Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Boehner vs. Obama on Immigration: A story of two Star Trek games

Since the McCain-Kennedy bill was introduced in 2005, Congress has been playing games with immigration reform proposals almost non-stop. It turns out, those games are almost perfectly represented in Star Trek lore.

Speaker of the House John Boehner is playing is multi-dimensional chess.

TOS

This game is seen in the original Star Trek series and The Next Generation.

TNG

The rules are never explained in either series, but it is clearly a complicated game. Boehner similarly has to juggle many dimensions of the prickly issue of immigration in the face of opposition from several directions.

He has House conservatives threatening his speakership if he even says the word “immigration” in public, moderates who want a bill but maybe not before the election, libertarians who want to just pass a bill and make the issue go away, big donors who want reform yesterday for their corporate friends, fire-breathing grass roots activists shouting about “shamnesty”, and a cynically intransient Senate leadership who passed their bill but won’t consider anything less. He has to move his pieces on the upper and lower levels of the board very carefully if he wants to keep his seat, his job, and his party in power in both the short and long term.

Nancy Pelosi predicted CBO’s terrible Obamacare report

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office released its regular report scoring Obamacare’s impact on the budget and economic outlook over 10 years. It fails, of course. Big time. But at least Democrats saw it coming.

While arguing in support of the bill just after its passage in 2010, House Speaker at the time, Nancy Pelosi called Obamacare an “entrepreneurial bill”:

…a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.

Nevermind that someone else will be subsidizing your funemployment. Not only was this loss of 2.5 million jobs over 10 years expected, it was celebrated by Pelosi (and presumably many other Democrats) as a good thing.

Strassel: “God Made a Farm Bill”

We don’t often write here at United Liberty to celebrate works in other publications, but Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal has written something so epic, so flawless, so profound, and so important, that it needs to be celebrated and read by every voter and every taxpayer in this country.

First, a little back story. In 1978, legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey gave a speech to the Future Farmers of America convention, which included a section that became known as “So God Made a Farmer.” It was a continuation of the Biblical story of creation, using similar prose and Harvey’s profound voice to celebrate the importance of hard-working farmers in America. His speech was actually adapted from an earlier column he wrote, which was in turn adapted from a 1940 letter published in the Ellensburg Daily Record, but Harvey’s speech made it into an instant classic.

Rand Paul nixes new Iran sanctions during negotations

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Congress was going to overwhelmingly pass new Iran sanctions while the Obama administration was still negotiating with the prospective nuclear nation over their enrichment program. That hit a brick wall this week as Senator Rand Paul became the first Republican to denounce the idea:

I’ve been for sanctions. I have voted for sanctions in the past, to try to get the Iranians to negotiate. I think while they’re negotiating, and if we can see that they’re negotiating in good faith, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions while we’re in the midst of negotiations.

Now it looks like there may not even be a vote on new sanctions until this summer. Even under a Democrat-led Senate, it’s an entirely new thing for this kind of dithering and delay on Iran issues. However, coming less than a year after the failed Syria military intervention idea, it’s becoming clearer that the American people and even their representatives may be weary of perpetual global police action at our expense.

Matt Drudge’s Click-bait War on Christianity

Thursday morning legendary conservative publisher Matt Drudge tweeted an unprecedented story about one of the Oscar nominees for Best Song having their eligibility revoked. Drudge’s tweet and the Washington Times piece to which it linked highlighted the Christian faith of the rebuked nominee, implying that it was relevant to the story.

While it is indeed highly unusual for anyone to have an Oscar nomination taken away, this one had nothing to do with Christianity (emphasis added).

Writer Bruce Broughton, a former member of the board of governors and currently on the music branch’s executive committee, violated the Academy’s rules against lobbying by personally e-mailing “members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period,” according to a statement released by the governors Wednesday.

The nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” raised the eyebrows (and hackles) of many veteran Oscar-watchers when the nominations were announced Jan. 16. The film had a public profile more associated with obscure foreign films and nobody had tipped it as a possible nominee in any category.

