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The Policy and Commentary Blog of The Heartland Institute
Updated: 1 week 4 days ago

Net Neutrality Trumping Privacy Undercuts The U.S.-EU Data Safe Harbor

November 16, 2015, 2:16 PM

The U.S. government’s Internet priorities in Europe are upside down. It has chosen bits over bodies, prioritizing protecting the neutrality of innumerable inanimate Internet bits over protecting peoples’ privacy and personal data.

The result is that the thousands of companies that depended on the U.S.-EU Data Safe Harbor for the free flow of information between America and Europe are rightly upset about the profound business uncertainty caused by the European Court of Justice knocking down the Data Safe Harbor last month.

A big reason for this upheaval is because the U.S. Government largely ignored and did little to mitigate the profound damage to transatlantic trust from the Edward Snowden NSA spying revelations in 2013.

Its main priority was not restoring a relationship of trust or showing a newfound respect for Europeans’ privacy, but it was pushing the EU to accept America’s net neutrality industrial policy as their own.

A big reason for this upheaval is because the U.S. Government largely ignored and did little to mitigate the profound damage to transatlantic trust from the Edward Snowden NSA spying revelations in 2013.

Its main priority was not restoring a relationship of trust or showing a newfound respect for Europeans’ privacy, but it was pushing the EU to accept America’s net neutrality industrial policy as their own.

The U.S. government has done little over the last two years publicly or privately to factually challenge the Snowden narrative that America was involved in “mass indiscriminate surveillance,” by making the case that there are real safeguards and limits to what the NSA can collect.

Making this privacy situation much worse over the last two years, global net neutrality champion and serial EU privacy scofflaw, Google, has been systematically refusing to comply with several EU Member States’ privacy directives to allow Europeans their right to opt out of Google’s collection of their private data.

Google also has been very public in its passive-aggressive opposition to another high-profile, European Court of Justice, privacy decision that enforced Europeans’ privacy right to be forgotten last year.

In 2013, Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations effectively exposed a chasm between American and European privacy law and expectations.

The European Court of Justice has made it doubly clear that Europeans have a right to privacy concerning how Big Internet companies collect and use Europeans’ private data in Europe and that the European Court of Justice will be vigilant in protecting Europeans’ privacy going forward.

In stark contrast, Big Internet companies’ lobbying in the U.S. has been very successful in ensuring that Americans have virtually no right to privacy concerning Big Internet companies. Both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have proven very weak Big Internet privacy enforcers.

Proof in point, just last week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission denied a Consumer Watchdog petition to require that Big Internet companies honor “Do Not Track” requests from consumers, the European equivalent of a European user’s right to opt out of collection of their private data.

After promising publicly that the FCC would be vigilant in protecting Internet users’ privacy as a reason to justify the FCC’s assertion of “Title II” utility regulatory authority over the Internet to promote net neutrality, the FCC caved under pressure from Big Internet lobbying.

In rejecting the Consumer Watchdog “Do Not Track” petition, the FCC said: it “has been unequivocal in declaring it has no intent to regulate edge providers,” i.e. Big Internet companies.

For several years now the Federal Trade Commission has claimed it is interested in protecting consumers’ right to opt-out of unwanted data collection via a “Do Not Track” list for browsers, but the FTC has done nothing serious to make it happen.

What this tells us is the U.S. government’s self-serving, one-sided, Big Internet industrial policy, where “heads” Big Internet wins net neutrality protections and “tails” Big Internet wins on no new privacy obligations, is unlikely to survive the pending U.S.-EU Data Safe Harbor negotiations.

Just like the EU just passed its own version of net neutrality law that does not favor Big Internet interests over European Single Digital Market interests, don’t expect the EU to negotiate a Data Safe Harbor that favors Big Internet’s no right to privacy interests over the EU’s interests in ensuring a European’s right to privacy.

Scott Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration. He is President of Precursor LLC, an emergent enterprise risk consultancy for Fortune 500 companies, some of which are Google competitors, and Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests. He is also author of “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.” Cleland has testified before both the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees on Google and also before the relevant House oversight subcommittee on Google’s privacy problems.

[Originally published at The Daily Caller]

Categories: On the Blog


November 16, 2015, 12:18 PM

Picture credit: “Bill Nye the Science Guy” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –


According to Bill Nye, the popular children’s science entertainer, the time for debate is over. “We know exactly why the climate is changing–it’s human activity!” he said in an interview at Salon. According to Nye, climate realists, whom he labels derogatorily “deniers,” must be silenced in order to motivate individuals and government to fight climate change. “[Get] the deniers out of our discourse,” Nye said. “You know, we can’t have these people–they’re absolutely toxic. And so part of the message in this book is to get the deniers out of the picture.”

Nye himself denies at least one simple fact at every turn: Climate alarmists have been wrong and climate realist proven right. Climate models say global temperature should climb right along with the rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, yet temperatures fell while emissions rose from the 1940s through the 1970s. For the past two decades, while CO2 emissions rose, global satellites show temperatures have been in a holding pattern.

Climate models predicted more intense hurricanes, yet for nearly a decade the United States has experienced far fewer hurricanes than the historic average, and they have been no more powerful than previously experienced. Sea-level rise has slowed, polar bear numbers have increased, Antarctica is gaining ice, the Arctic is back to average ice levels for the decade, and crop production continues to set records year over year. Each of these points contradicts predictions made by IPCC and other climate alarmists.

Categories: On the Blog


November 16, 2015, 12:07 PM

In early November, despite the fact the first serious cold spell has yet to hit, the United Kingdom is already facing electric power outages. The national grid operator was sufficiently fearful of electricity shortages on November 4 it requested industry reduce power consumption. Companies responded by reducing industrial demand by 40 megawatts. At one point, the grid was paying Severn Power £2,500 per megawatt hour; the usual going rate is £60. If the UK can run short of electricity on a warm day in early November, Charles Moore asks, “Is the Western policy elites’ obsession with global warming itself a threat to civilized life on the planet?”

Moore argues Britain’s present energy crisis is self-inflicted. Due to EU regulations adopted by the UK to fight global warming, coal-fired power stations are closing down and no new gas-fired power stations are coming on stream. The Financial Times has estimated Britain will need a capacity of 56 gigawatts in 2016–17, but will have only 53 gigawatts.

Moore writes,

Like most people – possibly everyone – who take part in the global-warming debate, I do not know what will happen to the temperature of the Earth in a century’s time. What I do know, because it is plainly visible, is that the attempt to run the world as if we can control our eco-fate 100 years hence is statistically fantastical, politically impossible, economically ruinous and morally bogus. “The lights are going out all over Europe,” lamented Sir Edward Grey in 1914. That was because of a war. Now we are doing our best to put them out all over again, in the name of the common good.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Lennie Jarratt: NAEP Report Reveals Drop in Education Scores

November 15, 2015, 2:20 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Lennie Jarratt, project manager for education at The Heartland Institute joins Host Donny Kendal to discuss the recent NAEP scores, or as it is commonly referred to as, the national report card.

The NAEP scores are in and the results are not encouraging. The report shows a statistically significant drop in math and reading scores, the first drop in 25 years. Jarratt says these results are troubling. He also brings up a Washington Times article by David Anderson that shows a correlation between poor performing states and their implementation of common core.

Kendal and Jarratt also discuss a plan proposed by Jarratt that would give all students an individualized education plan (IEP). This would treat all students as individuals, tailoring a plan that suits their specific needs and learning styles instead of simply imposing a one-size-fits-all, top-down system we see so much of today.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Cronyism: For the Likes of Google, It is Really, REALLY Good to be a Friend of Obama

November 13, 2015, 5:54 PM

If President Barack Obama doesn’t like you – his government tends to make your life really, REALLY miserable. Ask Tea Party and conservative groups – when Obama’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t harassing them, it is allowing them to endlessly languish unapproved. Ask reporters who report things in ways the President doesn’t like – his government spies on and investigates them. Ask the coal industry – Obama’s administration is unilaterally regulating it out of existence. And on, and on, and…

But President Obama doesn’t have to specifically dislike you. He need only prefer your regulatory opponent – and at their behest he will make your life really, REALLY miserable. To wit: the Tech sector.


The Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February – via Title II Reclassification and Network Neutrality – unilaterally declared itself the pernicious overlord of all Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Is it because he dislikes the likes of Comcast and Time Warner? It would be difficult to think so.

Comcast, Time Warner Execs Are Major Donors to Obama

In fact, Comcast is melded with…NBC. Which means NBC News. Included therein is the completely ridiculous MSNBC and the freshly ridiculous CNBC. How on Earth could President Obama dislike them?

He could – if a bigger Crony asked him to do so. Behold: Google.

Currently In Power: The Google Administration

Google Makes Most of Close Ties to White House

Google’s Washington Influence Is Spreading, Some Say Too Much 

Google ‘Second Biggest Donor’ to Obama, Has Too Much Power 

Google is Very Tight with the Obama Administration

Google’s Incestuous Ties with the Obama Administration

Obama & Google (A Love Story)

Google spent most of the 2000s pushing mightily for Net Neutrality. Because it forces ISPs to give mega-bandwidth-hog-companies like Google (and Facebook and Amazon) unlimited Internet service – for free. It doesn’t get much more Crony than that.

