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

Heartland Institute Celebrates 31 Years

October 16, 2015, 9:08 AM

The Heartland Institute, CEO, Joe Bast, celebrated its 31st anniversary with a reception and dinner at The Cotillion in Palatine, Illinois, on Thursday, October 8, 2015.  Since 1984 Heartland has devoted itself to supporting individual freedom by discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

The theme of this year’s celebratory event was “The Heartland versus The Ruling Class”, borrowed from the title of a recent book by the event’s keynote speaker, Angelo Codevilla, The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It.  Angelo Codevilla is a former staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, and the author of fifteen fine books on politics, arms control, and intelligence.

In his book, Codevilla accordingly identifies the people and organizations at the heart of the attack on American freedom:

“The Ruling Class is a bipartisan group of political elites educated at universities known for their left-wing biases, convinced of the soundness of their opinions even when they know little or nothing of substance, whose success largely depends on access to politicians or being part of a vast government bureaucracy.”

Codevilla’s words certainly ring true as the 2016 election cycle unfolds. Many voters are fed up with a ruling class that is not listening to them and is further demeaning their intelligence by imposing upon them unacceptable, unsolicited opinions and rulings.  According to a new CBS News poll of October 10, 2015, Trump and Dr. Carson, having criticized the political establishment, are still dominating the Republican presidential race.


Charlie Kirk, of Turning Point USA, introduces Angelo Codevilla

It was appropriate that Dr. Codevilla was introduced by Charlie Kirk, as both are of the same persuasion in  their assessments of how the ruling class is negatively impacting society. Charlie Kirk is the Founder and Executive Director of Turning Point USA, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization birthed on June 5, 2012.  The organization’s mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students on college campuses in all 50 states to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.  Still in his early 20’s, Kirk conceived of organizing a group that would train young people to be “community organizers” on the Right while still he college. Jim Lakely, Communications Director for The Heartland Institute, without hesitation when approached by Charlie Kirk several years ago, helped Kirk realize his dream. Turning Point USA now has a full time staff of 53.

Charlie Kirk spoke of the ruling class in higher education as indolent people who work on college campuses as academicians and professors.  Even though the Left has become the ruling class on college campuses, it has made a serious error.  How so?  The Left rose to power by railing against the very machine it has now become. While Liberals consider free speech paramount to intimidation, speech is not considered free unless they are the ones doing the speaking.

Angelo Codevilla recounts historical trends as harbingers of what followed 

Angelo Codevilla set the tone for his remarks by stating that “in every society there is some element that sets the tone for the rest of it.”   George Washington made an enormous contribution in what America became by embodying the precept that all men are created equal. In regards to Clinton, it wasn’t so much what he did, but that a substantial portion of the American people approved of it.  This question was then entertained by Codevilla: “Who do American men seek to imitate today when the moral compass is so far removed from what it was in the time of George Washington?”

Soon after the era of this nation’s founding, continued Codevilla, a society began to develop in which races were considered unequal. Some were deemed better than other, leading to a belief in moral inferiority.  Southerners were considered inferior human beings.  As such Codevilla equated the Civil War as a battle between racial and moral convictions, with moral convictions winning out.

The beginning of the 20th century saw a new class of society emerge who believed they were the rightful rulers. It was a time when the Chautauqua movement flourished and the ACLU came into being. Up until the time of Roosevelt, there existed a tug of war between those who favored limited government over those who wanted more government control. But it was under FDR that the ruling class assumed power, when decisions were to be made by the brightest and best government officials, not by technocrats.

As reflected by Codevilla, we no longer live in a republic where laws are made by legislators. They are instead made and enacted by unelected bureaucrats, whose judgments go unchallenged.  It is rule by decree, where the ruling class wins support by the goodies they generously dispense. It is an era where the law means what an administrator says it means. Consider the convoluted way in which Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was able to vote in favor of Obamacare by twisting the meaning of words.   It is a definition of absolute power when a ruling class can turn men into women.  When a child can declare that they are either a boy or a girl at any given time.   When fetuses out of the womb are simply fetuses to be dissected for their parts.

What can we do?  Speak the truth and argue.  It is important to know the subject so a convincing argument can be make. Recently Senator Ted Cruz did so when he confronted the Sierra Club president over global warming.  Some hope remains for this nation in facing the political aspect of the current era, as on both the  Right and the Left a massive objection has developed against the existing ruling class. Regarding the social aspect, Dr. Codevilla has noticed how the quality of freshman college students has declined over the years.  Here the bullet must be bitten. But of utmost important is the need to reduce the size and scope of government.  This will be up to us!

Dr. Donald J. Devine presented Heartland Liberty Prize by Campaigne and Morris

A highlight of Heartland 31st Anniversary Benefit Dinner was the presentation of this year’s Heartland Liberty Prize to Dr. Donald J. Devine by Jameson Campaigne, founder and president of Green Hill Publishers and Jameson Books, and Joe Morris, President, Lincoln Legal Foundation.  The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the defense of liberty.  Dr. Devine is a political scientist, author, and former Reagan official.  “The Washington Post” labeled Donald Devine as Ronald Reagan’s “terrible swift sword of the civil service” when he served as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during Reagan’s first term, “The New York Times” called him “the Grinch,” and the ‘Federal Times” titled Divine the “Rasputin of the reduction in force” – all because he helped cut 100,000 bureaucratic jobs and save over $6 billion reducing generous benefits.  Devine’s most recent book, America’s Way Back, all about reclaiming Freedom, Tradition, and Constitution, was available for purchase and autographing.

Dr. Devine emphasized how the size and scope of government can be cut if there is a determination and will to do so.  While a cut is seldom proposed by an administrator, this is what must be done!  As Devine remarked, “This nation won’t be saved by having the Republican Party in charge of government, but only by the involvement of ‘We the People.”‘

Fascinating was a discussion by Devine about economic depressions in America’s history.  Most people are aware of the “Great Depression of 1929” and of the current one, but there was also another depression, the depression of 1987.  This depression occurred during the Reagan administration.  What did President Reagan do about the depression?  Instead of throwing money at the severe economic downturn as a way to artificially prop up the economy, and likewise increasing regulations, Reagan did nothing. It worked, ushering in five years of prosperity.

The final cabinet meeting Dr. Devine attended in the Regan administration was described in this way: Said Ronald Reagan:  “No country has gone this far down the road away from freedom and has been able to come back, but this is my challenge to you.”

Welcome by Rep.Tom Morrison of IL 24th District

The Honorable State Representative, Tom Morrison, served as master of ceremonies for the evening, as one of The Heartland Institute’s strongest allies in the Illinois state legislature since elected in 2011. Morrison represents Palatine and neighboring communities. With its move from Chicago to Arlington Heights, Heartland  is now in Morrison’s 24th Representative District.

Morrison intoned these famous words of Ronald Reagan, in extolling about the kind of world we want to leave to our children.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Morrison cautioned how Republicans must do better at communicating their message of freedom to the other side, lest the other side wins by default.

Opening Remarks by CEO Joseph Bast covered Heartland’s accomplishments over past year

Opening remarks were presented by Heartland’s president and CEO, Joseph Bast, during which he spoke of the the many accomplishments of The Heartland Institute during the past year.  Foremost was the amazing renovations that were accomplished from top to bottom to its new home at 3939 North Wilke Road in Arlington Heights, IL.  The renovations took ten months to complete, which created a challenge, given the lease at Heartland’s former Chicago headquarter had run out two months before the new headquarters could be occupied by Heartland staff.  White helmets were part of each table’s centerpiece, as a symbol of how Heartland’s new Arlington Heights headquarters was transformed into the amazing headquarters and workplace it is today. Joseph Bast, in a show of relief and pride over the completed renovations, wore a white helmet during a portion of his remarks.

Among other accomplishments cited by Bast were:

  • “The Neglected Sun”, a German publication, will soon be republished with free copies sent to 5000 individuals.
  • Heartland recently created and launched this new website,, a 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.
  • New also at Heartland is PolicyBot, a search engine and database containing more than 32,000 reports, news articles, and commentaries from some 300 think tanks and advocacy groups, including those of The Heartland Institute. Publications can be searched by keyword, author, publisher, and date of publication, making it an ideal resource for researchers and legislative staffers.

