Author Archive
October 2nd, 2015 at 9:39 am
Is the U.S. a Particularly Violent Nation? No. Five Must-Read Graphs Rebut 2nd Amendment Restrictionists
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Is the U.S. a particularly violent nation, one that stands as an outlier in terms of murder rates or gun violence?  No.  Unfortunately, Second Amendment restrictionists like Barack Obama hastily trot out that tired claim whenever they attempt to politicize the latest highly-publicized crime to advance their agenda.

The actual numbers tell a far different story.

The U.S. is by far the world’s leader in terms of firearms per capita, but its murder and violent crime rates aren’t particular outliers.  Fortunately, the Crime Prevention Research Center provides a helpful set of five data graphs illustrating these facts in vivid terms that even the most hardened Second Amendment opponents can understand (even if they won’t admit it).  It provides an invaluable and instant rebuttal to their attempts to spread misinformation and cliches, so please share it far and wide.

Leftists constantly claim fealty to “science,” except on issues like Second Amendment rights and U.S. crime rates when the data completely undermines their agenda.  Fortunately, groups like the CPRC help set the record straight.

September 30th, 2015 at 4:23 pm
GroupM, the Leading Global Media Investment Group, Announces Important Anti-Piracy Effort
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

This month, GroupM, the world’s leading media investment management company, announced that it will now require its media partners advertising on websites to receive anti-piracy certification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).  This new initiative will go far to keep its clients’ advertisements off of rogue websites, as GroupM summarized in its announcement:

‘We’re in the business of giving the world’s most valuable brands marketing advantages with smart media strategies.  This inherently means we’re vigilant for clients’ brand safety.  Our work with TAG in the development and full adoption of anti-piracy guidelines is a major leap forward,’ said John Montgomery, Chairman, GroupM Connect, North America and Co-Chair of the TAG Anti-Piracy Working Group.  ’With IAB, 4As, and ANA, we’ve worked for years to make the digital ecosystem more trustworthy.  Fighting pirates of copyrighted content required every ounce of our tenacity and ingenuity, but with the advent of TAG’s Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy, we have powerful new tools and safeguards.’”

Such advertising on piracy sites accounted for an estimated $209 million in ill-gotten revenue in 2014 alone, so this constitutes a significant, voluntary private sector milestone.  Summarizing the nature of the problem, Mr. Montgomery observed:

There’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.  The people who create pirate sites are the same ones who perpetrate clickbait fraud – they’re the ones who spread malware and create 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.”

Hopefully, other ad industry players will follow GroupM’s lead in utilizing TAG, but CFIF and anyone who supports the rule of law and property rights – including intellectual property (IP) rights – owe them an enormous “thank you.”  Accordingly, please click here to join us in thanking them.

September 29th, 2015 at 3:45 pm
Progressive Policy Insitute Agrees: FCC Overregulation Threatens Private Internet Investment
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we have consistently highlighted, overregulation by Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) poses a grave threat to private investment in Internet service, which has thrived over two decades during both Democratic (Clinton) and Republican (Bush) presidencies because of a deliberately light regulatory approach.

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), in a report released this week, agrees.

In its fourth annual report on investment by American companies entitled “U.S. Investment Heroes of 2015:  Why Innovation Drives Investment,” PPI ranks the top 25 non-financial U.S. companies by their amount of domestic capital spending for 2014.  Notably, the survey highlights the danger that overregulation poses to investment and innovation, particularly in the telecommunications sector:

In the telecom industry, pro-investment policy should support ‘light touch’ regulation.  Here we have the makings of a natural experiment, since the FCC departed from this approach last February by imposing Title II regulations on broadband service.  So far in the first half of 2015, the telecom companies on our list are spending at an 11% slower pace than a year earlier.”

This offers yet another ominous warning, one that cannot be dismissed by Obama or Title II apologists as some sort of right-wing hit job.  The Clinton Administration commenced the regulatory “light touch” approach that PPI’s report references, which continued through the Bush Administration as the Internet remained one of the few bright spots in an otherwise troubled economy since 2008.  The PPI survey shows who the real extremists are, and thankfully offers a bipartisan roadmap for continued Internet investment and innovation:  less federal regulation, not more.

