-- The Left’s War on Free Speech - 4/1/17
-- Here’s How GOP Can Destroy Myth of Obama Economy - 1/13/15
-- My Top 10 Resolutions for the New Congress (Part 1) - 1/13/15
-- 15 Statistics That Destroy Liberal Narratives - 1/13/15
--> Author, The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech
Kimberley Strassel writes the weekly “Potomac Watch” column for The Wall
Street Journal, where she is also a member of the editorial board. A
graduate of Princeton University, her previous positions at the Journal
include news assistant in Brussels, internet reporter in London, commercial
real estate reporter in New York, assistant editorial features editor,
columnist for OpinionJournal.com, and senior editorial page writer. In 2013
she served as a Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hillsdale College,
and in 2014 she was a recipient of the Bradley Prize.
The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 26, 2017, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.
I like to introduce the topic of free speech with an anecdote about my children. I have three kids, ages twelve, nine, and five. They are your average, normal kids—which means they live to annoy the heck out of each other.
Last fall, sitting around the dinner table, the twelve-year-old was doing a particularly good job at this with his youngest sister. She finally grew so frustrated that she said, “Oliver, you need to stop talking—forever.” This inspired a volley of protests about free speech rights, and ended with them yelling “shut up” at each other. Desperate to stop the fighting and restore order, I asked each of them in turn to tell me what they thought “free speech” meant.
The twelve-year-old went first. A serious and academic child, he gave a textbook definition that included “Congress shall make no law,” an evocation of James Madison, a tutorial on the Bill of Rights, and warnings about “certain exceptions for public safety and libel.” I was happy to know the private-school fees were yielding something.
The nine-year-old went next. A rebel convinced that everyone ignores her, she said that she had no idea what “public safety” or “libel” were, but that “it doesn’t matter, because free speech means there should never be any restrictions on anything that anybody says, anytime or anywhere.” She added that we could all start by listening more to what she says.
Then it was the five-year-old’s turn. You could tell she’d been thinking hard about her answer. She fixed both her brother and sister with a ferocious stare and said: “Free speech is that you can say what you want—as long as I like it.”
It was at this moment that I had one of those sudden insights as a parent. I realized that my oldest was a constitutional conservative, my middle child a libertarian, and my youngest a socialist with totalitarian tendencies.
With that introduction, my main point today is that we’ve experienced over the past eight years a profound shift in our political culture, a shift that has resulted in a significant portion of our body politic holding a five-year-old’s view of free speech. What makes this shift notable is that unlike most changes in politics, you can trace it back to one day: January 21, 2010, the day the Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling and restored free speech rights to millions of Americans.
For nearly 100 years up to that point, both sides of the political aisle had used campaign finance laws—I call them speech laws—to muzzle their political opponents. The Right used them to push unions out of elections. The Left used them to push corporations out of elections. These speech laws kept building and building until we got the mack daddy of them all—McCain-Feingold. It was at this point the Supreme Court said, “Enough.” A five-judge majority ruled that Congress had gone way too far in violating the Constitution’s free speech protections.
The Citizens United ruling was viewed as a blow for freedom by most on the Right, which had in recent years gotten some free speech religion, but as an unmitigated disaster by the Left. Over the decades, the Left had found it harder and harder to win policy arguments, and had come to rely more and more on these laws to muzzle political opponents. And here was the Supreme Court knocking back those laws, reopening the floodgates for non-profits and corporations to speak freely again in the public arena.
In the Left’s view, the ruling couldn’t have come at a worse time. Remember the political environment in 2010. Democrats were experiencing an enormous backlash against the policies and agenda of the Obama administration. There were revolts over auto bailouts, stimulus spending, and Obamacare. The Tea Party movement was in full swing and vowing to use the midterm elections to effect dramatic change. Democrats feared an electoral tidal wave would sweep them out of Congress.
In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation. It would send a message: conservatives choosing to exercise their constitutional rights will pay a political and personal price.
We’ve seen this strategy unfold, in a coordinated fashion and using a variety of tactics, since 2010.
One tactic is the unleashing of federal and state bureaucracies on political opponents. The best example of this is the IRS targeting of conservative non-profits. To this day, Obama acolytes and Senate Democrats characterize that targeting as a mistake by a few minor IRS employees in Cincinnati who didn’t understand the law. That is a lie.