Looking ahead in facing the future

The Heartland Institute will continue in its mission to fight to preserve liberty and to advance free markets.  Such is essential if a nation founded on the principle of individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is to remain a sovereign and free nation, able to prosper and to flourish.  Unfortunately this nation no longer ranks among the top ten freest nations in the world. We’ve fallen to 12th place.

The history of humanity reveals individual liberty has always been the exception while slavery and tyranny were the rule. May this nation not succumb to what Thomas Jefferson wrote as the natural progress of things. . . “for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Photos by Nancy Thorner 

[Originally published at Illinois Review]


Categories: On the Blog

Progressive Eco-Economist Who Lectures the 1% on Redistribution of Wealth Purchases $6.25 million Upper West Side Condo

October 16, 2015, 8:45 AM


Jeffrey Sachs and his friend, actress Angelina Jolie, on their world poverty tour.




The progressive economist who has advised Pope Francis on global warming – and who regularly excoriates the “rich” for their overconsumption – has purchased a $6.25 million Upper West Side condo in New York City, according to a report in The New York Post.

“Jeffrey Sachs, author of “The End of Poverty: How We Can Make It Happen In Our Lifetime” just bought on the Upper West Side with his pediatrician wife Sonia,” the paper reported. “The apartment has no Jacuzzi, but does come with its very own Zuma deep soaking tub in the master suite’s spa-like bathroom. The Sachs’ new place is in Harsen House, located at 120 W. 72nd St., which was one of the city’s first LEED-certified green buildings.”

According to the newspaper report, that is “especially noteworthy,” given that Sachs is also the director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “The four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 3,212-square-foot condo was asking $6.45 million.The full-floor home has direct elevator access, a formal living room, a dining room and a media “lounge” with a gas fireplace and a south-facing private terrace.”

Categories: On the Blog

Should Drug Patents Apply in Poor Countries?

October 15, 2015, 4:31 PM

The World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council (short for “Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights”) will meet next week in Geneva. At this meeting, representatives of “least developed countries,” or LDCs, will request that they be exempted from having to enforce pharmaceutical patent rights for as long as they remain classified as LDCs.

LDCs have an exemption under current law, but it will expire at the beginning of 2021. They sought a permanent extension two years ago, but were denied owing to opposition from the U.S. and EU.

Supporters of a permanent extension include over 140 non-governmental organizations, the majority from developing countries; the United Nations Development Programme and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS; and the European Commission, which opposed the 2013 request. In a letter to WTO members, the NGOs argue that “the public health crisis in LDCs is a long-term challenge that will endure at least as long as these countries remain LDCs.” According to European Commission head Cecilia Malmstrom, intellectual-property rules should “be a non-issue when the world’s poorest are in need of treatment.” Furthermore, Malmstrom said that the TRIPS exemption “will give the least developed countries the necessary legal certainty to procure or to produce generic medicines.”

In contrast, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations does not support a permanent extension of the LDC exemption, arguing that it does “not appear to be necessary at this stage, as the current waiver is in force until 2021.” It further notes that “the vast majority of essential medicines are not protected by intellectual property (IP) and therefore IP plays no role in limiting access to these medicines.” When it comes to patented medications, the IFPMA writes that “intellectual property may be one of many factors to be taken into account in policies to expand access.”

For most developing and least-developed countries, the domestic pharmaceutical industry consists of small and medium-size companies focused on generic (off-patent) manufacturing and traditional and herbal medicines. (Exceptions to this trend, however, can be found in Brazil, India, and Thailand, all of which have substantial industrial capacity to manufacture generic pharmaceuticals.) As the IFPMA says, IP enforcement cannot be not what’s keeping these countries from expanding generic manufacturing capacity. Instead, the problem is that there are few incentives for foreign direct investment by the leading multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers, which are based in France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

The issue of LDCs’ low-cost access to patent-protected pharmaceuticals is much thornier. Under the current TRIPS agreement, when a national government needs to use a pharmaceutical in a health-care emergency, it has the option of compulsory licensing, where domestic companies are allowed to manufacture a patented medication without the IP owner’s consent. Nations also decide their own policies on “parallel importing”; this is when a country imports drugs sold elsewhere rather than buying them through the manufacturer’s official channels. (It’s useful when drug makers charge different prices in different nations.)

There is evidence that the USTR has consulted with representatives of LDCs on this request, and it’s possible the U.S. will depart from the position it took in 2013, as the European Commission has. Alternatively, the USTR may signal that it (with pharmaceutical industry support) will be favorably disposed to support granting another lengthy LDC extension of the pharmaceutical patent enforcement exemption in 2021? Or will the status quo prevail, with the USTR affirming its support of the existing extension? By next week, we should have our answer.

[Originally published at Real Clear Policy]


Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Justin Haskins: Jeb’s Plan to Repeal & Replace Obamacare

October 15, 2015, 3:41 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Heartland Editor Justin Haskins discusses presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

As Haskins explains, there are good and bad aspects to this proposed plan. On the plus side, the plan seeks to put an end to the numerous mandates included in the controversial healthcare system. The individual mandate, and the employer and employee mandates will be brought to an end. Included in Bush’s plan are several other policy ideas that would shift insurance markets to more of a free-market system.

Haskins not only looks at the good parts of the plan, he also examines the drawbacks. Bush’s plan would hold in place the guarantee for people with pre-existing to be able to purchase health insurance. This well-intentioned part of Obamacare leads to many opportunities to abuse the system. Haskins examines several other negatives that he sees in the plan.

Editor’s Note: In the podcast, Bush’s plan to cap tax breaks is talked about at length. Just to clarify and correct, Bush’s plan is to cap the tax break individuals, not businesses, receive for their employer-provided health insurance. Here’s the official quote from Bush’s campaign website: “Give individuals a $12,000 tax break on the health benefits they receive through their employer — a reform that will encourage lower insurance premiums and higher wages.”

Further analysis of this plan can be found here.

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

Categories: On the Blog

France’s Leading Meteorologist Sparks Controversy, Denies Reality of Climate Change

October 15, 2015, 10:05 AM

A new film reports on the deceptions of the eco-left regarding climate change. More skeptics come forward daily.


France’s top meteorologist Mr Philippe Verdier has been fired claims in his new book Climat Investigation (Climate Investigation) that leading climatologists and political leaders have “taken the world hostage” with misleading data.

“Every night I address five million French people to talk to you about the wind, the clouds and the sun. And yet there is something important, very important that I haven’t been able to tell you, because it’s neither the time nor the place to do so,” he said in a promotional video.

He added: “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”

The outspoken views led France 2 to take him off the air this past Monday. “I received a letter telling me not to come. I’m in shock,” he told RTL radio reporters. “This is a direct extension of what I say in my book, namely that any contrary views must be eliminated.”

Categories: On the Blog

Behind the Scenes: UN Agenda 2030’s Funders, Promoters

October 14, 2015, 3:49 PM

United Nations New York City USA

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil

There was a time, not too long ago, when American patriotism was encouraged in most every public place:  our schools, churches, government, youth and adult sport events, media sources, and most of all within our hearts.  We were grateful for the freedoms and liberties offered us by our amazing Constitution and which were protected through the years by our forefathers.

We know there are liberals among us that are determined to change our culture, ignore our history, and minimize our amazing achievements.  For the most part, we considered these liberals harmless. We no longer can afford to have that mindset. Powerful people have partnered with the United Nations in an effort to make significant changes to America that most likely will destroy all we have built and accomplished.

The United Nations Agenda 21 (“Earth Summit) and the more aggressive U.N. Agenda 2030 are designed to take away freedoms and liberties granted us from the inception of our country.   If its founders and promoters succeed, America will look very different within a surprisingly short period of time.

Both U.N. Agendas involve a massive plan that requires a fortune to fund.  How do hard core socialists convince freedom loving people who have worked hard all their lives to willingly give the government more money than seems reasonable to support a plan that will destroy their way of life?   What powerful enticement is there that would prevent people from revolting when their money, freedoms, and liberties are taken one by one by their state, county and federal government.   The United Nations has been pondering such a plan for decades and now think they have the answer.

Ploys to Suck in the American People

First they must disassociate their plan with others like it, such as the failures of dictators like Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro, etc. They have to find a common cause that would be so compelling it would trump all else.  Their conclusion is to convince people our planet is in danger.  We must change our way of life to save our lives.  The agenda is to convince enough of us that our behavior must be changed in order to prevent a catastrophic, massive change in the Earth itself.   We must be brainwashed into thinking humans are destroying the Earth due to their behavior, and the U.N. alone has the way to save it.

