1.) GOP dissidents clearly do not understand that Patriot Act is good for them — “The big thing that we have to do is make sure that anything we’re voting for we know darn sure what we’re voting for,” Rep. Bobby Schilling told The Daily Caller about his “nay” vote on Patriot Act reauthorization. “The way I understood parts of it,” he added, “there’s some things I have problems with in the Patriot Act.” Speaker John Boehner, on the other hand, has no problems with anything. Perhaps this is why he saw fit to debate reauthorization of the Patriot Act for a grand total of 45 minutes before holding a vote? That’s right: Less than an hour to debate Fourth Amendment-violating wiretaps and what Cato’s Julian Sanchez calls the “sweeping collection authority” contained in Section 215 that allows foreign intelligence surveillance courts to “compel the production of business records or any other ‘tangible thing'”–such as medical records–without justification or appeal. Ironically, they did not even debate these things! “Little debate, no committee hearings held, no amendments allowed, and no examination of whether our government had lived up to its responsibility to protect the liberty of the people,” Sen. Rand Paul, who is basically a lone freedom wolf, observed from his lair. Why is the party of less government suddenly chomping at the bit to protect Obama’s magic powers? Because statists have convinced America that challenging the authority of our monarchic executive branch is akin to rooting for al Qaeda in the Olympics.
2.) Lefty bloggers left out in the cold by Arianna Huffington — “Did Arianna Huffington just sell out her fellow progressives?” asks Dana Milbank. Literally, she did. For many millions of dollars and control of those horrid AOL Patch sites. But in a more profound sense, says Milbank, who is 10 days into his boycott of Sarah Palin, Huffington has sold out her minions’ beliefs. “Announcing the deal, she and her new boss went out of their way to say that the new Huffington Post would emphasize things other than the liberal politics on which the brand was built.” How could this be, when less than a year ago Huffington was encouraging her readers to close their accounts with the evil Bank of America, and also CLICK HERE TO WATCH A BLIND PERSON STEP IN DOG DOO AND NOT REALIZE IT? Such questions are no match for modern history’s savviest political chameleon. “It’s time for all of us in journalism to move beyond left and right,” Huffington told PBS. Now click here, dahling.
3.) Campaign finance obsessives move on to lobbying — So-called campaign finance reformers have failed miserably to chip away at the free-speech protections affirmed in the Citizens United case. Now there’s a chance they’ll turn their attention to an arena where their efforts may be in less conflict with the Bill of Rights: Lobbying. “If the future direction of reform involves channeling money in useful political directions rather than pulling it out of the system entirely, lobbying reform fits naturally with these efforts,” writes Yale’s Heather Gerken. “Indeed, just as beige is the new black, lobbying may be the new campaign finance.” Seeing as Congress pretty much turns a blind eye to all but the most egregious lobbying violations, Gerken et al. will have their work cut out for them.
4.) Let’s face it: GOP presidential frontrunners suck on farm subsidies — “We are seeing the usual quadrennial pilgrimage of supposedly fiscally conservative Republican presidential candidates to Iowa, where they swear eternal fealty to farm subsidies generally, but, even worse, to ethanol subsidies in particular,” writes Michael Tanner in National Review. “Perhaps the most revolting example of this spectacle was former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s claim that opposition to ethanol subsidies and mandates stems from ‘big city’ folks who just don’t like farmers.” But Newt’s not the only person slobbering on Iowa’s corn cobs. “Romney, of course, is also a big backer of ethanol subsidies, as is former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who once keynoted the annual convention of the American Coalition for Ethanol. Sarah Palin? Mike Huckabee? Sorry, they are on the farm-subsidy/ethanol bandwagon too. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels sounded promising: ‘Farm subsidies in general ought to go away,’ he says. But he too can’t break the ethanol addiction. A ‘national-security issue,’ he says.” In other words, corn is the new TARP.
5.) Quin Hillyer tells budget-cutting zealots to ‘chill’ — “The conniption fits a lot of the House freshmen are having about Paul Ryan’s $32 billion in proposed domestic discretionary cuts are totally misplaced,” writes the American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer. “Cutting one sixth of the entire domestic discretionary budget for a year already half over actually has the effect of cutting one-third of the remaining funds. That isn’t conservative, it’s crazily, bat-sh** radical. There is no way, in terms of an agency spread sheet, to do that without massive furloughs, cutbacks in actual operations of government, etc.” Perhaps if GOP leadership–both actual and intellectual–hadn’t misled voters about what they could cut and when, this “crazily, bat-sh** radical” mob wouldn’t be so big?
6.) CREW calls for SEC investigation of for-profit fiasco — “In a letter to SEC Director of Enforcement Robert Khuzami, CREW highlighted the efforts by several short-sellers to help shape national education policy by injecting themselves into the agency’s regulatory process for the apparent purpose of personal financial benefit.” CREW is referring to Steve Eisman, the wonder-broker who testified against the for-profit industry before Congress, and then made money when the for-profit stocks he was shorting completely tanked. “CREW is not defending the for-profit college industry, nor taking any position on the proposed regulations,” said director Melanie Sloan in a statement. “Like the umpire in a baseball game, it is the SEC’s responsibility to call the balls and strikes to make sure that everyone plays by the rules.”