From AEI, something to remember when we're told that the middle class in America is disappearing. …
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Image of the Day: Middle Class Shrinking... In a Good Way

From AEI, something to remember when we're told that the middle class in America is disappearing.  It's disappearing because people are moving upward:


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="1569"] Middle Class Disappearing... Upward[/caption]


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August 19, 2019 • 10:12 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 Leveraging Facebook Data:

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network's power and control competitors by treating its users' data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data, according to about 4,000 pages of leaked company documents largely spanning 2011 to 2015 and obtained by NBC News.

"The documents, which include emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook's trove of user data -- including information about friends, relationships and photos -- as leverage over companies it partnered with.

"In some cases, Facebook would reward favored companies by giving them access to the data of its users. In other cases, it would deny user-data access to rival companies or apps."

Read entire article here.

— Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar, NBC News
— Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar, NBC News
Posted April 17, 2019 • 07:59 am
On the Obama Administration’s Plan to Spy on the Trump Campaign:

"There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. As Barr made clear, the real question is: What predicated the spying? Was there a valid reason for it, strong enough to overcome our norm against political spying? Or was it done rashly? Was a politically motivated decision made to use highly intrusive investigative tactics when a more measured response would have sufficed, such as a 'defensive briefing' that would have warned the Trump campaign of possible Russian infiltration?

"Last year, when the 'spy' games got underway, James Clapper, Obama's director of national intelligence, conceded that, yes, the FBI did run an informant -- 'spy' is such an icky word -- at Trump campaign officials; but, we were told, this was merely to investigate Russia. Cross Clapper's heart, it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. No, no, no. Indeed, the Obama administration only used an informant because -- bet you didn't know this -- doing so is the most benign, least intrusive mode of conducting an investigation. ...

"The fact that spying had occurred was too clear for credible denial. The retort, then, was misdirection: There had been no spying on Donald Trump or his campaign; just on a few potential bad actors in the campaign's orbit.

"It was nonsense then, and it is nonsense now."

Read entire article here.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review Contributing Editor, Legal Commentator, Terrorism Expert and Former Federal Prosecutor
— Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review Contributing Editor, Legal Commentator, Terrorism Expert and Former Federal Prosecutor
Posted April 16, 2019 • 07:30 am
On Ethanol's Role in Rising Gas Prices:

"Ethanol is an alcohol made from plants, mostly corn in the U.S. In addition to getting you drunk, it can act as a fuel additive. You've probably noticed those signs on gas pumps informing you that your gasoline contains 10% ethanol. That means your gasoline is less efficient and will slowly wreck your motorcycle, boat, and lawnmower.

"So, why do refiners put ethanol in your gasoline? Because the federal government requires it. The federal ethanol mandate created by President George W. Bush (officially the Renewable Fuel Standard) was a sop to the ethanol lobby, which wields extra clout thanks to prominence of the Iowa caucuses.The floods across the Midwest have overwhelmed roads and rails and thus trapped millions of barrels of ethanol in the heartland. In a sane world, this wouldn't harm drivers who just want some regular old gasoline.

"But thanks to the Renewable Fuel Standard, it's effectively illegal to sell gasoline without ethanol in it.

"Supply curtailed by nature, demand legislated by Congress -- blend them together, and you get $4 a gallon in San Francisco and sharply climbing prices in most of the country."

— The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
Posted April 15, 2019 • 08:05 am
On Preventing Comey-Style Spy Abuses At FBI:

"Elise Stefanik, a Republican lawmaker who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced legislation Wednesday that would require the FBI director to promptly inform Congress when investigations of candidates for federal office are undertaken by federal law enforcement or intelligence authorities.

"Two years ago, when then-FBI Director James Comey finally notified Congress that he'd opened up a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign the previous year, some members were deeply troubled. Not only was the FBI director not supposed to hide his counterintelligence work from a key group of congressional members who receive his briefings, he was supposed to notify them in particular about politically sensitive probes. ...