September 28th, 2015 at 2:40 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 p.m. EDT:  Francis Rooney, Former Ambassador to the Holy See – Pope Francis’ First Visit to the United States;

4:30 CDT/5:30 p.m. EDT:  Evan Moore, Senior Policy Analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative – U.S.-China Relations;

5:00 CDT/6:00 p.m. EDT:  Sarah Westwood, Watchdog Reporter for the Washington Examiner – Hillary Clinton E-Mails; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 p.m. EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs – Should the U.S. Emulate Europe on the Legal and Economic Fronts?

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

September 22nd, 2015 at 10:12 am
Reverse Midas: Another Obama Legacy Is Record Distrust of Federal Government
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In recent weeks, as we enter the final 500 days of his presidency, we have periodically returned to the issue of Obama’s emerging legacy.  On both domestic and foreign policy, his administration has been one of unprecedented failure, which we take no glee in saying because in so doing he has harmed the country.

On that issue, however, a new Gallup survey highlights another one of Obama’s more notable failures.  Namely, the number of Americans who believe that the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens” has reached a record high.  Accordingly, the fact that the man who set out to reverse Ronald Reagan’s axiom that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” has through his own actions brought Americans’ fear and distrust of the federal government to record highs.  Through his inexorable and at times lawless agenda of increased federal government power, regulation, spending, deficits and encroachment into our lives, he has paradoxically validated Reagan’s belief and undermined his own.

Although Obama’s impact on America’s wellbeing at home and abroad has been disastrous (quick – name a single significant place in the world that is better off today than six years ago), at least it provides the opportunity for Americans to understand the cause-and-effect relationship of bigger government, more regulation, higher spending, higher taxes and weaker foreign policy and our declining national health.  As Gallup notes, “the persistent finding in recent years that half of the population views the government as an immediate threat underscores the degree to which the role and power of government remains a key issue of our time.”

Hopefully, Americans quickly internalize the opposite lesson that Reagan provided, and act accordingly.

September 17th, 2015 at 11:35 am
Peachtree City, GA: Stop City Council from Wasting Taxpayer Dollars on Municipal Broadband Network Boondoggle
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The Peachtree City, Georgia city council plans to vote TONIGHT on whether to use taxpayer dollars to build a Municipal Broadband Network for businesses.  This will cost millions of your hard-earned tax dollars and put the city’s bond rating and other important services at risk.  Tell Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the Peachtree City Council Members TODAY that you do NOT want your tax dollars used to build a municipal broadband network. That is something the private sector can and does provide.

A few important facts to share with your Council Member:

  • Municipal Broadband Networks (also known as Government-Owned Networks or GONs) inevitably cost much more to build and operate than policymakers assume or  realize. [New York Law School study]
  • Some cities have been driven so far into debt because of their GON that they’ve sold them at huge losses, yet taxpayers were still left to foot the bill. [Provo, Utah]
  • Monthly bills are 20% to 50% higher for consumers using GONs than if they used a private broadband provider, according to the American Action Forum.
  • Peachtree City simply has better things to spend its money on than a service the private sector ably provides.
  • 75 % to 80 % of all GONs fail to make an annual profit. [WiFi Waste: The Disaster of Municipal Communications Network, by Prof. Ron Rizzuto, Univ. of Denver]
  1. Our Teacher salaries are 9% below the national average
  2. The Peachtree city council has already voted this year to INCREASE TAXES on residents, collecting an extra $645,000
  • Private sector broadband providers have invested more than $1.4 trillion into our nation’s broadband infrastructure and they are investing more every day. [US Telecom Broadband Investment]

Costly Municipal Broadband Failures

Burlington Telecom, VT

  • Initial Capital Investment: $33.5 Million
  • Current Debt: $17 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 39,000 households yet just 4,000 have joined the network.


  • Initial Capital Investment: $135 Million
  • Current Debt: $500 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool if 62,000 households yet just 8,200 have joined the network.

MI-Connection, NC

  • Initial Capital Investment: $92.5 Million
  • Current Debt: $69.5 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 88,000 households yet just 16,000 have joined the network.