Net Neutrality went nowhere legislatively. Because Americans have a very difficult time believing the free speech-free market Xanadu that is the Internet – is in dire need of fundamental transformation. Prior to Election 2010, 95 Democrats signed a pro-Net Neutrality pledge – all 95 lost. The group responsible for the pledge – raised on it a whopping $300. It was a dead issue.

Until the Age of Obama. President Obama has a proven track record of not caring a whit about what We the People want. We were opposed to the 2009 “Stimulus” (it in fact incepted the Tea Party movement) – the president gave it to us anyway. We were (and remain) opposed to ObamaCare – the president gave it to us anyway.

So We the People started electing Republican Congressional majorities – to demonstrate and embody our opposition. What was the Crony Administration to do? It simply stopped using Congress. And started unilaterally issuing executive fiats to impose things we didn’t like – but the Cronies did. Like Net Neutrality – for Google.

But the Title II Reclassification is a HUGE power grab. It gives the Obama Administration sudden (highly dubious) uber-authority over the ENTIRE Internet – not just ISPs. Which means the likes of Google also fall under its monstrous thumb – if it chooses to press down its digit. Does the Crony Administration do so? Of course not.

FCC Unequivocal in Declaring No Intent to Regulate Edge Providers

In case you were unsure – Google is an “edge provider.”

Google, Facebook ‘Do Not Track’ Requests? FCC Says They Can Keep Ignoring Them

No one – NO ONE – tracks you like Google. Tracking you – and then selling you and what you do online – is just about their entire trillion-dollar-business-model. The Crony Administration certainly wouldn’t put a stop to that.

What happens when government regulates the living daylight out of one part of a sector – and leaves another utterly unfettered?

(Google,) Facebook, Amazon and Other Tech Giants Tighten Grip on Internet Economy


The Cronies ask – the Crony Administration delivers. It is, as always, really, REALLY good to be a friend of Obama.

[Originally published at Red State]


Categories: On the Blog

In The Tank Podcast (ep12): Anti-War Republicans and Anti-Free Speech Liberals

November 13, 2015, 5:31 PM

In episode #12 of the In The Tank Podcast, Hosts Donny Kendal and John Nothdurft discuss this week’s big news stories. This weekly podcast features (as always) interviews, debates, roundtable discussions, stories, and light-hearted segments on a variety of topics on the latest news. The show is available for download as part of the Heartland Daily Podcast every Friday.

In today’s episode of In The Tank, Donny and John discuss the 4th GOP debate and the exchange between Marco Rubio and Rand Paul over defense spending. This exchange highlights a major rift within the conservative wing of the country. They also dissect the various stories that our occurring on our college campuses, specifically Yale University and the University of Missouri. These stories, as they explain, equate to an attack on free speech.

I hope you’ll listen in, subscribe, and leave a review for our podcast on iTunes. We welcome your feedback in our new show’s inbox at or follow us on twitter @InTheTankPod.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]


Categories: On the Blog

Supreme Court to Adjudicate Mandatory Union Fees

November 13, 2015, 1:58 PM

Co-authored by: Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil

The Supreme Court has set the stage for a momentous 2016.

The Supreme Court put public-sector unions in its cross hairs Tuesday, June 30, 2015  by agreeing to hear a constitutional attack on the mandatory representation fees that nearly all California teachers pay in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

It is expected that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments sometime early in 2016 in what is a closely watched California-based lawsuit with major implications for the state’s teachers union and potentially all public-employee unions.

The lawsuit was brought to the Supreme Court by ten California teachers and a teachers group, Christian Educators Association International. The U.S. Supreme Court  accepted the case.   The plaintiffs want the court to overturn a four-decades-old court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. That ruling said states could require all employees represented exclusively by a public-employee union to pay “fair-share” or “agency” fees” (an equal portion of the bargaining costs related to wages, benefits, and working conditions).

Rebecca Friedrichs is the lead plaintiff, an outspoken opponent of her teachers’ union who agreed to let her name become identified with the case. Friedrichs has taught elementary school for 28 years, mostly in the Savanna School District in Anaheim.You can listen to her discuss the case here, read a Q&A with her here, and read a commentary by her in the Orange County Register here.

Funding the lawsuit is the Center for Individual Rights, a Washington, D.C. based public interest law firm whose mission is “the defense of individual liberties against the increasingly aggressive and unchecked authority of federal and state governments.” It has pursued lawsuits seeking to ban affirmative action and racial and gender preferences, including California’s Proposition 209.

Reaction to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association  

Even employees who are not members must pay union dues (fees).  If the plaintiffs prevail, dues and fees for members and non-members would no longer be mandatory. Dues that union members currently pay include an additional amount that covers the union’s donations to specific candidates and organizations.  Many teachers, however, do not support those candidates or organizations.

In their brief to the court, the teachers union said the agency shop arrangement is “simply a requirement that a nonmember teacher who receives the benefit of additional compensation as a result of the unions’ efforts in collective bargaining must pay a share of the unions’ costs in negotiating those improvements, rather than receiving a free ride.”

But the challengers — 10 teachers who are not members of the unions — call it a “multi-hundred-million-dollar regime of compelled political speech.” They are represented by Michael Carvin, the lawyer who represented the Virginia challengers to President Obama’s health care law in the case decided by the Supreme Court.

Terry Pell, President of the Center for Individual Rights, which brought and is funding the lawsuit on behalf of Rebecca Friedrichs and others, said the high court’s agreement to hear the case was “long overdue.”  “This case is about the right of individuals to decide for themselves whether to join and pay dues to an organization that purports to speak on their behalf,” Pell said. “We are seeking the end of compulsory union dues across the nation on the basis of the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Examining Fair Pay Fees

Presently California teachers who are not members of the Union must contribute unless they opt out. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association argues that the process should be just the opposite, that non-members should be excluded from contributing unless they opt in.

Typically, California teacher union dues cost upwards of $1,000 per year. Although California law allows teachers to opt-out of the thirty percent or so of their dues that even the union concedes is used for overtly political activities, teachers must file for a refund each year according to a precise procedure that effectively discourages its use. As a result, many teachers contribute hundreds of dollars in dues each year to support political positions in a variety of areas having nothing to do with education and with which many teachers disagree.

In California about 29,000 teachers, or slightly less than 10 percent of the CTA’s members, pay fair share fees. If many of the remaining 90 percent of teachers stopped paying dues, the loss would jeopardize CTA’s ability to continue supporting teachers, and greatly reduce their influencing court decisions and funding special interest groups.

For example, the CTA spent over $211 million in political expenditures from 2000 through 2009. CTA’s largest single expenditure (over $26 million) was made to successfully oppose Proposition 38 on the November, 2000 ballot, which would have enacted a school-voucher system in California (and thereby increased the potential employment pool for teachers). Should Friedrichs v. California succeed, it could significantly sap the financial strength and thus hinder their bargaining and political clout they now enjoy.   They would have to persuade employees to voluntarily pay dues and/or fees to the union.

Decision of Supremes up for grabs

Twenty-five parties have filed amicus briefs at the Supreme Court in support of CIR’s case in Friedrichs v. CTA. The amicus briefs represent a broad and bipartisan coalition of individuals and organizations who agree that compulsory union dues are harmful to teachers, parents, and children.  The amici includeformer California Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, who with other concerned parents, argues that compulsory union dues are contributing to the plight of underprivileged students by trapping them in under performing schools.  A host of public interest law firms filed briefs, including Pacific Legal Foundation and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.   A full list of amicusbriefs can be found on the main case page in the Legal Documents box.

In looking ahead to the Supreme Court decision, although Justice Anthony Kennedy is usually the swing vote in 5-4 cases, how conservative Justice Scalia will vote is not certain.  In a related 1991 Supreme Court decision, Judge Scalia wrote: “Where the state imposes upon the union a duty to deliver services, it may permit the union to demand reimbursement.” Teachers argue their dues and fees are being used to support controversial organizations and specific political candidates whom some members find objectionable and that it is reprehensible their money has and continues to be used by the Union to support them.

As to the far reaching implications of the lawsuit, half of the states, including California, have adopted laws establishing mandatory “fair share” or “agency” fees employees pay to unions. The remaining 25 “right to work” states either prohibit collective bargaining by public workers or ban mandatory dues. Although the case directly involves the CTA, and though not a defendant, a decision could affect all unions representing public workers, depending how narrowly or broadly the Supreme Court rules.

[A Version of this Article was Originally Published at Illinois Review]


Categories: On the Blog

Don’t Break our Food Chain

November 13, 2015, 11:21 AM

Napoleon once said: “Only a foolish horse fights with his nose bag”.

But today we have many foolish people fighting their nose bag. They are weakening Earth’s food chain with a war on carbon.

