Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Hobby Lobby wasn’t really about birth control, it was about an abuse of government power

On January 8, 2012, former Clinton spokesperson in his putative role as objective moderator of a Republican presidential primary debate fired the first warning shot in what soon became known as the “War on Women.” He asked the candidates if birth control was included in the right to privacy and if states had the right to ban it.

In what was surely a total coincidence (totally, you guys!), just days later the Obama administration would declare the federal contraception mandate for all insurance-providing companies to provide copay-free birth control in their coverage.

The War was on, contraceptives instantly became a legal right (read: entitlement), anyone who opposed forcing companies to pay for them hated women, the term “slut” became both an intolerable slur and a badge of honor, the administration and the courts both carved out religious exemptions that shrill harpies decried as emerging theocracy, and men were suddenly illegitimate politically since only women were justified in voting on health issues.

All of this is, of course, ridiculous. But the issue is now so viscerally charged that it is untouchable in the public discourse. So let’s uncharge it with a hypothetical allegory.

WHAT IF…

As part of a new Healthy America plan, Congress passed a comprehensive nutrition, exercise, and health bill, including a federal mandate for all employers with over 50 employees that requires they have a cafeteria that provides balanced meals to all employees working at least 30 hours per week.

Americans are tired of war: Old Guard Republicans attacking Rand Paul show how truly out of touch they are

Power structures and ideological dynamics change quickly in Washington, and when a sea change happens you almost feel sorry for the losing side, who usually doesn’t realize it for a while, still clinging to their anachronistic worldview and thinking it’s mainstream. But there comes a time when you just have to point and laugh at people who have lost, and lost big, and don’t even realize it.

Politico has a new summary of all the defense hawk attacks on Rand Paul’s alleged “isolationism,” including Rick Perry, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams from the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute. In denouncing the freshman Senator’s skepticism of interventionism, they cite the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course 9/11.

Yes, “it’s been a long time since 9/11,” as Cheney said, lamenting what he sees as forgetfulness about the threat of terrorism, but also, it’s been a long time since 9/11. At a certain point you have to stop buttressing your entire foreign policy narrative with the biggest failure of our national intelligence and defense systems since Pearl Harbor. We haven’t reverted to a pre-9/11 mindset, we’ve evolved to a post-post-9/11 mindset. The world has changed, again; global interventionists haven’t.

Perhaps sadder still than their reliance on the 9/11 shibboleth is the delusion that hawks are still the mainstream of public opinion or even the Republican Party:

Are Republicans either “freedom conservatives” or “liberty conservatives”? We can do better than that.

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Buzzfeed, not exactly known for its credibility on the right, this week contributed to what has been an ongoing project among our ranks for years now: how to describe and label the different wings of Republicanism. Ben Smith put forth a valiant effort, attempting to simplifying the right into two sides: freedom conservatives and liberty conservatives.

When we write about the right these days, we tend to use a set of dated shorthand, overlapping categories drawn from different eras: neocons and tea partyers, libertarians and hawks, the establishment and the grassroots. …

I propose replacing the messy old terminology with a simple new vocabulary, one that has evolved organically, which has deep and consistent intellectual roots, no pejorative implications, and which political leaders use effortlessly and without reflecting. The division that will define the Republican Party for the next decade is the split between Liberty Conservatives and Freedom Conservatives.

He describes freedom conservatives as those, like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, who have more moderate views and are comfortable with government expressing power both internationally and domestically to pursue a conservative agenda. Liberty conservatives, on the other hand, like Rand Paul of course, are more rooted in the originalist view of the Constitution limiting the federal government to a few specific powers and a more limited role in foreign affairs.

Crime fighting jumps the shark: Cops want to take explicit pics of teen to prove teen sent explicit pics

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DISCLAIMER: I will assume that if you are reading this you haven’t heard about the news story I’m about to cover. This is safe to assume, since if you had heard about it, you would have been rendered blind with rage and likely deceased after flinging yourself into traffic or off the nearest tall building out of utter despair for the state of our criminal justice system and society at large. As we progress, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that you have survived the rest of this post without the aforementioned or other life-threatening afflictions or injuries.

Police, prosecutors, and a judge in Virginia have colluded (trust me on this, that’s the right word) to require a 17-year-old boy to be photographed by police in a state of sexual arousal in order to prove that he is guilty of sending similar images to his 15-year-old girlfriend. At this point, you would be excused for laughing this off as the far-fetched plot of a Law & Order: SVU episode or sadistic snuff film. Well, hold on to your hats. It gets worse. The judge has issued a warrant for the requested photos, which may be “staged” by injecting the “suspect” at a hospital in order to induce the required erection, the teenage boy (not the cops…) would be charged with a felony and listed as a sex offender, and the cops already took photos of the boy’s offending member when he was arrested.

UPDATE:Police who abuse their power must be held accountable, but a cop who brutally killed a 13-year-old boy won’t face charges

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UPDATE - The incident pictured above and mentioned below has finally seen some justice. The cop who beat the woman for walking along the road has resigned, and the woman has received a $1.5 million settlement. The officer may still face charges.

In October 2013, a 13-year old boy carrying a pellet gun in Santa Rosa, California was shot eight times by a sheriff’s deputy. On Monday, the local district attorney decided he would face no charges for the brutal killing.

In 2010, a Houston man was beaten by multiple HPD officers. It wasn’t until video surfaced in 2013 (and the department requested their censorship for fears of “civil unrest”) that one officer was given probation for the beating, though another was acquitted.

