July 22nd, 2016 at 1:07 pm
Taylor Swift: Intellectual Property and Anti-Counterfeiting Champion
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

We take no position in the ongoing Taylor Swift versus Kanye West divide.  But as perhaps surprisingly featured in a Wall Street Journal opinion this week, we do applaud her strong stance in defense of intellectual property (IP) and against the scourge of counterfeiting:

Pop star Taylor Swift has been feuding in recent days with rapper Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian.  The details of the drama are lurid and complicated, but young aficionados of Snapchat and Instagram have been following it all intently.  If only the same were true for other Taylor Swift feuds that have received less attention.  Namely, those the 26-year-old songstress has fought in defense of a principle often scorned by fellow celebrities and the social-media generation generally:  the value of intellectual property.

In battles against tech titans, Chinese e-commerce swindlers and others, Ms. Swift has repeatedly insisted on being paid for her music and brand – and in the process has taught some valuable lessons in basic economics.  This may be the ‘information wants to be free’ era, when online content is glibly swiped by millions who would never dream of shoplifting, but Ms. Swift has a deep appreciation for the profit motive and the fruits it bestows on society.”

As we’ve often noted, it’s no coincidence that the United States has become the most artistically innovative and influential nation in human history while maintaining the world’s strongest IP protections.  Rather, it’s a direct causal relationship, as Ms. Swift recognizes:

Ms. Swift explained why she fights.  ’Music is art, and art is important and rare.  Important, rare things are valuable.  Valuable things should be paid for.’  She added, ‘My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every girl I meet, is that they all realize their worth and ask for it.’”

Whatever one thinks of Ms. Swift as a musician or pop culture icon, her high-profile leadership in defending IP is to be celebrated.


July 18th, 2016 at 12:11 pm
Intellectual Property Protection Means Greater Biomedical Innovation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Reasonable people understand that nations more protective of property rights and the rule of law enjoy higher levels of innovation and prosperity.  The fields of pharmaceutical advancement and biomedical innovation more specifically are no exception.

In a cogent new piece, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director of Intellectual Property Policy Patrick Kilbride demonstrates how strong intellectual property (IP) protections fuel biomedical innovation that benefits the world:

[E]conomies with the strongest IP protections are 60 percent more likely to provide environments conducive to biotech innovation.  And economies with specific protections for the life sciences field see an average of 13 times more biomedical investment than those lacking IP protections…  [A]s intellectual property systems have strengthened over time, public and private investment in health care has increased, as well as individual earnings to support heath costs.”  (emphasis in original)

Why does that matter?  Because international and even domestic forces seek to  undermine IP protections, threatening the goose that continues to lay golden eggs:

We live in a world where concerted efforts are being made daily to erode intellectual property rights, based on the false premise that IP somehow threatens access to medical care.  While the facts simply don’t support this theory, it hasn’t stopped activists around the world from spreading misinformation and chipping away at the very IP protections that produced life-saving medicines in the first place.  Just a few short years ago, India stripped a leukemia drug of its patent, claiming that it inhibited access by its citizens.  The result?  Due to government interference, fewer Indian citizens had affordable access to this medication than before the patent was annulled.  In Canada, an overzealous judiciary revoked 25 previously granted pharmaceutical patents and sparked a case involving NAFTA protections that could do lasting harm to future investments in life-saving medicines.  And Colombia’s prime minister of health has repaid medical researchers scrambling to find a cure for the Zika epidemic by pursuing an arbitrary and dangerous attack on others in the industry, effectively stripping a pharmaceutical company of its patent for another drug.  It is also against this backdrop that the United Nations Secretary General has pressed for establishment of a High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines (HLP) to quickly produce a report, based on the same false premise:  that ‘failure to reduce the costs of patented medicines is resulting in millions of people being denied access to lifesaving treatments.’”

As Abraham Lincoln observed, “The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”  It’s incumbent upon us to safeguard IP protections that continue to fire the genius of medical innovation.  Too many lives are at stake across the world to allow the grim alternative.


July 15th, 2016 at 11:28 am
Fact of the Day: By 76% to 19%, Police Chiefs Say Armed Citizens Help Reduce Violence
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In this week’s Liberty Update, we note the high degree of confidence and respect that Americans hold toward the nation’s police officers.  That respect is returned by the nation’s police chiefs, according to a new survey.  By a 76% to 19% supermajority, surveyed chiefs say that “qualified, law-abiding armed citizens can help law enforcement reduce violent activity.”  Similarly, by an 88% to 9% margin they agree that any vetted citizen should be able to buy firearms for self-defense or sport, and an 86% to 11% majority supports nationwide recognition of state-issued conceal weapon permits.


