In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential…
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ProPublica/IRS Leak: There's No Underlying "There" There

In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer returns spanning over 15 years, confirming that the partisan and power-hungry IRS simply cannot be trusted to safeguard our sensitive records, let alone to begin collecting sensitive private information from nonprofit organizations on donors who contribute to them in violation of the First Amendment.

Getting to the substance of the ProPublica/IRS leaked documents themselves, former Senator Phil Gramm and U.S. Policy Metrics partner Mike Solon explain in The Wall Street Journal how there's nothing scandalous in the least in what they reveal:

ProPublica’s 'blockbuster' story showing that the wealthy 'pay income taxes that are only…[more]

June 18, 2021 • 04:40 PM

Liberty Update

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Notable Quotes
On the Biden Administration's Infrastructure Charade:

"Last month, we warned Republicans about the pitfalls of indulging President Biden's infrastructure fantasies. The bipartisan framework announced Thursday isn't causing us to change our mind.

There is much to dislike about the so-called compromise proposal (even putting aside the minor detail that the nation's infrastructure is not, in fact, in dire need of repair). The deal negotiated by a group of five Republicans and five Democrats would mean $579 billion in new spending that, when slapped on top of what the federal government is already slated to spend on infrastructure, could mean $1.2 trillion in outlays over the next eight years. In a year when the White House expects U.S. debt as a share of the economy to be the highest in American history, the plan is vague about how everything will be paid for. A White House 'fact sheet' touting the plan has a line-by-line breakdown of the various new spending initiatives along with descriptions, but only bullet points on the proposed financing mechanisms, without any dollar amounts. Those bullet points include lines such as, 'State and local investment in broadband infrastructure' and 'Repurpose unused relief funds from 2020 emergency relief legislation.' Additionally, the plan lists 'Reduce the IRS tax gap' and 'Unemployment insurance integrity.' In other words, they couldn't get the numbers to add up, so they went for the old Washington standby of combating waste, fraud, and abuse.

While this framework deserves to be rejected on the substance alone, it doesn't get to the heart of the matter, which is that this entire process is a charade. Democrats have made their plans very clear. They want to move the bipartisan plan through the Senate on a parallel track with a reconciliation bill stuffed with liberal wish-list items that will be rammed through on a pure party-line basis."

Read entire editorial here.

— The Editors, National Review
— The Editors, National Review
Posted June 25, 2021 • 07:26 AM
On SCOTUS Ruling in Favor of Farm Property Rights:

"The Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision Wednesday ruled that a California law allowing union organizers access to farms to organize workers is unconstitutional because it in effect deprives farm owners of their property rights without just compensation.

"The six Republican-appointed justices ruled for the businesses while the three Democrat-appointed justices dissented, siding with state officials who defended the pro-union rule. It represented a show of force from the conservative majority on a hot-button political issue after a recent string of largely unanimous or 8-1 rulings.

"'The right to exclude is "one of the most treasured" rights of property ownership,' Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. 'Accordingly, the growers' complaint states a claim for an uncompensated taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.' ...

"The libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), which represented the growers in the case, said the ruling is a victory not only for farmers in California but property rights more generally.

"'Today's ruling is a huge victory for property rights. The decision affirms that one of the most fundamental aspects of property is the right to decide who can and can't access your property,' PLF senior attorney Joshua Thompson said."

— Tyler Olson,
— Tyler Olson,
Posted June 24, 2021 • 07:23 AM
On Concern Over ATF Biden Nominee:

"Several former and current members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are sounding the alarm against President Biden's nomination to lead the agency.

"Former ATF Director Michael Sullivan, as well as a current ATF member involved in training and a retired ATF deputy director who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, expressed concern that Biden's nominee is too political to lead an unbiased agency.

"'I am concerned that somebody who has taken such a strong and hostile position against the Second Amendment, as well as gun owners and some of the most popular firearms in the United States, would be viewed as a political leader for an agency that, I think, has worked extremely hard to build the American public confidence in its handling of interpreting both the Gun Control Act and the various regulations around it,' Sullivan told Fox News."

— Audrey Conklin, FOX News
— Audrey Conklin, FOX News
Posted June 23, 2021 • 07:50 AM
On the Continuing Battle for the Supreme Court:

"Liberal activists fearful of Democrats losing control of the Senate are pushing for stalwart liberal Justice Stephen Breyer to retire this year but Democratic senators don't share their enthusiasm, knowing a fall confirmation battle could quickly become a partisan circus.