Marijuana, the Anti-Social Drug?

Of course not. But that is the premise of a startlingly dumb piece by the usually brilliant David Harsanyi at the truly great The Federalist.

The social value of alcohol is immeasurable, whereas the social value of pot is negligible. Alcohol, in its countless variations, flavors, and uses, has widespread prevalence in in [sic] our rituals and social lives for a good reason.

I don’t suppose the fact that marijuana has been illegal in most places for at least a hundred years has anything to do with that. Of course people don’t use marijuana socially like they do with alcohol because they’d rather not get arrested. That doesn’t mean it won’t be if it were legalized. While it remains illegal, some people do use it socially in addition to or instead of alcohol. I assume Harsanyi and others who are making this argument during our current decriminalization debates are simply unfamiliar with this phenomenon. The crude cliche he uses in his defense suggests as much:

Unless there is some medicinal purpose to your habit, the real danger of smoking pot for a “big chunk” of your adult life is that you’re going to end up at a 7/11 buying Pringles and giggling at the cashier at the age of 45. Alcohol, on the other hand, can add richness to our personal and communal lives. The same can’t be said of marijuana use, no matter how safe or legal it is.

Volokh Conspiracy moves to Washington Post

The libertarian moment indeed. It was just announced Tuesday that the hugely popular legal blog, Volokh Conspiracy, has been picked up by the Washington Post. The Bezos-owned paper will now host Eugene Volokh’s legendary blog on its website, which is sure to boost both its exposure and prestige, while the authors retain full control of their content. For those unfamiliar with the 12-year old blog, its authors are mostly law professors with a libertarian bent, who cover everything from Supreme Court decisions to NFL policies, all with a dry but fascinating flourish.

Christie: End the drug war

Don’t count Chris Christie out just yet, folks. The embattled governor of New Jersey is doing his best to keep recent scandals out of the headlines by offering new ones of his own. Today in his inaugural address, Christie explicitly called for an end to the 40+ year old federal war on drugs.

“We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse. We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands this simple truth: every life has value and no life is disposable.”

Strong words from an executive who might find new difficulty getting his policies through his legislature given recent news and softening public support. More generally, a strong statement in an inaugural speech doesn’t mean a successful change in policy in any case, as has also been excessively clear since President Obama’s second. But with less favorable news in New Jersey making all the headlines lately, you can be sure Christie will do what he can to make more positive news over the next two years as the 2016 primary elections approach.

“Meet the Press” recruits NSA apologists to analyze NSA reforms

Meet the Press

When the Sunday shows or any cable news program (that at least feigns objectivity) books guests to discuss a certain topic, those guests are usually experts on that topic, and they usually get one of each on different sides of the topic. With its just-announced guests to discuss the Obama administration’s new NSA “reforms,” Meet the Press has succeeded, albeit ironically, on the former, and failed hysterically on the latter.

MTP

On first glance, they’ve wisely booked the chairs of both congressional intelligence committees. Perfectly qualified to analyze new intelligence gathering reforms! Feinstein and Rogers are truly experts in what the NSA does, since their committees are charged with overseeing the agency and its programs. Also, one of them is a Democrat and the other is a Republican. Balance! Surely they will have a lively but respectful debate on the topic!

That might be your reaction if know nothing past what Meet the Press lists in their announcement. Unfortunately, the rest of us know better. Feinstein and Rogers know so much about what the NSA does because they have been the primary enablers of the agency and its unconstitutional programs for years.

No, Congress isn’t cutting military benefits

Given all the insane things that our government has done over the past few years, it’s easy to fall into the habit of believing everything you read. DEA working with drug cartels? Check. Federally funded penis pumps? But of course. Congress cuts military benefits to reach a budget deal? You be…wait. Not so fast.

At the end of December, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray reached a rare bipartisan compromise on a budget agreement to end the short and contentious series of continuing resolutions that have funded the government since 2010. Once the details of the plan were revealed, it was immediately denounced, explicitly in conservative publications, and implicitly in mainstream ones, for draconian “cuts” to military benefits:

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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

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