Those who argue this issue with the facts are maligned.  Professors who disagree are shunned in their universities.  One scientist, Willie Soon, stood up against false attacks on the Left to discredit him.  Scientists who provide facts to the contrary are denied publication and their work is largely ignored.  Even when deception was uncovered that perpetrators of Climate Change had falsified records, in what became known as “Climategate” in November of 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climate Research Unit, there was no significant outcry from the media or governing agencies.  Nor was there any outrage with a 2014 report that indicated how 95% of global warming models are wrong. Consider also the inquisition reported recently to punish climate change deniers.  Once a mindset has been established; the rhetoric that man is destroying the planet must remain the same in order to accomplish set goals.

Funding source of Agenda 2030

Funding for the propaganda to continue unobstructed is likewise a problem to the U.N. 2012 and 2030 Agendas.  How does one obtain the necessary funding from sources that are the ultimate losers in this experiment?  Secretary General Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), admitted that without the wealthy private sector, their plan isn’t going to happen, as there are budgetary constraints in every country.

So who is funding this trillion dollar, massive experiment that will change the lives of you and me?   The following was published by May 23, 2015, but you might have missed it, because there was no other substantial coverage provided the public:

“EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations Foundation created by billionaire Ted Turner, along with a branch of media giants like Thomson Reuters, is starting to train a squadron of journalists in order to subsidize media content in 33 countries — including the U.S. and Britain — in an effort to popularize the controversial experiment, the U.N. sponsored Sustainable Development Goals, prior to a global U.N. summit this September.  That is when U.N. organizers hope they will be endorsed by world leaders.  It is intended to help breathe some new life into a sprawling U.N. effort — supported by, among others, the Obama administration — to create a global social and environmental agenda they hope to have in place within the next 15 years.”

Buying into by responding to the U.N. scare tactics are an amazing amount of people from various levels of income.

“Giving Pledge” was set up and originally announced by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in 2010, to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.  So far it has been signed by 137 billionaire or former billionaire individuals or couples.  Interesting is that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, among the notable younger pledgers, was an attendee at the White House state dinner for Xi Jingping, the President of Communist China on Friday, September 25, 2015.

PR Promotion of Agenda 2030

In Central Park in NYC the U.N. Global goals were advanced at an open-air event titled “Global Citizen Festival” the following day, September 26.   The festival was the ambitious undertaking of “Project Everyone”, whose mission is to share the U.N. global goals with 7 billion people in 7 days through the power of the radio. The “Global Citizen Festival” in NYC was the first event of “Project Everyone,”ending on October 2nd.

Television network MSNBC, through its partnership with the “Global Citizen Festival”, declared it was “committed to connecting the audience with the stories and values that bring purpose and attention to our global community.”   Other media partners sponsoring “Project Everyone” or broadcasting the NYC event included NBC News and CNBC.  Corporate partners aligned with “Project Everyone” are The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, YouTube, and Wikipedia, which together have the ability to influence and propagandize an amazing  percentage of American people.

Those who used Google Chrome as a search engine on September 25th found notice on the bottom of the Internet page urging people to click on a link to learn more about the U.N.’s global goals to “end poverty, climate change, and injustice.”  That link led to the U.N.’s “sustainable development goals.”

There is more planned to help launch the U.N.’s thirty-year global goals.  Movie theaters around the country and the world were enlisted to promote the so-called “Global Goals Campaign” through a 60-second ad narrated by Liam Neeson (as the voice of God) and featuring animated creatures (as U.N. officials) calling on the nations of the world to “defeat climate change.” Additionally there is an effort by the movement to get the “Global Goals Campaign” onto every website and billboard, broadcast on every TV and radio station, in every cinema and classroom, pinned to every community notice board, and sent to every mobile phone.

Listen here to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, on public record about Agenda 2030:   She warns that because this is the first time in the history of mankind that we are intentionally changing the economic development model, one that has reigned for at least 150 years, we must understand it will take time.

Will the Push to Enact Agenda 2030 in 15 Years be realized?  IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU!

Obviously, there are those who want to hasten that time and are taking steps to make that happen.  As noted earlier in a Fox report on May 23 of this year, the advancement of United Nations Agenda 2030 and its encroachment on our nation are being promoted by a progressive, mainstream media. Consider that the media gave unprecedented exposure and exceedingly favorable coverage to Pope Francis, as he too spoke a supportive message for the U.N. Agenda, while U.N. promoters stayed in the background, quietly beneath the radar.  The Pope’s U.N. message was not lost on the masses.  Pope Francis began his address at the U.N. on September 25th by advancing the message of U.N Agenda 2030 to end poverty and hunger, fight inequality, and conquer climate change.

The period from 2015 to 2030 is when the transition from oil and gas is scheduled to take place and when the global capitalist system, powered by the use of energy and resources for the benefit of humankind, will be overturned.  As stated in an article by David Snyder:

“Eventually, the globalists want to fundamentally transform virtually everything about our society.  This includes our economy, our government, our entertainment, our social interactions, our families, and even our religious beliefs. So do not be deceived by the crafted language.  The “New Universal Agenda” is far, far more dangerous than Agenda 21 ever was, and it is a giant step forward into a one world system governed by bureaucratic control freaks.”

Who is protecting us from this worldwide plan to change our planet?  It may be just those of us who know the whole truth.  We need to inform others, speak to groups, and sound the alarm to all within our sphere of influence.  It appears we no longer can trust those whom we have always considered trustworthy.  The key is to be aware and warn others that there are key people in our government (elitists) who are working towards changing our lives, based on unproven facts and actual fiction.

[Originally published at Illinois Review]


Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Dan Simmons: The High Cost & Minimal Benefits of the New Ozone Regs

October 14, 2015, 2:26 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Dan Simmons, vice-president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, joins H. Sterling Burnett. Simmons comes on the podcast to discuss Obama’s new ozone regulations.

Simmons explains how these new ozone rules would provide minimal to no public health or environmental benefits. While netting no real benefits, the regulations would impose a high cost on the economy. Simmons also discusses the limited options the public has for fighting against the Obama administration’s regulatory onslaught.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast: An Afternoon with Angelo Codevilla & Donald J. Devine Pt. 2

October 13, 2015, 4:23 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, we listen in to part 2 of a conversation between Heartland President Joe Bast, and scholars Angelo Codevilla and Donald J. Devine Ph.D. Codevilla and Devine were both featured speakers at the Heartland Institute’s 31st anniversary benefit dinner. In this conversation, they speak with Bast about their latest books and how the ruling class is distorting the way America was intended to operate.

Devine and Codevilla continue their discussion from Part 1, before the floor is opened up for questions from the audience.

[An Afternoon with Angelo Codevilla & Donald J. Devine Pt. 1]


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

Categories: On the Blog

Progressive Activists Take to the Streets to Demand Action Before Paris Climate Change Talks

October 13, 2015, 12:46 PM


Progressive climate activists are taking to the streets nationally – and here in Arlington Heights too –to pressure public officials, including the governor, to act on climate change ahead of the COP21 talks in Paris this fall. “Oct. 14 is going to be big: in cities and towns all across the country people and organizations are coming together to demand that our leaders #ActOnClimate,” according to an email sent by the Buffalo Grove Environmental Action Team, The Interfaith Greens, the Climate Reality Project, and the Buffalo Grove Environmental Action Team, a copy of which was provided to Somewhat Reasonable.

Global warming myth-makers will march in Arlington Heights on Wednesday.

“Last year, 400,000 people showed their power in New York City at the People’s Climate March to demand a just transition to a clean energy future. Now’s our chance to take that energy and urgency back to our communities in the People’s Climate Movement: a national day of action that will show the strength of our movement across the country as the US Government prepares for December’s Paris Climate Talks,” the e-mail continues.  “Here in NW Cook County, we’ll be coming together for a vigil and a march to demand climate action. We’ll be calling on our Governor to take action on climate, and that as a first step he can work to cut carbon pollution and grow clean energy jobs in a strong and just manner in our state.”

The “NW Cook Suburbs Climate March and Rally: A People’s Climate Movement Event” starts at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 14 at our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights with a rally featuring music and speakers. There will be a march to a nearby park, and the event will end with a vigil at 7:30 p.m. in downtown Arlington  Heights, on the corner of Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway.