CDE Lightband, TN

  • Initial Capital Investment: $16 Million
  • Current Debt: $20.5 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 146,000 households yet just 18,000 have joined the network.

Contact Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the City Council TODAY!

Group email to Mayor, Council & City Manager:

Mayor Vanessa Fleisch

Twitter: @vanessafleisch


Post 1 Council member Eric Imker


Post 2 Council member Mike King


Post 3 Council member Kim Learnerd


Post 4 Council member Terry Ernst


September 14th, 2015 at 2:58 pm
TechNotes: “ObamaNet Is Hurting Broadband”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Throughout the “Net Neutrality” debate over whether the federal government should begin regulating Internet service under 1930s Depression-era laws intended for copper wire telephone service, we and others have warned that Obama Administration efforts to impose such regulation would dangerously stifle private investment and innovation in the telecommunications sector.

In his weekly “Information Age” column today, L. Gordon Crovitz highlights how quickly our somber prediction has proven true.  In “Obamanet Is Hurting Broadband,” Crovitz summarizes how “The predictable effect of more regulation has arrived:  Investment is plummeting”:

New data show the Obama Administration’s decision to regulate the Internet as a utility has already caused a steep drop in Internet Investment…  [I]n the first half of 2015, as the new regulations were being crafted in Washington, major ISPs reduced capital expenditure by an average of 12%, while the overall industry average dropped 8%.  Capital spending was down 29% at AT&T and Charter Communications, 10% at Cablevision, and 4% at Verizon. (Comcast increased capital spending, but on a new home-entertainment operating system, not broadband.)  Until now, spending had fallen year-to-year only twice in the history of broadband:  in 2001 after the dot-com bust, and in 2009 after the recession.”  [emphasis added]

Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Internet has thrived and played a central role in maintaining America’s status as the most prosperous, most entrepreneurial and most innovative nation in human history.  That didn’t happen by accident, nor was it due to coincidence.  Rather, it occurred precisely because the federal government during both the Clinton and Bush administrations refrained from suffocating it with destructive and politically-motivated overregulation.  But Obama apparently thought he had a better idea.  Unfortunately, we’re already witnessing the regrettable result.

Meanwhile, Gallup just released its annual survey of public approval of various sectors of American life.  Standing at or near the top once again are the computer industry, the Internet industry and the telephone industry, all with high net positives.  And at the bottom, once again, is the federal government, with an atrocious -29% net negative.

All of this suggests that we would likely be better off if the computer/Internet/telecom industries regulated the federal government, rather than vice-versa.

September 14th, 2015 at 2:40 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:  Riley Walters, Research Assistant at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation – Domestic Terror Attacks and Plots Since 9/11;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  David Adesnik, Policy Director at the Foreign Policy Initiative – Iran Nuclear Deal;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Ben Boychuk, CFIF Contributing Editor, writer, and political commentator – The American Political Scene; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Sally Pipes, President, CEO and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Pacific Research Institute – Mega-Merger Madness in the Health Insurance Industry and the State of VA Care.

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

September 8th, 2015 at 4:56 pm
The Obama Legacy, Cont’d: Poverty Rate, Child Poverty, Business Closures Exceed Startups for First Time Ever
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Amid an excellent piece detailing the perils of minimum wage increases in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “A Post-Labor Day, Minimum-Wage Hangover,” CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder provides yet another depressing snapshot of the emerging legacy of Barack Obama:

The real problem is that more than six years of progressive economic policies – higher taxes, more regulation, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and more – have eliminated opportunities.  The poverty rate remains at levels generally observed during recessions.  Child poverty is at its highest point in 20 years.  The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time since it began compiling the data, business closures each year have been exceeding new business startups.  This is the result of an economy limping along at a 2.2% growth rate.”

Tags: , ,
September 1st, 2015 at 9:16 am
Apocalypse Not, Cont’d: In 2008, ABC News Aired Some Amusing Climate Catastrophe Visions for 2015
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In our latest Liberty Update we highlighted in “10 Years After Katrina, Failed Global Warming Prophecies Accumulate” how global warming alarmists continue to rely on predictions of imminent doom, despite the fact that their record of prediction is one of failure after failure.