Carbon is the building block of life. “Organic” means “containing carbon” and every bit of plant and animal life is built around the carbon atom.

Carbon enters Earth’s cycle of life via plants, which extract it from the rare and precious carbon dioxide plant-food in the atmosphere. Living things use this carbon, plus water, oxygen and minerals, to create the proteins, fats, carbohydrates and skeletons they need.

Plant growth responds quickly to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, today’s levels are far below those that sustained the abundant forests, grasslands, wetlands, herbivores and carnivores of past eras.

The biggest long term threat to abundant life on Earth is natural carbon sequestration, especially during the recurring cold dry eras when cooling oceans absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and growing ice sheets capture most of its water.

Nature is very efficient at carbon capture and burial. Enormous quantities of carbon and hydrogen have been removed from past atmospheres and buried under ancient sediments in extensive beds of coal, oil shale, limestone, marble, dolomite and magnesite, and in diffuse deposits of hydrocarbon liquids and gases. The result is that the carbon dioxide level in today’s atmosphere is not far above the minimum needed to sustain plant life (which is why nurserymen pump more carbon dioxide into their green-houses).

However, in a rare piece of environmental serendipity, man’s extraction and use of coal, oil, gas, limestone and dolomite for power generation, transport, steel, cement and fertilisers is recycling a tiny part of this storehouse of buried carbon. For example, for every tonne of coal burned, 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide plant food plus one tonne of fresh water is added to the atmosphere; and producing one tonne of cement releases about one tonne of carbon dioxide.

Every tonne of wheat grown needs a tonne of carbon dioxide to get its carbon, and other foods have similar needs. Carbon industries thus help to feed all of Earth’s plants and animals.

Industrial use of carbon-bearing mineral resources also recycles valuable trace elements like nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus which are present in variable amounts in coal, oil and carbonates. Any of these by-product gases can be toxic if concentrated in confined spaces, and all of man’s activities can pollute crowded cities, but in the open atmosphere, plant life often suffers because of a deficiency of these key nutrients.

Those waging a war on hydro-carbons and carbon dioxide are enemies of the biosphere. Their foolish policies like carbon taxes, emissions trading and “Carbon Capture and Burial” are denying essential nutrients to the food chain. The failed global warming forecasts show that these policies will have no effect on climate, but will reduce the atmospheric supply of food nutrients and fresh water for all life on Earth.

Life is a carbon cycle – don’t break the food chain.

Categories: On the Blog


November 09, 2015, 12:26 AM

A new NASA study published in the Journal of Glaciology shows snow in Antarctica began a long-term accumulation 10,000 years ago and is adding much more ice to the continent each year than it is losing as some glaciers melt. The thinning of some glaciers has been shown to be due largely to geologic (volcanic) activity below the ice mass. According to NASA’s analysis, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001, slowing to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the lead author of the study, stated, “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away.” The persistent ice mass accumulation in Antarctica confounds climate model predictions. As NASA’s analysis shows, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which said Antarctica was overall losing land ice, is just dead wrong. Both on land and at sea, ice growth continues.

Categories: On the Blog


November 09, 2015, 12:20 AM

Portrait of Vladimir Putin

A significant hurdle confronting negotiators trying to develop a strong climate agreement in Paris in December comes from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said “there is no global warming, that this is a fraud to restrain the industrial development of several countries including Russia,” as described by Stanislav Belkovsky, a Russian political analyst.

Russia’s pledged carbon dioxide reductions ahead of the Paris talks reflect Putin’s skepticism. They actually amount to an increase in emissions. Russia has said its emissions will be “70 to 75 percent” of 1990 levels by 2030 – which amounts to an increase in emissions from 2012 levels since Russian emissions are currently far below the levels produced in the Soviet era.

Putin’s skepticism dates from the early 2000s, when, according to Andrey Illarionov, Putin’s senior economic advisor at the time, his staff “did very, very extensive work trying to understand all sides of the climate debate. We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited. It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to ‘fight’ global warming was rather unfounded.”

Categories: On the Blog

Common Sense Needed for Consumer Product Regulation

November 08, 2015, 6:07 PM

It’s the fourth quarter with under two minutes remaining in the activist-driven campaign against a widely-used plasticizer, diisononyl phthalates (DINP). Yet despite the chemical’s overwhelming and well-established safety record, the outcome of a final regulatory determination by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) remains in doubt.

Earlier, the CPSC fumbled, developing a draft rule to permanently ban the chemical in children’s toys and child care articles. I challenged that call because it was based on outdated exposure data. In comments to the commission, I wrote that the “report failed to take today’s lower exposure levels into account, instead relying on data that was not only old, but no longer relevant given the bans of more potent phthalates. A cumulative assessment based on exposure levels we know to be no-longer accurate renders the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) report irrelevant when considering cumulative exposures.”

To its credit, the CPSC instructed the staff to do an additional review of more recent (and thus accurate) exposure data as part of the public comment process.

After further review, the latest and most up-to-date data analysis compiled by the staff confirmed that cumulative risk from the combined phthalates fell well within established safety thresholds and limits. The data supports earlier reviews that confirm DINP is safe when used as intended.

So why isn’t it “game over” for the ban-campaign? Because it appears the CPSC might believe the rules of scientific analysis should be as flexible as phthalate-containing plastics, bending to support an ideological conclusion, regardless of the rigid facts and established safety thresholds.

In the case of the CPSC’s anticipated phthalate rule, when looking at current exposures, the only analysis that could conceivably justify a ban of DINP would be based on a very small percentage of individuals who had transient high exposures. That approach would only be defensible if short-term exposure was considered harmful, but it’s not. The CPSC is charged with reviewing chronic exposure to phthalates, so it makes sense that regulations should be based on long-term exposure.

The federal data reviewed by the CPSC and staff produced through the Centers for Disease Control National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) provide a snapshot of chemical exposure to a random survey of the U.S. population. The samples were collected only once for each subject, and may have reflected exposure caused through relatively regular events, or may have reflected special events that may have caused a subject to have much higher levels of exposure.

In the case of phthalates, levels change at a rapid pace, even hourly, because they do not stay in the human system for long. In order to make sure that we are both safe and have access to useful products, agencies should take regulatory action based on relevant data that reflects actual risks.

Regulating based on a one-time snapshot of the highest individual exposure levels would be like   measuring fans’ beer consumption during halftime at a Patriots game and concluding that those levels constitute all New Englanders’ normal beer consumption throughout the year. Obviously, those numbers would be over-inflated.

Restricting a chemical based on what could be an anomaly would be an unprecedented violation of standard regulatory science and would upend the science-driven nature of chemical regulation. Doing so would put hundreds of safe and useful chemicals at risk of being deemed unsafe without scientific basis – opening the door for less safe alternatives.

The dictionary defines chronic as “persisting for a long time or constantly recurring”, and that is the basis on which the CPSC must regulate chronic exposure to chemicals if the concern is a chronic effect, as is the case for phthalates. Yet language in the CPSC’s reanalysis document suggests it might consider taking regulatory action on the basis of the highest levels of one-time individual exposure.

Consumers would be left with fewer well-tested products, and if history is a guide, more expensive, less effective products without a long-established safety record would rush to fill the void. This would be good for activists who rely on a cycle of chemical scares, but bad for consumers.

There’s a reason CPSC was charged with finding a “reasonable certainty of no harm,” in order to determine the safety of phthalates like DINP and phthalate alternatives. If the standard were “Absolutely no risk, based on even the most precautionary and unrealistic models looking at the highest brief levels of exposure,” the agency would be busy banning just about every consumer product, from pianos to pigskins.  Instead, they should apply some common sense when making their phthalates regulatory determination.

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division.


[Originally published at Pundicity]

Categories: On the Blog

Removing Barriers to Broadband Deployment

November 08, 2015, 6:00 PM

One of the more important hearings for the future of broadband took place last week in the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. The Committee gathered to discuss “Breaking Down Barriers to Broadband Infrastructure Deployment.”

With what has seemed like the overnight deployment of broadband Internet access to seemingly every corner of the U.S. one could be excused for wondering what possible barriers could be standing in the way. In fact, according to Pew Internet and American Life Project Surveys broadband adoption has quadrupled in ten years, and investment has been on a tear.

Adoption has been high because of the supply of an increasingly fast broadband has been available both for fixed and for mobile. The U.S. already leads the world in 4G (the fourth generation of wireless telecommunications technology) and we should be determined to do so for 5G so that the U.S. can hold onto its competitive edge. Whether in fixed or mobile, broadband providers continue to be the largest investors in this country in terms of capital expenditure. According to USTelecom, “U.S. broadband providers invested $78 billion in network infrastructure in 2014.” The report continues, “Last year alone annual investment grew by $3 billion, or 4 percent, after surging to $75 billion in 2013. Furthermore, broadband providers have made $1.4 trillion in capital investments from 1996 through 2014.

So where is the problem? As it turns out, that continuing rapid deployment, the massive investment in our future, deployment faster than any technological advance we have seen, is something of a miracle given the many challenges. Even today, with the value of mobile and fixed broadband being virtually universally known, old barriers remain and new barriers are being put in place.