The environmental movement is based on many falsehoods, which have been debunked by The Heartland Institute’s James Taylor in his recent policy brief, Top 10 Global Warming Lies. “It’s not unusual for the environmental Left to make false assertions to attract media attention and raise money,” says Taylor.

Categories: On the Blog

Beyond the Bickering, Bill Lifting Oil-Export Ban Wins Bipartisan Support

October 13, 2015, 10:54 AM

Americans are sick of the bickering in Washington and want both parties to cooperate and get something done. Friday, October 9, offered proof that this can still happen. The house passed H.R. 702, the bill to lift the decades old, and outdated, oil export ban with 26 Democrats, joining the majority of Republicans, and voting for it.

Yes, the Republicans could have passed the bill without the Democrats—but there are strategic reasons why it was important to bring as many Democrats on board as possible. And, getting them on board wasn’t easy; it didn’t happen naturally—especially since, two days before the vote, on Wednesday, October 7, the White House issued a veto threat in the form of a “Statement of Administrative Policy.” It says: “Legislation to remove crude export restrictions is not needed at this time. … If the President were presented with H.R. 702, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Twenty-six Democrats went against the wishes of the president and voted with the Republicans—but the number could have, and should have, been much higher. Getting the companion bill through the Senate will be a heavy lift as the Republican majority there is slim. Because of the threat, a veto-proof majority will be needed in the Senate—which is possible (remember the Keystone pipeline bill lacked only a handful of Democrats to have made it veto-proof). The Washington Post reported: “the measure still faces a Senate that doesn’t appear eager to take up the issue.” A strong number of Democrats supporting the bill in the House gets the attention of the Democrats in the Senate.

I was in the room for the House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting that passed H.R. 702 out of committee. I’ve met with Representatives about the bill. I’ve had some of them on my radio show talking about it. I had the opportunity to speak alongside nearly a dozen Members at a press conference—led by Representative Kevin Cramer (R-ND)—the afternoon before the floor vote. I watched from the gallery of the House Chambers when the bill was passed. While I’ve been a part of this process, I’ve learned a lot about the “process.”

Here’s what I observed.

The current news about the potential replacement for House Speaker John Boehner has brought a split in the Republican Party to the forefront. But there is an equal, perhaps even greater, divide with the Democrats. And the two sides do have very different views that were on display in the fight for votes in support of H.R. 702.

In both of the votes I observed, Democrats decried the bill saying it would put billions of dollars in the pockets of “Big Oil.” In contrast, understanding that successful businesses mean a strong economy and employment, the Republicans addressed the jobs that have been lost in the oil field—representing hundreds of thousands and real people who are struggling—and touted how H.R. 702 will help.

Bringing these two sides together is difficult—especially given the divergent views within each party.

The split in the GOP, as has been on display, is basically between the new legislators—many of whom are part of the Freedom Caucus—who have been elected since 2010 and who have never had to govern in a world where the Republicans haven’t been in the majority in the House, and the others. These newbies are fighting over ideological tactics. Their voters sent them to Washington to stand strong and don’t want them to compromise. Those who have been there longer, often called: “the establishment,” better understand “the art of the deal”—which requires give and take.

The Democrat split can be simply explained with two words: blue and green. On the blue team are those whose districts contain a high ratio of “blue-collar workers,” who have been hard hit by the bad economy. These voters care about jobs. The greens are made up of members whose votes mirror the views of the environmental—or anti-fossil fuel—movement.

As I’ve previously addressed, the greens indicate that they will vote for lifting the export ban, but, as a part of the negotiating process, they want more green/renewable energy subsidies—something that is anathema to the Republicans who, generally, want less government spending. Inserting, for example, as Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) wants, a permanent extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy (which expired on December 31 2014), will totally kill the bill.

Finding a bargaining chip that both parties can accept was a challenge—especially given that the newbies want no amendments whatsoever. However, where there is a will, there is a way.

A coalition of diverse parties, who want to see the oil export ban lifted, realized that exporting U.S. oil will require ships—which means: “maritime.” Jobs in the shipping industry are often in Democrat- as well as Republican-leaning districts. The Maritime Security Program (MSP) was brought up. While exporting oil decreases the dependency of our allies on insecure sources of foreign oil, the MSP provision enhances this security benefit by further ensuring that our allies (and our troops) do not find themselves dependent on insecure foreign-flagged and foreign-crewed vessels. The lift-the-ban bill proved to be an excellent opportunity to do what the defense bill says: enhance the MSP.

Within the Rules Committee a provision for the MSP was married with the bill. As Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, explained at the pre-vote press conference, the MSP is vital to national defense and is something all conservatives should care about. In short, the MSP is like a retainer that is provided to U.S.-flagged and -staffed ships so that, in a time of war, they can/will break the commercial contracts they have, and prioritize transporting materials, equipment, and weaponry to our troops. Since this type of shipping services are only needed in times of war, which is, hopefully, occasional and sporadic, the MSP is an economically wiser choice than keeping a military shipping fleet on stand-by.

Currently, according to a 2011 Department of Transportation study, the MSP provides $3.1 million for each of the 60 enrolled ships that are vital to the mission. These ships cost an average of $12,000-15,000 per day to operate. The retainer has not been updated for inflation since the program was created in 1996. Considering the importance of the MSP, the small increase to $5 million provided for within the lift-the-oil-export-ban bill is a win/win as it supports national security and appeals to the “blue” Democrats.

Unfortunately, in the “process,” this point of negotiation got labeled a “sweetener” for the shipping industry. In the form of the “Amash Amendment,” conservatives launched a campaign to get the MSP provision stripped from the bill—which, due to the split in the party, likely resulted in fewer Democrats supporting the bill. The Amendment didn’t survive, but its presence meant Democrat Representatives could tell their “blue” constituents, “I didn’t vote for the Amash Amendment” and, therefore, support their issues. They could, then, not vote for the bill and tell “green” leaning voters that they didn’t vote for a bill that helped the oil industry. Without the Amendment, the only way to show support for the “blue,” was to vote for the bill.

Following the bill’s passage, its author, Representative Joe Barton, (R-TX), told me: “The maritime security provision helped shore up support for this important legislation. The MSP helps our national defense and saves money by not requiring the Navy to invest in new ships.”

Unfortunately, I saw that the split in the Republican Party made it harder to bring along more support from the Democrat members from districts where “maritime” jobs are important. As the lift-the-ban bill moves to the Senate, hopefully its supporters there will learn from the House and come together in a unified way—able to end the bickering by negotiating and comprising in a mutually palatable way to reach a bipartisan, veto-proof majority in the Senate.

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

FCC’s Double Standard Merger Review Also Warrants Antitrust Modernization

October 13, 2015, 10:41 AM

U.S. merger review double standards are not smart.

Kudos to Senators Mike Lee and Orin Hatch, and Rep. Blake Farenthold for their leadership and wisdom in advancing the SMARTER Act, H.R. 5402, “Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules.”

Senators Lee and Hatch are right in exposing that there is no good reason for companies to have to confront different standards in enforcing our nation’s laws at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Specifically, Senator Hatch hits the nail on the head in saying, “businesses seeking to merge deserve consistent treatment without regard to which agency decides to review the merger.”

It is common sense that companies in every industry should be able to know in advance what consistent antitrust/competition standard they will face if they decide to merge or acquire.

What is not common sense is that only U.S. communications companies must also suffer a second merger review double standard – the FCC’s Public Interest Test (PIT) for mergers.

Other sectors do not face the redundant burden of securing antitrust agency approval and an additional approval froman independent regulator.

Financial institution mergers do not have get approval from the SEC, CFTC, or the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB). Airline mergers do not have to be approved by the FAA. Health care mergers do not have to be approved by the FDA. Consumer goods company mergers do not have to be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Energy or chemical company mergers do not have to be approved by the EPA. Transportation company mergers do not have to be approved by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

Only communications companies’ mergers must pass muster with a DOJ/FTC objective legal standard that is accountable to the rule of law, and an FCC subjective political “standard” that is practically unaccountable to the same rule of law.

As I have written before, the FCC’s Public Interest Test (PIT) merger review process is a gross double standard because it is arbitrary, unpredictable, obsolete, discriminatory, and extortionate.