Congress held several investigations of this targeting, and the truth is clear. In the months following the Citizens United ruling, President Obama delivered speech after speech on behalf of Democratic midterm candidates, repeating the same grave warning at each stop—thanks to Citizens United, he would say, shadowy and scary organizations are flooding into our elections. He suggested these organizations might be operating illegally and might be funded by foreign players. He noted that somebody should do something about it.
These speeches acted as a dog whistle to an IRS bureaucracy that was already primed to act. Former IRS official Lois Lerner was well aware of Democratic demands that the agency go after conservative Tea Party and non-profit groups. Senate Democrats and left-wing interest groups had been sending letters to the agency for months, demanding it go after the very groups it ultimately went after. And Ms. Lerner had her own biases—we know this from her recoverable emails—that put her politically and substantively in the anti-free speech camp. The result is that the IRS deliberately put some 400 conservative organizations, representing tens of thousands of Americans, on political ice for the 2010 and 2012 elections.
It is hard not to believe that this was designed to help Democrats in those elections. We know that senior members of the Treasury Department were aware of the targeting abuse in early 2012, and took steps to try to slow it. Yet those officials did not inform Congress this was happening, and chose not to divulge the abuse until well after that year’s election.
Another intimidation tactic is for prosecutors to abuse their awesome powers in order to hound and frighten political opponents. The most terrifying example of this was the John Doe probe in Wisconsin. Democratic prosecutors in Milwaukee launched a bogus criminal campaign finance investigation into some 30 conservative groups that supported the public-sector union reforms championed by Governor Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s John Doe law gave these prosecutors the right to conduct this investigation in secret and to subject their individual targets to gag orders. Prosecutors secretly looked through these individuals’ financial records, bank accounts, and emails.
Prosecutors also conducted pre-dawn raids on some of their targets’ homes. In one horrifying instance, the target of such a raid was on an out-of-town trip with his wife, and their teenage son was home alone. Law enforcement came into the house and sequestered the boy, refusing to allow him to call a lawyer or even his grandparents, who lived down the road. They hauled items out of the house, and as they left they told the boy that he too was subject to the gag order—that if he told anyone what had happened to him, he could go to jail.
We only learned of this because one brave target of the probe, Eric O’Keefe, told The Wall Street Journal what was going on. We broke that story, and it became national headline news. But it ultimately took a lawsuit and the Wisconsin Supreme Court to shut down the probe. In its ruling, the Court made clear its view that the probe’s purpose had been intimidation. The prosecutors had been sending the message: if you dare to speak, we will turn your lives into a living hell and potentially put you in prison.
More recently we have seen this tactic in the joint action of 17 state attorneys general, who launched a probe into Exxon and some 100 different groups that have worked with Exxon over the years. The implicit prosecutorial threat: get on board with our climate change agenda or we might bring racketeering charges against you.
A third intimidation tactic is for activist groups to use blackmail against corporations and non-profits in order to silence them. One subject of such attacks was the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that works to promote free-market policies at the state level. As a non-profit, it is largely funded by corporate donations. Because it is so successful, it has long been despised by left-wing activist groups.
These groups focused their efforts on ALEC in 2012, in the wake of the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. ALEC had played a tangential role in crafting the popular stand-your-ground laws that the Left attacked after the shooting. On that basis, left-wing activists branded ALEC a racist organization and threatened to run ad campaigns against its corporate donors, branding them as racists too—unless they stopped funding ALEC. In a coordinated action, Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sent letters to a thousand organizations across the country, demanding to know if they supported ALEC and suggesting they’d get hauled in front of Congress if they did. ALEC lost nearly half of its donors in the space of a few months.
We’ve also seen this tactic employed against private individuals. One such person was Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, who Barack Obama’s reelection campaign singled out in 2012, following a VanderSloot donation to Mitt Romney. The campaign publicly branded him a disreputable person, painting a target on his back. Not long after that, VanderSloot was audited by the IRS and visited by other federal agencies.
