Rand Paul to Officially File Suit Against Obama, NSA, FBI, Others, Tomorrow

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been talking about a potential
lawsuit over illegal surveillance for months–see
Reason‘s previous coverage
–and tomorrow it becomes
real, according to a press
release at RandPac’s site
:

On February 12, 2014, Rand Paul will join Matt Kibbe, President
of FreedomWorks, and lead counsel Ken Cuccinelli in announcing a
class action lawsuit against President Barack Obama, Director of
National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of National Security
Agency Keith Alexander and FBI Director, James Comey….

Rand Paul stated: “I am filing a lawsuit against President
Barack Obama because he has publicly refused to stop a clear and
continuing violation of the 4th Amendment. The Bill of Rights
protects all citizens from general warrants. I expect this case to
go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American
people will win.”

Matt Kibbe added “This class action suit isn’t about Republican
versus Democrat, or progressive versus conservative. This is about
defending the basic civil liberties of every American from a
government that has crossed the line. FreedomWorks is participating
in this suit on behalf of our community of 6 million citizens
nationwide, along with any American who has a phone. If you use a
phone, you should care about this case. Never in American history
has there been such a warrantless gathering of citizens
information. We believe it is time to put this before the courts.

The filing parties are holding a press conference on the matter
tomorrow at 11 a.m. eastern. Scott Shackford
blogged earlier today
on today’s “Day We Fight Back” against
surveillance, complete with Rand Paul video. The fight gets rougher
tomorrow.

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GOP Reversal on Debt Ceiling Vote a “Disappointing Moment,” Karl Rove Defends Bill Clinton From Rand Paul, Washington Redskins Respond to Lawmakers’ Letter: P.M. Links

  • racist?House Speaker John Boehner said his decision to
    offer a clean vote on raising the debt ceiling was a “disappointing
    moment
    .” The House is
    expected
    to vote on hiking the debt limit tonight.
  • President Obama
    welcomed
    the French president Francois Hollande for a state
    visit, claiming the relationship between the two countries was
    “unimaginable” a decade ago.
  • An appeals court
    rejected a challenge
    to the force feeding of detainees at
    Guantanamo Bay, but attorneys for the detainees say the ruling
    clears the way to take the case back to district court.
  • Karl Rove doesn’t like that Rand Paul is targeting Bill Clinton
    for criticism,
    saying
    he didn’t think it was a good strategy for running for
    president.
  • A “Dumb Starbucks” in Los Angeles was
    shut down
    not because of any potential trademark infringement,
    but because health inspectors found the store, a comic’s gimmick,
    didn’t have the proper paperwork.
  • The Washington Redskins
    responded
    to a letter from two lawmakers demanding they change
    their name by pointing out that one of them, the chair of the
    Senate Indian Affairs Committee, had better things to do to improve
    the life of Native Americans than attack a team they support.

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Zenon Evans on Ukraine’s Revolution Beyond the Chaos

Ukrainians have lately barreled
across American headlines with a display of their
Olympic-level Molotov cocktails tossing skills and talent
for fabricating catapults, provoking some to
ask, what the hell is happening over
there?
 While many articles recapitulate the
basics, Zenon Evans points to scanty reports about the government’s
slipping grip on key demographics and the dynamic and unified
opposition, which may hold the keys to this nation’s future.

View this article.

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Zenon Evans on Ukraine's Revolution Beyond the Chaos

Ukrainians have lately barreled
across American headlines with a display of their
Olympic-level Molotov cocktails tossing skills and talent
for fabricating catapults, provoking some to
ask, what the hell is happening over
there?
 While many articles recapitulate the
basics, Zenon Evans points to scanty reports about the government’s
slipping grip on key demographics and the dynamic and unified
opposition, which may hold the keys to this nation’s future.

View this article.

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Ron Paul’s Long, Continuing March Through the Nevada GOP

Betsy Woodruff at National Review last week revisited

how Ron Paul people are continuing to shape
the Republican
Party, focused on Nevada.

The article is largely based on the perspective of one Nevada
activist, former party state vice chair James Smack, but worth a
read. After summing up how Party apparatchiks pissed off Paul
people by prematurely shutting down the state convention in 2008,
here’s the nub:

what [Smack] describes as “a conservative alliance” came
together. It was about 30 people, most of whom had been 2008
state-convention delegates. They didn’t all love Ron Paul, but they
all wanted more conservative candidates at the state and national
levels. Some came and went; some entered the group only after its
initial establishment. If one member found a project to work on, he
or she would call a meeting to rally the others.

It was like a conservative steering committee, adds Smack.
People pushed for the passage of resolutions and the election of
state party officers. After a couple of years, members of the group
had spread throughout party leadership in the state. The Nevada
Republican central committee started to skew conservative. Smack
himself rose to vice chairman of the state party and national
committeeman. Jim Wheeler, another member, won a spot as a state
assemblyman, and members of the group have grabbed county
chairmanships and the chairmanship of the state budget committee.
Diana Orrock, a Ron Paul supporter, became the national
committeewoman. And at the Republican National Committee’s winter
meeting last month, she introduced the anti-NSA resolution that
made national headlines as asignificant
change
 for the GOP.