In 2011, a California truck driver was beaten nearly to death by highway patrol for the aggressive, life-threatening offense of asking to read the traffic ticket he had been issued. The absurdly overreacting officer still has his job.

One paragraph from the Hobby Lobby ruling destroys the entire liberal “anti-women” narrative

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The instant the Supreme Court ruled on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the War on Women™ was back on. Liberals from sea to shining sea had talking points, Facebook memes, and … narratives ready to go and deployed them in a cascade of messaging discipline. It was truly a sight to behold. You may have seen this particularly nonsensical but effective image shared hundreds of times within 24 hours:

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I mean really. But apart from saying “nuh uh!”, conservatives had little effective response to this narrative. But then Julian Sanchez from the Cato Institute’s blog discovered a little-noticed passage in the Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito:

The effect of the HHS-created accommodation on the women employed by Hobby Lobby and the other companies involved in these cases would be precisely zero. Under that accommodation, these women would still be entitled to all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing.

This refers to an exception created by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces insurers to pick up the tab for coverage objected to by religious non-profit organizations and churches. Women employed by these organizations receive the same coverage, medications, and cost-free contraceptives as everyone else as mandated by HHS, even though the organizations themselves refuse to pay for that coverage.

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Matthew DesOrmeaux, proverbial keyboard jockey for liberty

Matthew DesOrmeaux

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

It’s probably not the best idea to begin a story by warning that it’s probably not very interesting, at least relative to others in the same genre, but I always was one for breaking rules and  shattering convention. And so there we have it. While most of our other illustrious hosts and contributors have vivid narratives of activist campaigns, brushes with libertarian greatness, or inspired revelations, I’ve just been over here reading and writing my way to liberty.

My family was always Republican, though when I grew up my home state at the time, Louisiana, was heavily Democratic, just also very conservative. I met up with the Young Republicans in high school, but wasn’t very active or even an actual member. Although most libertarians are pro-choice, I was always very pro-life, even as I turned away from the church and became an atheist in my college years. I remember going to the Lilith Fair with my mother in 1998 and wearing a “VERY PRO-LIFE” t-shirt. In hindsight, I’m surprised we made it out of there alive.

Knowing I was bisexual since about age 16, I was never likely to end up socially conservative on anything else. There are many lovely LGBT conservatives, of course, but I find one remains more sane if one’s life experiences inform their ideology, rather than keeping them sequestered. So as a young Republican I preferred liberty on fiscal issues, and as a bisexual atheist I tended to liberty on personal issues as well.

No, Obamacare didn’t magically make young people healthier

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They were anticipating this like their lives depended on it. Democrats and the media breathlessly reported Wednesday morning that a study found that “young adults” are healthier after the passage of Obamacare:

Starting in 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans, the first coverage expansion to take effect under the law.

Previous surveys have indicated that this provision, which remains among the law’s most popular, allowed millions of young adults to get health insurance over the last several years.

The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., suggests the coverage expansion also measurably increased the number of young adults who reported that they are in excellent physical and mental health.

Researchers also found a significant drop in how much young people were paying out of pocket for their medical care after the law went into effect.

Great news! Problem solved! Crisis averted! Let’s pass another one! Except under further scrutiny, nearly every claim being extrapolated from this study is wrong.

Here is the actual data collected:

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The survey collected responses from two groups twice: young adults (19-25) and other adults (26-34) each before Obamacare and after. Both groups were asked if they had health insurance, which medical services they used, and to rate their physical and mental health.

Hillary Clinton has beclowned herself once again: She flip-flopped on another big issue in hilariously disastrous fashion

In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allowed to states to do the same. The First Lady supported the policy at the time.

As recently as the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton is on the record saying marriage should be for opposite-sex couples, though others can have (separate but) equal rights in civil unions.

Then, just last year, one year after President Obama (who also famously “evolved” on the issue), she announced her full support for same-sex marriage. Seems pretty clear that she changed her mind on the issue, right?

HELL NO! And you are a terrible person for thinking so. At least according to an interview Secretary Clinton did with an NPR affiliate Thursday. Host Terry Gross questions Clinton for more than 7 minutes trying to get her to say if she changed her mind on the issue or just finally announced what her position had been all along. Neither one, apparently.

Several minutes into the process, Clinton actually scoffs and accuses Gross of attempting to entrap her into one of the two positions. Because NPR hosts are so fond of gotcha journalism, especially with Democrats, right?

The whole thing is a master class in political paranoia, cynicism, and double speak. It really is quite something.

Get government out of the way: Ending subsidies and bailouts for crony industries will lower consumers’ costs

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From dire warnings about imminent hyperinflation to the leftist dismissal of the risk of any inflation at all to Internet memes showing near-empty grocery carts now costing ONE BILLION dollars, the debate over rising prices won’t be settled anytime soon. Some prices have gone up, some have gone down, yet government measure of inflation hasn’t budged much in the last few years.

There has been a graph floating around for a few months now showing the difference in price increases and decreases for consumers over the last 10 years. It appeared first in an April New York Times story about how we define poverty. It then showed up on Twitter this morning with some annotations highlighting government’s role in those increases or decreases. Here’s a slightly better looking version:

prices

At the very least this shows a clear correlation between government subsidies and tax credits and consumer price increases.

College tuition is paid for largely by student loans, which were absorbed by the federal government in early 2010. State governments also provide funding for the schools themselves. Tuition has subsequently increased over 40% over the last 10 years, and in some places has doubled.

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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

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