Out in California, left-wing activists targeted donors to the state’s Prop 8 ballot initiative, which supported traditional marriage. They combed through campaign finance records, and put the names and addresses of Prop 8’s donors on a searchable map. Citizens on this list had their cars keyed, their windows broken, their small businesses flash-mobbed, and their voicemails and emails flooded with threats and insults. Some of them even lost their jobs—most notably Brendan Eich, the founder and CEO of Mozilla. In later depositions, many of these targets told lawyers that they wouldn’t donate to future ballot initiatives. So the attacks were successful in silencing them.
Note the use of disclosure in these attacks. We have come to associate transparency and disclosure with good government. But unfortunately, our system of disclosure has been turned on its head. Disclosure was supposed to enable citizens to keep track of politicians; but if you followed Hillary Clinton’s server scandal, you know that politicians have now become expert at hiding their business. Instead, disclosure is increasingly becoming a tool by which government and political thugs identify people and organizations who oppose them.
Sadly, our federal judiciary has refused to honor important precedents that protect anonymity in politics—most notably the famous 1958 case, NAACP v. Alabama. In that case, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled against the Alabama attorney general, who had demanded a list of the state’s NAACP members. The civil rights group knew this was tantamount to making targets of its members in a state that was riven at the time with race-related violence. The Court held that some level of anonymity is sometimes required to protect the rights of free speech and free assembly. The Court expanded on this precedent until the Watergate scandal, when it too got caught up in the disclosure fad. Political privacy rights have been eroding ever since.
What is to be done? For starters, we need to be aware that this is happening, and that it is not random. The intimidation game is very real. It is the work of left-wing groups and politicians, it is coordinated, and it is well-honed. Many of the targets of intimidation who I interviewed for my recent book weren’t aware of what was happening to them, and that allowed the intimidation to go on for too long. Awareness is key.
We need to think hard about ways to limit the powers of the administrative state, to stop rogue agents at the IRS and other agencies from trampling on free speech rights. We can make great progress simply by cutting the size of federal and state bureaucracies. But beyond that, we need to conduct systematic reviews of agency powers and strip from unaccountable bureaucracies any discretion over the political activities of Americans. The IRS should be doing what it was created to do—making sure taxpayers fill out their forms correctly. Period.
We need to push corporations to grow backbones and to defend more aggressively their free speech interests—rather than leaving that defense to others.
We need to overhaul our disclosure laws, and once again put the onus of disclosure on government rather than citizens. At the moment, every American who donates $200 or more to a federal politician goes into a database. Without meaning to sound cynical, no politician in Washington is capable of being bought off for a mere $200. We need to raise that donation threshold. And we need to think hard about whether there is good reason to force disclosure of any donations to ballot initiatives or to the production and broadcast of issue ads—ads designed to educate the public rather than to promote or oppose candidates.
Most important, we need to call out intimidation in any form and manner we see it—and do so instantly. Bullies don’t like to be exposed. They’d rather practice their ugliness in the dark. And one lesson that emerged from all my interviews on this topic is that speaking out works. Those who rolled over merely set themselves up for future attacks. Those who called out the intimidators maintained their rights and won the day.
** Ed: I disagree with this very last paragraph, the
Liberals, Progressives, Marxist, and Communist are real enemies of our
Country and they must be purged from our nation or we will loose it. Cuba
has been a good example of the failure of the left, now a glaring example is
Argentina, a previous strong government destroyed by the left; their people
are now starving because of the stupidity of Communism.
Here’s How GOP Can Destroy Myth of Obama Economy
1/13/2015 Wayne Allyn Root For Townhall.com
Everywhere we turn in the media, we hear the lie that the Obama economy is in “recovery.” Bill Maher actually taunted Republicans on his show last week, daring them to attack Obama’s economic record. Now it appears that Hillary has bought into this great lie. The word is that Hillary is about to tie her presidential campaign to Obama’s economic policies. Why? Because for the first time she believes the economy is in “recovery.” She is no longer afraid or embarrassed to support Obama’s policies.
Where are the GOP leaders to rip this narrative to shreds? Are they so blind, deaf and dumb that they have no idea there is no recovery for the middle class. There is only misery and poverty. Do Republican leaders believe the lies and propaganda spewed by Obama, his socialist cabal and the biased leftist media? It’s so easy to attack the lies and rip the “good news” to shreds.