While government has a critical role to play in the continued success of broadband, as was highlighted at the hearing, there exists a real need for a systematic analysis and removal of barriers to infrastructure deployment. At a time of a continuing stumbling economy removing barriers is critical, because as barriers to infrastructure are removed investment in the network increases. Those investments produce jobs and often those jobs become careers.

What then should government do? Legislators and regulators, federal and state, all must focus on establishing policies that lead to more broadband infrastructure investment, not that create or maintain impediments.

An easy improvement would involve requiring conduits (plastic pipes thorough which wires can be pulled) be included in all appropriate infrastructure projects. This so called “dig once” approach saves money and allows for more rapid deployment of new technologies. Even improving access to rights of way would be a step in the right direction. Whether federal or state, access to rights of way should be sped up. Applications for approval to build out broadband infrastructure should be given a priority, and even placed on a “shot-clock” so that if action is not taken on an application then it is automatically approved.

Additionally, fees and lease payments for right of way rental should be eliminated or at least minimized for access for broadband facilities. Similarly, rents set for attachment of broadband equipment and lines to existing poles must be carefully considered avoiding arbitrary rate increases that slow deployment and increase costs to consumers. Pole owners should not be in a position to arbitrarily raise costs on broadband providers.

And more generally, the wide variation in how broadband providers can access federal property causes dramatic slow-downs and great waste. Government needs to move at the speed of innovation, rather than at the speed of, well, government. The right path towards that goal would be to increase inter-agency cooperation, and developing a stream-lined consistent process for all. Perhaps more than most improvements this would lead to faster, further reaching broadband deployment.

Broadband is a cornerstone of our current economy, but it is also so much more. From education to entertainment, for job seeking or career enhancing, fixed in place or on the move, our increased reliance of ubiquitous broadband is growing. Legislators and regulators need to adjust the role they have played for decades and now seek the means to facilitate broadband roll out rather than hindering its free market progress.

Categories: On the Blog

Obama Strong Arms on Climate

November 07, 2015, 6:14 PM

On October 5, 2009, President Obama issued an executive order, FEDERAL LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL, ENERGY, AND ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE, that sneak-previewed policies toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the rest of his time in office.  The 15-page executive order, divided into 20 sections, provided strict guidance for all agencies in the executive branch and their interactions with outside organizations.  Portions of the executive order follows: 


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 5, 2009


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority for Federal agencies, it is hereby ordered as follows:  

Sec. 13.  Recommendations for Vendor and Contractor Emissions. Within 180 days of the date of this order, the General Services Administration, in coordination with the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies as appropriate, shall review and provide recommendations to the CEQ Chair and the Administrator of OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy regarding the feasibility of working with the Federal vendor and contractor community to provide information that will assist Federal agencies in tracking and reducing scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions related to the supply of products and services to the Government. These recommendations should consider the potential impacts on the procurement process, and the Federal vendor and contractor community including small businesses and other socioeconomic procurement programs. Recommendations should also explore the feasibility of:

     (a) requiring vendors and contractors to register with a voluntary registry or organization for reporting greenhouse gas emissions; (b) requiring contractors, as part of a new or revised registration.

The definition of scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions follows:

(iii) scope 3: greenhouse gas emissions from sources not owned or directly controlled by a Federal agency but related to agency activities such as vendor supply chains, delivery services, and employee travel and commuting….

Federal Agency Compliance

The first paragraph of the order commands federal organizations to comply with strict programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This in turn shows it necessary to support reasons for greenhouse gas reduction being they cause catastrophic climate change (global warming).

I am on the e-mail list for News Releases from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Academies of Science.  These releases average over 500 per year, the vast majority of which describe programs to satisfy this Executive Order. Tabulating these News Releases would require tens of thousands of pages.  It appears each agency is trying to outperform other agencies in pleasing President Obama’s commands.

Unable to have Congress pass laws achieving his goals, President Obama found ways using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promulgate rulings to achieve his aims.  The last four years, EPA posted four rulings that severely restrict use of coal, oil, and natural gas for power plants.  In 2011 there is the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) and Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).  On March 27, 2012 there is the First Carbon Pollution Standards for Future Power Plants.  On June 2, 2014, EPA issued proposed Carbon Pollution Standards  or Clean Power Plan (CPP) for existing power plants that by 2030 reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 level.

The first three EPA rulings were implemented with billions spent adding more pollution controls or shutting down coal plants.  The fourth proposed ruling was finalized August 3, 2015 reducing carbon dioxide levels by 32 percent below 2005 level.  A National Economic Research Associates report gave potential economic consequences of CCP of retirements of 169,000 Megawatts of coal plants, 29 % increase in natural gas prices, and an average 17 % increase in delivered electricity prices.  A Bloomberg News report “Clean air’s cost: utility bill surge projected” stated loss of cheaper coal units will boost power prices by as much as 25 % on grids serving about a third of the nation.

The Executive Order explains numerous press releases in the media from NOAA and NASA of temperature data, weather events supporting catastrophic climate change, or computer modeling. Examples are writings by Associated Press columnist Seth Borenstein and New York Times columnist Justin Gillis who publish papers before research is published in journals.

NOAA’s USHCN and NASA’s GISS have tampered with temperature data to show cooler regions prior to the 1950s and warmer times until present.  Another paper “USHCN Monthly Temperature Adjustments” shows monthly temperature adjustments from 1970 to 2013.  The paperby Dr. James H. Rust “NOAA and NASA-GISS:  You Have Done Enough” describes in detail temperature tampering by these agencies. NOAA claims to have eliminated the pause in global temperatures since 1998 shown by NASA’s satellite temperature data.  The House science committee demanded internal communications related to this study which NOAA refuses to comply.

The National Academies of Science publish many reports supporting catastrophic climate change.  No press release providing contrary information would be allowed.  Although not publicized, I give credit to NOAA that its tidal gage data still shows no acceleration in sea level rise the past 50 years.  In addition, NASA’s satellite temperature datastill shows no increase in global temperature the past 17 years.  The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration still publishes factual data on energy statistics.

The number of employees in these agencies exceeds one million and the amount of money spent the past six years is in the trillions of dollars.

Educational System Compliance 

Almost without exception, higher education has provided support for President Obama’s climate policies.  Many federal agencies provide billions of dollars annually for research projects on campuses.  No amount of money would be allocated to disprove carbon dioxide’s role in climate change and jeopardize other sources of funds.

Recent support is shown by a letter originating from George Mason University signed by 20 scientists sent to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and Obama science advisor John Holdren asking individuals and organizations questioning President Obama’s climate policies by prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

An example of support is given by the October 21, 2015 letter by M. I. T. President L. Rafael Reif sent to their alumni:

Dear MIT alumni,

This morning I wrote to the campus community to share MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change.
I urge you to read the 
plan – and I hope you will find, whether in its pages or elsewhere, your own opportunities to take action on climate change.

As a start – and as you will see in the plan – we would like your input on the best ways that our global alumni community can help our plan succeed. We are asking for that input through a contest that will be run by MIT’s Climate CoLab and judged by leading MIT alumni.
I encourage you to participate in the contest and to join us in rising to this vital challenge.

L. Rafael Reif

I immediately sent the following letter to M. I. T. without response:

For thousands of years the earth has experienced approximate 500 year cycles of warming and cooling.  The pre-industrial period described as colder than today is called The Little Ice Age which has an approximate time period of 1350-1850.  The period 1850-present is called the Current Warming Period.  From approximately 900-1350 is a warm period called the Medieval Warm Period in which a lot of proxy data indicates places on earth warmer than today. 

From the time of Christ to 1800, atmospheric carbon dioxide is thought to have remained constant at 280 parts per million.  How did these temperature changes occur without increases and decreases in atmospheric carbon dioxide? 

Greenland ice core data by Richard Alley indicate higher temperatures in Greenland thousands of years ago when atmospheric carbon dioxide was constant at 280 parts per million.  How is this possible without changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide?  

  1. I. T. is taking a big risk signing onto burning fossil fuels causing catastrophic global warming due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Satellite data the past 17 years indicate no global warming in spite of this being a time with the greatest increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.  If this trend continues, the alarmists will be humiliated and blamed for the loss of trillions of dollars pursing a fantasy that reversed wiping poverty off the planet. 

Kind regards,

On k-12 education, the science portion of Common Core is written by the National Academies Press which pushes climate change caused by carbon dioxide.  For years teachers at the k-12 level have told students we must curtail fossil fuel use in order to save the planet.  It is easy for teachers to be caught up in promoting teachings of the catastrophic climate change movement because of “warm feelings” from working to save the planet.

Over-zealous teachers, perhaps in concert with environmental groups, may wish to develop slogans, songs, T-shirts, and even arm bands for students to use to help spread the gospel of human-caused global warming.  Possibly start of a Climate Youth movement similar to past youth movements in Germany.

