The Arena

Our Lawless Federal Government
Posted May 07, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Senator Ted Cruz has released a disturbing new report chronicling 76 specific instances of President Obama’s blatant disregard for the law. These violations of the law are terrible in their own right, but the precedent this behavior sets for future administrations is certain to have an incalculably bad impact on the future of our country.

It is troubling that the president thinks it is acceptable to ignore the law whenever he finds the law inconvenient. It is equally troubling that there has been no meaningful public outcry from nonpartisan sources. In decades gone by the national media would have been all over this, investigating, asking hard questions, and demanding accountability. In decades gone by a sitting senator would not have had to release his own compendium of presidential lawlessness because the competitive natured, curiosity driven, investigative journalists of the country would have been clamoring to be the next Woodward & Bernstein. The fact that they are not is very telling and deeply disturbing. The once fiercely independent watchdog national press corps has morphed into a monolithic, ideologically driven, lapdog media whose chief purpose seems to be to serve as an outlet for White House ...

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IRS Uses Secret Warrants To Steal Innocent Citizens Bank Accounts
Posted May 01, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

In a scathing expose in the Washington Post, George Will examines the IRS’s use of secret warrants and civil asset forfeiture to steal the bank accounts of innocent American citizens.

In 2010 and 2012, IRS agents visited the store and examined Terry’s and Sandy’s conduct. In 2012, the IRS notified them that it identified “no violations” of banking laws. But on Jan. 22, 2013, Terry and Sandy discovered that the IRS had obtained a secret warrant and emptied the store’s bank account. Sandy says that if the IRS had acted “the day before, there would have been only about $2,000 in the account.” Should we trust that today’s IRS was just lucky in its timing?

The IRS used “civil forfeiture,” the power to seize property suspected of being produced by, or involved with, crime. The IRS could have dispelled its suspicions of Terry and Sandy, if it actually had any, by simply asking them about the reasons — prudence, and the insurance limit — for their banking practices. It had, however, a reason not to ask obvious questions before proceeding.

The civil forfeiture law — ...

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Shooting The Messenger
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Wallace Hall is a University of Texas Regent who took his job seriously and in doing so exposed institutional corruption that left egg on the faces of some powerful elected officials. Now Hall is being prosecuted and persecuted for having done his job. It’s an embarrassment to our state and our higher education system that Mr. Hall continues to be railroaded simply for shining the light of transparency in a place that desperately needed it. This story hasn’t been given enough attention, and certainly not enough attention sympathetic to Mr. Hall. Thankfully, Kevin D. Williamson is giving this some national attention today in National Review Online. Check out the full story here.

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Drowning In Debt at Frisco ISD
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Jess Fields makes an appearance in the Dallas Morning News to break down why Frisco ISD’s $775 Million Bond Is A Bad Idea For Taxpayers

The Dallas Morning News recently ran a story about how Frisco ISD’s $775 million bond proposal is facing significant opposition and skepticism from the community. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has noticed Texans’ weariness of ever-increasing debt and taxes.

Do tell!

Frisco ISD has borrowed nearly $1.4 billion on the backs of taxpayers. And that doesn’t include interest, which is estimated at over $1.2 billion. Combine the principal and interest amounts owed, and the district’s total outstanding debt burden is nearly $2.6 billion, or about $55,988 per student enrolled.

That’s a school district, folks. A school district! $56k in debt per student. That is mind boggling. To put it in perspective the national debt which everyone is so rightly concerned about works out to $54,855.72 per capita as of this writing. Yep, you read that right, Frisco students are saddled with more debt by their school district than ...

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Only 2.45 Million ObamaCare Enrollees Paid By Deadline
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

New figures out from insurance companies blow the lid off of the Obama administration’s claim of 8 million Obamacare enrollees. You’re not enrolled if you don’t pay, and as it turns out only 2.45 million have paid. That’s a far cry from the administration’s outlandish claims. Makes a person wonder, of the folks who actually did pay how many only signed up because they got booted from the insurance they liked and wanted to keep but couldn’t because of Obamacare? Check out the link for further details from National Review’s esteemed Jim Geraghty.

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Why Texas Is Booming
Posted March 27, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Alexis Garcia at Reason explores the reasons why The Texas Model has our state booming in a nationally down economy. It should be pointed out that while we are energy rich, the Texas Model isn’t predicated on energy production. It’s predicated on sound conservative policies of low taxes, low regulation, reasonable tort laws, and a predisposition to enabling individual liberty. Any state can copy the Texas Model and get Texas-like results!

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Irony Alert: Pro Gun Control CA Lawmaker Arrested For Arms Trafficking
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Why do those who work the hardest to infringe on our civil rights and tell us how to live our lives always seem to reserve the right not to practice what they preach? Via Breitbart, “CA State Sen. Leland Yee Indicted for Arms Trafficking After Supporting Assault Weapons Ban”.

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Cornyn Exposes Senate Plan To Redefine The First Amendment
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has introduced legislation known as the “Media Shield Law”. Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle explains:

Schumer’s proposal would exempt a “covered journalist” from subpoenas and other legal requirements to expose their confidential sources in leak investigations and other areas. Other lawmakers have proposed similar ideas in the past, but the effort gained new momentum after a series of revelations about controversial tactics the Justice Department was using to target journalists.

Sounds great, right? Why wouldn’t we want to shore up the First Amendment’s freedom of the press protections?

But not all is as it seems. Senator John Cornyn of Texas blows the lid off of what this legislation is really all about: protecting the traditional liberal media and licensing the free press at the expense of new media upstarts. Back to Boyle:

Cornyn says Schumer’s proposal is fatally flawed and may be an unworkable idea altogether.

“They want to pick and choose which journalists are covered,” the Texan Republican told Breitbart News. “In other words, if you’re a blogger they might not cover you, but if you ...

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Egypt Sentences 529 To Death For Killing One Police Officer
Posted March 24, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

According to the New York Times, an Egyptian court has sentenced 529 people to death for the killing of a police officer. It is absurd on its face that so many people could be directly responsible for the death of one person. Such Kangaroo Court proceedings are a good reminder that as flawed as our justice system can be here at home, our due process rights are vastly superior to most (if not all) of the rest of the world. Maybe the Right On Crime folks would consider opening an office in Cairo.

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How The Want Ads Used To Read
Posted March 14, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

This is allegedly the text of Ernest Shackleton’s advertisement recruiting men for his next polar expedition.

MEN WANTED for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.

Ernest Shackleton 4 Burlington st.

Whether this is actually the text of Shackleton’s ad or not, I do not know. I do know that it accurately represents the spirit of the times. It’s very Texan in spirit, actually. Had Ernest Shackleton and William Barret Travis walked the earth at the same time and ever had the chance to meet, they’d have undoubtedly been great friends. The ad makes no mention of insurance, liability, pensions, or benefits. It’s simply an appeal to man’s innate desire for adventure, danger, opportunity to demonstrate courage, and the possibility of earning glory.

I wonder what response such an ad would garner today? Culturally we are more risk averse, liability concerned, and afraid of the unknown than people seem to have been in the times of Shackleton and Travis. But if I had to ...

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