Add another glaring and amusing example to that list.  In 2008, ABC News ran a “news” feature entitled “Earth 2100.”  It’s worth watching the 9-minute clip, which suggests such possibilities as milk at $12.00 per gallon and gas at $9.00 per gallon, as recalled by The Daily Caller:

Newsbusters notes that then GMA anchor Chris Cuomo, who teased the special at the time, said to [Bob] Woodruff of the predictions, ‘I think we’re familiar with some of these issues, but boy, 2015?  That’s seven years from now.  Could it really be that bad?’

Woodruff replies, ‘It’s very soon, you know.  But all you have to do is look at the world today.  You know, you’ve got gas prices going up.  You’ve got food prices going up.  You’ve got extreme weather.  The scientists have studied this for decades.  They say if you connect the dots, you can actually see that we’re approaching maybe even a perfect storm.  Or you have got shrinking resources, population growth, climate change.  So the idea now is to look at it, wake up about it and then try to do something to fix it.”

In related news, gas recently dipped below $2.00 per gallon in many parts of the country.  So much for that.

As Barack Obama plays the role of broken record again on his boondoggle to Alaska, it’s imperative to keep in mind how a global warming alarm movement that constantly relies upon predictions of doom maintains a 25-year record of failed predictions.

August 28th, 2015 at 9:51 am
Rubio: Beat China via Free Trade and Passing Trans-Pacific Partnership, Not Self-Destructive Protectionism
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In confronting the growing challenge of China, as with Japan in the 1980s and other challengers in the past, the easy and simplistic response is to advocate protectionism.  But America remains the most prosperous and innovative nation in human history on the basis of free trade, not protectionism.  If closing borders to trade was the path to prosperity, then North Korea would be a global exemplar.

On that chord, Senator Marco Rubio (R – Florida), set to give a much-anticipated foreign policy speech on the campaign trail today, offers a refreshing commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “How My Presidency Would Deal With China.”  In his piece, Rubio advocates free trade and passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as effective tools for confronting China, resisting the cheap and easy protectionist platitudes:

My second goal is protecting the U.S. economy.  For years, China has subsidized exports, devalued its currency, restricted imports and stolen technology on a massive scale.  As president, I would respond not through aggressive retaliation, which would hurt the U.S. as much as China, but by greater commitment and firmer insistence on free markets and free trade.  This means immediately moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.”

Protectionism and irrational alarm over trade balance only serve to undermine American growth.  After all, the 1930s Great Depression in the U.S. witnessed trade surpluses in 102 of that decade’s 120 months.  The better answer is to maintain America’s standing as a nation of free trade, through which we will overcome today’s challenges just as we have previous decades’ similar challenges.

August 25th, 2015 at 11:35 am
Barone: Even Clinton and Obama Military Appointees Widely Oppose Iran Nuclear Capitulation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In recent days we’ve noted how the American public now opposes Obama’s Iran nuclear weapons agreement by 2-to-1 margins, and how opposition in both the Senate and House of Representatives is approaching 2/3 veto-proof majorities.

Apparently, opposition within military and intelligence communities is similarly broad.

In a new piece this week, Michael Barone lists a number of military and intelligence figures appointed during the Clinton and Obama administrations who voice sharp opposition to the proposed deal.  From well-known names like General Michael Hayden to General Barry McCaffrey and several others, it’s an impressive list.  As Barone concludes, “These are all highly respected retired military officers whose judgment should command respect, and their criticisms of the Iran deal are certainly withering.”

Tags: , ,
August 24th, 2015 at 3:15 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:  Clark Neily, Senior Attorney for the Institute for Justice – Separation of Powers;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Quin Hillyer, Newspaper Columnist and Writer – Candidates 2016, Including Trumps Visit to Alabama Quin’s Interview with Scott Walker;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Sarah Westwood, Watchdog Reporter for the Washington Examiner – Hillary Clinton E-Mails; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs – Iran, Puerto Rico and the First Amendment.