Even greater dangers from science portions of Common Core are teaching people to accept the political use of science and not follow fundamental principles of scientific inquiry–-propose a theory about the behavior of Nature and continually test that theory by experiment.  Never accept propositions of “science is settled”.

Additional problems are painting the planet’s future in a dismal fashion with reduced living standards and poverty for many parts of the planet.  This may lead to psychological damage to students.

Corporate Compliance

As shown by Section 13 of the Executive Order, private sector recipients of federal funds must provide information about their greenhouse gas emissions and attempts to make reductions.  Only a fool wouldn’t see that agreement with federal policies is necessary to insure future federal contracts.

On June 16, 2015, the White House announced,  “FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces More Than $4 Billion in Private Sector Commitments and Executive Actions to Scale up Investment in Clean Energy Innovation.” These commitments—from hundreds of organizations as diverse as the University of California, Goldman Sachs, and the Sierra Club Foundation. 

Bloomberg Business wrote, “In July executives from 13 major corporations, including Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., announced $140 billion in new investments designed to decrease their carbon footprints.”  On October 19, President Obama brought executives from five Fortune 500 companies Johnson & Johnson, Intel Corp., Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co., Hershey Co., and PG&E Corp., as well as five other companies that act as suppliers to those corporations to the White House to shore up business support for combating climate change.

An article published on THE HILL “Corporate America: Lead, follow or get out of the way on climate change” by DSM President Hugh Welch illustrates corporate acquiescence to President Obama’s climate policy.   Mr. Hill wrote

We are proud to be part of a group of companies meeting at the White House this week with President Obama, joining thirteen companies including Apple, Coca-Cola, Google and Microsoft, to underscore our combined dedication to a low-carbon, renewable energy, sustainable future.  We are pleased to join this group of iconic American companies in a collective effort to advocate for even more action on climate change. We all understand that business cannot be successful in a society that fails. Large multinational companies can be a powerful voice for change themselves; collectively they can change the world. Together we are divesting in fossil fuel, investing in renewable energy and materials, committing to using less water in our processes, recycling more and improving supply chains that will result in real carbon gains. Perhaps more importantly, we are demanding that our suppliers do the same, and are strongly encouraging greater action by government, consumers and other corporations.  

Many of these corporations have invested billions in solar energy facilities to generate their electricity. They are able to take advantage of the 30 percent federal tax credit for solar energy construction, the rapid 5-year depreciation of renewable energy systems, and state incentiveslike those in California (30 percent tax credit) and North Carolina (35 percent tax credit) that make solar facilities practically cost free.

The losers are all federal taxpayers and taxpayers in solar friendly states.  No doubt these corporations will highlight their renewable energy bona fides when responding to requests for proposal for federal government services or products.

Alas, this little known Executive Order has produced policies that have added trillions to the tax burdens of U. S. citizens the past six years.  All accomplished bypassing Congress. All representing an easy budget cut for a new Administration serious about cutting the deficit.


[Originally published at MasterResource]

Categories: On the Blog

Google’s Gambit to Dominate Spectrum Access Administration

November 07, 2015, 5:53 PM

Google is cleverly and stealthily leveraging a Google-friendly-FCC and lax U.S.-Google antitrust enforcement to extend its global Android mobile operating system dominance to increasingly disintermediate and dominate the spectrum administration function embedded in the firmware of smartphones, connected cars, and Internet of Things devices.

Google currently is trying to convince the Google-friendly-FCC to effectively surrender/outsource a key part of the FCC’s core regulatory mission and authority – preventing radio device interference — to Google.

If it can pull off that coup, Google could quickly become the de facto spectrum access administrator of mass market wireless devices globally by leveraging its market power via bundling Google’s spectrum access administration application and software update mechanism into its already dominant Android mobile operating system.

Arguably, the most fundamental and important task of the FCC and other sovereign communications regulators in the Mobile Internet Age is the technical administration of how wireless devices access spectrum/radio frequencies to prevent chaotic interference.

Central to wireless devices working as intended today is that manufacturers in the factory permanently program the device’s firmware to what FCC-authorized frequencies a device’s radio can transmit.

Legally requiring wireless devices to have their embedded radio transmitters tuned only to the radio frequencies they are legally allowed to use, prevents chaotic radio interference and is integral to ensuring that all forms of wireless devices and communications work as designed and expected.

This legal requirement also is foundational to: the property value and utility of auctioned spectrum for exclusive use; the reliability and quality of public safety spectrum for first-responders; the safe functioning of the air traffic control system; among many more critical wireless services vulnerable to unnecessary interference.

The gambit here is Google is cleverly and stealthily lobbying the FCC to surrender on principle its sovereign role of preventing radio interference by controlling what radio frequencies FCC-approved wireless devices can transmit. Google now wants any user to be able to reprogram their wireless devices, like WiFi routers, to potentially transmit radio signals on whatever licensed frequencies they want to use, whether or not they are legally permitted to do so.

Google Vice President Vint Cerf, in an open letter to the FCC said: “we most strenuously advise against prohibiting changes to firmware of devices containing radio components, and furthermore advise against allowing non-updateable devices in the field.”

Translation: Google, which controls the world’s dominant mobile operating system Android, is “most strenuously” urging the FCC to unilaterally and completely deregulate spectrum access administration in wireless devices in a way that would uniquely enrich and empower Google.

Though Mr. Cerf has been a Vice President at Google for over a decade, and though he is a highly visible fixture in Google’s lobbying of the FCC, the U.S. Government, other sovereign regulators, and many international fora, Mr. Cerf signed this particular formal filing to the FCC, only as a “U.S. citizen” and “Co-inventor of the Internet” without disclosing his Google/Android interests.

At a minimum, Mr. Cerf should disclose his Google affiliation in this matter because it may be the culmination of a successful seven-year Open Spectrum lobbying effort by Mr. Cerf for Google.

Google’s policy argument for why the FCC should no longer control what frequencies wireless devices transmit, is ostensibly to promote: user choice, open source software, and small cell mesh networking.

The ostensible purpose of asking the FCC to unilaterally deregulate spectrum access administration is to allow users to improve the security of their WiFi routers.

However, it is especially rich and ironic that Google spotlights improving security as the rationale for justifying their radical change, when Google-Android’s owns a notoriously poor security track record over the last several years.

Only Google Commercially Benefits 

It is important to appreciate that only Google is commercially-positioned to monetize and benefit from this radical change in spectrum access administration policy.

First, Google is already an FCC-approved White Spaces Spectrum Access Administrator for unlicensed spectrum.

Second, Android is the globally dominant licensed mobile operating system, which means only Google could globally benefit from being able to globally update this spectrum access software via cloud updates.

Third, Google is the only advertising-funded wireless infrastructure provider that does not need monthly paying subscribers to make free unlicensed spectrum commercially-viable on a global scale.

Fourth, Google dominates the technology of real-time auctioning of search advertising, an essential capability to delivering real-time access to different unlicensed spectrum bands as a spectrum access administrator.

Fifth, Google largely orchestrated the Administration’s Open Spectrum policy change to favor unlicensed spectrum over licensed spectrum.

Sixth, Google has more different business ventures to make money off of this unlicensed open spectrum policy than any other entity: e.g. Project Fi, a unique national wireless MVNO to leverage wifi-mesh networking; Sidewalk Labs a unique focus on bringing WiFi mesh networking to big cities; and Project Loon and Titan drones to deliver global Internet access service – apparently via unlicensed spectrum.

Finally, Google’s principal wireless architect, Preston Marshall, bragged this week about how Google plans to dominate spectrum access administration in the 3.5 MHz spectrum band: “We’ve fundamentally changed the economics of spectrum… We’ve created a whole new sort of gamesmanship. Every year you can rethink your spectrum strategy.”


In sum, don’t be fooled by the technical nature of this issue, this is another big, clever, stealth Google power grab to enable Google to quickly tie/extend its Android OS dominance into another potential foundational must-have application — spectrum access administration.

This Google gambit could threaten wireless broadband providers globally with more interference in their licensed bands, and with anti-competitive price pressure and commoditization from Google regulatorily disintermediating competitive wireless broadband providers from their customers.

In addition to keeping an eye on the DOJ and the FTC to see if they enforce U.S. antitrust law against Google, foreign antitrust authorities now need to also keep an eye on the FCC to see if Google gets the FCC to politically cede part of its core sovereign regulatory power – spectrum access administration – to Google.

Because if it does, it makes foreign antitrust authorities’ enforcement actions against Google-Android’s contractual tying of apps to the Android home screen – much harder to successfully enforce.

Forewarned is forearmed.

[Originally published at Precursor Blog]

Scott Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration. He is President of Precursor LLC, an emergent enterprise risk consultancy for Fortune 500 companies, some of which are Google competitors, and Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests. He is also author of “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.” Cleland has testified before both the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees on Google and also before the relevant House oversight subcommittee on Google’s privacy problems.