"The Trump-Russia probe from the 2016 campaign touched off a massive scandal that included wiretaps of private citizens, weaponization of campaign-funded opposition research, the deployment of overseas intelligence assets against American citizens, and allegations that America's top law enforcement and intelligence officials were attempting a soft coup of the duly-elected president of the United States. That probe, thanks to strategic leaks from intelligence officials, then folded into Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling two-year-long investigation. It resulted in zero charges related to collusion or conspiracy with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton."

— Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
— Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
Posted April 12, 2019 • 07:46 am
On Whether Spying Occurred on the Trump Campaign:

"Democrats and some in the media expressed shock and outrage when Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that 'spying did occur' on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

"Barr 'must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up,' Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. 'Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the attorney general.'

"Barr has gone 'off the rails,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. ...

"Cable news commentators called Barr's statement 'stunning' and appeared baffled that the attorney general would make such a claim 'without evidence.'

"The baffling thing was why they were baffled. Barr's statement was accurate and supported by publicly known facts."

Read entire article here.

— Byron York, Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent
— Byron York, Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent
Posted April 11, 2019 • 07:29 am
On Protecting the Fundamental American Right of Donor Privacy:

"Private citizens should not be subjected to government harassment for supporting causes they believe in, and charities should not have to worry about their funding drying up because donors fear reprisals. Yet many policy pundits on the left, and even a few on the right, have been doing all they can to convince lawmakers across the country that the government has a compelling interest in knowing to whom you give your after-tax money. In using popular language such as 'dark money' and 'transparency,' the Left really means that it wants to know who funds its opposition, so it can bring pressure to bear and suppress its opponents' speech with coercion and threats.

"It's no surprise that in blue states, including California, New York, Delaware, and New Mexico, the government is compelling 501(c) charities to disclose information about their donors. In recent years, some red states, too, including South Dakota, Utah, Alabama, and South Carolina, have also proposed legislation or regulation that would strip away donor privacy for charitable organizations, in the name of good government.

"While transparency is what citizens require of their government, privacy is the constitutional right afforded to citizens. Conflating public requirements and private rights is clever but disingenuous. We should not allow proponents, from the Left or the Right, to get away with such sophistry.

"In the Federalist Papers, a collection of 85 essays promoting the adoption of the United States Constitution, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in 1787-88, the three founders used the pseudonym 'Publius.' They did so because to advocate for something as radical and controversial as that revolutionary document was dangerous. Not everyone in power in 18th-century America agreed with these ideas. ...

"Mississippi, where I live and work, has now become the second state, joining Arizona, to protect the privacy of non-profit donors. Governor Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1205 into law at the close of the legislative session last month. The bill codifies a long-standing practice of barring the government from demanding or releasing publicly the personal information of donors to 501(c) non-profits. At a time when partisanship seems to reign, the publication of personal information can expose citizens to intimidation and harassment from those who want to shut down speech with which they disagree. Fortunately, two states -- and may others follow -- have taken steps to ensure the fundamental American right of donor privacy."

Read entire article here.

— Jon L. Pritchett, Mississippi Center for Public Policy President and CEO
— Jon L. Pritchett, Mississippi Center for Public Policy President and CEO
Posted April 10, 2019 • 08:01 am
On Calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a Terrorist Group:

"The Trump administration has served the Iranian people and the cause of truth by dubbing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group.

"The IRGC uses violence and economic leverage to achieve authoritarian ends. Calling them terrorists is salutary candor. The designation also serves the cause of peace.

"The IRGC controls vast swathes of Iran's economy from the energy industry to telecommunications. This gives the IRGC control over a feudal system with which to distribute resources to its supporters and fund its aggression. But it's worse than that. Because the IRGC manages its business interests poorly and with disregard for the public interest, its feudalism has turned Iran's economy into an inefficient behemoth. Preventing market entry and competition, the IRGC ensures that it is the necessary one-stop shop for individuals and businesses alike.

"President Trump's action on Monday changes that for the better. When the terrorist designation goes into effect next week, the Iranian government knows that foreign corporations will be reluctant to sign new business deals. They'll fear U.S. sanctions."

Read entire article here.

