Links for 7-26-2013

  • Senator Mike Lee wrote an excellent op-ed piece for the Washington Examiner entitled “The Middle Class or the Middle Men?”: “If the economy seems rigged these days, that’s because it is. Big government, big business, and big special interests manipulate the rules to profit at everyone else’s expense. Companies succeed not by serving customers, but politicians and bureaucrats. In Barack Obama’s economy, Wall Street gets a bailout, Solyndra-gets a hand out, liberal interests get a carve-out, and everyone else gets left out.”

  • Governor Chris Christie participated in a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute Thursday night and said, “This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought.” He went on to name Senator Rand Paul as an offender. Paul responded via Twitter: “Christie worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional.” This is a good debate, but you can plainly see the wide gap between the Republican establishment and the conservative-headed-to-libertarian Republican base, and I don’t foresee that gap closing. That’s good news for Hillary Clinton.

  • Congressman Paul Ryan told an audience in Racine that the House will pass immigration reform piecewise and combine the result with the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill in conference committee, resulting in something the conservative-headed-to-libertarian Republican base will riot over.

  • Senate Democrats are trying to increase the IRS’s budget by $276.5 million next year. Meanwhile the union representing IRS employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, is working to exempt the IRS from ObamaCare, which, you might recall, is a law enforced primarily by the IRS.

  • The House Ethics Committee extended its investigation into Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign. It also extended investigations involving Tim Bishop (D-NY), Pete Roskam (R-IL), and John Tierney (D-MA).

  • While making a press appearance alongside Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, President Obama said, “…we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.” Chris Stirewalt offers Obama a history lesson: “While Jefferson did get pretty fired up about ‘the blood of tyrants,’ it’s hard to see how the Sage of Monticello inspired the murderous career of the Vietnamese dictator. Ho famously slaughtered his opponents, including the infamous butchery of peasant farmers who resisted his brutal taxation in the early days of Ho’s regime. Not particularly Jeffersonian… Ho, whose preserved corpse lies in a glass tomb modeled after Lenin’s in Hanoi, was a seriously bad actor. Whether the United States should have sought to oust him or not or whether the war was rightly fought, Ho was not any heir to Jefferson and the Founding Fathers.”

  • PJ Media reports that a Republican National Committee consultant named Tom Hofeller is promoting the idea that Texas and other states need to be subject to the section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because “federal election oversight law is essential to elect Republicans,” which is, in a word, insane.

  • Mark Steyn and National Review appear to have drawn an awful judge in the lawsuit brought by Michael Mann. Not only does she accept the EPA’s opinion as scientific fact, but she can’t write to save her life, which makes you wonder about her ability to think critically.

  • Federal agencies are reportedly asking Internet companies to divulge user passwords. Passwords shouldn’t be (and usually aren’t) stored as clear text, so asking for stored passwords is of limited value unless 1) the companies are also divulging the cryptographic techniques they apply to passwords before storing them, or 2) the federal agencies are cracking the passwords themselves.