Categories: On the Blog

Congress is Worthless for Limiting Spending

November 06, 2015, 5:52 PM

It is hard for people to grasp the magnitude of the U.S. debt problem—and what the ultimate “day of reckoning” will be. The national debt reached $1 trillion for the first time in 2009. It is now well over $18 trillion. That’s the official total; the real total is much higher. Lawrence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University, has calculated that based on Congressional Budget Office data the real debt is $202 trillion, more than eleven times the official debt. It is also about 3 times what the entire world produces, that is, global gross domestic product (GDP), which is $72 trillion. In 2013 Kotlikoff updated his debt calculation to $222. That’s $700,000 per person, $1.9 million per household.

Kotlikoff says, “ Congress has been very careful over the years to label most of its liabilities ‘unofficial’ to keep them off the books and far in the future.” Professor Paul Gutterman says, “Congress plays games with the budget in so many ways that it is hardly a stretch to say that if it was held to the same accounting standards as public corporations, the entire Congress would be in jail for fraud.” Here are two examples of accounting gimmicks identified by Gutterman, which I describe in my book The Impending Monetary Revolution, the Dollar and Gold. Second Edition:

“Congress only budgets out ten years. The government receives immediate benefits of increased revenue from Roth individual retirement accounts, but the lost revenue occurs beyond ten years so is treated as never happening. In the 2013 fiscal-cliff agreement, this ‘long-term revenue loser was scored as raising $12 billion over the next ten years.’

“The Congressional Budget Office says the four largest student loan programs will yield official saving of $135 billion in fiscal years 2015-2024; but it notes that under fair value accounting that is practiced in the real world, those programs would likely cost $88 billion rather than save $135 billion.”

Underlying the accounting gimmicks are fundamental realities that the gimmicks cannot mask indefinitely or prevent from asserting themselves as the future unfolds. Kotlikoff explains:“We have 78 million baby boomers who, when fully retired, will collect benefits from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that, on average, exceed per-capita GDP. The annual costs of these entitlements will total about $4 trillion in today’s dollars. Yes, our economy will be bigger in 20 years, but not big enough to handle this size load year after year.

“This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck….It will stop in a very nasty manner. The first possibility is massive benefit cuts visited on the baby boomers in retirement. The second is astronomical tax increases that leave the young with little incentive to work and save. And the third is the government simply printing vast quantities of money to cover its bills. Worse than Greece. Most likely we will see a combination of all three responses with dramatic increases in poverty, tax, interest rates and consumer prices.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have created the problem of government spending, and both have failed to solve it. Since 1980 the U.S. national debt ceiling has been raised 42 times, and both parties were complicit in that. In 2008 the deficit under George W. Bush was $458.6 billion, less than half a trillion, a record at the time. While running for president in 2008 Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Ha! That promise was worth no more than his oft-repeated promise that under Obamacare people could keep their insurance and their doctor and that the average family would save $2,500 on health insurance. Obama became the biggest spender in world history. In just the first six years of his presidency his deficits added more than $7 trillion to the national debt, more than all the presidents in our history from George Washington through George W. Bush combined. And the national debt limit was raised seven times under Obama.

Raising the debt limit has become a meaningless formality. Everyone knows it is a hollow gesture that will not control spending, because Congress will routinely raise the limit as it is approached in order to accommodate greater spending. Or the law will simply be violated as Obama has done:

The Budget Control Act of 2011was supposed to restrain federal spending. But in return for multiple rounds of spending cuts for the decade 2012 through fiscal 2021, it raised the debt ceiling $400 billion immediately and provided for even further increases. The act provided that if the distribution of spending cuts could not be agreed upon in those coming years, across-the-board cuts would be made, known as sequestration. The sequester budget cuts were subsequently postponed and reduced somewhat. Then Obama unilaterally reneged on his commitment to the law. The Washington Times reported, “Four years after agreeing to ‘sequestration’ budget cuts, the White House has emphatically told Congress that President Obama will no longer abide by them and will use his veto to insist that lawmakers boost spending on defense and domestic programs alike. In letters to the Republican chairmen of the House and Senate spending committees, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan said sequestration ‘was never intended to take effect’ and that it was time to officially end the budget tool.” Though the president expects everyone else to obey the laws, he was flatly not going to do so. (This man was a lawyer?)

Now sequestration will henceforth be a meaningless formality just like raising the debt ceiling. The precedent has just been established which destroys it usefulness as a budget tool.

The Bipartison Budget Act of 2015, which has now been passed, is an even more shameful—and extreme—example of the familiar pattern of increasing spending along with the debt limit and pushing reform into the future. It accedes to Obama’s violation of the law by dispensing with the sequestration budget cuts, not just the current ones but to sequestration previously agreed to for all the years through fiscal 2021. It would increase spending by $85 billion over the next three years, suspend the debt limit until March 16, 2017 and allow unlimited spending and borrowing until then. Significant cuts would not take place until 2015.

The underhanded way in which the law was crafted and passed is as despicable as the law itself is.   It was negotiated in secret closed-door meetings of just four people: Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Boehner had kept his party members in the House in the dark until the final product was introduced on October 26, with only a few days to the deadline of November 2 for avoiding financial default. Hence it was really too late for any meaningful opposition or even any input from Boehner’s Republican colleagues. Obviously that was the way Boehner wanted it. He didn’t want his own party members to interfere with his capitulation to Pelosi and Reid. He was more interested in satisfying them than members of his own party who elected him as speaker. When voters elect House members, they choose candidates who reflect their views and expect their voices will be heard in Washington. If those elected are excluded by their party leader from representing the views of the people who elect them, why should anyone bother to vote for a Republican? And why would anyone want to run on the Republican ticket? Now you know why Boehner resigned. After what he did to those who elected him to be speaker, you can sure they would never vote for him as speaker again.

Senator Mike Lee is a former law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court and author of the book “Our Lost Constitution.” Speaking on the floor of the Senate, he called the new budget deal a “horrible piece of legislation,…a product of an unfair, dysfunctional and fundamentally undemocratic process, a process that is virtually indistinguishable from what we promised the American people a GOP-controlled Congress would bring to an end.”

A major detriment to controlling future spending—as well as his own party’s political future—was Boehner’s acquiescence to pushing the date for further budget and debt ceiling legislation to 2017. In addition to opening the door to unlimited spending in the meantime, it downgraded the importance of spending as an issue in the 2016 elections, making it more difficult for Republican candidates to win.

For many decades there have been attempts to control federal spending. These include proposed constitutional amendments requiring a balanced budget and returning to a gold standard, both of which are desirable and would not have permitted the expansion of federal spending we have seen. All have failed because the procedure employed required support from too many members of Congress who benefit from the status quo and don’t want it changed. The procedure, which has been used for all past amendments to the Constitution, requires approval of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress. But the Constitution provides a second procedure for amendments, which has never been used. It provides that a convention be called for amendments if two-thirds of the legislatures of the states agree. The U.S. House and Senate will be left out of the loop.

Once a new convention is called, it cannot be limited to a single amendment; any number of amendments can be brought up for consideration. This would set the stage for adoption of amendments to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court, as I mention in my book. I shall mention here only one that should be overturned. The Constitution limits the legislative powers of the federal government; but in case United States v. Butler, 1936, the Supreme Court ruled that “the power to authorize appropriations of public money for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution.” I maintain that if government has no power to act beyond the enumerated powers, it should have no power to spend beyond those limitations either. A constitutional amendment to this effect would greatly reduce federal spending, but obviously it will never happen under the usual procedure for amendments, which involves Congress. Congress is never going to vote to limit its power to spend.

Another constitutional amendment I recommend pertains to unfunded mandates. These allow federal politicians to please their constituents—and garner votes from them—with spending the federal government does not pay for, because the costs are pushed onto the states.

For example, under Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and the Dodd-Frank financial reform the president signed in 2010, the federal government imposed 86 unfunded mandates on state and local governments. There are six paperwork requirements related to ACA that each impose more than one million hours on local governments. Combined, these six impose 27.1 million paperwork burden hours that cost $880 million. Since Obama took office, his regulators have added $35 billion in unfunded regulatory costs and at least 75 million paperwork burden hours on state and local governments. These don’t show up as federal expenditures, but Americans still have to pay for them.

States have no power to print money and must pay through taxes for federal mandates imposed upon them. State taxes should be for purposes determined by state government; federal taxes for federal purposes. We need a constitutional amendment that requires all federal mandates thrust upon the states must be paid by the federal government. That would certainly reduce the proclivity of the federal government for expanding its powers to dictate what the states must do and force them to pay for it.

Opponents of a convention by the states for proposing Constitutional amendments sometimes claim it might become a “runaway” convention, that too many amendments might be dangerous. This is absurd. The new convention would simply propose amendments. They would not take effect unless ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. That is the same process of ratification that was required for all previous amendments, which were achieved under the procedure originated by Congress. That is a very high bar to pass. If passed, it is far more likely the effect would be beneficial rather than dangerous. What we do know right now is that today’s “runaway” government—of “runaway” spending—is already dangerous. And constitutional amendments such as I have suggest are our best option.