July 14th, 2016 at 12:29 pm
If A Tree Falls In A Forest…
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


July 14th, 2016 at 9:36 am
Does a VP Pick Matter?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Karlyn Bowman, Senior Fellow and Research Coordinator at the American Enterprise Institute, discusses the vice presidential chatter on both sides of the political aisle and whether it is possible for a vice presidential pick to help a presidential campaign.

Listen to the interview here.


July 11th, 2016 at 1:14 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Common Sense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT:  Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment – Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Evan Moore, Senior Policy Analyst at The Foreign Policy Initiative – Russia and NATO Post Summit;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Karlyn Bowman, Senior Fellow and Research Coordinator at the American Enterprise Institute – Vice Presidential Chatter;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Brad Smith: Chairman and Founder of The Center for Competitive Politics – First Amendment, Political Speech Rights and Disclosure Laws; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Quin Hillyer, Contributing Editor of National Review Magazine, Senior Editor for The American Spectator Magazine, and Political Commentator – Presidential Candidates and Conventions.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330


July 8th, 2016 at 2:50 pm
Gallup: Clear Majority of Americans Oppose Using Race in Admission Decisions
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

On the heels of last week’s indefensible Supreme Court ruling upholding racial discrimination in university admissions (with Justice Kennedy bizarrely reversing his recent position on the other side of the question), there’s good news to report.  In a new Gallup poll, a surprising and overwhelming 70% to 26% majority of Americans believe that applicants should be admitted solely on merit.  Notably, that majority opposed consideration of race “even when it is explained that this could help increase diversity,” as Gallup emphasized:

Overwhelming Majority Opposes Racial Consideration

Overwhelming Majority Opposes Racial Consideration

Although this lopsided disapproval won’t reverse last week’s Supreme Court error, it does suggest that a broad and rare consensus exists to systematically dismantle such discriminatory practices across federal, state and local levels.


July 7th, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Second Amendment Sit-Ins and Net Neutrality
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs, discusses the recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision upholding the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, what those regulations could ultimately mean for consumers, and the Capitol Hill sit-ins and untruths offered by 2nd Amendment rights opponents.

Listen to the interview here.


July 6th, 2016 at 6:33 pm
Image of the Day: While Other Countries Reduce Corporate Tax Rates, U.S. Maintains Developed World’s Highest
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

A rare bipartisan consensus agrees that the U.S. corporate tax rate, which remains the developed world’s highest, is in desperate need of reduction and simplification.  Today brings an illustration of the problem, courtesy of the Tax Foundation:

Corporate Tax Rates

Corporate Tax Rates


July 1st, 2016 at 12:56 pm
Perhaps the Funniest Post-Brexit Tantrum Yet, Courtesy of The New York Times
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So this apparently passes as intelligent commentary among The New York Times set and tantrum-throwing “Remain” pajama boy voters in Britain.

Namely, a perpetual adolescent who acknowledges:

Since my late teens, every effort I have ever exerted has been with the intention of escaping Alresford.  And yet, I am an early-career academic and so I am forced to move back, every summer, to live with my parents because I cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere after my temporary teaching contract ends.”

Nevertheless, he openly fantasizes about its utter obliteration and return to a state of nature, lamenting the area’s “Brexit” vote to declare independence from the European Union:

Sometimes, in the summer, I walk up the hill and I look out over it, the housing development on one side and the Georgian town center at the bottom of the other, and I have this fantasy image of how it once was, before Alresford was founded in the Middle Ages, when all of this was untouched:  just the wild, untamed nature that it keeps wanting to turn itself back into.  And sometimes, I think:  I wish that would happen.  Because all that humans have ever done here is ruin things.  Alresford is my personal hell.”

The poor soul.

Conspicuously, however, he doesn’t volunteer himself to stand first in line in his little return-to-nature scrubbing of humanity from the land.

‘Twas ever thus with leftists, of course.  Always let someone else endure the consequences of their dystopian visions.


July 1st, 2016 at 10:08 am
Brexit: What’s Next?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Daniel Kochis, Research Associate in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, discusses how Britain’s decision to leave the European Union returns power back to the British people, the political and economic fallout from Brexit, and what it means for trade relations with America.

Listen to the interview here.


June 28th, 2016 at 12:51 pm
Fact of the Day: Mass Shootings More Common in Europe Than the U.S.
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The lazy assumption that America suffers a uniquely high mass shooting rate is the foundation upon which 2nd Amendment restrictionists must rely.

After all, if allegedly more “enlightened” nations like France or Norway that effectively prohibit so-called “assault weapons” (a meaningless slur, but that’s another subject entirely) suffer a mass shooting rate as high or higher than the U.S., then their rationale for restricting law-abiding citizens’ right to keep and bear arms collapses.