Arbitrary: The utter amorphousness of the FCC’s subjective PIT merger review “standard” makes it inherently arbitrary. With no formal guidelines or limitations, the PIT, and the FCC’s process, has been described as an “empty vessel” and a Rorschach test, because in practice, it has devolved into whatever three unelected FCC commissioners define it to be at any given time. In 2011, the FCC helped to arbitrarily block the pending AT&T-T-Mobile merger in an unprecedented extra-legal manner. FCC staff released a factually-biased draft analysisopposing the merger that completely ignored the Internet’s impact on wireless competition. Since the draft analysis was never officially approved by the FCC, the companies had no real due process opportunity in court to appeal for due process.

Unpredictable: With no objective guidelines or binding precedents, the PIT routinely degenerates into an unpredictable ad-hoc, political-free-for-all that begs capricious manipulation by special interests and competitors seeking regulatory advantages. In the case of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, the FCC actually changed the competition “standard” with which it would evaluate and block the merger, almost one-yearinto the fifteen-month merger review process! Then it radically changed the definition of broadband, from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps (when the national average was only 10.5 Mbps), so it could exclude from the broadband market four national wireless broadband providers who each offered 5-10 Mbps service to consumers. That FCC merger review was quintessentially unpredictable.

Obsolete: The PIT was originally a 1880s railroad utility regulation concept that the Government applied to radio broadcast licenses in the 1920s, and then automatically to all technological variations of wireless licenses since. The PIT now rests on three obsolete assumptions. First, the PIT approach incorrectly assumed technological innovation could not create competitive alternatives (when cars, trucks and planes became alternatives to railroads, and TVs, computers and the Internet became alternatives to radios). Second, the PIT approach assumed new technologies are natural monopolies requiring regulation, and that facilities-based competition was not possible (when cell phones, cable-telephony, and VoIP became competitors to voice, and when cable, wireless, and satellite became competitors to dial-up Internet service.) Third, the PIT assumed spectrum would remain government property, when Congress changed the law so wireless licenses could be private property that companies could buy and sell.

Discriminatory: The PIT review is unfair because it applies only to transactions, not fairly to all similar situations. Only companies that seek to adapt, grow, and transform via acquisition are subject to one-off regulation via FCC merger conditions. Moreover, it generally applies to companies using licensed spectrum, but not to those who do the same thing via unlicensed spectrum. The DOJ or FTC already review all potentially anti-competitive communications transactions, and afford companies a fair process, reasonable timetable, and the due process of appeal to a court of law. The discriminatory FCC PIT does none of that.

Extortionate: The inherently arbitrary, discriminatory and political nature of the PIT process makes it exceptionally prone to abuse. Special interest groups and competitors routinely ambush companies in the FCC’s PIT process because they know the PIT turns companies into proverbial “sitting ducks.” The PIT provides political leverage to extort regulatory concessions that could never be achieved in a fair industry-wide rulemaking subject to the rule of law. To add insult to injury, the FCC represents these merger conditions as “voluntary,” when everyone involved knows they are coercive.

In sum, the SMARTER Act warrants becoming law with a statutory elimination of the FCC’s unique, redundant, and unnecessary role in merger reviews.

A modern antitrust policy where all competitors face equal merger review rules will best serve consumers, competition, innovation and economic growth.

[Originally published at Precursor Blog]

Categories: On the Blog

It’s 1992 All Over Again: Agenda 2030 Threatens Our Way of Life

October 13, 2015, 9:25 AM


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

If it were possible to have a time machine traveling back to 1992 to visit the United Nation’s “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we would repeatedly hear the phrase “Sustainable Living” drilled into the minds of the 178 nations and state officials that attended, including President George H. Bush. The purpose of the “Earth Summit” was to warn World leaders that the Earth could no longer sustain the consumptive appetite of the United States of America. The solution was a plan for “Sustainable Development” that would be implemented throughout the World.

George H. Bush not only bought into the fear-factor rhetoric, but also praised the Earth Summit, that soon became known as U.N. Agenda 21. Thereafter our government partnered with the U.N. and began a quiet, carefully crafted plan to implement this U.N. plan into numerous agencies of our government in all states, and thus began what has become the most intrusive agenda in our history. Governing agencies, such as the EPA, began covertly injecting new laws and regulations into our lives, making changes that affect every citizen.

Today, twenty-three years later, Agenda 21 mandates are firmly entrenched and its tentacles can be seen within all levels of government.  Agenda 21 has even been inserted into most classrooms throughout America, largely due to liberal college professors and the controversial Common Core curriculum in grades K through 12.

Agenda 2030 Supersedes Agenda 21

Promoters of Agenda 21 seem to have had success, as we see facets of influence in all our lives.  But apparently those who strongly support and sponsor Agenda 21 had hoped for better results, disappointment becoming apparent when the United Nations arranged a massive new gathering of members for the purpose of rebooting Agenda 21.  On September 25 – 27, 2015, thousands of leaders from all over the World met in New York City to present a new fifteen-year plan entitled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”  In spite of the name change, Agenda 2030 has basically the same plan and goals of Agenda 21. It only going deeper with its intentions to change the planet to United Nations’ specifications.  It’s Agenda 21 on steroids!

While Agenda 21 focused mainly on the environment, Agenda 2030 encompasses far more and is touted to be the “new universal agenda” for humanity.  It professes to be an altruistic plan that will benefit future generations. The reality, however, is that U.N. Agenda 2030 will rob individuals of most every freedom through its imposed mandates.

American citizens need to wake up to the fact that their American sovereignty is being challenged by the United Nations. Liberties have been lost since our government bought into U.N. Agenda 21 in 1992. The adoption of Agenda 2030 by U.N. world members on Friday, Sept. 26, will bring further erosion of liberties Americans hold dear.  The influential power brokers behind this agenda will attempt to persuade us that their plan is necessary to save the planet.  Be warned, the end result will be that the planet will be governed much like that of North Korea.  Every aspect of our lives will be dictated by those in power over us.

One-World Government to Save the Earth, Eliminate Poverty, and Promote Equality

Why are our leaders supporting these U.N. Agendas?  Consider that there are those who will profit by them.  They will finance advertisements promoting their plans, as was reported by in May of this year.   Citizens have already been inundated with warnings of Climate Change which demand radical lifestyles essential to save the Earth, such as high-rise apartment living, rather than individual homes. The media gives the U.N. Agenda enormous publicity, but rarely prints information from leading scientists that dispute the claims.

Be forewarned, the promoters of U.N. Agenda 2030 will soon release subtle, very clever advertisements that will attempt to form or reform our thinking on the key issues of Agenda 2030. The ads will be designed to manipulate our thinking and opinions.  We will hear of plans to end poverty around the World and create universal peace.  U.N. leaders hope that you will be lured into handing over all your rights and freedoms for the betterment of everyone, so we are no longer bound by our time- honored Constitution.

For those Americans who love their country, this is a wake-up call.  U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, dreams of a world of peace and dignity for all, but the reality is far from this seemingly altruistic ideal.  We must sound the alarm that Agenda 2030 guarantees a future in which individual freedom is forfeited to an all-powerful One-World government controlled by tyrannical mandates.  We must deter those who are trying to change our amazing government that has allowed the United States to grow, prosper, and become the envy of the World.  To accomplish this we must be vigilant to stop the planned changes happening at every level of government.

Plan of Action to Create a “New World Order”

Judi McLeod’s September 26, 2015 article explains the subject in more detail:

Not unlike Agenda 21, the new fifteen-year 2030 U.N. plan sets forth details of how the U.N. intends to enforce its agenda, such as “All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.”  The preamble goes on to say:

“We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.  As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.”

Certainly we are not so naive as to think everyone would be willing to make the sacrifices demanded of this Agenda.  That is especially true when there is no proof that the pledges and promises can be accomplished.  Human nature cannot be changed by a United Nations’ agenda, suggesting the possibility of forceful change which might look more like the tactics that Stalin, Hitler, and other dictators used to force people into compliance.

The U.N. won’t openly come out to proclaim a New World Order but instead refers to “Sustainable Development” because that term sounds far less threatening. Patrick Wood, an economist and author of “Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation,” writes:

“It is clear the U.N. and its supporters see sustainable development as more than just the way to a cleaner environment. They see it as the vehicle for creating a long-sought new international economic order or “New World Order.”

Wood’s new book traces the modern technocracy movement to Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Rockefeller; and the Trilateral Commission in the early 1970s. “The environment is a perfect vehicle for the elite to use to accomplish their real agenda, because just about every possible form of human activity affects the environment in some way.  Ultimately, they hope to centrally plan and strictly regulate virtually everything that we do, and we will be told that it is necessary to “save the planet”.