So here’s a lesson for GOP leaders from a successful small businessman operating in the REAL OBAMA ECONOMY. Listen and please take notes.
The narrative provided by Obama and his Kool-Aid drinking fans in the media (like Bill Maher) is that the economy is doing great…GDP is up dramatically… unemployment is way down…healthcare costs are down…and Obama has lowered the deficit. These are the same lies told by every Democratic member of Congress, and the GOP lets them get away with these lies. Here is how you debunk them.
First the economy is not “recovering” or “healthy” for anyone but corporate elite, billionaires, bankers and Wall Street. Main Street and small business are dying. The American middle class is being murdered. For the first time in history our middle class is no longer number one in the world - Canada’s is. For the first time in history more businesses are failing each day than opening. For the first time in history there are more people on welfare, food stamps and other handouts than working in the private sector. We have the lowest workforce participation rate in history. Almost 100 million working-age Americans aren’t working. 107 million Americans are on some form of welfare. This is Obama’s definition of success? This cannot go unchallenged by GOP leaders.
Obama’s supporters claim healthcare costs are down while GDP is up. Really? Here are the facts. Health insurance premiums have gone up more in the past year than in the 8 years prior to Obamacare combined. And that is precisely why GDP was up. Almost the entire increase in 3rd quarter GDP was fueled by the massive increase in healthcare costs due to Obamacare.
So let me get this scam correctly. Obama's voters get "free" healthcare, while middle class America and small business gets bankrupted with the huge bill. Our health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, destroying our quality of life, and Obama calls that proof that GDP is up. That's an achievement?
The GOP needs to attack aggressively. The idea that GDP is rising because of higher healthcare costs that are bankrupting middle class Americans, is not a reason to celebrate.
But wait, the lies get bigger. If the GDP increase for one quarter was primarily produced by increased healthcare spending, then how can Obama’s defenders claim that healthcare spending is down? Where did they get that lie from? Jonathan Gruber? The left just makes up lies - and no one challenges them. My health insurance bill went from $500 per month to $1700 under Obama. Challenge these lies. This message will resonate with middle class consumers (and voters).
Next Obama’s defenders claim unemployment is down. How could it be down if the workforce participation rate is the lowest in history? The answer is fraud. The government doesn't count the people no longer looking for jobs…or who don’t want a job (who would rather sit home collecting welfare). True unemployment is at Great Depression levels.
Worse, the jobs being created are crappy, low wage, part-time jobs. Can you imagine what liberals would say if a white Republican was president and every job created was flipping burgers, mowing lawns or cleaning toilets? They'd say he was trapping minorities in a life of poverty and hopelessness. But a black liberal president receives congratulations. Amazing.
Democrats also crow about the stock market under Obama. Republicans go along with this narrative. Well a rising stock market based on good news and positive economic fundamentals would be great. But a rising stock market based on fake money printing by the Fed, misleading economic stats and massive debt is not so great. Actually it’s a tragedy. Our stock market under Obama resembles the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It’s a debt bubble about to pop.
The stock market is up because Obama has added $8 trillion in debt. This is the world's largest Ponzi scheme. We’ve printed trillions in fake dollars to make the stock market go up for the corporate elite (Obama’s biggest donors), to prop up union pension funds (to benefit Obama’s biggest union supporters), and to pay for 107 million Americans on welfare and food stamps (Obama’s most loyal voters). But the mountain of debt is like a credit card credit line that will soon explode, destroying our country and our children’s future. Every politician who supported it should be in jail.
Anyone can use credit cards and mortgages they can't afford to look like they're rich. But when the bill comes due, the whole scheme comes crashing down. America under Obama is one big fraud. The “prosperity” is a mirage, propped up by debt. We are living on borrowed credit.
Debt is a cancer that kills every country it has ever touched. Study ancient Greece, or the Roman Empire. Or ask Venezuela. They are following the exact Obama game plan. They now have massive unrest, starving citizens, food and toilet paper shortages…and the highest stock market in history!
Obama has corrupted and destroyed the system. It’s rigged to make the stock market go up, while hiding the fact that he’s piling up the most debt in world history, mortgaging our future, destroying the middle class, and driving most of the workforce into poverty and government dependency.
