Three Things You Need to Know - January 25, 2018

That's one heck of a sentient phone glitch at the FBI

Which one of these is more believable? Bigfoot, alligators in the New York City sewer, OR the FBI’s recent excuse for “failing to preserve” five months of cell phone texts?

The latest FBI explanation for the missing texts is that it was less “failing to preserve” and more “well crap, we had a glitch.” The “glitch” apparently affected 10% of the FBI. Out of 35,000 employees, that’s about three thousand phones.

Riiight. Let’s pretend for a second that we buy this. This glitch would have to be the most picky, selective and fortuitous glitch in history. Ten percent of a large organization such as the FBI is actually pretty small. Somehow it decided to choose the two people, Struck and Page, that were at the center of potentially the biggest political scandal since Watergate. Was it just going through and randomly picking people it didn’t like?

The seemingly sentient “glitch” then decided to turn on right as the Russia investigation was ramping up. Hey, you never know, maybe all the talk of Russians scared it? Whatever it’s reason was, it kept up the mischief as the Steele Dossier was released and as James Comey was fired. Glitching this select group of personnel, during one of the most turbulent times the bureau has seen in years, sure must have been fun!

But - as happens to everyone having a good time - I guess “the glitch” eventually got tired, because - and this is TOTALLY just a coincidence - it decided to end it’s rampage on the same exact day Muller was appointed special counsel. I know it’s strange timing, but those glitches are some strange cats.

Are you kidding me with this excuse? Are we seriously supposed to believe that the FBI IT technicians failed to notice or fix this for FIVE MONTHS? I mean, was the Imran Awan family doing the FBI’s IT in addition to Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

I don’t know if the FBI is covering something up, but all this sure does look bad. These excuses are getting ridiculous. The American public deserves a full and detailed explanation for what’s going on. If not, they might as well announce the formal opening of investigations into Bigfoot and New York City sewer alligators. At least then they’d be consistent in their absurdity.

Lobbying for Google

It’s in your phone, your car, your home. Now it’s in your government too. Google is everywhere.

In 2017, Google out-spent all other companies in lobbying Washington. It was the first time that a tech company claimed this dubious top honor. Google spent $18 million on lobbying.

They had stiff competition of course. Amazon, Facebook, and Apple each broke their own lobbying records last year. Apple spent 51% more on lobbying than it did in 2016. Combined, the four tech giants spent $50 million.

What are they spending it on? Lobbying operations to try to influence policy on DACA, corporate tax reform, regulation of online advertising, mobile medical apps, self-driving vehicles, and naturally, climate change.

Government and the tech giants are barreling toward a showdown because current anti-trust laws are not equipped to handle these tech companies that transcend various industries. Amazon for example – it’s like an old mail-order catalog company, but it’s also a grocery store chain (after buying Whole Foods last year), and a TV broadcaster that produces its own original shows. Google and Apple are now similarly diverse. These are not like traditional companies focused on a single industry. And there seems to be no end to their growth.

These companies have grown so big, so fast, that – surprise – federal regulators haven’t been able to keep pace. That leaves us vulnerable. Why? Because the tech giants have more data stored about us than any government ever dreamed of collecting on its citizens. Our data is gold to these companies, and if the government wants to protect consumers from exploitation, they’ll have to pry our data from the cold, dead fingers of the tech giants. Not likely. Especially when the tech companies are paying $50 million in lobbying efforts to make sure it never comes to that.

Our constitutional form of government is very high maintenance. It requires constant vigilance. You have to keep an eye on government and business. We must be engaged and educated. Too much government interference is not a good thing. But neither is too much corporate interference.

As much as we enjoy all the services and gadgets from the tech giants, they aren’t looking out for your interests. They have their own agendas, and as we saw with Google last year when they fired James Damore for having an opinion, those agendas are not what you want being peddled in Washington.

Self-identifying may not be enough for Democrats anymore

Elizabeth Warren has a problem.

As 2020 approaches, the Democrats are trying to solve the mystery of her Native American heritage.

All her life, Warren has listed herself as Native American. She claimed she was a “minority” in the legal directory of the Association of American Law Schools.

She is listed as Native American in federal forms at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

She even contributed to the Native American cookbook “Pow Wow Chow” and listed her name as “Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee.”

But for some reason, Warren has not officially reported her Native American ethnicity to the Senate’s historian office.

And that reason is apparent to every person on planet Earth.

Elizabeth Warren isn’t really Native American.

She is the whitest white woman ever.

She claims family ties to Oklahoma going back to before it was a state, but that doesn’t mean she’s part Indian.

Warren says she grew up hearing tales from her mother’s side of the family that they had Cherokee and Delaware blood in them.

A thorough examination by genealogists has proved otherwise.

They poured over her family’s birth, marriage, and death records and could not find any conclusive proof of Native American ancestry.

Oopsie.

But does Elizabeth Warren lying about her heritage really matter to people anymore?

Can’t she simply get away with “self-identifying” as Native American? It seems like everyone else on Earth can claim they are something they’re not and we’ll go along with it, so why can’t she?

Or do we still value authenticity in a person?

I think we do, or else the democrats wouldn’t be so worried about her unsubstantiated Native American claims.

And that’s actually a really good sign.

MORE 3 THINGS

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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.