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Liberty Update

Ellis:  CBO: ObamaCare Increases Deficit by $1.35 Trillion

Lee:  The Obama Record: U.S. Stagnates in Annual Index of Global Economic Freedom

Podcast:  No New Gas Taxes Needed!

Jester’s Courtroom:  Letting It All Hang Out

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez

Quiz:  Question of the Week

Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

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January 30, 2015 • 11:43 am

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Notable Quotes
 
On the Tax-Cutting Boon Sweeping the States:
 
 

"While the prospects for tax reform in Washington are dim, as many as 20 Republican governors are moving forward with their own pro-growth tax-relief initiatives. This is on top of the 14 states, including Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, whose 2014 tax cuts will take effect this year. ...

Texas is the model for many Republican governors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from December 2007, the official beginning of the Great Recession, through October 2014 Texas created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. But Texas, which has no income tax, is not done. The new governor, Greg Abbott, says that 'we can still make things better here by cutting business and property taxes - which is what I intend to do.' ...

Many governors have come to understand that states aren't just competing against each other for businesses and jobs. As Mr. Kasich puts it, 'In Ohio we’re in a contest against Europe, Asia and the rest of the world, so we have to keep our taxes low.'

That has become the dominant view in statehouses this year, and it explains why the big tax-cutting activity in 2015 won’t be in Washington but in state capitals."

 
 
— Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation Chief Economist, Writing in The Wall Street Journal
— Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation Chief Economist, Writing in The Wall Street Journal
Posted January 30, 2015 • 12:56 pm
 
 
On President Obama's Comfort Zone:
 
 

"A week after his State of the Union address, political observers are still trying to figure out what President Obama's game is. That's because rhetorically and substantively, he seems to be in another world. ...

"Three explanations dominate speculation about what Obama is up to. The first is that he's trying to lay the groundwork for his successor, presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. The second is that he's trying to pad his legacy. The third is that he's trying to 'troll' or bait the GOP into debating his agenda rather than pursuing its own. All are plausible, and none necessarily contradicts the others.

"But there's a fourth interpretation: Obama can't leave his comfort zone. No president since Woodrow Wilson has been as enamored of abstract ideas or more sure that disagreement with him is proof of ignorance, bad faith or dogmatism. As a candidate, he insisted his real opponent was 'cynicism,' and in his address last week, he returned to this trite formulation, insisting again he was bravely battling the cynics."

 
 
— Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online Editor-at-Large
— Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online Editor-at-Large
Posted January 29, 2015 • 13:37 pm
 
 
On the President's Disconnect with the American People:
 
 

"President Obama delivered his penultimate State of the Union with renewed confidence, eager to take credit for the economy's recent growth spurt. He offered few olive branches to Republicans for their landslide victory two months earlier; articulated a panoply of liberal proposals that stand little chance of passing through Congress; and took the rosiest possible view of the economy and international landscape - even in the face of contrary evidence. In the moment, it's a savvy political play: Claim credit for an improving public mood and force Republicans on the defensive.

"But despite the hoopla, recent polling shows that the public is much more in sync with the GOP's agenda than the White House's. This month's NBC/WSJ survey illustrated a striking disconnect between the president's improving approval rating (at 46 percent, up 2 points since November) and the top priorities of the American electorate. In the survey, 85 percent of voters rank 'creating jobs' as a top priority, followed by defeating and dismantling ISIS (74 percent), reducing the federal deficit (71 percent), securing the border with Mexico (58 percent), and addressing Iran's nuclear program (56 percent). The last four are core GOP strengths; polls consistently show Republicans with an edge on those issues.

"The items at the bottom of the priority list are all top administration priorities: closing the Guantanamo prison camp (24 percent rate as top priority), addressing the issue of climate change (34 percent), creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants (39 percent), and increasing the minimum wage (44 percent). It wasn't just Obama's assessment of the international stage that was disconnected from reality. It was also his assessment that the American people are with him on his agenda."

 
 
— Josh Kraushaar, National Journal Political Editor
— Josh Kraushaar, National Journal Political Editor
Posted January 28, 2015 • 13:03 pm
 
 
On the U.S and the Fight Against Islamic Militancy:
 
 

"The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency slammed the Obama administration on Monday as 'well intentioned' but paralyzed and playing defense in its the fight against Islamic militancy.

"Recently retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn called for the U.S. to lead the charge in a sweeping, decades-long campaign against the Islamic State Group, al-Qaeda and its ilk -- a fight like the one against the former Soviet Union against a new enemy he said is  'committed to the destruction of freedom and the American way of life.'

