This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Pew Research Report Strengthens Cause of Donor Privacy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 01 2017
What they really seek is to identify, isolate, shame, intimidate, picket and even threaten those whose political views they deem intolerable.

Whether through outright violence or law, liberals continue to wage war against others' First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly and political participation. 

From the left-leaning Pew Research Center, however, a new profile of American political donors debunks a central claim of their campaign. 

Across America, increasingly emboldened and violent mobs attack conservative or libertarian speakers, and even liberal figures insufficiently dogmatic in silencing conservative voices.  Evergreen State College offers just the latest outrageous example, where a biology professor was literally surrounded by campus mobs and forced to flee in April for nothing more than merely questioning the propriety of a "Day of Absence," during which white students and faculty were ushered from campus. 

Elsewhere across America, violent masked thugs routinely destroy private property and assault anyone on public streets who even appears conservative.  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has had his home outside of Washington, D.C., surrounded by threatening mobs for merely restoring internet regulatory policy to the light-touch approach that prevailed under Clinton and Bush administrations.  Some among that mob even peered into Pai's windows to take photographs of his home's interior, and terrified his children. 

They simply seek to hound conservative voices from the public arena. 

In the legal and political realm, their tactic of choice is to impose campaign finance regulations.  At the federal, state and local levels, they seek to kneecap anyone outside of the mainstream media who seeks to engage in core political speech or support candidates or parties with their own hard-earned dollars. 

As part of that tactic, they maximize the degree to which anyone donating to a political candidate or philosophical cause must surrender intimate personal information, including such things as home addresses, telephone numbers, places of employment and email addresses to the public, accessible to the aforementioned mobs or anyone with a personal vendetta via a few simple clicks on the internet. 

Liberals insist that they're merely interested in sunlight and safeguarding our political system.  They suggest that more regulation and less privacy is necessary to expose powerful "dark money" interests supposedly controlling the system. 

But their true goal is transparent.  What they really seek is to identify, isolate, shame, intimidate, picket and even threaten those whose political views they deem intolerable. 

Fortunately, Pew's new profile of political donors in America offers encouraging assistance in that regard. 

Entitled "Five Facts About U.S. Political Donations," Pew highlights American National Election Studies (ANES) data demonstrating the grassroots nature of political donors in America, thereby debunking the left's main rationale for silencing political speech and assembly via campaign finance laws.  Pew notes that everyday Americans making relatively small donations have doubled their participation rates over the past two decades.  "Americans are increasingly likely to make political donations, with the share of adults who say they have donated directly to candidates doubling since 1992," it summarizes. 

Perhaps most significantly, Pew highlights how almost 90% of Americans who donated gave less than $250: 

Of all Americans who reported donating to a candidate or group working to elect a candidate, 55% reported donating less than $100, while 32% reported donating between $100 and $250, according to the fall 2016 survey.  The remaining 13% said that they donated more than $250. 

That directly refutes the image perpetuated by campaign finance regulation enthusiasts, who prefer that we think of donors as an isolated cabal of fat cats, bundling enormous amounts of money to control the political system beyond public view. 

Here's another interesting revelation.  Democrats are actually twice as likely as Republicans to have donated in the past year, with 22% of Democrats and Democratic leaners versus 10% of Republicans and Republican leaners making a donation in 2016. 

Regardless of the amount someone wants to contribute, however, First Amendment activity should not be chilled by the fear that their donation and personal information will be public to malevolent actors seeking to punish them. 

In 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court squarely addressed this question in NAACP v. Alabama, ruling that the First Amendment protected the NAACP against surrendering its membership lists to Alabama authorities.  The Court recognized the obvious fact that the threat of public disclosure and potential violence would frighten members from joining its cause. 

Unfortunately, courts and lawmakers since that ruling have gradually become complacent and lost sight of that truth.  They have progressively imposed more and more burdens upon private citizens seeking to engage in core political speech or activity. 

But as the ongoing epidemic of violence and intimidation across America shows, the threat remains very real, particularly for conservatives. 

Fortunately, lawmakers in multiple states are working to pass legislation affirmatively protecting the privacy of American citizens who wish to engage in the political process and exercise their simple First Amendment rights without fear of intimidation. 

Pew's new donor profile helps humanize those who increasingly need and deserve such protection, and for that Americans who value the First Amendment can be grateful. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"We can return to the explosive job creation, rising wages and general prosperity we had before the pandemic. We can have economic freedom and opportunity, and resist cancel culture and censorship. We can put annus horribilis, 2020, behind us and make America great again, again. We can do all this -- if we make the right choice on Nov. 3.The New York Post endorses President Donald J. Trump for re-…[more]
 
 
—The Editors, New York Post
— The Editors, New York Post
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe Republicans will continue to hold a majority in the U.S. Senate following the 2020 election?