In this week's Liberty Update, we highlight the falsity of the persistent claim that Barack Obama somehow…
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Yesterday's GDP Report Confirms Our Commentary on Obama's Economic Record

In this week's Liberty Update, we highlight the falsity of the persistent claim that Barack Obama somehow prevented a great depression:

[T]he federal government's own economic data shows that Obama actually inherited an emerging recovery.  The American economy was already rebounding before he even officially became president.  What he has done is impose policies that have resulted in the slowest decade of economic growth in recorded U.S. history."

Yesterday's official report on first-quarter 2016 economic performance provided same-day confirmation.  More specifically, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product (GDP), the basic metric by which the economy is measured and by which recessions and recoveries are defined, grew at a disturbing 0.5%.  Not only is that…[more]

April 29, 2016 • 11:42 am

Liberty Update

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Notable Quotes
 
On Solving Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis:
 
 

"Puerto Rico's fiscal woes are approaching a boiling point. With more than $70 billion in outstanding debt, the territory has come to Congress, hat in hand, asking for help.

There are prudent ways to address the problem, and there are short-term patches that will only make the problem worse in the long run. A bailout, like those we saw for Wall Street and the auto companies in the wake of the financial crisis, is a non-starter. Throwing good money at bad behavior would only entrench the poor financial management that led to the mess in the first place, while making everyone worse off down the road. ...

Puerto Rico's problems are symptomatic of irresponsible budgeting and careless overspending, and the only remedy is long-term financial reforms. These reforms must rein in the excessive spending that plagued the Commonwealth for several decades and must get the island off the addictive promise of easy money."

 
 
— Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)
— Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Posted May 02, 2016 • 08:17 am
 
 
On ICE's 2015 Illegal Immigrant Criminal Release:
 
 

"The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in 2015 decided not to deport but release 19,723 criminal illegal immigrants, including 208 convicted of murder, over 900 convicted of sex crimes and 12,307 of drunk driving, according to new government numbers.

"Overall, those released into virtually every state and territory of America had a total of 64,197 convictions among them, for an average of 3.25 convictions each, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies. ICE also said that the group were convicted of 8,234 violent crimes."

 
 
— Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner
— Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner
Posted April 29, 2016 • 08:20 am
 
 
On Parental Public School Choice:
 
 

"According to a survey commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, nearly 80 percent of parents favor allowing families to choose which public school their children attend, regardless of where they live.

"Support rises above 80 percent among Hispanic, black and low-income parents. In all three groups and overall, more than 50 percent of parents 'strongly favor' the concept. ...

"Given the geographic assignment that dominates the public school system, it is not surprising to see that about a third of parents said they moved so their child could attend a specific school. That portion was higher among wealthy families than low-income families."

 
 
— Jason Russell, The Washington Examiner
— Jason Russell, The Washington Examiner
Posted April 28, 2016 • 12:09 pm
 
 
On Virginia's Criminal Constituency:
 
 

"Terry McAuliffe was a Clinton henchman before he was governor of Virginia. He would be a Clinton henchman afterward, too, which means that he must be one during his governorship, to which end he has ordered -- without legal authority -- the automatic re-enfranchisement of felons stripped of their voting rights. Virginia is a swing state, Mrs. Clinton needs it, and Governor McAuliffe is therefore determined to deliver it to her.

"It is difficult to say which is more woeful: McAuliffe's cynical political calculation or the fact that it is entirely accurate. ...

"McAuliffe may believe that the Commonwealth of Virginia should change its law and automatically reinstate the civil rights (some of them, anyway) of felons who have completed their sentences and whatever probation or parole conditions were attached to them. He might even be right. But the Commonwealth of Virginia has not done that. Doing so would require a bill to be introduced in its state legislature, passed, and signed by the governor. No such thing has happened. The governor's executive privileges including granting clemency in certain criminal cases and restoring the civil rights (some of them, anyway) of rehabilitated criminals on a case-by-case basis. The ability to restore a felon's voting rights does not grant the governor the power to do so universally any more than his ability to pardon a convicted murderer empowers him to legalize murder."

 
 
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
Posted April 27, 2016 • 07:58 am
 
 
On John Kerry & Teresa Heinz's OffshoreTax Havens:
 
 

"Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz have invested millions of U.S. dollars through family trusts in at least 11 offshore tax havens, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group.

"The revelation comes on the heels of the release of the Panama Papers, a treasure trove of 11.5 million legal and financial records documenting how some of the world's richest and most powerful people have used offshore bank accounts to conceal their wealth and avoid taxes.

"Since the release of the papers, no American politician has been identified as using the secretive offshore accounts.

"But a DCNF investigation has confirmed that the former Massachusetts Democratic senator and his billionaire wife, using an elaborate set of Heinz family trusts, have invested 'more than $1 million' each into 11 separate offshore accounts -- mainly hedge funds in the Cayman Islands.'"

 
 
— Richard Pollock, The Daily Caller
— Richard Pollock, The Daily Caller
Posted April 26, 2016 • 08:20 am
 
 
On Restoration of Voting Rights to Virginia Ex-Felons:
 
 

"In what is likely an unconstitutional state action seemingly calculated to ensure that the purple state of Virginia goes blue in the November election, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) signed an order on Friday restoring the voting rights of 206,000 ex-felons in Virginia, including those convicted of murder, armed robbery, rape, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. The order also restores their right to sit on a jury, become a notary, and even serve in elected office. ...