— The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
Posted April 09, 2019 • 07:50 am
On Learning from Socialism:

"It is critical that current generations look back at what socialism produced in the last 70 years. Where is there one successful socialist system? For a time, Scandinavian countries were able to use the production from a successful capitalist system to support a new socialistic system, but that experiment has ended because it proved to be unsustainable. Other so-called socialist systems, such as those in Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela, provide nothing but hunger and misery to their citizens, while their 'visionary' leaders live lives of luxury. Once the richest country in South America, Venezuela under socialism has become one of the poorest. ...

"The loss of individual freedoms to unnecessary government intrusion and its control over all aspects of peoples' lives is at stake. Socialism really means control over all means of production and the redistribution of wealth by the government. The reality is that no socialist country has been able to sustain its lofty promises. As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pointed out, 'the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples' money.'

"Many wise voices have cautioned, 'Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it'. Today, there are ominous signs that we may be heading toward repeating past failures, instead of learning from them. We must prevent a repeat of history's failures. If we do not, we will doom our children and grandchildren to a bleak future."

Read entire article here.

— Eugene Megyesy, Escaped from Hungary in 1956, served in Vietnam, practiced law in Denver, and was Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary
— Eugene Megyesy, Escaped from Hungary in 1956, served in Vietnam, practiced law in Denver, and was Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary
Posted April 08, 2019 • 08:01 am
On the Southern Poverty Law Center's Tax-Exempt Status:

"As the Southern Poverty Law Center implodes over accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment, its legion of critics wants answers and a swift burial of the embattled organization's status as the nation's judge and jury on hate.

"Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, took the lead with a letter to the Internal Revenue Service requesting an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the incongruously wealthy nonprofit group, which he blasted as a 'racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation.'

"'I've long been troubled by the Southern Poverty Law Center's activities, which are centered on serial defamation of its opponents, not on civil rights litigation, as its founding charter says,' Mr. Cotton told The Washington Times.

"'Obviously, the revelations that the Southern Poverty Law Center has engaged in systematic racial discrimination and sexual harassment at the highest levels is very troubling as well,' he said. 'I think it bears on whether they should have tax-exempt status under our laws and benefit from the taxpayer subsidy.'"

Read entire article here.

— Valerie Richards, The Washington Times
— Valerie Richards, The Washington Times
Posted April 05, 2019 • 07:30 am
On Senate Move to Confirm President Trump's Judges:

"Senate Republicans deployed the 'nuclear option' on Wednesday to drastically reduce the time it takes to confirm hundreds of President Trump's nominees.

"In back-to-back votes, Republicans changed the rules for the amount of time it takes to confirm most executive nominees and district judges -- marking the second and third time Republicans have used the hardball tactic since taking over in 2015.

"The combined actions will result in most nominations that require Senate confirmation needing only two hours of debate after they've defeated a filibuster that shows they have the votes to ultimately be confirmed. Before Wednesday's rules change, they faced up to an additional 30 hours of debate.

"Supreme Court picks, appeals court judges and Cabinet nominees will not be affected by the change and could still face the lengthier Senate floor debate.

"But the move will let Republicans hit the gas on confirming nominations, a top priority in an era of divided government that has left lawmakers without big-ticket legislative agenda items.

"Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued shortly before triggering the hardball procedural tactic that the Senate needed to go back to a 'more normal and reasonable process' for confirming nominations."

Read entire article here.

— Jordain Carney, The Hill
— Jordain Carney, The Hill
Posted April 04, 2019 • 11:45 am
Question of the Week   
Which one of the following ships started out as a racing vessel, was fitted out as a slave ship, a Union gunboat and ultimately sank as a commercial vessel?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
"Federal arrests of non-citizens has increased exponentially over the past two decades, and account for the majority of all federal arrests, data released by the Justice Department revealed.Non-citizens made up 64% of all federal arrests in 2018 despite making up 7% of the U.S. population, according to Justice Department data released Thursday and reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Between…[more]
—Jason Hopkins, Daily Caller Immigration and Politics Reporter
— Jason Hopkins, Daily Caller Immigration and Politics Reporter
Liberty Poll   

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