Finally there’s the lie that Obama has reduced the deficit. Well this fantastic “reduced” deficit is still higher than the highest deficit under Bush. But let’s give credit, where credit is due. The deficit is down due to you and me-the taxpayers. Obama pushed through the highest tax increases in history. We’re all paying much higher taxes. That’s why the deficit is down. How is that an achievement?
Middle class America has been fleeced so Obama can brag he’s reduced the deficit. Is the GOP really this stupid? They can’t figure this out? Higher taxes have produced new government revenue, which has reduced the deficit. That’s not an achievement, it’s a rip off.
The entire Obama economic “recovery” is a lie. It’s all based on lies, misrepresentations, in some cases pure fraud, higher taxes, massive debt, and on the income redistribution of money from the middle class to the poor and the corporate elite. The rest of us are either drowning, or hanging on for dear life.
Now it’s time for the GOP to go on the offensive. It’s time to debunk the narrative that Obama has produced a “recovery.” If we don’t make that case, get ready for President Hillary Clinton.
My Top 10
Resolutions for the New Congress (Part 1)
1/13/2015 Chuck Norris For Townhall.com
With the 114th U.S. Congress having launched Jan. 3, it's time we the people step up and hold our representatives' political feet to the fire in order to see real, demonstrable change that will heal and improve our country, especially during these last two critical years of Barack Obama's presidency.
Here are my top 10 resolutions for the new Congress:
10) Reel in executive power and presidential orders.
I know that every president since the dawn of our republic has used executive orders. Theodore Roosevelt was the first to rack up over 1,000 during his nearly eight years in office. But it's time to return our country to the true balance of power that existed when the Founding Fathers carved our country. All but one president (John Adams) among the first five presidents were in office for eight years, and the highest number of executive orders used by any of them was eight. That was George Washington. Thomas Jefferson used four, and Adams, James Madison and James Monroe used one each.
9) Defund and repeal Obamacare.
The verdict is in. Obamacare doesn't save America money, red tape or heartache, and the worst is yet to come.
The Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics reported several ways in which Obamacare "will drastically limit access to life-saving medical treatment. ... These four areas include: the (40 percent) 'excess benefit' tax coming into effect in 2018, the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges, present limits on senior citizens' ability to use their own money for health insurance, and federal limits on the care doctors give their patients to be implemented as soon as 2016."
Line by line, Congress needs to defund and repeal Obamacare. Then, instead of replacing it with another inept federal alternative, Congress needs to repeal any and all federal laws that restrict a free market in health care.
8) Restore the 10th Amendment and a real balance of power between the federal and state governments.
This would solve a host of federal overreaches. While they're minimizing the roles of executive orders and Obamacare, members of Congress should restore the original intent of the 10th Amendment and the balance of power to our states.
Our country would be light-years ahead of where it is if, before every thought of legislation, Washington paused to answer the question, "Did our founders intend for us to deal with this, or does it belong in the hands of another?"
If you wonder where the balance is, then listen to the wisdom written by a nearly 80-year-old Jefferson in 1823: "The States supposed that by their tenth amendment, they had secured themselves against constructive powers. They (have not learned from the past), nor (are they) aware of the slipperiness of the eels of the law. I ask for no straining of words against the General Government, nor yet against the States. I believe the States can best govern our home concerns, and the General Government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore, to see maintained that wholesome distribution of powers established by the constitution for the limitation of both; and never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market."
7) Restore federal fiscal sanity and finally lower our national debt.
Back in 2010, I wrote in the expanded paperback version of my New York Times best-seller "Black Belt Patriotism": "Official government estimates forecast that (the national debt) will be double over the next decade. The White House has projected a cumulative $9 trillion deficit between 2010 and 2019, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates a more optimistic deficit as $7.1 trillion based upon higher revenues as Bush tax cuts expire. Washington's out-of-control spending could turn the nation's already-staggering $11 trillion debt into an astronomical $20 trillion."
We didn't even have to wait 10 years! Our worst financial nightmares have come true, as the national debt has nearly doubled under Obama, to a staggering $18.1 trillion.