"'There is no substitute, none, for American power,' the general said, to occasional cheers and ultimately a standing ovation from a crowd of special operators and intelligence officers at a Washington industry conference."

 
 
— Kimberly Dozier, Former CBS and AP Correspondent and Contributing Writer at The Daily Beast
— Kimberly Dozier, Former CBS and AP Correspondent and Contributing Writer at The Daily Beast
Posted January 27, 2015 • 13:18 pm
 
 
On the Administration's Reaction to Israeli PM's Invitation to Address Congress:
 
 

"When Netanyahu travels to the United States in March, he will not have the privilege of meeting with either President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden. They will have their revenge against Netanyahu by completely yielding to him control of the national stage. That ought to show him."

 
 
— Noah Rothman, Hot Air Associate Editor
— Noah Rothman, Hot Air Associate Editor
Posted January 26, 2015 • 13:33 pm
 
 
On the Iranian-Backed Coup in Yemen:
 
 

"This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.

"The Houthi have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains, and advises them. Their slogan - 'God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel' - could have been written in Persian.

"Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen's government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It's not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East."

 
 
— Charles Krauthammer, Syndicated Columnist
— Charles Krauthammer, Syndicated Columnist
Posted January 23, 2015 • 13:25 pm
 
 
On IRS Contract With Fired Healthcare.gov Company:
 
 

"Seven months after federal officials fired CGI Federal for its botched work on Obamacare website Healthcare.gov, the IRS awarded the same company a $4.5 million IT contract for its new Obamacare tax program.

"CGI is a $10.5 billion Montreal-based company that has forever been etched into the public's mind as the company behind the bungled Obamacare main website....

"The IRS did not reply to numerous inquiries to the agency about the CGI contract."

 
 
— Richard Pollock, The Daily Caller Contributor
— Richard Pollock, The Daily Caller Contributor
Posted January 22, 2015 • 13:30 pm
 
 
On the 2015 SOTU Address:
 
 

"Perhaps the most striking thing about the 2015 State of the Union address was not the president at the podium but the audience in the seats. The joint session of Congress listening to President Obama Tuesday night included 83 fewer Democrats than the group that heard Obama's first address in 2009 -- 69 fewer Democrats in the House and 14 fewer in the Senate. The scene in the House Chamber was a graphic reminder of the terrible toll the Obama years have taken on Capitol Hill Democrats.

"Not that the president would ever acknowledge that. Indeed, in more than an hour of speaking, Obama never once acknowledged that there was a big election in November and that the leadership of the Senate has changed. Obama's silence on that political reality stood in stark contrast to George W. Bush's 2007 State of the Union address, in which he graciously and at some length acknowledged the Democrats' victory in the 2006 midterms. Bush said it was an honor to address Nancy Pelosi as 'Madam Speaker.' He spoke of the pride Pelosi's late father would have felt to see his daughter lead the House. 'I congratulate the new Democrat majority,' Bush said. 'Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities.'

"If one cannot imagine Obama saying such a thing --€” well, he didn't."

 
 
— Byron York, The Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent
— Byron York, The Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent
Posted January 21, 2015 • 13:19 pm
 
 
On the SOTU Spectacle:
 
 

"The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship -- it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting -- with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live."

 
 
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
Posted January 20, 2015 • 13:10 pm
 
 
On the President's Proposed 'Free' Community College and Tax Increases:
 
 

"You know, you just know, that after the president goes out there and announces he wants to make community college free for all Americans - as though anything government does is 'free' - or is unilaterally and unconstitutionally legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants, he comes back to the offices, pulls out the presidential BlackBerry, and gleefully follows along as the Right goes completely ape over these wild policy decisions.

"Imagine his delight after it 'leaked' that he will propose raising taxes on the wealthy by $320 billion over the next 10 years, including increases to the capital gains and inheritance taxes.

"This, of course, has no chance of passing. But then Tuesday night'€™s State of the Union address could be the first one in history deliberately designed solely to generate a Pavlovian rage response in members of the opposing party."

 
 
— John Podhoretz, New York Post
— John Podhoretz, New York Post
Posted January 19, 2015 • 13:48 pm
 
Question of the Week   
Which one of the following U.S. states has the highest gasoline tax as of January 2015?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"While the prospects for tax reform in Washington are dim, as many as 20 Republican governors are moving forward with their own pro-growth tax-relief initiatives. This is on top of the 14 states, including Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, whose 2014 tax cuts will take effect this year. ...Texas is the model for many Republican governors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from December…[more]
 
 
—Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation Chief Economist, Writing in The Wall Street Journal
— Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation Chief Economist, Writing in The Wall Street Journal
 
Liberty Poll   

Should U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch be confirmed by the U.S. Senate?