Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jacob G. Hornberger: Help the poor by abolishing the income tax

  The standard leftist position on helping the poor is: Increase income taxes on the rich and give the money to the poor in the form of welfare. The idea is that it’s just not fair that someone has more money when someone has less money. By equalizing people’s financial conditions, through the force of a progressive income tax and a welfare state, the financial plight of the poor will be improved.

  The left, however, is wrong. As our American ancestors, who lived without income taxation for more than a century, learned, the best way to help the poor would be by abolishing the income tax (and the IRS).

Monday, July 25, 2016

Gene Policinski: What is “free speech” on the web — in theory and in practice?

  Who can say what, on the Web?

  Twitter has raised questions anew with reports of a lifetime ban on tweets from conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos — reportedly after complaints that he engineered a wave of racist and sexist comments directed against comedian and actress Leslie Jones, who is co-starring in the latest “Ghostbusters” movie.

  Yiannopoulos is an editor on the conservative blog site Breitbart.com whose posts frequently create controversy on the web. He responded to the reported Twitter action by saying, “Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: You’re not welcome on Twitter.” He also called the ban “cowardly.”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Michael Josephson: Parents are teachers first

  When John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, referred to the last game he “ever taught,” he was asked about this phrasing. He said simply that a coach is first and foremost a teacher who should not only improve his players’ athletic skills, but also help them become better people. And he was a superb teacher whose lasting influence is reflected in the values he instilled, not the championships he won.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Maggie Jo Buchanan: Anti-choice efforts to divide women

  For decades, anti-choice politicians have sought to erode women’s reproductive rights by structuring legislation in a way that allows some women to access comprehensive reproductive care, while blocking others from doing so. These efforts implicitly divide women into distinct groups in order to help many opponents of choice advance their ultimate goal of ending access for every woman in an incremental, more politically palatable manner.

  Two cases that went before the U.S. Supreme Court this past term—Zubik v. Burwell and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt—also demonstrate the anti-choice movement’s systematic efforts to divide women into groups and limit each group’s rights step by step.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Craig Ford: Gov. Bentley has doomed the special session before it even begins

  Members of the Alabama Legislature were treated to a bit of déjà vu this week when we found out through the newspaper – and not directly from Gov. Bentley – that the governor is planning to call the legislature back into a special legislative session within the next month or two.

  Last summer, Gov. Bentley used a similar strategy (he called it using “the element of surprise”) when he called the legislature back to Montgomery without talking with legislators or reaching any kind of agreement on any issues. Needless to say, nothing was accomplished in that special legislative session. In fact, the legislature met on the first day and immediately “recessed” for a month to buy some time to try to work out a solution.

  Now here we are again. The governor has said he will call a special session without talking with any legislators and without reaching any compromises. He hasn’t even proposed any solutions of his own for legislators to consider, and the House of Representatives has no leader yet to negotiate a solution even if the governor had offered one.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mitch McConnell: A legacy of obstruction

  Tuesday marked 125 days since President Barack Obama nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland, an eminently qualified judge, to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The Senate’s inaction on the Garland nomination is the longest a Supreme Court nominee has ever waited for a hearing or confirmation. When the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), reconvenes in September, the wait for a vote—let alone a hearing—will have grown to 176 days.

  The blame for this unprecedented delay can largely be placed at the feet of Sen. McConnell. Under his leadership, the Senate has refused to do its job of offering advice and consent on the nominee. Moreover, by this and other actions—or more rightly put, inaction—Sen. McConnell has all but sealed his legacy as an obstructionist.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: 2016 - The big picture

  Sometimes when I observe national politics I am enthralled by the magnificent creation of our American government. When our forefathers founded our democracy, it was grounded in British parliamentarian philosophy with a unique American blend, which of course omitted a monarchy. Now, 240 years later, it is a very representative democracy.

  As our founders designed, we have three very independent and equally important branches of government - Executive, Judicial and Legislative. The Executive Branch is the most visible with the election of a U.S. President every four years. In earlier times, military men ascended to the presidency. George Washington was first and foremost a general. Our last military Chief Executive was Ike Eisenhower.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jacob G. Hornberger: What if ISIS were to win?

  For the past few years, the American people have been exhorted by the U.S. national-security state to be obsessed with ISIS, the brutal organization that is fighting to achieve political power in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, the three countries that, not coincidentally, have been targets of regime change by the U.S. national-security state.

  Today, ISIS is constantly on the minds of millions of Americans. “We have to stop ISIS!” the battlecry goes. “We have to stop them from winning.”

  So, today, more than 10 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there are almost 5,000 U.S. troops back in Iraq. Their mission? To stop ISIS from winning in Iraq.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Wendy McElroy: Six steps in analyzing political issues

  Every political issue can be analyzed or argued on at least six levels. The levels are usually conflated, but they should be addressed separately even when there is overlap. Otherwise, confusion rather than clarity results. Indeed, sometimes the only way to make sense of a disagreement is to peel away the layers and inspect them one by one. The gender “wage gap” issue illustrates this dynamic.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sam Fulwood III: When words fail us

  Words fail.

  After the absolute horror of two black men being shot by police in separate incidents more than a week ago, the aftermath of both recorded in all-too-real and all-too-graphic cell phone videos, what more is there to say?

  Alton Sterling, 37, died in the early morning hours of July 5 after police shot and killed him outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store. An onlooker captured the incident on video.

  The next day, another black man, Philando Castile, 32, was fatally shot in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, by an officer who stopped him for driving with a busted taillight. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, captured the moments immediately after the shooting in an excruciating video that circled the globe on social media.