Unfortunately for them, as illustrated by crimeresearch.org, that’s precisely what the real-world facts show.  France, Norway  and other European nations actually suffer higher mass shooting rates than the U.S.  In fact, out of 18 European and North American nations measured, the U.S. mass shooting rate is all the way down at number 12:

Comparing Mass Shooting Rates

Comparing Mass Shooting Rates

It’s another inconvenient truth for those who wish to pointlessly restrict the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans.


June 28th, 2016 at 8:37 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Target Acquired
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


June 27th, 2016 at 3:39 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs – Net Neutrality, the Second Amendment and other Current Issues;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Daniel Kochis, Research Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom – Brexit Vote, Now What?;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Diego Echeverri, U.S. Army Veteran and Florida State Director for Concerned Veterans of America – “Caring for Our Heroes in the 21st Century Act”; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Andrew Och, Award Winning Television, Multi-Media Producer and Author – “Unusual For Their Time: On the Road with America’s First Ladies”.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330


June 24th, 2016 at 1:51 pm
Brexit Highlights the Enduring Value of Federalism
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Regardless of other economic, political and social implications of Britain’s vote yesterday to depart the European Union, it highlights a value at the core of America’s governmental system:  federalism.

On this side of the Atlantic, decades of almost uninterrupted centralization of authority at the national level has necessarily come at the expense of more localized decisionmaking.  Our own unfortunate experience has been an increasingly homogenized, sterilized, conformist, bureaucratic, technocratic, remote, suffocating, uniform, top-down, one-size-fits-all leviathan.  Ironically, those on the political left who so often pretend to value “diversity” defend that erosion of federalism most enthusiastically.  They expose themselves as intolerant of true diversity, freedom and independence of people who don’t see the world as they do.

Despite forecasts of economic doom from “Remain” advocates, a surprising majority of British voters felt the same sense of suffocation and loss of sovereignty and voted “Leave.”  That sentiment isn’t limited to Britain, as fellow European populations in places like France and the Netherlands express the same dissatisfaction:

The popularity of the European Union is plummeting across some major European countries, according to new data published by Pew Research Centre.  The US-based, independent organisation found that the mound of people who feel enthusiastic about the 28-nation bloc is rapidly declining across 7 of the 10 polled nations.  In France, only 38% of people have a favourable view of the EU, according to Pew.  In 2004, this number was 69%.  The same trend was picking up in Spain, Italy, and Germany too.”

It remains to be seen whether and to what extent similar sentiment affects the U.S. elections this November.  But regardless, it’s encouraging to see that the concepts that led our Founding Fathers to create a system of federalism here in the U.S. survives in our parent nation of Britain.

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June 21st, 2016 at 12:20 pm
Global Misery Index: Socialist Venezuela Occupies High End, Free-Market Singapore Occupies Low End
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

How do socialism and free markets compare in the real world?

In our recent Liberty Update piece entitled “Socialist Paradises?  More Scandinavians Migrate to America than Vice-Versa” we show how Scandinavian countries aren’t the socialist paradises that Bernie Sanders fans seem to think.  This week brings just the latest illustration that free economies work, while socialist economies fail.

In the latest annual Index of Economic Freedom, Singapore ranks second-freest in the world, slightly below Hong Kong and ahead of New Zealand, Switzerland and then Australia.   Coming in nearly last at 176 of the 178 nations measured was socialist Venezuela.  And the real-world result?  A new Bloomberg piece notes that Singapore now enjoys the lowest (i.e., best) spot on the worldwide misery index.  Meanwhile, socialist paradise Venezuela holds the top (i.e., worst) spot:

Singapore has dropped below Thailand on the so-called Misery Index for the first time since December 2014, meaning the city-state has the lowest combination of consumer-price inflation and unemployment in the world.  Singapore’s most-recent CPI rate was negative 0.5 percent and its official jobless rate was 1.9 percent, ranking it 1.4 percent on the misery scale, compared with 1.5 percent in Thailand and 2.9 percent in Japan, based on the latest-available official figures.  Venezuela ranks as most miserable among more than 70 countries on which Bloomberg compiles data, as the South American country battles triple-digit inflation.”

As they would say in Latin, res ipsa loquitur – “the fact speaks for itself.”


June 20th, 2016 at 11:22 am
We Should Also Make the Affirmative Case for 2nd Amendment Rights
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In our latest Liberty Update piece “Inconvenient Truths Undermine Gun-Controllers’ Myths,” we systematically dismantle the untruths offered by 2nd Amendment rights opponents, including their exaggerated claims regarding U.S. murder and mass shooting rates.

In addition to rightfully exposing the misconceptions and outright lies perpetuated by those seeking to deprive law-abiding Americans of their rights, however, it helps to highlight the affirmative benefits of Second Amendment rights, i.e., the value of what we’re protecting.