Pope Buys Into U.N. Agenda 2030

It appears even Pope Francis has been influenced by those who are selling Agenda 2030, prompting him to softly, lovingly embrace the U.N. rhetoric about climate change, as well as welcoming immigrants. Such goals sound wonderful and desirable, but practical people also understand the negative and possible disastrous results. The selfish, foolish, ambitious and despicably evil will always be among us, and they are often successful in finding ways to exploit good intentions.  How much will the Pope’s words influence the many millions of Catholics throughout the world? 

17-Point 2030 Agenda Essential for “Utopia”

Everyone should be aware of the seventeen point U.N. blue-print that elitists claim is necessary for their “utopia”. The same deceptions will be used that have been sold to people for thousands of years, as ascribed to by Paul McGuire, the co-author of a new book entitled “The Babylon Code: Solving the Bible’s Greatest End-Times Mystery“:

“Deep inside every man and woman is the longing for a far better world, a world without war, disease, death, and pain. Our present world is a cruel world in which every life ends in death. From the beginning of time mankind has sought to use science and technology to create a perfect world, what some would call Utopia or Paradise. As the human race began to organize itself, a scientific or technocratic elite rose to power by promising the masses that they could build this perfect world. Ancient Babylon represented the first historical attempt to build paradise on earth.”

Mike Adams states in his article, “The United Nations 2030 Agenda Decoded”, that the U.N. plan is a blueprint for the global enslavement of humanity under the boot of corporate interests. The U.N. 2030 Agenda document sets forth nothing less than a global government takeover of every nation across the planet.  As Adams writes:

“The ‘goals’ of this document are nothing more than code words for a corporate-government fascist agenda that will imprison humanity in a devastating cycle of poverty while enriching the world’s most powerful globalist corporations like Monsanto and DuPont.  Nowhere does the U.N. document state [with its feel-good language] that “achieving human freedom” is one of its goals, neither does it explain how these goals are to be achieved.  Instead, the 17 points in the UN agenda are to be achieved through centralized government control and totalitarian mandates that are closely aligned with Communism.”

For the sake of brevity, only the first two of Adams’ seventeen 2030 agenda translations are noted below.  View all 17 here:

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Translation: Put everyone on government welfare, food stamps, housing subsidies and handouts that make them dependent slaves to global government. Never allow people upward mobility to help themselves. Instead, teach mass victimization and obedience to a government that provides monthly “allowance” money for basic essentials like food and medicine. Label it “ending poverty.”

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Translation: Invade the entire planet with GMOs and Monsanto’s patented seeds while increasing the use of deadly herbicides under the false claim of “increased output” of food crops. Engineer genetically modified plants to boost specific vitamin chemicals while having no idea of the long-term consequences of genetic pollution or cross-species genetic experiments carried out openly in a fragile ecosystem.

Citizen Involvement Essential to Fight Encroachment of U.N. on American Sovereignty

America is the greatest country in the World, but we must elect bright, conservative, honest, and moral people to represent us if we want to keep it.  Our country should not allow the United Nations to make our laws or dictate our lives.

People are beginning to understand the need to stop electing “long time establishment candidates” who are more interested in protecting their money sources and political careers, than the people they swore to serve and protect.

There is no doubt that the 2016 election is one of the most important in our nation’s history.  We must encourage everyone we know to vote wisely by providing them with compelling facts to consider. Surely, Agenda 2030 needs to be exposed and each candidate asked to explain his or her opinion on this U.N. infringement on American sovereignty.

[Originally published at Illinois Review]


Categories: On the Blog

Eco(system) Friendly Advertising

October 13, 2015, 9:06 AM

When the value of the Internet is threatened the entire ecosystem needs to respond. Success in the digital world is achievable when all parties understand that they cannot stand on their own, that in fact an economically thriving digital ecosystem requires good faith cooperation, within the bounds of the law, and with an eye towards what is best for the broader ecosystem. In other words, the distributed nature of the Internet is a fundamental part of its design, and no one entity, whether private sector or government, can control it so stakeholder cooperation is imperative for the success of all. Given the challenges of global brand’s online advertising appearing on sites with pirated content, to have a world leader in advertising such as WPP announce that its media partners must receive anti-piracy certification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a big deal.

From the press release, “TAG is a voluntary initiative created by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to eliminate fraudulent digital advertising traffic, combat malware, fight ad-supported Internet piracy to promote brand integrity, and promote brand safety through greater transparency. TAG will work with authorized independent third-party validators, including Ernst & Young and Stroz Friedberg, to certify advertising technology companies as Digital Advertising Assurance Providers (DAAPs). To be validated as a DAAP, companies must show they can provide other advertising companies with tools to limit their exposure to undesirable websites or other properties by effectively meeting one or more criteria.”

The move is noteworthy not just because of the impact on pirate sites but also because by disassociating those global brands from illegal behavior the value of the brands will increase. How do legitimate brands end up on pirate Websites in the first place, ultimately providing financial gain to the wrongdoers? Through ad networks.

Generally, a company may purchase ads through an ad network which promises a certain number of impressions across an ad network for a certain amount of money. So, generally, the more people who see the ad, or interact with it, the greater the cost. Pirate Websites generate revenue when the ads running on the sites are viewed and lend credibility to pirate site simply by the brand appearing to be selecting that very site for its ads. The profit generated by these ads is quite substantial. Given the minimal start up and operating costs, and that the content the sites are “selling” being stolen from artists and creators, any income results in abundant profit.

But companies have figured out that they are being damaged by their ads association with wrong-doers. John Montgomery, Chairman, GroupM Connect, North America and Co-Chair of the TAG Anti-Piracy Working Group noted, “[t]here’s no brand in the world that wants their advertising to appear on a pirate site or wants to be seen as supporting piracy, even inadvertently…. A brand’s entire reputation is at stake – something that they’ve been nurturing for decades or, in some cases, centuries.” Montgomery further observed “[t]he people who create pirate sites are the same ones who perpetrate clickbot fraud – they’re the ones who spread malware and create the armies of bots that generate most of the automated clicks in the business…. Which is why being worried about ad fraud without also being aware of the role piracy plays in its perpetration is like fretting over a flood in your apartment while neglecting to turn off the tap.”

In other words, piracy is a bad deal for everyone in the Internet ecosystem except for the bad guys themselves. They use other’s property, both copyright protected material but also the brands, to line their pockets, contributing nothing in return. Thanks should be given to all actors as they continue to respond to these actions which leach value from the online ecosystem. In fact, take a moment to thank GroupM for their leadership in keeping the Internet a thriving, robust place for innovation, invention and creation. Click here to send a quick email or tweet.

Categories: On the Blog

Mark Cuban: When He Isn’t Denouncing ‘Patent Trolls’ – He Is One

October 13, 2015, 8:42 AM

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So too a patent “troll.”

Behold Mark Cuban – a wildly successful entrepreneur. He in 1995 co-founded – and in 1999 Yahoo! way overpaid $5.7 billion for it. Ever since, Cuban has in Donald Trump-like fashion built himself into a brand – The Entrepreneur. Like Trump, he loves embodying the pursuit of professional victories. Like Trump, he turned his doing-business-vision into a high-ratings network television show (well, Trump turned his into two). The similarities exist even in sports. Cuban owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks – Trump rolled the dice entrepreneur-style on the New Jersey Generals in the NFL-challenging USFL (hey, you can’t win them all).


Don’t let anyone tell you we Americans don’t like winners. Though the Left has spent decades trying to train us to loathe them – we still favor way more than disfavor. Like Trump, Cuban is popular – for being him. An over-the-top success – who revels in his success in over-the-top fashion. And we like to watch it. We (thankfully still) find success to be – beautiful.

Well, Mark Cuban has a problem with patents. Specifically “dumbass,” “stupid” patents. He has said: “Dumbass patents are crushing small businesses. I have had multiple small companies I am an investor in have to fight or pay trolls for patents that were patently ridiculous.” He has co-endowed a Chair at the Electronic Freedom Foundation: “The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents.”


On the idea of “dumbass,” “stupid” patents – we completely agree: “The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is charged with approving patent applications. They are often…imprecise. And approve overly broad, abusable patents. Which are often sought by and granted to the aforementioned bad actors – who then use them to engage in all of the bad litigious practices we have discussed.”