"Senators say it's entirely up to Breyer, who is 82 years old, to make a decision on when to step down from the high court. They aren't relishing in another bruising Senate confirmation fight, which could put President Biden's legislative agenda on hold and further fuel partisan tensions in the chamber. ...

"Progressive activists, however, argue the future composition of the court is the most important consideration and one that could have an impact on law and public policy for decades to come.

"One of the groups that has been most outspoken in calling for Breyer's retirement is Demand Justice, which is led by Brian Fallon, a former senior aide to Schumer and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton."

— Alexander Bolton, The Hill
— Alexander Bolton, The Hill
Posted June 22, 2021 • 07:32 AM
On the Texas Gun Silencer Law Fight:

"The political fight over firearms regulation is not a matter of public safety but a matter of culture war. If you doubt that, consider a related case: We still have on the books anti-switchblade laws that were adopted by states such as Colorado in a national moral panic following the premiere of West Side Story. Without those knife-control laws, the United States surely would have degenerated into a dystopian hellscape straight from the minds of . . . Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. ...

"Sound suppressors -- popularly known as 'silencers' to the great irritation of the sort of person who will officiously correct you if you say 'clip' when you mean 'magazine' -- are commonplace items throughout much of the world, including in most of Europe, where some shooting clubs will go so far as to require their use as a matter of courtesy. In many European countries, you can buy a suppressor at a sporting-goods store with no more paperwork than is required to buy a pair of hiking boots. In real life, a firearm equipped with a suppressor doesn't make that cute little 'pew!' sound that it emits when James Bond is using one -- it sounds like a gun going off, but more quietly. ...

"In the United States, we have a cumbrous federal regulatory apparatus under which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulates the sale and transfer of suppressors in accordance with the National Firearms Act of 1934. (The states add another level of potential regulation, but suppressors are legal in all but eight of them.) Acquiring a suppressor requires a considerable pile of paperwork, an extensive background check, the payment of a special federal transfer tax, etc. The waiting time for getting approval can run more than a year. On top of that, lending someone a suppressor can put both of you at risk of becoming federal felons, and so those who own suppressors sometimes take the extraordinary step of forming a legal trust to take ownership of the accessory, so that family members who have been added to the trust can take the suppressor down to the shooting range without legal peril.

"Texas means to change that -- and, if it is successful, Texas's effort will change a lot more than the noise level at the shooting ranges in Houston. The firearms may be muffled, but the regulatory shot will be heard from coast to coast."

Read entire article here.

— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review Institute Fellow and National Review Roving Correspondent
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review Institute Fellow and National Review Roving Correspondent
Posted June 21, 2021 • 07:24 AM
On the Tide Turning Against 'Woke' Liberals:

"For the past year, liberals unleashed on the nation an avalanche of ideological nonsense, coupled with brutal pressure to conform. Those who bucked the party line found themselves canceled and unpersoned and had their opinions subjected to mockery and claims of delusion and 'anti-science' prejudices.

"Until now. Because the tide is turning. And sometimes the break from the party line comes from surprising places.

"Late-night comics are usually reliable parroters of the message of the day. So it says something that last week, Bill Maher launched an impassioned critique of 'woke' culture, while this week, Jon Stewart went on Stephen Colbert's show to say in no uncertain terms that it looks like the Wuhan coronavirus came from . . . the Wuhan lab.

"Using a term from Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, Maher accused liberals of 'progressophobia' -- 'a brain disorder that strikes liberals and makes them incapable of recognizing progress.'"

Read entire article here.

— Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
— Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
Posted June 18, 2021 • 07:35 AM
On Advancing the 'America Last' Policy:

"The most important takeaway from the recent G7 and NATO summits in Europe isn't President Biden's many embarrassing and unsettling mental lapses, long pauses, and rambling non sequiturs, but the clear message coming out of these meetings: the United States is returning to an Obama-Biden era 'America Last' foreign policy that puts the interests of multilateral institutions and international partnerships above the interests of the American people.

