More phenomenal news from Gallup.  Consumer spending accounts for approximately two-thirds of the U…
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Image of the Day: More Fantastic News from Gallup - Economic Confidence Highest Since 2000

More phenomenal news from Gallup.  Consumer spending accounts for approximately two-thirds of the U.S. economy, and economic confidence has now reached its highest point since 2000, when the mainstream media couldn't stop talking about how great things were.  Thank you, deregulation and tax cuts.

. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="720"] Thank You, Tax Cuts and Deregulation[/caption]

 

.  …[more]

January 24, 2020 • 12:34 pm

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Pelosi House’s Top Priority: Chilling First Amendment Speech and Privacy Rights Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 10 2019
Collecting and maintaining donor profiles only opens the door to vindictive government officials, employers, neighbors or anyone with a grudge to obtain such sensitive information in order to target others out of sheer political disagreement.

Well, the new Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives has made its top priority clear. 

It's outing American citizens for their political beliefs and the causes they support, threatening our First Amendment freedoms of speech, association and political participation. 

Among the provisions of the just-introduced H.R. 1, to which they’ve affixed the Orwellian title "For the People Act of 2019," donors to non-profit organizations would have their identifying personal information forcibly disclosed to government authorities and potential hackers. 

Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D - New York) and leftists insist on knowing which causes and types of organizations you support, even if those organizations don't even endorse or oppose political candidates. 

What could possibly go wrong? 

This sort of agenda possesses a long and sordid history.

In fact, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court condemned the practice in a 1958 decision involving segregationist state government demands to access identifying information on supporters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in NAACP v. Alabama.  The Court rightfully recognized that forcing the NAACP to surrender its membership rolls to antagonistic government officials or vindictive members of the general public would threaten members' safety and the organization's very existence: 

"This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations.  Compelled disclosure of membership in an organization engaged in advocacy of particular beliefs is of the same order.  Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs."

More recently, rogue IRS officials like Lois Lerner have targeted organizations and donors whose viewpoints they find objectionable.  Similarly, state attorneys general have sought access to donor and membership information, so that they could harass and silence groups and their supporters. 

Moreover, the potential threat isn't limited to malfeasant government officials, whether at the federal, state or local levels.  As just one example, donor records for the National Organization for Marriage were leaked, exposing those donors to potential harassment or even worse threats.  Across the nation, people have been terminated from employment, stalked at their homes and had their workplaces picketed merely because they supported causes that someone out there detested. 

That sort of harassment is only possible if government is allowed to forcibly collect and retain information identifying people for the beliefs they support.  And for years, that's exactly what it did. 

Until very recently, the IRS required non-profit organizations to file something known as a "990 Schedule B" form.  Those forms revealed the names, addresses and other private information regarding many of the organizations' donors.  That, in turn, exposed those donors to the sort of targeting and threats described above. 

Here's the kicker:  The IRS was prohibited by law from actually utilizing that private information for any substantive purpose.  In other words, all that collecting such private information did was expose people to harassment, since government officials wouldn't use it for official business. 

Fortunately, the Trump Administration finally ended that practice of IRS collection last year.  It clarified that non-profit groups would no longer be forced to surrender the sort of private identifying information on certain donors to the government. 

A subsequent effort by Senators Jon Tester (D - Montana) and Ron Wyden (D - Oregon) to overturn the Trump Administration action last year rightfully failed.  But now Pelosi and the more leftist House she leads stubbornly seek another shot. 

There's simply no defensible logic to reviving the old practice.  The only thing that collecting private information on donors does is frighten people away from supporting causes that people like Pelosi or Schumer find intolerable.  Collecting and maintaining donor profiles only opens the door to vindictive government officials, employers, neighbors or anyone with a grudge to obtain such sensitive information in order to target others out of sheer political disagreement. 

This effort deserves to die yet another death, and American citizens should not be misled into believing that it's anything other than a threat to our First Amendment freedoms. 

The Trump Administration merits our praise for its fortitude on this issue, and the cause demands our continued vigilance. 

Question of the Week   
How many States have adopted “red flag” laws to temporarily limit the possession of firearms?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"During his Friday presentation, Schiff tried to shame Republicans by playing a clip of the late Sen. John McCain talking about the threat that a democratic Ukraine posed to Putin's vision for the region. Yet he neglected to show the speech in which McCain described the Russian takeover of Crimea as 'the ultimate result' of Obama's 'feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America's strength…[more]
 
 
—The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
 
Liberty Poll   

Voters in Kings County (Seattle), Washington, are being allowed to vote in a local election from their smartphones. Is this a good idea because of the ease of voting or a bad idea because of voting security and integrity concerns?