Today in Liberty: SOTU least watched in 14 years, Snowden gets Nobel nomination, Dems lose ground in party ID

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral, self-righteous, bullying, laziness.” — Penn Jillette

— The State of Our Union is…YAWN: Yeah, Americans just aren’t as into the State of the Union address as they used to be. Maybe they’re tired of hearing the same rhetoric repackaged every year. Maybe they’re just sick of Washington politics. Whatever the reason, the 2014 State of the Union address was the least watched since 2000. It’s not like Americans missed much. All anyone seems to be talking about is Joe Biden.


— Hero, Traitor…Nobel Prize nominee?: Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Norwegian lawmakers. The now-infamous NSA whistleblower has, the lawmakers say, “contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.” Perhaps if Snowden wins, it’ll restore some honor to the award, which was bestowed to President Obama, a supporter of domestic surveillance and unnecessary wars, in 2009.

— Holder unable to defend executive overreach: During testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder was unable to explain President Obama’s frequent, questionable use of executive power. Though he tried to defend Obama’s use of power, asserting the White House has used his powers less than his predecessors, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) strongly disagreed, noting that the “nature of the executive orders that he has issued, he has usurped an extraordinary amount of authority within the executive branch.”

— This is, basically, the only way to get Obama’s attention: In his first post-State of the Union speech, President Obama hailed Costo founder Jim Sinegal’s support of a minimum wage hike and praised the big box store’s “commitment to fairness.” Oddly enough, the speech was hosted at — drumroll, please — a Costco. What Obama didn’t say, however, is that Sinegal is a pretty big supporter of his. Lachlan Markay writes that Sinegal fundraised for and contributed to Obama, leading to allegations of “mutual back scratching.” The Costco founder has also given $800,000 to Democratic candidates and related groups.

— It would be nice to hear Republicans talk like this: Rather than respond to President Obama’s platitudes and misleading claims about income inequality with half-baked, big government economic policies of their own, it would be nice to hear Republicans actually offer a defense of the free market. That’s what German President Joachim Gauck did recently when addressing the topic of inequality. “Injustice thrives namely precisely where competition is limited: by protectionism, corruption or governmentally imposed consideration of individual interests,” he said. “How liberal is an economic system, it is measured at the end not only of what is available to buy in the shops, but by whether it provides the opportunity for a self-reliant life to all citizens, and whether it offers many and many more options.”

— Bernanke’s legacy: With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s tenure at an end, Gallup finds that Americans’ opinion him is mixed, with 40% of approving of his job performance, while 35% disapprove. Republicans generally disapprove of his performance, 28/53. Democrats, however, overwhelmingly approve of the outgoing central banker, at 59/19.

— Democrats lose ground in state party identification: The number of Democratic states fell for the sixth consecutive year, according to Gallup. In 2013, Democrats had a party ID edge in 17 states, down from 35 in 2008. Republicans held a party ID edge in 14 states, up from five just six years ago.

— Tax Hike Mike leads the GOP pack: It’s almost like Republicans want to lose the 2016 presidential race. Though the election is a long way off, the latest national survey from Public Policy Polling shows Mike Huckabee, a serial tax hiker and nanny statist, leading the GOP field, at 16%. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are right behind him, with 14% and 13%. Rand Paul takes 11%.

— This is why the Liberty Movement is so amazing: When you’re feeling down about the State of the Union, just remember that not all is lost. There are young people out there working to make a difference. Thank you, Young Americans for Liberty and Ron Paul Problems!

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