Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Here’s how Republicans can fix their terrible State of the Union responses

-

This author will not waste time explaining how useless and obscene the annual State of the Union royal pageant is, nor how full of untruths, crushing debt, inviable proposals, and unfunded liabilities President Obama’s most recent iteration of the speech was this week. Instead, I’ll focus on the official Republican response given this year by newly elected US Senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst. If you can call it that.

As Shep Smith and Chris Wallace noted on the Fox News broadcast syndicated to their local affiliates, Obama spent several minutes than previous years after his delivery shaking hands in the chamber. This meant that the GOP response, officially scheduled for 5 minutes after the president leaves the room, would be pushed into local news broadcasts and therefore probably cut off in most television viewing markets. Intentional or not, that didn’t even give Republicans a chance to have their message heard, regardless of how good it may have been.

EA Games seeks to raise up another generation of central planning-loving socialists

-

If you were lucky enough to be a kid in the 1990s, you’re probably familiar with the urban planning megahit computer game series SimCity. It was first released in 1989 and spawned several sequels and spin-offs of varying popularity over the last two and a half decades, including the street-level, person-oriented, blockbuster Sims series.

If you were even luckier, you didn’t emerge from playing these games as a flaming utopian. The point of the games, after all, is to make the citizens of your electronic town happy by providing them with adequately zoned neighborhoods, utilities, parks, a modest tax rate, entertainment, and safety from occasional disaster scenarios.

The original SimCity did have a marginal laissez-faire premise, though. As mayor, you zoned specific areas for residential, commercial, or industrial construction, but the computer programming filled in the blanks with whatever kind of buildings your citizens might want.

However, a new version of the series for Android and Apple phones and tablets, SimCity BuildIt, removes all hints of spontaneous order and substitutes a Marxist paradise of master planning in its place. The new mobile game is rendered in smooth, stunning 3D graphics, so it’s a pleasure to play visually. But once you start to get into the weeds of the new mayor’s office, it becomes more of an annoyance than fun, especially as a lesson in economic theory.

President Obama’s subtle trick to sell “free” nationalized community college

.

On Thursday, President Obama announced from Air Force One an unprecedented plan to extend federally-funded universal public education up through community college for everyone. Students would have to maintain a certain grade point average and choose plans and colleges that have proven career success. The plan will be fully articulated in the President’s annual budget proposal, which will be dead on arrival in the newly Republican-controlled Congress, and Obama will provide more details in his upcoming State of the Union address. The estimated cost has not been revealed, but the idea is for the federal government to fund 75% of the program with states picking up the rest.

However, it’s not the details of the program that are so distressing as the subtle, disingenuous way the President has chosen to sell it. Obama made the announcement from his sleak office aboard Air Force One, dressed in a tie but no jacket, leaning back casually on his angled desk. Whoever choreographs these things is a master in marketing.

The recorded, scripted, teleprompter-read nearly two-minute statement was billed as a preview of the State of the Union. The community college initiative is introduced thusly:

Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it. That’s right, free for everyone who’s willing to work for it. It’s something we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world.

Fantastic! What’s another few billion dollars a year when you’re already $18 trillion in debt? YOLO, amirite?

President Obama’s first message to the new Republican majority tells you how the next two years will go

.

Upon receiving his second and final midterm electoral thumping last November, President Obama vowed to work with the new Congress and its Republican majorities in both House and Senate. On Sunday, Obama reiterated his pledge:

“I’m being absolutely sincere when I say I want to work with this new Congress to get things done,” Obama told reporters before leaving on his annual end-of-the-year holiday in Hawaii. “We’re going to disagree on some things, but there are going to be areas of agreement and we’ve got to be able to make that happen.”

But Tuesday, while the new Congress was being sworn in and voting for their caucus leadership, Obama sent his real message to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner: roughly, “GFY”:

“I can confirm that the president would not sign this [Keystone XL] bill,” Earnest said at a White House press briefing when asked about legislation set to advance in Congress this week that would greenlight the project.

It takes a lot of guts to project an image of bipartisanship, compromise, and utilitarian pragmatism and then threaten vetoes of bills that haven’t even been introduced. At least give them a day to put their names on the doors.

Pro-life death penalty advocates have a lot to think about today

.

In a case that could have ripple effects in criminal justice, constitutional rights, race relations, and capital punishment, the 1944 conviction and execution of a black 14-year old boy for a double murder has been vacated by a South Carolina judge.