The state central committee and the Nevada party are leaning
much more libertarian these days, she tells NRO. But she doesn’t
feel that’s the case for the party’s national officials. So there’s
an appetite for the kinds of primary challenges that make national
party leaders cringe.

And there’s not a lot of love among the new Nevada Republican
leadership for some of the GOP’s brightest stars.

The Nevada GOP will welcome “any and all presidential
candidates,” Smack says. But it will lean toward folks such as
Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz and Congressman Justin
Amash. “It’ll be a little bit cooler reception for, say, Governor
Chris Christie or somebody of that nature.”

Past blogging by me on Paulites in Nevada,
from January 2013
and July
2013
.

For the beginnings of this zany saga, see my book
Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He
Inspired
.

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Ron Paul's Long, Continuing March Through the Nevada GOP

Betsy Woodruff at National Review last week revisited

how Ron Paul people are continuing to shape
the Republican
Party, focused on Nevada.

The article is largely based on the perspective of one Nevada
activist, former party state vice chair James Smack, but worth a
read. After summing up how Party apparatchiks pissed off Paul
people by prematurely shutting down the state convention in 2008,
here’s the nub:

what [Smack] describes as “a conservative alliance” came
together. It was about 30 people, most of whom had been 2008
state-convention delegates. They didn’t all love Ron Paul, but they
all wanted more conservative candidates at the state and national
levels. Some came and went; some entered the group only after its
initial establishment. If one member found a project to work on, he
or she would call a meeting to rally the others.

It was like a conservative steering committee, adds Smack.
People pushed for the passage of resolutions and the election of
state party officers. After a couple of years, members of the group
had spread throughout party leadership in the state. The Nevada
Republican central committee started to skew conservative. Smack
himself rose to vice chairman of the state party and national
committeeman. Jim Wheeler, another member, won a spot as a state
assemblyman, and members of the group have grabbed county
chairmanships and the chairmanship of the state budget committee.
Diana Orrock, a Ron Paul supporter, became the national
committeewoman. And at the Republican National Committee’s winter
meeting last month, she introduced the anti-NSA resolution that
made national headlines as asignificant
change
 for the GOP.

The state central committee and the Nevada party are leaning
much more libertarian these days, she tells NRO. But she doesn’t
feel that’s the case for the party’s national officials. So there’s
an appetite for the kinds of primary challenges that make national
party leaders cringe.

And there’s not a lot of love among the new Nevada Republican
leadership for some of the GOP’s brightest stars.

The Nevada GOP will welcome “any and all presidential
candidates,” Smack says. But it will lean toward folks such as
Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz and Congressman Justin
Amash. “It’ll be a little bit cooler reception for, say, Governor
Chris Christie or somebody of that nature.”

Past blogging by me on Paulites in Nevada,
from January 2013
and July
2013
.

For the beginnings of this zany saga, see my book
Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He
Inspired
.

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Obamacare, Work Killer

Obamacare isn’t a job killer, at least not
according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). But it is a
work killer.

That might sound like a meaningless distinction, but there is a
difference. Obamacare, according to the CBO, isn’t going to cause
employers to terminate millions of jobs. But it is projected to
cause millions of people—about 2 million in 2017, and 2.5 million
by 2024—to quit working, or work fewer hours than they otherwise
would have.

The White House has declard that this is a good thing. Thanks to
Obamacare, the administration said in a
statement
last week, “individuals will be empowered to make
choices about their own lives and livelihoods, like retiring on
time rather than working into their elderly years or choosing to
spend more time with their families.” People will “no longer be
trapped in a job” just to get coverage. Obamacare will allow people
to “pursue their dreams.”

What might that look like in practice? The bulk of the reduction
in the labor force isn’t expected to occur until 2017, but with the
help of Families USA, a health care advocacy group that supports
Obamacare, The Washington Post has already
found
 of two people who have quit working because the law:
a 56 year-old Indiana woman who left a payroll administration job
when her duties changed and now babysits her granddaughter full
time, and a 44 year-old Texas man who quit an $88,000 job in order
“to help his nephew, a cancer survivor, start a social media and
video-gaming site for other teens with the disease.” It’s an unpaid
position.

Does these examples make the case for Obamacare or against it?
Here are two people who, absent the existence of the law, would be
productive workers contributing to the economy. Thanks to
Obamacare, however, they are not. 

Something like that is expected on a larger scale, although the
impact won’t be distributed evenly across the income spectrum.

That’s because the effect is expected to be concentrated not
amongst the office-dwelling upper-middle class, but down the rungs
of the income ladder, within the cohort of relatively low-wage,
working-class Americans who are already less attached to the labor
force. (This is why the CBO projects that even though labor force
participation will be two points lower than it otherwise would have
been, total compensation will only be reduced by one point.)

The reason the effect is largest amongst the bottom of the
income spectrum is that the law’s insurance subsidies grow as one
makes less money. Sliding-scale subsidies reduce marginal returns
to work, because earning more money has the simultaneous effect of
reducing the value of the subsidy. (Medicaid, for those at the very
bottom of the income scale, has also been shown to discourage
work.) It’s basically a tax on work at the lower end of the income
spectrum.