But Cuban ignores the original sin and the sinner – the bad patents approved by government. And instead says he wants to “Blow up the patent system.” Which is woefully misdirected: “Rather than burn down the entire system – how about we instead address the root cause of all the ensuing nonsense? Tighten the USPTO approval process – and just about all of the resulting mayhem goes away.”

Cuban also ignores the fact that if we “blow up the patent system” in the fashion he wishes, he will no longer be able to protect his patents – by filing those allegedly pesky “patent troll” lawsuits he decries:

Earlier today, BuzzFeed News reported that Wal-Mart would start selling the wildly in-demand scooters called “hoverboards” online in time for the holiday season.

Now Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur who has signed a letter of agreement that would give him the exclusive license on the American patent for “a two-wheel, self-balancing personal vehicle,” says that the world’s biggest retailer has a rude surprise coming: “They are in for a nightmare,” Cuban wrote to BuzzFeed News after being informed of Wal-Mart’s plans.

As BuzzFeed News reported last week, Cuban reached an agreement last month to buy the patent license from Shane Chen, an Oregon inventor who has sued the best-known American importer of the Chinese-manufactured hoverboards, IO Hawk, for patent infringement.

Get that? Cuban the Patent System Loather is…suing to protect a patent. On a product he didn’t invent – in defense of a patent he only recently purchased. The allegedly nightmare patent system he denounces – he now will utilize to deliver Walmart a “nightmare.”

Is this the first time Cuban has bought a stake – and then sued to protect the acquired patents? Heavens no. Back in 2012:

Shark Tank investor and American business guru, Mark Cuban recently bought up big stock in Vringo, a company currently engaged in a sizable patent lawsuit with Google and several other tech firms. He owns about 7% of the company and has already seen the stock prices rise.

This past March Vringo merged with patent troll Innovate/protect who also owned a series of search patents from Lycos. Guess how they got those? Anyway, now Vringo plans on using these patents to file suits against Target, AOL, Google, and others. 

The interesting part of the whole scenario is that Cuban hates patent trolls and the oppressive nature of big technology patent laws. He sees them as tools for hurting small business and competition rather than legitimate protection of intellectual property. So why is he investing in companies that make their living off exploiting technology patents?

A perfectly reasonable question – though these companies aren’t “exploiting” patents so much as defending them from thieves. (Google is particularly, notoriously pernicious.) Cuban attempted to answer thus:

Rather than originating in Congress, its going to take a consumer uprising to cause change. What better way to create a consumer uprising than to financially cripple and possibly put out of business the largest social network on the planet?

If Yahoo were to be awarded 50 Billion Dollars from Facebook, I think consumers may take notice. And don’t think that 50B should be an impossibility.

If Yahoo’s patents truly are valid and recognize that they got Google to pay money for their Pay Per Click patent (acquired from Overture), then there is absolutely no reason why the same Patent shouldnt be valid against Facebook. The company looking at an IPO with a 100Billion dollar market cap!

So in 2012, Cuban was painting himself the noble “patent troll.” Waging lawsuit war to revolutionize the system. But that does not explain why he is today more than happy to yet again use the exact same system. Rightly – as it was intended. To righteously defend his patent – from someone allegedly using it without permission or payment.

How very “troll”-like. Which is why when you hear “patent trolls” – think “people protecting their private property.” People like Mark Cuban.

[Originally published at RedState]


Categories: On the Blog

Colorado Must Exercise Patience Using Marijuana Revenues

October 13, 2015, 8:29 AM

Marijuana plant. Photo by Brett Levin.

Editor’s Note: This article was co-authored by Michael McGrady

Legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado brought forth a new industry that was never before seen as acceptable. In most other states, shopkeepers peddling marijuana would be considered criminal drug dealers, but in a growing number of places, such as Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, it’s now a legitimate multimillion-dollar business.

In the State of Colorado alone, about $70 million in taxes were collected from the sale of marijuana. That beats out alcohol tax revenues by more than $30 million. Few could argue the experiment thus far has been quite a success.

One reason the state has brought in more money in marijuana revenues compared to other products, such as alcohol, is that marijuana is taxed at a much higher rate.

“Recreational pot is taxed much more steeply than alcohol—25 percent, plus statewide and local sales taxes. Alcohol is taxed by volume, ranging from 8 cents a gallon for beer to $2.28 a gallon for liquor, plus sales taxes,” reports The Cannabist.

It’s a good thing the cannabis industry is able to produce so much state tax revenues while still managing to grow and improve employment, but there still remains questions about what should be done with the millions of extra dollars flooding into the state’s coffers.

The answer to that question could be determined in November, when voters will vote on Proposition BB, which if passed would provide copious cash to schools and education programs.

“Proposition BB allocates $40 million for public school construction and $12 million to fund marijuana education, substance abuse treatment and prevention, [and] youth mentoring services,” according to the Vote Yes on BB committee.

If Proposition BB is not passed, the millions of dollars in new tax revenue from marijuana sales will be refunded to the Colorado voters. On the surface, it sounds as though voters could win either way, right? No. Proposition BB is harmful to the state and taxpayers no matter what voters say.

With the success of the recreational marijuana industry will come further, more complex expansion. With expansion will inevitably come more state expenses related to enforcing laws, regulating marijuana sales and distribution practices, and other unforeseen costs. When it becomes necessary to add government services, where will the money come from? Instead of sending more money to public schools or to taxpayers, a far more cautious and well-planned approach would require the state to hold the money in an account that can only be used to improve necessary government services related to this industry. After a set period, if the funds have not been used, they can then be returned to taxpayers, given to schools, or set aside for some other purpose.

If Proposition BB passes, the growth of the marijuana industry will only lead to future tax hikes, as government agencies look to expand.

Governments, at both the state and federal levels, have a tendency to spend additional revenue without ever planning ahead for inevitable future costs. It makes far more sense to plan for this new industry still in its infancy to have some growing pains in the future.

Proposition BB should be tabled and a new proposal ought to be debated on for another year. That prudent move would allow enough time for lawmakers and taxpayers to gather additional tax revenue and information before rushing into a hasty, ill-conceived decision.

Michael McGrady is studying political science and criminal justice at the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs and has previously worked for the U.S. Department of Defense and numerous political campaigns. Justin Haskins is editor of The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Follow him @TheNewRevere.

[Originally Published in The Denver Post]

Categories: On the Blog

Moving From Canada’s Biggest Cities

October 13, 2015, 8:27 AM

People have been moving away from Canada’s largest metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver) for the last decade, according to Statistics Canada 2004/5 to 2013/4 data. Internal migration includes moving by residents within provinces (intra-provincial migration) and between provinces (inter-provincial migration). This is in contrast to international migration, which is adding population to virtually all census metropolitan areas.

Toronto, the largest metropolitan area, also experienced by far the largest internal migration loss, with 225,000 more people leaving than arrived from other parts of Canada. This represents a 4.4 percent loss relative to Toronto’s a population in 2004. The overwhelming majority of Toronto’s net out migrants moved within Ontario (183,000), reflecting the continued dispersion of the metropolitan population. Suburbanization has transitioned into exurbanization as people move to the smaller metropolitan areas in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The largest intra-provincial gains (people moving within Ontario) were in Oshawa (38,000) Hamilton (23,000) and Barrie (16,000). Intra-provincial gains were also registered in each of the other smaller metropolitan areas, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford, St. Catharines-Niagara and Peterborough. Overall, the Greater Golden Horseshoe metropolitan areas outside Toronto gained 116,000 intra-provincial migrants . Toronto’s rapidly rising house prices, now at a historic high compared to incomes, have doubtless made these areas more attractive.

People are also moving away from Ontario. All of Ontario’s metropolitan areas except Kingston and Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario portion) lost internal migrants to other provinces. Overall, a net 84,000 residents moved to other parts of Canada, one half of whom left Toronto.

The situation was similar in Montréal, which experienced a net internal migration loss of 141,000. This is equal to 3.9 percent of the Montréal metropolitan area’s population in 2004. Montréal’s loss was evenly divided between inter-provincial migration (70,000) and intra-provincial migration (71,000).

Outside Montréal, there were intra-provincial migration gains in Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières and the Quebec portion of Ottawa-Gatineau. These gains generally dwarfed inter-provincial losses. Even so, another 20,000 intra-provincial migrants from Montréal settled outside metropolitan areas in Quebec.