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

August 24th, 2015 at 11:44 am
Puerto Rico: Rule of Law and Fidelity of Contract, Not Bankruptcy
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

At CFIF, we stand for the rule of law and with American taxpayers, investors, savers and seniors against the destructive proposal floated by some in Washington, D.C. of changing longstanding law to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.

Accordingly, we’re happy to see that in her weekly “The Americas” column in today’s Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady highlights the way in which pro-bankruptcy advocates undermine the rule of law by disregarding contractual property rights:

The governor, and the legislature which his party controls, made a conscious decision when they approved the budget not to put the funds aside for that payment.  ’They are explicitly legislating default because they think that puts the creditors on their knees.  Then the creditors will have to make concessions…  Creditors have protections [in bond contracts],’ he adds, ‘and a court of law is going to enforce those agreements.’  Securitized bonds provide bondholders with a property right to a designated cash-flow stream.”

As we specified previously, better alternatives exist:

For example, the Puerto Rican government could actually pay the hundreds of millions of dollars it owes to the power authority (PREPA), or Congress could impose greater oversight over Puerto Rico.  Remember, a financial control board was effective in reforming the District of Columbia’s finances 20 years ago, accomplished on a bipartisan basis by a Republican Congress and a Democratic president.  Ultimately, that might be the way to put in place comprehensive, structural reforms so that Puerto Rico never again spirals out of control.”

The solution is adherence to the rule of law and the enforcement of mutually bargained-for contract, not yet another bailout imposed upon American taxpayers.

August 21st, 2015 at 9:47 am
Iran Deal: House and Senate Approaching Veto-Proof Majorities
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we recently noted, we’ve reached a strange state of political affairs when the definition of “success” in the Obama Era is reduced to scraping together a 1/3 minority of either chamber of Congress to salvage an executive accord with the terrorist state of Iran.

With clear majorities in both the House and the Senate already opposed to the accord, and an overwhelming majority of Americans also opposed, Obama’s remaining hope is that he can convince 1/3 of either house to stick with him.  Should that occur, expect another one of his tawdry “victory” dances afterward.

According to the latest tally from The Washington Post, however, even achieving that 1/3 minority level of support is in jeopardy.  In the House, 290 votes are required to override an Obama veto of a resolution rejecting the accord.  The Post confirms that “all 246 House Republicans are expected to vote against the deal,”  with 18 Democrats either already against the deal or leaning against the deal, for a total of 264.  With 82 Democrats either for the deal or leaning toward favoring it, that means only 26 of 88 undeclared Democrats are needed to reach the veto override threshold.

In the Senate, meanwhile, 67 votes are required to override an Obama veto.  The Post calculates that “56 Senators – including all Republicans plus two Democrats (Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.)) – are either overtly against the pact or presumed foes.”  According to its estimate, 31 Democrats are either on record supporting the agreement or leaning that way, leaving 13 undecided.

Persuading 11 of that remaining 13 to do the right thing rather than march in lockstep with a president who will be out of office in little more than one year will be an uphill climb.  Each day, however, brings new disturbing revelations regarding the mechanics of the accord, including this week’s news that Iran will essentially be allowed to self-report on its nuclear activities.  That drip, drip, drip only makes support for Obama’s deal less defensible, and increases the justification for rejecting this dangerous capitulation.

Tags: , , ,
August 17th, 2015 at 2:23 pm
With Crime Up 26% in NYC, Guardian Angels Make a Return
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Although we support criminal justice and prison reform, we have cautioned against abandoning the tougher policing and sentencing reforms that resulted in such a remarkable and unexpected drop in American crime rates over the past two decades:

The U.S. homicide rate has been cut in half since 1992, from 9.3 murders per 100,000 people to 4.7.  That is its lowest level since 1963.  Violent crime rates reached 80 per 1,000 in 1993, but are down to 20 per 1,000 today.  No city represents that improvement more than the one most associated with broken windows policing and get-tough policies, the formerly dystopian New York City.  In 1993, the city’s murder rate  reached 26.5 per 100,000 people, and accounted for almost 8% of all U.S. homicides.  After twenty years of broken window police tactics, the rate has plummeted to 4 per 100,000, tourism has increased, famous public places are safer and the city has enjoyed an economic and lifestyle renaissance.

