Three Things You Need to Know - December 7, 2017

Franken Stepping Down

December 7th, a Day of Infamy on so many levels. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, AND today - in 2017 - Senator Al Franken will show the world what it looks like to be thrown under the bus. Now to be clear, he deserves every bit of what he’s getting. Character matters and Franken clearly doesn’t deserve the title of United States Senator. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think groping and fondling women against their will is conduct becoming an elected official. An immoral man won’t suddenly become moral just because his secret has been outed. He can’t just sit in front of a mirror and say… “look, I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me” and wait for the ethics committee to declare no harm no foul.

However, Franken is clearly the sacrificial lamb here. Do I doubt the sudden newly found scruples of the Democrats? Absolutely. Franken’s announcement was conveniently chosen a full day AFTER a whole slew of Democrats called for his retirement. The intent was clearly to allow a good portion of the party to be able to say, “Hey, this guy really is bad. We decided to to do the right thing for women and for America.” Um yeah. I’m sorry but if you were really sincere and cared about the safety of women you would have done this after the first woman came forward, ok the second, well maybe after the third, fourth, fifth… YOU WAITED FOR THE SIXTH COMPLAINT!

I don’t think this was for the safety of women or for morality at all. What made this even more convenient was that all this comes just a couple days after Republicans, en mass, decided to start endorsing Roy Moore again. The motive for this announcement today seems clear. Franken was thrown under the bus as a sacrificial lamb to regain the moral high ground they’ve been losing since September. And I’ve got to tell you, with the way the GOP has been handling things lately, the Left will not only own the high ground, they’ll be entrenched and fortified in it with concrete bunkers.

Look, it’s absolutely justified to have Franken step down, but it’s also justifiable to call the Left out for their motivation here. Regardless the Democrat’s intentions, if the GOP doesn’t focus on character, and if they continue to handle things like Roy Moore the same, they can kiss the moral high ground goodbye. Character matters, and if the GOP doesn’t start acting like it, December 7th 2017 might be known as their new “Day of Infamy.”

US Officially Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

Two words: Donald delivered.

Yesterday afternoon, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and vowed to move the US embassy to the Holy City.

I’m really proud of Trump today. It was a brave move—one that he will be praised and remembered for-- if he follows through it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m optimistic--with a dash of skepticism. Trump signed the same national security waiver signed by Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, which will allow the administration to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for an additional six months. White House officials dismissed this move as “unavoidable because it would take several years to move the embassy staff to a new facility in Jerusalem.”

I can live with that as long as the embassy is moved before Trump leaves office.

The international community can yell and condemn America for recognizing reality all they want. They are wrong. This is a historic step against anti-Semitic hostility in the region and Trump deserves credit for being a strong leader on this. If this is any indication of where Trump is going in the future, I am excited to see what 2018 brings.

Facebook Targets a Younger Demographic

Do you want your six-year-old using Facebook?

This week, Facebook launched a new app called Messenger Kids. It’s an app for children to use on tablets or smartphones, but parents can control it from their Facebook account. Facebook says it’s addressing a need for a messaging app designed specifically for kids, but with the level of controls that parents want.

The app targets users as young as six-years-old. But don’t worry – Facebook says it spent months talking to parenting groups, behavioral experts, and families to develop the app. So it’s safe and probably even healthy for your child. According to Facebook, this “opens up a new world of online communication to families.”

Maybe so, but it also opens a whole new can of worms for American culture. Are we not distracted enough already? Now we need our six-year-olds walking across the playground with their nose in a screen? This app just gives kids one more technology thingamajig to bug Mom and Dad about. And right before Christmas too. Thanks, Facebook!

Another drawback – doesn’t this just provide predators, hackers, and Vladimir Putin with another point of attack?

Facebook says there are no ads in the app and that your child’s information won’t be used for marketing purposes. But that’s all this is, one giant marketing app. It’s marketing Facebook! It’s a massive recruiting tool. Facebook wants to hook kids on their social media product for the long term. You must be 13 to have a regular Facebook account. Facebook says it will not automatically convert Messenger Kids accounts to adult accounts when a child turns 13. But if this plan works, they won’t need to. The kid will already want to be a customer for life.

Part of me wants to resist any new app or technology specifically designed to hook my kids. On the other hand, this is their new reality. It wasn’t for my generation, so that’s why a lot of this stuff seems foreign. 66% of kids age 6-12 have their own smartphone or tablet now. Do we allow our kids to use these kinds of apps to help them be able to swim with the tide? And if so, what age is appropriate?

Each new gadget and app raises new questions. But the technology moves so fast we don’t have time to answer them before the next development.

MORE 3 THINGS

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.