Vancouver, the third largest metropolitan area, also lost internal migrants between 2004/2005 and 2013/2014. The net loss of 21,000 internal migrants represented 1.0 percent of the population at the beginning of the period. Vancouver lost 39,000 inter-provincial migrants, while gaining 17,000 inter-provincial migrants.

In contrast, the other three metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population (Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary and Edmonton) all experienced net internal migration gains. Ottawa-Gatineau added 35,000 internal migrants, or 3.0 percent of its 2004 population. Three quarters of the gain was in the Ontario portion and one quarter in the Quebec portion. Overall, there was a 13,000 net inter-provincial migration gain, while the area gained 21,000 net intra-provincial migrants.

By far the largest internal migration gains were in the two large Alberta metropolitan areas.

Edmonton added 105,000 internal migrants, equal to 10.4 percent of its 2004 population. This included approximately 75,000 inter-provincial migrants and 30,000 intra-provincial migrants. Edmonton led the six largest metropolitan areas in both the total number of net internal migrants and the percentage relative to population.

Net internal migration to Calgary was nearly as high, at 92,000, or 8.8 percent of its 2004 population. Calgary gained the largest number of inter-provincial migrants, at 84,000. However Calgary’s intra-provincial migration was comparatively small, at only 8,000.

Of course, the economic impacts of lower oil prices are already reducing inter-provincial migration to Alberta. Over the last nine months, Statistics Canada reports that Alberta’s inter-provincial migration has fallen one-third from the previous year. However, in view of the depth of the oil price losses, the decline in migrants from outside Alberta seems comparatively small. The full-year 2015 data will not be available for nearly six months.

A strong pattern of dispersion is evident, especially among the six largest metropolitan areas. The largest, Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver lost 388,000 internal migrants, while smaller Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary and Edmonton gained 232,000. There was a net gain of 175,000 internal migrants in the smaller metropolitan areas. The balance of Canada lost 19,000 net internal migrants to the 33 metropolitan areas of all sizes.

Canada’s patterns of dispersion over the past decade mirror the metropolitan dispersion that is continuing in most high-income world nations.

[Originally published at Huffington Post]

Categories: On the Blog

U.K. Telegraph: Judges Planning to Prohibit ‘Climate Skepticism’

October 13, 2015, 7:51 AM


A report in the U.K. daily The Telegraph indicates that an international panel of judges is planning to prohibit talk of “climate skepticism.” The article by Christopher Booker said the legal change was endorsed by Prince Charles of the U.K., and would revolutionize the concept of free speech once and for all. “Including senior judges and lawyers from across the world, the three-day conference on ‘Climate Change and the Law’ was staged in London’s Supreme Court. It was funded, inter alia, by the Supreme Court itself, the UK government and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP),” Booker reported.  “As one of the two UN sponsors of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UNEP has been one of the main drivers of alarm over global warming for 40 years. The organiser and chairman of the conference was the Supreme Court judge Lord Carnwath, a fervent believer in man-made climate change, who has worked with the Prince of Wales for more than 20 years, and with UNEP since 2002.”

Judges meeting in the U.K. want to make it illegal to doubt global warming.

The keynote speech for the event was given  by Philippe Sands, a lawyer who works with former U.K. First Lady Cherie Blair  and a professor of law at University College, London. “Since it is now unlikely that the world will agree in Paris to a legally binding treaty to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees C from pre-industrial levels, his theme was that it is now time for the courts to step in, to enforce this as worldwide law,” Booker reported.

Sands’ idea certainly elevates the concept of “judge-made law” to a new level. Now judges apparently don’t even need to have a case before them to rule on interpretations of law; they can choose to act like legislators, and make up their own laws, as they see fit. The due process implications are astounding here as are questions of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.


Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast: An Afternoon with Angelo Codevilla & Donald J. Devine Pt. 1

October 12, 2015, 3:14 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, we listen in to a conversation between Heartland President Joe Bast, and scholars Angelo Codevilla and Donald J. Devine Ph.D. Codevilla and Devine were both featured speakers at the Heartland Institute’s 31st anniversary benefit dinner. In this conversation, they speak with Bast about their latest books and how the ruling class is distorting the way America was intended to operate.

[Listen to Part 1 in the player above, and Part 2 at this link.]

Angelo Codevilla is professor emeritus at Boston University, where he was professor of international relations from 1995 to 2008. He served as a naval officer and as a US Foreign Service officer. Between 1977 and 1985 he was on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was instrumental in developing programs for missile defense (the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI), and served on President Reagan’s transition teams for the State Department and the Intelligence community. He was a senior research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and is the author of thirteen books.

His latest book is titled The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About ItIt details how a group of powerful political elites, educated in ivy-league schools, control and manipulate the country.

Donald J. Devine is an American political scientist, author, and former government official. He was famously described by The Washington Post as Ronald Reagan’s “terrible swift sword of the civil service” when he served as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during President Reagan’s first term. Before and after his government service, Devine was an academic, teaching 14 years as associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, and serving for a decade as a professor of Western Civilization at Bellevue University. He is currently senior scholar for The Fund for American Studies, an adjunct scholar at The Heritage Foundation, and a Trustee of the Philadelphia Society.

Devine’s latest book is titled America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition, and Constitution. In this book, Devine explains that American ideals can be reclaimed using a “fusion” of libertarian thought.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Video: We Don’t Want School Choice

October 12, 2015, 3:08 PM

ChoiceMedia.TV just released a satirical rap of parents explaining why they don’t want educational options.

The video makes some very poignant points in the education choice debate, including:

  1. The rich already have education choice.
  2. Why do so many anti-education choice people distrust poor and middle-class parents?
  3. Why is it okay for government bureaucrats to tell parents how and where their children will be educated?


Categories: On the Blog

EPA Causes Another Toxic Spill After Bursting Through Second Mine

October 12, 2015, 12:23 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency had, ostensibly, pulled back efforts at “mine cleanup” in the American west, as it investigated exactly what went wrong at the Gold King Mine, when EPA crews mistakenly burst through a wall, unleashing millions of gallons of toxic waste into the Animus river, causing, perhaps, one of the greatest environmental disasters in modern history.

EPA crews were given the go-ahead to return to their cleanup duties at the Standard Mine just above Crested Butte, Colorado early last week, however, despite Congress’s ongoing investigation. Almost immediately upon re-engaging their equipment, crews made an identical mistake to the one made at Gold King, again unleashing toxic waste water into second town’s system.

An Environmental Protection Agency crew working at the Standard Mine above Crested Butte triggered a wastewater spill into a creek that flows into the town water supply — a small-scale repeat of the Gold King incident this year.

Only an estimated 2,000 gallons spilled Tuesday, amid efforts to open a collapsed portal. The impact on town water is expected to be minimal.

Although the EPA insists that this spill was much smaller than the Gold King mine spill, the long-term effects of which are still unknown, the fact remains that the EPA seems unable to handle even a small-scale cleanup effort. Congressional investigators pounced immediately, taking the EPA to task for its clearly flawed cleanup procedures.

“They told us things were going to be different. Now we have a spill. … We’ve apparently got a real challenge with the EPA, not only with notification but their accountability and their ability to adequately execute these types of cleanup projects,” [Rep. Scott] Tipton said. “They’ve got resources. They’re the ones in charge of the program. And they’ve had two spills in my district alone. Is there a better way to approach this?”

The city of Crested Butte will have their own cleanup effort to begin, as the Standard Mine, which had been designated an environmental disaster for some time before the EPA became involved, expelled toxic waste water containing cancer-causing cadmium, arsenic, and zinc directly into Crested Butte’s drinking water. Ironically, the entire purpose of EPA involvement was to place a plug in the mine to halt any potential flow of cadmium, arsenic and zinc into Crested Butte’s water systems.

This is almost comical, were it not for the long-term environmental damage created by the very agency charged with ensuring compliance with environmental laws and regulations. The worst part? The EPA tried to avoid reporting the spill to its home office, possibly in order to avoid the very attention their efforts are getting, and possibly to avoid the necessary connections being drawn between this incident and Gold King.

But despite this spill being clearly smaller, it will still have a significant impact on those who rely on local water sources for safe, clean water for themselves, for their livestock and for their crops. As Congressman Tipton alludes to, corporations face zero tolerance from the EPA for even small environmental incursions – we can probably safely guess the EPA will not punish themselves, however, for their egregious actions here.

Categories: On the Blog