Disturbingly, however, two decades of plummeting crime rates have paradoxically allowed a popular sense of complacency to return, at least among political leaders seeking street cred with electoral subgroups and media indulgence.”

Unfortunately, we’re already witnessing early consequences of that movement.  In New York, as detailed today by The Telegraph, crime has already risen 26% this year, prompting the return of something to which we became accustomed in the ugly days of the 1970s and ’80s there:

With their bright red jackets and berets, the Guardian Angels were once a common sight in a city riddled with violent crime.  And this week they made a pointed return to New York’s Central Park for the first time in more than two decades, citing a 26 per cent rise in crime there so far this year.”

If nothing else, the sense of security that had returned to New York is already slipping away.  Meanwhile, even CNN reports today that a police officer pistol-whipped unconscious last week in Alabama deliberately hesitated to use appropriate force in the face of attack out of fear of being accused of racism.

While prison and criminal law reform are somewhat severable from tough policing as policy issues, this is simply not something on which we can remain complacent, lest the bad old days return.

August 14th, 2015 at 11:07 am
Gallup: Obama’s Iran Sales Job Failing with Americans
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

It says a lot about how far the Obama years have defined “success” downward that he will claim victory if he can manage to convince just 1/3 of either house of Congress to approve his much-maligned Iran nuclear capitulation.  That’s all he’ll need to overcome a near-certain veto, but leave it to him to claim that 33% amounts to some sort of mandate and justification for yet another tawdry victory lap.

Judging from public opinion, however, he may not even reach that minimal degree of support.  According to a new Gallup survey, only one in three Americans support his dealings with Iran.  In fact, Obama is under 50% approval on every single one of eight surveyed issues – race relations, the economy, terrorism, immigration, foreign affairs, education, climate change and Iran:

Only one in three Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the situation in Iran – his lowest rating of eight issues measured in a new Gallup survey.  The president’s policy toward Iran has been a major focus as he tries to drum up support for the multi-national agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities that Secretary of State John Kerry helped broker.  Obama earns his highest marks on race relations, education and climate change, though he does not receive majority approval on any.”

A president typically retains greater latitude and approval from Americans when it comes to foreign affairs, but the fact that the public rejects Obama’s Iran accord by such a wide margin is encouraging.  Now if only enough members of Congress can demonstrate similar sobriety and reject this dangerous deal with such disastrous potential long-term consequences for the nation, the region and the globe.

Tags: , ,
August 3rd, 2015 at 9:56 am
New Poll: Americans Oppose Obama-Iran Accord By Over 2-to-1
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

There’s good news to begin the week from the public opinion front.

Despite – or perhaps because of – the Obama Administration’s desperate effort to sell a skeptical Congress and American electorate on its dangerous nuclear accord with Iran, a new Quinnipiac poll shows that the public opposes the deal by more than a two-to-one margin:

American voters oppose 57-28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition from Republicans and independent voters, the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.  Voters say 58-30 percent the nuclear pact will make the world less safe, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.”

That skepticism is matched by some in Congress, including Senator Tom Cotton (R – Arkansas) and Representative Mike Pompeo (R – Kansas).  In a Wall Street Journal commentary this morning, they highlight how secret side deals between Iran and third parties offer an additional reason to withhold support:

The response from the administration to questions about the side deals has brought little reassurance.  At first the administration refrained from acknowledging their existence.  Unable to sustain that position, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on July 22 during a White House press briefing that the administration ‘knows’ the ‘content’ of the arrangements and would brief Congress on it.  Yet the same day Secretary of State John Kerry, in a closed-door briefing with members of Congress, said he had not read the side deals.  And on July 29 when pressed in a Senate hearing, Mr. Kerry admitted that a member of his negotiating team ‘may’ have read the arrangements but he was not sure.

That person, Undersecretary of State and lead negotiator Wendy Sherman, on July 30 said in an interview on MSNBC, ‘I saw the pieces of paper but wasn’t allowed to keep them.  All of the members of the P5+1 did in Vienna, and so did some of my experts who certainly understand this even better than I do.’