"It is estimated that McAuliffe's action will add 3.8 percent to the 5.4 million registered voters in Virginia. That may not seem like a lot, but McAuliffe knows very well that Virginia today is a swing state with recent statewide elections that have been decided by a very small margin. In 2013, the current attorney general, Mark Herring (D), won his race by only 907 votes. Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (R) won his prior post as attorney general by only 360 votes in 2005. ...

"McAuliffe's willingness to do anything (and to say anything) to achieve partisan political goals shows a complete contempt for the rule of law and for the constitutional republic that is the United States. What a sad day for the great state that was the home of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, James Madison, George Mason, and the father of our country, George Washington."

 
 
— Hans A. von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow and Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity President and General Counsel
— Hans A. von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow and Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity President and General Counsel
Posted April 25, 2016 • 07:55 am
 
 
On the Paris Climate Agreement:
 
 

"Today, Earth Day, President Obama will attach America's name to the Paris Climate Agreement. Greatly affected, according to gushing accounts in the press, will be the president's 'legacy.' Unaffected, according to math, will be the threat of climate change. And left holding the bill, as seems to happen with each new acquisition for the Obama presidential library, will be the American people."

 
 
— Oren Cass, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow
— Oren Cass, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow
Posted April 22, 2016 • 08:37 am
 
 
On Congressional Efforts to Bail Out Puerto Rico’s Massive Debt:
 
 

"We must draw a line in the sand against this now. The federal government is to let markets work, not be the 'get out of jail free' card for irresponsibility and corruption. And, just as important, we must lay a marker down for future requests that we all know will be coming -- not from a commonwealth but from states like California and Illinois that are on the path to bankruptcy themselves."

 
 
— Congressman John Fleming (R-LA), Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Chairman and House Armed Services Committee Member
— Congressman John Fleming (R-LA), Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Chairman and House Armed Services Committee Member
Posted April 21, 2016 • 07:57 am
 
 
On a Big ObamaCare Exit:
 
 

"President Obama claimed credit at a Los Angeles fundraiser last week for 'the steady progress that happens when people who love this country decide to change it,' and reality is unlikely to darken his farewell tour. But for everyone else, note that the largest U.S. health insurer is quitting ObamaCare.

"On Tuesday UnitedHealth Group reported a terrific first quarter, with strong performance across nearly all business lines. There was one exception: The conglomerate's insurance exchange unit raised its projected Affordable Care Act losses for 2016 to $650 million from $525 million, after booking $475 million in red ink last year.

"CEO Stephen Hemsley said ObamaCare's instability, small market size and costly patient population 'continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis.' He said UnitedHealth will withdraw to 'only a handful of states' in 2017."

 
 
— The Editors, The Wall Street Journal
— The Editors, The Wall Street Journal
Posted April 20, 2016 • 08:29 am
 
 
On Bernie Sanders's Revealing Tax Return:
 
 

"Bernie Sanders released his 2014 tax return this weekend, revealing that he and his wife took $60,208 in deductions from their taxable income. These deductions are all perfectly legal and permitted under the U.S. tax code, but they present a morally inconvenient, if delicious, irony: The Democratic socialist from Vermont, a man who rages against high earners paying a lower effective tax rate than blue-collar workers, saved himself thousands using many of the tricks that would be banned under his own tax plan.

"With all of his itemized deductions, Sanders's taxable income was significantly lower than it would have been if he had taken the standard deduction. The deductions left Sanders and his wife paying $27,653 in federal income taxes in 2014, on a joint income of $205,271 -- an effective federal tax rate of 13.5 percent. If that seems low to you, your instincts are right: According to the Tax Foundation, the average federal income-tax rate for a couple making $200,000 to $500,000 in 2014 was 15.2 percent. The 'millionaires and billionaires' that Sanders is so fond of berating paid, on average, just more than twice as much of their income (27.4 percent) in federal taxes as he did. ...

"What Sanders did, using every option and advantage available under a Byzantine tax code to minimize his tax payment, is a normal practice for many Americans. But it's also exactly what the targets of his anger do. You can argue about whether or not that's greed, but it's impossible to argue that it isn't hypocrisy. The paragon of liberal purity is not as pure as he'd like the world to believe."

 
 
— Jim Geraghty, National Review Senior Political Correspondent
— Jim Geraghty, National Review Senior Political Correspondent
Posted April 19, 2016 • 12:23 pm
 
Question of the Week   
American citizenship was most recently granted to inhabitants of which one of the following U.S. territories?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"Puerto Rico's fiscal woes are approaching a boiling point. With more than $70 billion in outstanding debt, the territory has come to Congress, hat in hand, asking for help. There are prudent ways to address the problem, and there are short-term patches that will only make the problem worse in the long run. A bailout, like those we saw for Wall Street and the auto companies in the wake of the financial…[more]
 
 
—Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)
— Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)
 
Liberty Poll   

If Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, for whom will you vote in the general election?