In that regard, National Review’s David French offers a brilliant piece entitled “Dear Anti-Gun Liberals, Don’t Tell Me Which Gun I ‘Need’ for Self-Defense.” French first explains why a law-abiding American would prefer something like an AR-15 for self-defense:

Any person who breaks into my house or who threatens my family on my property will very soon find themselves staring at the business end of an AR-15…  It’s light, maneuverable, accurate, and highly reliable.  While self-defense experts can and do disagree on the optimal weapon for home defense, large numbers choose AR-style rifles for exactly the reasons I do.  It provides more firepower – with greater accuracy – than the alternatives.

But now I’m told – largely by people who don’t know the first thing about firearms – that no American ‘needs’ an AR-style rifle.  But when your life is on the line, what do you want?  More accuracy or less?  More firepower or less?  More recoil or less?  More reliability or less?  It’s always interesting to take a relatively inexperienced shooter to a range, let them shoot a handgun (where bullets generally scatter all over the target), and then hand them an AR.  Even rookies will shoot far more accurately with far less recoil.  It’s just easier to use.”

Importantly, French then contrasts why an AR-style rifle is not an optimal weapon of choice for a burglar or violent criminal:

But not – in general – for criminals.  For the average criminal, concealment is the key.  So they use handguns.  Moreover, the average criminal isn’t spending $1,000 (or sometimes more) on their weapon.  Rarely (very rarely), extraordinary criminals will use AR-type rifles, but most mass shootings are committed with handguns.”

“Which weapon do I ‘need’ for self-defense?,” French asks in conclusion.  ”Why don’t you let me make that choice.”

As we concluded in our Liberty Update piece, anyone seeking to restrict others’ Constitutional rights bears the burden of proof to justify their desire.  In this debate, as illustrated by French, they don’t come anywhere close to satisfying that burden.


June 17th, 2016 at 12:23 pm
The 2016 Wacky Warning Label Contest
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with Bob Dorigo Jones, Senior Fellow at the Center for America, discusses how out-of-control lawsuit abuse hurts families, communities and job providers, and the finalists in the annual Wacky Warning Label Contest.

Listen to the interview here.


June 14th, 2016 at 6:13 pm
Divided Court Allows FCC to Use Law Intended to Reduce Internet Regulation to Increase Internet Regulation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Like most Americans, you probably had no idea that the Internet was somehow broken and in need of an Obama Administration “fix” via a Depression-era federal statute enacted for copper wire telephone technology.

And with good reason.  For two decades, America’s tech and Internet sectors have remained among the depressingly few areas of our economy that continued to flourish amid an era characterized by stagnating growth, employment and incomes.

Throughout the Obama tenure, however, his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has attempted over and over to upend the “light touch” regulatory approach of both Democratic (Clinton) and Republican (Bush) administrations that allowed the Internet to flourish as it has.  Today, unfortunately, a sharply divided D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals finally affirmed the FCC’s most recent attempt to impose so-called “Net Neutrality” regulations that essentially equate to ObamaCare for the Internet.

As aptly summarized by Senior Circuit Judge Williams’s dissent, today’s decision allows FCC “use of an Act intended to ‘reduce regulation’ to instead increase regulation.”

Judge Williams cogently captured not only the legal illogic of the majority’s holding, but its real-world unintended consequences as well:

“The ultimate irony of the Commission’s unreasoned patchwork is that, refusing to inquire into competitive conditions, it shuns broadband service onto the legal track suited to natural monopolies.  Because that track provides  little economic space for new firms seeking market entry or relatively small firms seeking expansion through innovations in business models or in technology, the Commission’s decision has a decent chance of bringing about the conditions under which some (but by no means all) of its actions could be grounded – the prevalence of incurable monopoly.”

Fortunately, this doesn’t end the question.  The ruling will likely be appealed, and the FCC’s mismanagement can be corrected via Congressional action or new FCC leadership in a future presidential administration.

But beyond the specific issue in question, today’s unfortunate ruling illustrates again the importance of judicial branch appointments and composition as we approach the election of a president who will make those appointments.

use of an Act intended to “reduce regulation” to
instead increase regulation

June 13th, 2016 at 2:58 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT:  Anthony Hennen, Staff Writer at Red Alert Politics – Millennials in America;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  James Capretta, Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute – America’s Entitlement Programs;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Peter Roff, Contributing Editor with US News & World Report – Congress’ Proposed Bailout of Puerto Rico;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Bob Dorigo Jones, Senior Fellow at Center for America – 2016 Wacky Warning Labels Contest; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Peter Brooks, Senior Fellow for National Security Affairs at The Heritage Foundation – Lone Wolf Terrorism and the Nightclub Shoot in Orlando.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.