How do we reduce the national debt? A start would be to do what we should do in our personal lives when our finances are out of control. We should cap and cut our spending, reduce our budget, allow the supply and demand levels to drop to points commensurate with our income (not credit line), learn to downsize and live within our means, limit high-cost fun and frivolity, and use what extra money we have to pay down our debt.
6) Our country needs the FairTax.
A recent widely circulated email incorrectly cites some higher taxes allegedly coming in 2015, but not all the stats are wrong. PolitiFact recently reported the accurate increases in various taxes under Obama:
In 2013, the top Medicare tax went from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent because of Obamacare. This year, the dividends tax went from 15 percent to 23.8 percent because of "the high-income added Medicare tax under Obamacare." From 2010 to 2013, the estate tax went from zero percent to 40 percent.
PolitiFact also explained: "On Jan. 1, 2013, the top combined rate for the income and payroll tax went from 37.9 percent to 42.5 percent, or 43.4 percent due to the additional Medicare tax in the health care law. ... On Jan. 1, 2013, the highest capital gains tax rate rose from 15 percent to 20 percent. The Affordable Care Act's additional 3.8 percent Medicare tax for high-income earners can be added to make it 23.8 percent."
Any way you boil it -- whether you're directly hit by these taxes or you're indirectly hit through fiscal cuts, cost increases or a host of trickledown effects -- we're all paying higher taxes because of Obama's presidency.
What we need now more than ever is the FairTax, which is a flat tax. In short, the FairTax would do away with all taxes and put in their place a single consumptive tax. It's the closest practical modern proposal to the taxation system favored by America's founders. They did not penalize productivity through taxes the way we do today. They had no IRS. But they did tax imports. The founders believed in free trade within our own borders and a system of tariffs on imported goods.
Next week, I will give the remaining five resolutions for the new Congress.
15 Statistics That Destroy Liberal Narratives
1/13/2015 John Hawkins Townhall Daily
1) President Obama's own Department of Justice completed a six-year study on college rape, and it turns out that instead of 1-in-5 college coeds being raped, the figure is 0.03-in-5. Less than 1 percent of college students are the victim of a sexual assault -- 0.6 percent to be exact -- not to be confused with the 20 percent, or "one in five," claimed by feminists and President Obama. -- Ann Coulter
2) In ’92, the general sense was that New York was rotting from the inside. Now, crime feels like the exception rather than the rule. The city is the safest it has ever been. Demonstrators beg to differ. They claim black people are at special and heightened risk from cops. They argue this in a city in which a police force of 34,000 serving in a city of 8 million residents fired their weapons exactly 81 times in 2013 — compared to 312 in 1993. Nationwide, “police could end all killings of civilians tomorrow and it would have no effect on the black homicide risk,” writes City Journal’s Heather MacDonald. “In 2013, there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the US — almost all killed by black civilians.” -- John Podhoretz
3) Gallup found that support for President Obama’s amnesty order was primarily among the foreign born population — whether Latino or not. Hispanics born in the United States only backed the amnesty plan by 51-42. Latinos born outside the U.S. backed it by 75-17. (Non-Hispanics born outside the U.S. backed Obama’s plan by 60-32). Since only one-quarter of Hispanic voters are foreign born, this finding is electrifying! It means that the knee-jerk approval Democrats are expecting from the Latino community may not be forthcoming, particularly not in sufficient numbers to offset the backlash among non-Hispanic voters. -- Dick Morris
4) It's also not true, as widely asserted, that the wealthiest Americans (the notorious top 1 percent) have captured all the gains in productivity and living standards of recent decades. The Congressional Budget Office examined income trends for the past three decades. It found sizable gains for all income groups. True, the top 1 percent outdid everyone. From 1980 to 2010, their inflation-adjusted pretax incomes grew a spectacular 190 percent, almost a tripling. But for the poorest fifth of Americans, pretax incomes for these years rose 44 percent. Gains were 31 percent for the second poorest, 29 percent for the middle fifth, 38 percent for the next fifth and 83 percent for the richest fifth, including the top 1 percent. Because our system redistributes income from top to bottom, after-tax gains were larger: 53 percent for the poorest fifth; 41 percent for the second; 41 percent for the middle-fifth; 49 percent for the fourth; and 90 percent for richest. -- Robert Samuelson
5) Less than 3 percent of the workforce earns the minimum; more than 60 percent of those who do earn it get a raise within a year; more than half of minimum-wage earners are students or other part-time workers from households with average incomes of $53,000. -- George Will
