In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and…
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First Amendment Rights: Good News from the IRS on Donor Privacy

In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and First Amendment expression, there’s actually good news to report.

In fact, that positive development comes from none other than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which few people typically consider a font of good news.

Specifically, the IRS just announced a proposed rule to stop requiring nonprofit organizations to file what’s known as a Form 990 Schedule B, which exposes sensitive donor information not only to the federal government and potential rogues like former IRS official Lois Lerner, but also people who seek to access and use that information to target people on the basis of political belief.

As we at CFIF have long asserted, this welcome move will help protect the…[more]

September 12, 2019 • 11:07 am

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No, Scandinavia Doesn’t Vindicate Socialism Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 13 2019
Despite its unrivaled record of abject failure, socialism maintains a stubborn radical chic appeal among people like Bernie Sanders who are old enough to know better, and a suddenly resurgent popularity among people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are apparently too young to know better.

"Socialism only works in two places:  Heaven, where they don’t need it, and Hell, where they already have it."  Ronald Reagan

One hundred years since its introduction, socialism stands unrivaled as the single most monstrous, repeatedly discredited governing principle in human history. 

No other political system has been attempted as many times without a single instance of prosperity, in as many diverse geographic locations, with as many varying figureheads zealously committed to its success.  And no other governing system approaches its accumulated tens of millions of humans openly slaughtered in its name, as historian and journalist David Satter noted on the 2017 centenary of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution: 

In total, no fewer than 20 million Soviet citizens were put to death by the regime or died as a direct result of its repressive policies.  This does not include the millions who died in the wars, epidemics and famines that were predictable consequences of Bolshevik policies, if not directly caused by them…  If we add to this list the deaths caused by communist regimes that the Soviet Union created and supported – including those in Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia – the total number of victims is closer to 100 million.  That makes communism the greatest catastrophe in human history. 

After so many attempts and so many failures, socialism today represents deprivation, oppression and misery in places like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, which before Hugo Chavez stood as the most prosperous nation in Latin America. 

Despite its unrivaled record of abject failure, socialism maintains a stubborn radical chic appeal among people like Bernie Sanders who are old enough to know better, and a suddenly resurgent popularity among people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are apparently too young to know better. 

Today, according to Gallup, a disturbing 57% of Democrats maintain a positive view of socialism, while only 47% view capitalism positively.  And this week, Sanders uncorked a remorseless defense of socialism, bizarrely labeling it “a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love.” 

Well, apart from its killing fields and corpses stacked like cordwood, and economic interactions commanded by the barrel of a gun, that is. 

Further betraying his disconnect from rationality, Sanders thundered that “we now have an economy that is fundamentally broke and grotesquely unfair.”  Keep in mind that for the first time since recordkeeping began, the number of available jobs in the U.S. now exceeds the number of unemployed. 

Regardless, Sanders and other unembarrassed defenders of socialism must confront its uninterrupted record of failure, and current dystopian crises in socialist Venezuela and North Korea.  Their typical defense is to claim that Scandinavian nations offer better examples of socialism than Cuba or Venezuela. 

For several reasons, however, that rationalization fails. 

First, the standard of living in Scandinavian nations falls substantially below what we enjoy in America. 

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), U.S. per capita household disposable income for 2017 stood at $47,842.  In comparison, Norway stood at $38,302, which was just 80% of the U.S. level.  Sweden’s average was $32,508 (68% of the U.S.), Denmark’s was $31,972 (67%) and Finland's at $31,810 (66%). 

Accordingly, if Mr. Sanders believes that the U.S. economy is “fundamentally broke and unfair,” then what does that make Scandinavia? 

Socialism’s apologists face an even more fundamental problem in attempting to cite Scandinavia, however.  Namely, none of the Scandinavian economies actually qualify as “socialist.”  Each year, the Heritage Foundation issues its Index of Economic Freedom, which in 2019 ranked 180 nations across the globe on a wide array of market criteria.  The bottom three were Cuba at 178, Venezuela at 179 and North Korea last at 180. 

That’s true socialism for you. 
 
In contrast, every one of the Scandinavian nations ranked closer to the top of the Index, in the “Mostly Free” category.  Specifically, Denmark ranked 14th, Sweden was 19th, Finland was 20th and Norway stood at 26th. 

It’s also worth noting that migration patterns between the Scandinavian nations and the U.S. refute any suggestion that they offer socialist paradises with better lifestyles than Americans enjoy.  People vote with their feet, and according to Pew Research, more people move from each of the Scandinavian nations to America than vice-versa.  When adjusted per capita, since the U.S. population far exceeds those Scandinavian nations, that disparity is even more pronounced.  If Scandinavians enjoy better lives than Americans, then why do more of them voluntarily leave for the U.S. than Americans to their shores? 

That’s obviously a question that Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and other advocates of socialism can’t answer. 

They’ll continue falsely citing Scandinavia as a model that America should emulate, but Americans would be wiser to see through their charade. 

 

Question of the Week   
On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists using which one of the following?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"The Democrats, after all, have shown themselves to be thoroughgoing authoritarians. Many of our progressive friends spent the Obama years lecturing us that opposition to the president and his agenda was tantamount to sedition or treason. They tell us now that failing to knuckle under to their political agenda is treason. Democratic prosecutors have been conducting investigations of companies and…[more]
 
 
—Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
 
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Is the desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in conflict with the lessons of September 11, 2001?