[Originally published at American Liberty]

Categories: On the Blog

While We’re Lost in the ‘Patent Troll’ Freakout, ‘Reformers’ will Eviscerate Private Property Rights

November 06, 2015, 5:44 PM

The small and dwindling contingent in favor of the terrible, patent-smashing bills being considered in Congress suffer from an obsessive fetish — “patent trolls.” It’s at once a mantra — and a Pavlovian fervor-inducer. Just say “patent troll” in front of any member of this tiny cohort — and watch them freak out.

The American Spectator has been a gracious, serial host to one such troll-ster — Mytheos Holt. As of this writing, SEVEN of his last eight Am Spec pieces — of nine total — are thus myopically focused. In them the word “troll” appears… twenty-six times. Three pieces ago, he cited me by name: “[P]atent troll defenders like Seton Motley….”

Holt and his ilk frequently and feverishly screech “patent troll.” But to paraphrase Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that phrase — I do not think it means what you think it means.”

[W]hat exactly is a “patent troll?” He or she is someone who owns a patent — which is private property. And is trying to protect their private property from unauthorized use by someone who doesn’t want to pay to use it.

Is someone who owns a house and calls the police to roust squatters a “property troll?” Is someone who reports their car stolen an “automobile troll?”

Why would anyone be opposed to any of this?

The patent troll fetishists don’t like trolls filing lawsuits all over the place charging fake patent infringement. Understandable — I don’t like unnecessary litigiousness anywhere by anyone.

But the main way for legitimate patent holders to legitimately defend their patents from thieves — is to file lawsuits against the thieves. Which, legally, looks — EXACTLY like what the fetishists loathe the trolls doing.

Carving out trolls and their overly litigious ways from real patent holders defending their stuff — is microsurgery. But government isn’t capable of microsurgery — it slams with hammers. The “patent troll” bills currently under consideration are certainly WAY more Thor than Ben Carson.

Also lost on the fetishists is that when the trolls are trolling — they are doing so holding United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)-approved patents. Which means the original sin — is government’s. The root of any troll lawsuit is a USPTO-approved patent — that the government should not have approved. Real, non-damaging reform would and should be focused on the USPTO. These bills do no such thing.

So, I’m not defending “patent trolls” — I am defending the entire patent system. From legislation that will eviscerate it — while doing nothing to address the font of the ensuing problems.

Which brings us to the dirty little secret. Despite all of their bluster about “patent trolls” and lawsuit reform — these fetishists don’t like patents. Or intellectual property of any sort.

Patents are a Constitutionally-cited, fundamental component of any free market economy — protectable private property. In this respect, intellectual property is no different than physical property — and is of ever-growing import as we become more and more digital.

The anti-intellectual-property zealots guise their patent campaign as “lawsuit reform” — because just about no one would support them if they opened up and admitted they want to kill intellectual property protection.

Whether policies that weaken intellectual property rights discourage invention is a subject of intense debate.

This is quite simply college-faculty-lounge nonsense. No one would argue that legislation mandating weaker security systems at Best Buys — wouldn’t lead to less Best Buys. Of course it would. If Best Buy can’t protect their property — they’ll stop restocking it and close up shop. It’s human nature.

Likewise, legislation that weakens intellectual property rights — will lead to less intellectual property. If an inventor can’t protect his last invention — why would he go to all the expense, time and trouble to create his next? Of course — he wouldn’t. It’s human nature.

Say I expend the time and trouble to climb a wall to stick my face in a hole. And every time I reach the hole at the top, I don’t get a thousand dollars — I get punched through the hole in the face. I’ll very quickly stop doing the work to climb the wall to stick my face in the hole. Human nature.

Yet again, Leftist policy ignores basic human nature. Which is why it always fails. No matter how dressed up and disguised this sort of patent “reform” is — it is just another doomed-to-fail Leftist policy. It will only fundamentally undermine a crucial component of our free market economy.

Patent “reform” proponents won’t mind so much. For them, this “fail” isn’t a bug — it’s a feature.

[Originally published at the American Spectator]


Categories: On the Blog

Keystone Decision is About Obama’s Position on the World Stage

November 06, 2015, 2:44 PM

Today, in finally denying the Keystone pipeline, President Obama showed his true colors. We now know, as we’ve long believed, that those colors are the green of the anti-fossil fuel crowd, rather than the color of jobs resulting in economic growth in the hard-hit heartland of the United States. For seven years, he has tried to appease both his union supporters who want the good jobs Keystone would have provided and his environmental allies who declared it a “dirty” project that would add to global CO2 emissions. Now, before the United Nations climate conference, he can wave his green credentials and claim to be a world leader in the fight against global warming—which I believe was the whole purpose of the decision and subsequent announcement.

Obama’s statement was less about the Keystone pipeline and more of a brag session on America’s supposed conversion to a clean energy economy. He stated: “Thanks, in part, to the investments we’ve made, there are already parts of America where clean power from the wind or the sun is finally cheaper than dirty conventional power.” Yet, his climate change ally Bill Gates, in the November issue of The Atlantic magazine makes clear that this is a “misleadingly mindless statement.” Addressing the “self-defeating claims of some clean-energy enthusiasts,” Gates says: “What they mean is that at noon in Arizona, the cost of that kilowatt-hour is the same as a hydrocarbon kilowatt-hour. But it doesn’t come at night, it doesn’t come after the sun hasn’t shone, so the fact that in that one moment you reach parity, so what?” Additionally Gates calls the growth in wind: “very subsidized” and solar: “highly subsidized.”

During the announcement, Obama said the clean energy economy is “booming.” He’s conveniently ignored Abengoa—the Spanish solar company that received the biggest single award from his 2009 stimulus package, yet today is under investigation from several federal agencies and is teetering on edge of bankruptcy after stock prices plunged more than 30 percent..

The President also made the “misleading” statement that the growth in wind and solar will help America’s “energy security”—when in fact, wind and solar produce electricity, while oil powers America’s transportation fleet. America is already, and has been, electricity secure. Wind and solar do nothing to reduce our need for oil.

His closing comment: “America’s prepared to show the rest of the world the way forward,” proves that his position on the world stage is more important than policy positions that would provide jobs for Americans.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Weekly: Adam Andrzejewski on Opening EPA’s Books

November 06, 2015, 1:09 PM

If you don’t visit Somewhat Reasonable and the Heartlander digital magazine every day, you’re missing out on some of the best news and commentary on liberty and free markets you can find. But worry not, freedom lovers! The Heartland Weekly Email is here for you every Friday with a highlight show. Subscribe to the email today, and read this week’s edition below.

Help Heartland Bring Sound Science to Paris Climate Conference One of the most important battles in the history of the global warming debate will be fought this December at a United Nations climate conference in Paris. It’s called COP-21 – the twenty-first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Heartland Institute is working with other leading think tanks and advocacy groups to make sure our voice – the voice of sound science and economics, of energy consumers and taxpayers in America – is heard. Please donate today; every dollar helps! DONATE TODAY Profile of the Week: Tom Steyer is a new Heartland Institute project devoted to creating accurate profiles of prominent individuals and organizations on the political Left with a special focus on groups in the global warming (a.k.a. “climate change”) debate. Project Manager Emily Zanotti and principal researcher Ron Arnold have written a devastating exposé of Tom Steyer, the billionaire head of a massive, coordinated network of extremist environmental organizations. READ MORE Featured Podcast: Adam Andrzejewski: Weapons, Ammo, and Armor – Opening EPA’s Books Adam Andrzejewski, founder of, joins Environment & Climate News Managing Editor H. Sterling Burnett to discuss a new report on spending by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA’s budget, with more than 1,000 lawyers and SWAT-grade weapons and equipment, is larger than the budgets of some entire states. LISTEN TO MORE More Sanctimonious Garbage from National Geographic Joseph Bast, Somewhat Reasonable The November 2015 issue of National Geographic is devoted to global warming. The title of the issue is “Cool It,” ironically the same as the title of Björn Lomborg’s 2007 book, which asks environmentalists to cool down their hot rhetoric about man-made global warming. Here are some excerpts from Lomborg’s book to show how National Geographic and other alarmists are out of touch with reality. READ MORE

Heartland’s New Event Space Is Open for Business! The Heartland Institute’s beautiful new event space is open, and we have hosted several great events already. Heartland is featuring the best speakers the liberty movement has to offer with debates, lectures, book talks, and luncheons. Upcoming events include a panel on women in politics on Wednesday, November 18, at 6:30 pm. Register for an upcoming event today! And if you require space for your own liberty-centered event, let us know! We can host a meeting (for free) with up to 77 people. READ MORE New from the Center for Constitutional Refrom: The Article V Movement David Guldenschuh, Heartland Policy Brief This Heartland Policy Brief is a comprehensive overview of the most consequential social movement occurring in the United States today: the Article V movement. Guldenschuh describes four Article V advocacy groups – the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, Convention of States Project, Wolf-PAC, and Compact for America – and reports on educational efforts undertaken by those organizations and others. READ MORE Ohio May Become 26th Right-to-Work State Matthew Glans, Heartland Research & Commentary  Right-to-work laws encourage economic growth and job creation and have proven successful in many states. So it’s no wonder Ohio is considering becoming the 26th right-to-work state – especially considering the Buckeye State’s regional neighbors (Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin) have had so much success with these reforms. READ MORE