As the CBO explains, “Subsidies that help lower-income people
purchase an expensive product like health insurance must be
relatively large to encourage a significant proportion of eligible
people to enroll. If those subsidies are phased out with rising
income in order to limit their total costs, the phaseout
effectively raises people’s marginal tax rates (the tax rates
applying to their last dollar of income), thus discouraging
work.”

The simplest way of saying it is that Obamacare makes it less
painful to not work, especially for those who already don’t make
much money. The result is that over the next decade, millions of
people will either work less or not at all. In economic terms, it’s
the same
effect as much of the transfer
spending contained in the big
fiscal stimulus package passed during President Obama’s first year
in office.

Supporters of Obamacare have pointed out that this is true of
all means-tested welfare programs, including some of the
conservative health reform proposals that tie financial assistance
to income levels.

That’s true, but it doesn’t mean that we should simply sigh and
move on. Government transfer programs can be revamped and remodeled
with work in mind. In 2006, when Bill Clinton revisited the welfare
reform he’d passed a as president decade earlier, he declared
it a success
because it encouraged more than a million
people to take up work, and to move beyond government
assistance.

And yet there is a real tension between work and welfare, a
balance between employment and aid. That balance has tipped toward
the latter in recent years, as various parts of the safety net have
expanded to catch those people harmed by the recession. In the
process, as high unemployment has persisted and millions have
dropped out of the market for work entirely, pushing the labor
force participation down to its lowest point since the 1970s, the
political conversation has naturally turned to the question of how
to create jobs. So far, we’ve found frustratingly few good answers.
Which suggests that policymakers concerned about joblessness might
want to consider looking more closely at finding ways to encourage
work—or at the very least, to minimize the ways in which discourage
it. 

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Shikha Dalmia Discusses Detroit and Immigration on Coffee & Markets

Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia sipped her cup of
Darjeeling tea and disussed the following questions with co-hosts
of Coffee & Markets Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist,
and Brad Jackson of Red State this morning:

Will Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert’s plan to save Detroit work? Or
will it drive the city into a bigger hole?

What can Detroit do to regain its former glory?

Why don’t Detroiters care about showering corporate welfare on
Big Business?

Can Republicans crackdown on businesses that hire immgrants and
still pretend to be a free market party?

Will Republicans ever wakeup to the damage their harsh border
policies are doing to their relationship with minorities?

If and when they do wakeup, what can they do to market their
party’s limited government ideas to immigrants?

For this and much more go
here
and listen to the podcast.

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Shikha Dalmia Discusses Detroit and Immigration on Coffee & Markets

Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia sipped her cup of
Darjeeling tea and disussed the following questions with co-hosts
of Coffee & Markets Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist,
and Brad Jackson of Red State this morning:

Will Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert’s plan to save Detroit work? Or
will it drive the city into a bigger hole?

What can Detroit do to regain its former glory?

Why don’t Detroiters care about showering corporate welfare on
Big Business?

Can Republicans crackdown on businesses that hire immgrants and
still pretend to be a free market party?

Will Republicans ever wakeup to the damage their harsh border
policies are doing to their relationship with minorities?

If and when they do wakeup, what can they do to market their
party’s limited government ideas to immigrants?

For this and much more go
here
and listen to the podcast.

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Ashton Kutcher Tears Into Corrupt Regulatory Barriers to Businesses Like Uber

Over at the Independent Women’s Forum, Reason contributor
Abby
Schachter
points out that Ashton Kutcher, inescapable TV
presence, one-time Demi Moore boy-toy, and current Uber investor,
has developed a sharp business savvy and an aversion to stupid
regulatory barriers. On the Jimmy Kimmel show, Kutcher went from
stroking his host to venting about crony-capitalist rules in record
time.

Writes
Schachter
:

Kimmel asked if the service was available only in Los Angeles
and New York or elsewhere. Kutcher said that it was global, but
still couldn’t get into some places.

Kimmel asked Kutcher to describe the problem so Kutcher he did.
There’s “only [trouble in] some cities where there’s some old,
antiquated legislation that doesn’t allow it to exist there….
[There’s a] Mafioso village mentality of ‘we’re not going to let
the new guy in’…in Miami it doesn’t exist because of some dumb
regulation that says it can’t exist there. For a while in Denver
they couldn’t have…cars there…[W]ith Uber cab or airbnb or any of
these new peer-to-peer networks, you have old-school monopolies and
incumbents, and old-school governments that get kickbacks from
various people that don’t want the new guy to come in so they try
to kick them out of their city. But the people are going to have
what the people want and the people say they want Uber and the
people say they want airbnb.”

It’s amazing how clear and coherent a seemingly flighty
celebrity can become when describing an encounter with the
destructive power of politicians and government. Rage does focus
the mind.

See Reason’s extensive
coverage
of crony-capitalist efforts to obstruct and destroy
entrepreneurial companies like Uber.

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