6) Teenagers under 17 who use cannabis daily are 60 percent less likely to complete high school or get a degree than peers who have never taken the drug, researchers said on Wednesday. They are also nearly seven times likelier to attempt suicide and are almost eight times likelier to use other illicit drugs later in life. The data, published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, comes from an analysis of three large, long-running studies in Australia and New Zealand. -- Newsmax
7) Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005. -- Kevin Williamson
8) According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 36 percent of the country’s 18- to 31-year-olds were living in their parents' homes in 2012 -- the highest proportion in at least 40 years. That number is inflated because college students residing in dorms were counted as living at home (in addition to those actually living at home while going to school). Still, 16 percent of 25- to 31-year-olds were crashing with mom and pop -- up from about 14 percent in 2007 and 10 percent in 1968.1 In a Pew survey conducted in December 2011, 34 percent of adults aged 25 to 29 said that due to economic conditions they’d moved back home in recent years after having lived on their own. -- Zara Kessler
9) Yet the undocumented population remains upwards eleven million. Largely unskilled and undereducated, roughly half of adults 25 to 64 in this population have less than a high-school education compared to only 8 percent of the native born. Barely ten percent have any college, one third the national rate. -- Joel Kotkin
10) But the evidence shows that women lie about rape all the time -– for attention, for revenge and for an alibi. All serious studies of the matter suggest that at least 40 percent of rape claims are false. The U.S. Air Force, for example, examined more than a thousand rape allegations on military bases over the course of four years and concluded that 46 percent were false. In 27 percent of the cases, the accuser recanted. A large study of rape allegations over nine years in a small Midwestern city, by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University, found that 41 percent of the rape claims were false. -- Ann Coulter
11) Sentier Research, a firm led by former census officials, used census data to tabulate an estimate of the median household income — how much is earned by families at the exact middle of the nation’s income distribution. In June 2014, it found in a report issued Wednesday, the median household income was $53,891, down from $55,589 in inflation-adjusted dollars when the economic expansion began in June 2009. The economic paradox isn’t much of a paradox at all in this light: The purchasing power of the typical American family is 3.1 percent lower now than it was five years ago. No wonder people are unhappy about the economy! The benefits of rising levels of economic activity have simply not accrued to middle-income wage earners. -- Neil Irwin
12) Yes, the richest one percent have some genetic advantages in terms of intelligence. Yes, luck can be a factor. Yes, it helps to have connections. But the portion of the one percent who didn’t work hard to get there is fairly small and unrepresentative. (In 2007, wealth transfers (mainly inheritances, but also including gifts) made up, on average, 14.7 percent of the total wealth of the 1 percent.) -- Jim Geraghty
13) The more progressive the city, the worse a place it is to be poor and/or black. The most pronounced economic inequality in the United States is not in some Republican redoubt in Texas but in San Francisco, an extraordinarily expensive city in which half of all black households make do with less than $25,000 a year. Blacks in San Francisco are arrested on drug felonies at ten times their share of the general population. At 6 percent of the population, they represent 40 percent of those arrested for homicides. Whether you believe that that is the result of a racially biased criminal-justice system or the result of higher crime incidence related to socioeconomic conditions within black communities (or some combination of those factors) what is undeniable is that results for black Americans are far worse in our most progressive, Democrat-dominated cities than they are elsewhere. The progressives have had the run of things for a generation in these cities, and the results are precisely what you see. -- Kevin Williamson
14) From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. -- The New York Times
15) The survey taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked a simple question of 34,557 adults nationwide: “Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?” The five possible answers were straight, lesbian/gay, bisexual, “something else” and “I don’t know the answer.” Transgenders, the “T” in LGBT, were not included.
The survey found that a mere 1.6 percent of the adult population self-identifies as “lesbian/gay,” and an even smaller 0.7 percent told interviewers they were bisexual. The bisexuals were outnumbered by the 1.1 percent who didn’t know, wouldn’t answer or said they were “something else.”
This result was far from the 10 percent that homosexual rights advocates have claimed since the 1970s. -- The Washington Times
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