A game of nuclear telephone and hearsay is simply not good enough, not for a decision as grave as this one.  The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act says Congress must have full access to all nuclear agreement documents – not unverifiable accounts from Ms. Sherman or others of what may or may not be in the secret side deals.  How else can Congress, in good conscience, vote on the overall deal?”

The simple answer is that it cannot.  The Obama Administration’s disastrous Iran proposal must be rejected, and we urge our supporters and activists to contact their elected representatives in both the Senate and House to demand opposition.

July 31st, 2015 at 10:01 am
Sticker Shock: Healthcare Spending Spikes As ObamaCare Takes Effect
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

For some time now, Barack Obama and his apologists have trumpeted slowing healthcare costs as somehow attributable to ObamaCare.  Never mind that the declines predated Obama’s election, and that even The Washington Post gave him three Pinocchios in its Fact Checker analysis of this claim on November 5 of last year:

Healthcare inflation has gone down every single year since the law [ObamaCare] passed, so that we now have the lowest increase in healthcare costs in 50 years – which is saving us about $180 billion in reduced overall costs to the federal government and in the Medicare program.”

To illustrate how he played the role of rooster taking credit for the sunrise, healthcare cost inflation reached 7% in 2003, but plummeted to approximately 2% before Obama even took office.

Regardless, but healthcare costs are spiking again as ObamaCare actually takes effect:

Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade, federal actuaries said Tuesday…  The jump comes after five consecutive years of average spending growth of less than 4% annually – a rate touted by the Obama Administration as the lowest since the government began tracking health spending in the 1960s and a sign that the health law’s Medicare provisions were helping rein in health costs.”


Chalk up yet another failure of ObamaCare, which helps explain why it remains so unpopular among Americans as we “find out what’s in it” in the words of Nancy Pelosi.

July 28th, 2015 at 3:47 pm
Congress Should Oppose the So-Called “Local Radio Freedom Act”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Elementary concepts of fairness demand that musical artists and performers remain free to negotiate performance rights with broadcasters that seek to play their songs.  Indeed, current law allows artists to mutually bargain with satellite, Internet and cable stations.

The only exception:  traditional AM-FM radio stations, which are unfairly protected by federal law from having to negotiate with artists for performance rights.  This is precisely the sort of crony capitalism against which the American electorate is increasingly irate.

Unfortunately, rather than advocating market reform, some in Congress wish to cement the current protectionist status quo.  Under the so-called “Local Radio Freedom Act,” whose very name contradicts its real-world effect, terrestrial radio’s unjustifiable exemption from having to negotiate performance rights would be made more permanent.  The bill would foreclose bargained-for negotiation between artists and stations for compensation, perpetuating stations’ ability to earn billions by playing songs without paying for them.  And in an example of of supreme chutzpah, the same traditional radio stations benefiting from that loophole turn around and ask Congress to require cable and satellite providers to pay them for retransmission of television programs of stations they happen to own.

The bill’s proponents advance the offensive claim that artists seeking payment should just shut up and appreciate that their works get played over the air, thereby providing them publicity and advertising.  But that’s not something that stations should dictate.  The creators and performers of those songs should be free to determine which market model they prefer – performance for payment or free of charge.  That’s how a free market works.

Accordingly, we at CFIF have joined an array of fellow free-market organizations in a letter to Congress stating our objections to this protectionist and crony capitalist proposed legislation:

We urge you to refrain from co-sponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act, which sanctions the status quo, and has a chilling effect on the development of a forward-thinking policy that respects the rights of all music producers in all media.  The Constitution protects private property rights and specifically delegates to Congress the authority to protect creative works.  Unfortunately, LRFA closes the discussion about how to best protect property rights by resolving that terrestrial radio should never pay performance royalties on music broadcast on their stations used for raising advertising revenue.  This is not equitable treatment for any musical artist or music distribution service.”

Americans are justifiably fed up with the sort of protectionism and cronyism that this proposed legislation represents.  We accordingly urge Congress to reject it, and that our hundreds of thousands of supporters and activists across the country to contact their representatives in Congress and express their opposition as well.