall
by Stephen Moore

“Congressional Republicans have been raked over the coals in the last two weeks for slamming through budget caps and inflating government spending and debt by another $300 billion. The criticisms are well-deserved. It’s a historical truism that Republicans are much more fiscally conscientious when they are in the minority than when they run Congress. And Republicans tend to be much bigger fiscal hawks when there is a Democratic president than a Republican president — as we are now witnessing. The only time in half a century that the budget has been balanced was in the late 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president and the Republicans ran Congress. It was a good combination. We ran four straight budget surpluses from 1998 to 2001, and government spending dropped gloriously, from about 20 percent of GDP to 17.6 percent. No wonder the economy boomed in those years. Government was less of a drag.” (02/20/18)


Oprah to donate $500,000 to students marching in support of victim disarmament

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Oprah Winfrey says she will match George and Amal Clooney’s $500,000 donation to students organizing marches against gun violence after a mass shooting in Florida. The media mogul tweeted from her verified account Tuesday night that the student organizers remind her of civil rights activists in the 1960s ‘who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.’ In a statement earlier Tuesday, the Clooneys say they’re inspired by the ‘courage and eloquence’ of the survivors-turned-activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed at the school and others wounded when a gunman went on a rampage with an assault rifle. Students are mobilizing a March 24 march in Washington and elsewhere to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control.” (02/20/18)


“Too controversial”: Polk State College rejects professor’s anti-Trump artwork

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by staff

“Free expression on campus isn’t childproofe d– except at Polk State College, where part-time faculty member Serhat Tanyolacar’s artwork was rejected from a faculty art exhibition for being ‘too controversial.’ In early January, Polk State encouraged all faculty members in its arts program, including Tanyolacar, to submit artwork to a faculty exhibition scheduled to begin on Feb. 12. Tanyolacar submitted a piece titled ‘Death of Innocence,’ which depicts several poets and writers juxtaposed with a number of pictures of President Donald Trump and other political figures engaging in sexual activity. Tanyolacar said the art is intended to highlight ‘moral corruption and moral dichotomy’ and provoke debate. In response to his submission, Polk State Program Coordinator Nancy Lozell informed Tanyolacar on Feb. 6 that his artwork would not be displayed.” (02/20/18)


CA: Hypocrite #metoo legislator accused of firing aide who refused her “kissing game”

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“A state lawmaker who rose to national prominence as a campaigner against sexual assault is accused of firing an aide who refused to play ‘spin the bottle,’ according to court papers. David John Kernick filed a complaint against California Democrat Cristina Garcia about the alleged 2014 incident. He claims she wrote him up for insubordination and fired him two days after he refused to play the game. Ms Garcia has denied previous allegations against her. Mr Kernick said in the complaint that Ms Garcia, who was featured in a Time magazine profile of #MeToo victims last year, approached him at a fundraiser at a whiskey bar and invited him to sit on her hotel room floor to play the kissing game. The latest complaint against Ms Garcia accuses her of disciplining Mr Kernick ‘with a write up for insubordination’ before firing him two days later.” (02/20/18)


Reason Podcast, 02/20/18

Source: Reason

“In today’s Reason Podcast, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Robby Soave, and Nick Gillespie discuss what if any policies might mitigate the frequency and casualties of mass shootings. They also talk about how Rush Limbaugh, of all people, has advanced the most progressive immigration policy heard in several months, whether the investigation of Russian influence into the 2016 election will undermine belief in American politics, and the deeper meanings of Black Panther, the latest Marvel superhero movie that is setting box-office records.” [various formats]


A basic income need not reduce employment

Source: Cato Institute
by Ryan Bourne

“Suppose the government redistributed to every adult Briton a basic, unconditional income of £10,000 from tax revenues. Would aggregate employment levels a) rise, b) fall, or c) stay the same? This is the blue-sky policy question that former Labour leader Ed Miliband has been toying with. He’s not alone. Ideologically-diverse bedfellows from the neoliberal Adam Smith Institute through to the Green Party have weighed up the merits of giving everyone cold hard cash as insurance against fears of automation and lack of job security in the labour market. There are legion concerns, trade-offs, and practical difficulties with such a policy. Yet the employment question arguably resonates most, and both proponents and opponents seem confused about it.” (02/20/18)


Mueller’s potential investigation options are increasing, but they’re still “potential”

Source: USA Today
by Jonathan Turley

“The special counsel’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals was most notable for what it didn’t include: any allegations of knowing cooperation or collusion with Trump campaign officials. Despite the creative spins of President Trump’s critics, it is clearly a significant admission. After a year of investigation, multiple plea agreements and multiple indictments, there is still no direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian operation. The Russian investigation will continue, including the investigation of any collusion or conspiracy by Trump officials. Yet, absent new evidence, there is a growing chance that collusion theories will not pan out. For the Trump White House, however, there remain a number of live torpedoes in the water — any one of which could present a serious if not existential threat for this administration. Robert Mueller has not incorporated the infamous Trump Tower meeting as a form of collusion. The reason could be that it is not. Donald Trump Jr. was allegedly looking for evidence of illegal contributions to the Clinton Foundation.” (02/20/18)


Pelosi heckled at town hall while slamming Trump tax law

Source: Fox News

“Rep. Nancy Pelosi was heckled by a woman at a town hall event Tuesday after she continued blasting President Trump and Republicans’ tax cuts. ‘God never intended one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth while others live in abject deadening poverty,’ the House minority leader said, adding that the quote was from Dr. Martin Luther King. As she finished her sentence, Pelosi was interrupted by a woman in the Phoenix, Arizona, audience who asked ‘how much are you worth, Nancy? Are you in abject poverty?’ the woman shouted at Pelosi, who is routinely listed among the wealthiest members of Congress. Pelosi and her husband Paul Sr., a Georgetown-educated businessman who runs a venture capital firm, are worth about $100 million.” [editor’s note: And since much of that gelt has come directly from her stint in Congress, the question is a fair one – SAT] (02/20/18)


Italian elections update

Source: EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

“Italian elecions are fast approaching: they’ll be held on March 4. I think there is so far an unnatural/uncanny sense of composure surrounding the ballot. I think many assume that, since France ultimately didn’t vote for Marine Le Pen last year and stayed on the safe course with Emmanuel Macron, the same is going to happen in Italy: another big country (60 million people, the third largest economy in the Eurozone) whose stability is fundamental for the future of the European project. I am far more doubtful. The latest polls (for the rest of the campaign polls cannot be made public) tend to confirm the scenario which international observers prefer: due to the intricacies of the electoral law, nobody wins and the ‘moderates’ of the right and of the left end up in another grand coalition government that certainly won’t be able to profoundly reform the country, but neither will send it in the direction of Athens or Caracas. I think the very fact everybody is talking about this scenario makes it less likely to happen.” (02/20/18)


The LAVA Flow Podcast, episode 82

Source: Pax Libertas Productions

“Happy President’s Day! Here’s what we should really be celebrating for this, and every, President’s Day. What’s in the News with stories on IRS denying passports, guard dogs, civil forfeiture reforms, zero tolerance, and FBI failure. Also, an Ask Me Anything segment where I answer your tough questions.” [various formats] (02/20/18)