What is the middle class?

Politicians love to talk about the middle class, especially during election season which in the US is pretty much all the time. This group is seen as being the most important in terms of voting strength. But the definition of middle class is a little vague, since it can be defined in terms of income, aspiration, wealth, or levels of consumption. This graphic looks at how the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank also classifies them in terms of demographic factors like age, education, and race, with those doing better than the middle class defined as ‘thrivers’ and those doing worse as ‘stragglers’.
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Edward Snowden vindicated

In theory, whistleblowers in the US who expose government wrongdoing are supposed to have legal protection as long as they go through the proper channels. This was the claim made by those who condemned Edward Snowden as a traitor or spy or stooge for not using those channels and instead deciding to leak documents to carefully chosen journalists. Those condemning Snowden included almost the entire political, military, and media establishments.
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Morley Safer in Vietnam

The recent death of Morley Safer, veteran correspondent for the CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes, has led to an outpouring of tributes such as this one. Long before he became the genial avuncular reporter of human-interest stories that viewers were familiar with, Safer made his name for his hard-hitting reporting from Vietnam where, rather than depend on the sanitized and dishonest press briefings given by the US military, he and a few others went out with the troops and reported on the horrors being committed by the US military on hapless innocent Vietnamese villagers in angry retaliation for attacks on the US forces by the Viet Cong, something that came as a shock to American TV viewers who like to think of their military as always acting righteously and wholly on the side of angels.
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