George Stinney, Jr. was arrested for killing two white girls, aged 8 and 11, confessed to the murders after a brief interrogation by white police officers, stood trial for just three hours with a defense attorney who presented no evidence or witness on his behalf, and was electrocuted less than 3 months later after no appeal was filed. Technically, he was afforded due process, but this child was also clearly railroaded at every turn.

Though I’m not certain, this is the first case I can recall of a conviction overturned after execution. That was a grim milestone many in the anti-capital punishment movement long dreaded.

However, some death penalty advocates argue that executing an innocent person is impossible, either by virtue of the rigors of the criminal justice system and its perpetual appeal process, or by definition, arguing that a person who has been convicted by a jury after a trial is necessarily not innocent, regardless of what actually happened.

Eric Garner’s death shows exactly what’s wrong with the American legal system

.

At first glance, it’s yet another example of a law enforcement officer being cleared of charges for what was quite obviously an unjustified and unnecessary civilian death. But the story of Eric Garner’s homicide exposes so much more of what ails our legal and criminal justice systems.

Garner’s heinous alleged crime that was so deserving of police action, violent arrest, and ultimately death was…selling loose cigarettes out of their original packaging. In the allegedly free market capitalist society of Staten Island, New York, America, this is a misdemeanor offense, for which Garner had several charges already pending at the time of his suffocating death.

In New York, cigarettes are taxed and regulated so highly that they can cost more than $12 per pack. This insane bureaucratic scheme has inevitably created the black market that Garner was participating in - selling cigarettes out of their packs, avoiding the confiscatory taxes altogether, and pocketing the pure profits. Garner was no angel, but he was an entrepreneur, and in Dr Martin Luther King, Jr’s view entirely justified in not following the oppressive New York cigarette laws:

The (wrong) Ferguson narrative is set, and we should focus on other instances of police brutality

.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” has become a rallying cry for black residents of Ferguson, Missouri and their supporters after the August shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The evidence suggests the victim never actually had his hands up. Brown is ubiquitously called an “unarmed teen,” but he was 6’4” tall, nearly 300 pounds, and was in a physical altercation with the officer, Darren Wilson. The image of him as a passive, supplicant child being assassinated by a racist police officer is just wrong, and the lack of a grand jury indictment demonstrates that. But does it matter now?

Now that the actual criminal investigation is over (pending separate federal action), the details are irrelevant. The narrative has been set, the debate is front-and-center, and it’s one we need to have. But should the catalyst for that debate actually match the arguments in it? In a debate about police brutality of young black men, you’re probably better served if your focal figure isn’t a towering brute who had just come from a physical assault in process of a robbery and may or may not have been trying to take a cop’s gun.

Joe Scarborough put it surprisingly well Monday morning:

The problem with Obama’s immigration order is how, not what, it does

.

Executive orders are not inherently unconstitutional. The president has the authority to issue orders to his administration instructing them how to carry out laws passed by Congress. In this sense, the president has the authority to order Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize deportations by expediting removal of certain illegal immigrants while focusing less on removal of others.

However, the order President Obama announced on Thursday night, which expands the already unlawfully unilateral Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order he issued in 2012, goes a step further. DACA and the new order do not just set priorities for deportations, they exempt whole sets of immigrants of a certain age, relation, or arrival date from deportation completely. This is the authority of Congress, not the president.

The Office of Legal Council in the White House makes the point for me:

Exposing #GruberGate matters… but it won’t repeal Obamacare

Jonathan Gruber

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you are familiar with the new archnemesis of conservatives everywhere, MIT economist and Obamacare legislative consultant, Jonathan Gruber. Hell, even country singers and reality show judges are expressing outrage. For our subterranean readers, here’s a summary:

Defeating Mark Udall in Colorado may yield one final victory for liberty

NSA Domestic Spying

When Republican challenger Cory Gardner defeated incument Democrat Mark Udall in Colorado, it was a huge victory for constitutional government and individual liberty. However, that victory might yield one final benefit even before Gardener takes office in January. Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is considering releasing all or part of a secret government report on the CIA’s torture program before he leaves office.

As a member of Congress, Udall has immunity from prosecution for releasing classified information as part of the “Speech or Debate Clause” if he does so on the floor of the Senate. He could read the entire unredacted report in a speech or filibuster and suffer no criminal consequence because of the congressional exception and no political consequence since he’s leaving office.

The report was compiled by the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2009 to 2012 based on documents from the detention and interrogation program started after the September 11 attacks. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has no problem with the government’s wholesale violation of American privacy rights, summarizes the report as follows:

Matthew DesOrmeaux

authoridad's picture
Contributor

married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

@authoridad


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.