Ted Cruz’s Tax Plan: Creating Jobs and Economic Growth Peter J. Ferrara and Lewis K. Uhler, Investor’s Business Daily Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Peter Ferrara and Lewis Uhler, chairman of the National Tax Limitation Committee, break down the tax-reform proposal recently unveiled by U.S. senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz. According to Ferrara and Uhler, the proposal is “transformative, intellectually dominating, and economically and politically revolutionary.” READ MORE Rise of the Peer-to-Peer Economy Improves Life for Everyone Jesse Hathaway, Townhall Peer-to-peer is a new kind of business model that directly connects customers and service providers, effectively cutting out the middleman and reducing costs. This consumer-friendly system has already been successfully applied to transportation services by companies like Uber and Lyft. Unfortunately, some governments are trying to undercut these new services at the behest of old-economy companies.  READ MORE Bonus Podcast: Justin Haskins: Obamacare Confusion and Single-Payer ColoradoCare Justin Haskins, Heartland Institute editor and author of Heartland’s Consumer Power Report e-newsletter, joins host Donald Kendal to discuss the coming increase in health insurance premiums and IRS confusion that will leave hundreds of thousands without federal subsidies for insurance they are required to have. They also discuss ColoradoCare, a plan that would create the first statewide government-run single-payer health care system.  READ MORE IRS Confusion: More than 500,000 Could Lose Obamacare Subsidies Justin Haskins, Consumer Power Report Come November 1, many consumers returning to the insurance exchanges or signing up for the first time are in for a rude awakening: Health insurance premiums are expected to rise for millions of people. In addition to these expected increases, hundreds of thousands may lose their health insurance subsidies for not filing their income taxes.  READ MORE Debunking Gasland’s Fracking Claims … Again Isaac Orr, Real Clear Policy It is not uncommon for hydraulic fracturing opponents to exaggerate the negative effects of this revolutionary oil-extraction method. A new study has confirmed what many of us knew already: The movie Gasland got it wrong. The science has proved fracking poses no greater risk to the environment than traditional oil and natural-gas development. And in some respects, it’s actually better. READ MORE Invest in the Future of Freedom! Are you considering 2015 gifts to your favorite charities? We hope The Heartland Institute is on your list. Preserving and expanding individual freedom is the surest way to advance many good and noble objectives, from feeding and clothing the poor to encouraging excellence and great achievement. Making charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations dedicated to individual freedom is the most highly leveraged investment a philanthropist can make. Click here to make a contribution online, or mail your gift to The Heartland Institute, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago, IL 60606. To request a FREE wills guide or to get more information to plan your future please visit My Gift Legacy or contact Gwen Carver at 312/377-4000 or by email at  
Categories: On the Blog

Hillary Clinton Misunderstands (Misrepresents?) How Government Pummels the Economy

November 06, 2015, 11:00 AM

Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democrat presidential nominee. (Sorry, Bernie Sanders fans. You too, Martin O’Malley fans – both of you.)  Unless – and likely even if – she is indicted for her latest foray into self-defined ethics. She has in her past more than a quarter century of…questionable statements, decisions and actions – so it would appear nothing else in this vein will matter to the Democrat rank and file.

Mrs. Clinton is vying to lead the government that lords over our $17+ trillion economy. Which – given just one article she recently penned – is more than a mite disturbing. Behold: “Being Pro-Business Doesn’t Mean Hanging Consumers Out to Dry.”


What Mrs. Clinton does mean to do, apparently, is hang out to dry the facts and Reality. Her column is chock full of Leftist bromide talking points – which have time and again been totally disproven. But because the Left dominates the media – they live on. Fake Leftist “facts” are like zombies. They are repeatedly slain – but again and again shamble away from their graves. Happy Halloween, All.

Let us examine just some of what the looming Democrat nominee has to offer. Steady yourselves – she actually starts out…quite well.

American capitalism built the greatest middle class in history. When it works the way it should, our system is defined by innovators constantly sparking new ideas, workers sharing in the profits they help produce, consumers enjoying ever-greater choices, and small business owners like my father, working hard to give their families a better life.

But that’s the general election, “I’m a moderate” throwaway. (Though while in the Senate Mrs. Clinton was but 0.1% less Left than avowed Socialist Sanders.) Having done her electoral due diligence, she then predictably leaves the rails.

But sometimes, the system doesn’t work the way it should and we need to fix it.

But WHY does “the system sometimes…not work the way it should,” Mrs. Clinton? It doesn’t work – when government sticks its enormous proboscis into businesses’ business. Government is inherently a drag on the private sector. It drains away money, time and effort – all of which would be much better spent doing all of the great things Mrs. Clinton just listed (and then some).

At the root of just about every financial hiccup – let alone crisis – is government action. To cite but one: the 2008 global financial meltdown. Which was caused by our government mandating for decades that more and more home loans be given to people everyone knew couldn’t pay them back. When the pile of bad paper was sky high – and the housing market dipped ever so slightly – everything collapsed.

Does Mrs. Clinton acknowledge even the possibility that government might be the problem? Of course not.

Some pharmaceutical companies recently have raised the price of medications that have been in use for decades by up to 5,000% overnight—gouging patients on drugs that should be getting cheaper over time, not more expensive.

But that’s because of ObamaCare, Mrs. Clinton. A huge government imposition – and thus a huge wound inflicted upon the private sector. Which you wholeheartedly support – and in fact want to make even worse by allowing illegal aliens to pile on.

Mrs. Clinton then swerves into the Internet Sector. She is here so wrong in so many directions – it is simply staggering.

Monthly prices for high-speed broadband are far higher on average in some major American cities than in Toronto, London, and Tokyo. In part, that’s because most of our communities are subject to local monopolies for service.

Mrs. Clinton – it is local U.S. governments that create these monopolies and inflate these prices.

Local governments and their public utilities charge ISPs far more (for building rights) than these things actually cost. For example, rights of way and pole attachments fees can double the cost of network construction….

These (government) incumbents – the real monopolists – also have the final say on whether an ISP can build a network. They determine what hoops an ISP must jump through to get approval.

This reduces the number of potential competitors who can profitably deploy service.… The lack of competition makes it easier for local governments and utilities to charge more for rights of way and pole attachments.

It’s a vicious circle…(A) system of forced kickbacks….(also) includ(ing) ISPs…building out service where it isn’t demanded, donating equipment, and delivering free broadband to government buildings.…

Video franchises are the revenue-sharing agreements that cable TV companies sign with local governments in return for the exclusive right to offer video services to customers.

Mrs. Clinton continues:

Three-quarters of US households have at most one option….

Again, that would be government’s fault – if it were true. Shocker – it’s not. Mrs. Clinton only counts as access – hardline wired broadband. She doesn’t count satellite service – or cellular.

Cellular wireless service is now so fast, you can watch seamless, streaming HD video – on your phone. Which is frigging amazing – and should certainly count as having access. Mrs. Clinton bizarrely doesn’t think so. She in fact ignores these other options – so as to warp the numbers and thus trump up the case for more government.

But Pew Research this year found:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world….(And only) 7% of Americans own a smartphone but have neither traditional broadband service at home, nor easily available alternatives for going online other than their cell phone.

So two-thirds of Americans have an Internet-accessing smartphone. And thus just about all of them have at least two access options – again putting the lie to Mrs. Clinton’s absurd assertions. And many if not most of that mere 7% actually have access to home broadband – but choose not to avail themselves. In large part because their wireless service is so frigging amazing.

Mrs. Clinton goes on (and ON) – but by now we know not to waste any more of our time. She has nothing of value to say.

She is the Government Candidate – thus she will ignore the government-induced origin of our problems. And prescribe as their “solutions” – ever more government.

Here’s hoping next year we know – and do – better.

[Originally published at Red State]


Categories: On the Blog

In The Tank Podcast (ep11): Tuesday’s Elections, Debt Ceiling Suspension, and Lab-Grown Meat

November 06, 2015, 10:50 AM

In episode #11 of the In The Tank Podcast, Hosts Donny Kendal and John Nothdurft discuss this week’s big news stories. This weekly podcast features (as always) interviews, debates, roundtable discussions, stories, and light-hearted segments on a variety of topics on the latest news. The show is available for download as part of the Heartland Daily Podcast every Friday.

In today’s episode of In The Tank, Donny and John start off with another “another one bites the dust” segment for former presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee. They also discuss some of the results from Tuesday’s elections as well as the new debt deal that suspends the debt ceiling. Lastly, Donny asks John how he would feel about eating lab-grown meat.

I hope you’ll listen in, subscribe, and leave a review for our podcast on iTunes. We welcome your feedback in our new show’s inbox at or follow us on twitter @InTheTankPod.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]


Categories: On the Blog