"That policy shift was perhaps best encapsulated in a quip from President Emmanuel Macron of France, who said of Biden, 'It is great to have a U.S. president who's part of the club and very willing to cooperate.' And of course it's true. At the close of the G7 Summit, Biden boasted that America is 'back at the table,' and described the summit as 'extraordinarily collaborative.'

"So what did this extraordinarily collaborative club manage to accomplish? One of the G7's most pressing tasks heading into the summit was what, if anything, it would do about an aggressive and intransigent China. What the group settled on was doing almost nothing."

Read entire article here.

— John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist
— John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist
Posted June 17, 2021 • 07:30 AM
On the Threat of Russia Post-Cold War:

"No one, save would-be despots, looks at the Russian 'model' as something they want to emulate. We're not competing with Russia for moral leadership.

"That's because Putin is better understood as a cross between a conventional mob boss, a James Bond villain and a Latin-American strongman. Estimates of his personal wealth range from $40 billion to $200 billion. Whatever the right number, he didn't get that rich from wisely investing his $300,000 salary.

"Putin holds onto power in part through crushing domestic opposition, intimidating or killing dissidents, blackmail, censorship and other tactics of ruthless tyrants. But he also maintains control by keeping Russian society in a constant state of crisis by relentlessly fueling paranoia that the West is at war with Russia and he's the only leader strong enough to hold her enemies at bay. A true Cold War nostalgic, he believes that relations with the West are zero-sum: Whatever is bad for the West is good for Russia. ...

"The idea that Biden (or anyone) can talk Putin out of his perceived self-interest is ludicrous. Someone who has clung to power through murder and oppression can't be made to see the light with finger-wagging bromides."

Read entire article here.

— Jonah Goldberg, Syndicated Columnist, Political Analyst and Commentator
— Jonah Goldberg, Syndicated Columnist, Political Analyst and Commentator
Posted June 16, 2021 • 07:28 AM
On Facing China's Threat:

"President Biden isn't known for austerity, except when it comes to defense.

"As part of his (welcome) emphasis on competition with China, Biden cajoled European countries at the G-7 summit into releasing a statement critical of Beijing. He also announced an infrastructure program meant to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative.

"That's all good, as far as it goes, but a glaring omission from Biden's campaign is a defense budget that reflects the seriousness of the growing challenge from Beijing.

"Indeed, Biden justifies almost any increased US spending as designed to check China's ambitions, at the same time he neglects what is most needful to keep China from dominating its region and waging war on our allies or America itself. ...

"Make no mistake -- Beijing is not so woolly-headed. Although you might miss it listening to Biden, there are threats from China that don't involve infrastructure spending or clean-energy initiatives.

"China has been growing its annual defense spending by more than 6 percent a year. Its navy has now surpassed that of the United States and is now technically the largest in the world. It is on pace to double its nuclear weapons over the next decade."

Read entire article here.

— Rich Lowry, National Review Editor
— Rich Lowry, National Review Editor
Posted June 15, 2021 • 07:40 AM
On Federal Judge Halting Biden's 'Unconstitutional' $4BN Program:

"A federal judge has halted Joe Biden's 'unconstitutional' $4 billion program to pay up to 120 percent of black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American farmers' debt, after 12 white farmers sued claiming it discriminated against them.

"Wisconsin Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order Thursday blocking the loan forgiveness program Biden put in place after saying he wanted to tackle longstanding inequalities for farmers of color.

"Judge Griesbach said the plan failed to provide adequate examples of recent hardships imposed on farmers from minority backgrounds. He also claimed that in trying to end one type of discrimination, the program ended up creating another. ...

"He said the lawsuit is 'likely to succeed on the merits of their claim' that the program's 'use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law.'"

Read entire article here.

— Rachel Sharp for
— Rachel Sharp for
Posted June 14, 2021 • 07:34 AM
Quiz Question   
What is the current U.S. national debt?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
"Last month, we warned Republicans about the pitfalls of indulging President Biden's infrastructure fantasies. The bipartisan framework announced Thursday isn't causing us to change our mind.There is much to dislike about the so-called compromise proposal (even putting aside the minor detail that the nation's infrastructure is not, in fact, in dire need of repair). The deal negotiated by a group of…[more]
—The Editors, National Review
— The Editors, National Review
Liberty Poll   

In the first Supreme Court term with Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett all now on the bench, how satisfied are you with decisions in cases you care about?