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May 18th, 2018 at 12:06 pm
Image of the Day: What Obama FCC Internet Regulation Did to U.S. Broadband Investment
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Inexplicably, the U.S. Senate this week narrowly moved to restore 2015 Obama Administration Federal Communications Commission (FCC) crony capitalist internet regulations.  Here’s the effect that Obama FCC regulation immediately had on mobile broadband investment.  It’s now the duty of the House of Representatives and the Trump Administration to kill this mindless Obama-era attempt to regulate the internet, and we encourage everyone to contact their Representatives and the White House to demand that action.

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Neutering the Net

Neutering the Net

May 17th, 2018 at 9:32 am
CFIF Applauds Senator Mike Lee’s Introduction of the SMARTER Act of 2018
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
ALEXANDRIA, VA – This week, Senator Mike Lee (R – Utah) introduced the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act in the United States Senate.  Among other advancements, the SMARTER Act will address concerns that parties to a proposed merger or acquisition endure different injunction standards in court challenges, as well as different processes, depending upon which federal antitrust agency happens to be reviewing the transaction.

In response, Center for Individual Freedom (”CFIF”) Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs Timothy Lee issued the following statement:

The Center for Individual Freedom applauds Senator Mike Lee on the introduction of the SMARTER Act of 2018.  Among other improvements, this bill includes key reforms to the flawed Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) merger review process, including:  1) establishing a reasonable time limit for agency review to ensure fairer, more transparent and timely decisions, and 2) ending the ability to effectively kill transactions by designating them for hearing before Administrative Law Judges, instead requiring such cases to be litigated in federal court just as the Justice Department must when contesting proposed transactions.

CFIF urges quick Senate passage of the commonsense legislation.
May 14th, 2018 at 1:16 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:  Jonathan Williams, Chief Economist and Vice President, Center for State Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council - Rich States, Poor States;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Pete Sepp, President of National Taxpayers Union – Unemployment Report;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment – New NAFTA;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council – Sugar Subsidies;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:   Fred Lucas, White House Correspondent at the Daily Signal at The Heritage Foundation – Judicial Nominees and Schneiderman;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm EDT:  Richard Samp, Chief Counsel, Washington Legal Foundation – Drug Innovators and Liability; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – Intellectual Property and More.

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

May 11th, 2018 at 1:03 pm
Sen. Pat Toomey in WSJ: Strengthen IP Rules During NAFTA Renegotiation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In this week’s Liberty Update, we emphasize how intellectual property (IP) protection should be priority number one for the Trump Administration as it renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) this month.

In that vein, we’re pleased to see Senator Pat Toomey (R – Pennsylvania) echo that point in his commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal:

[T]he administration can accept the advice from many members of Congress and others to modernize Nafta in ways that expand trade opportunities without curtailing American consumers’ freedom…  Nafta’s pre-internet intellectual property rules could be strengthened.”

Well said, and hopefully the message resonates within the Trump Administration to continue its remarkable recent string of economic and international successes.

May 8th, 2018 at 9:27 am
Image of the Day: Jerusalem Street Signs Now Announce U.S. Embassy
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Something that should’ve happened long ago, but that all Americans should be grateful to have been accomplished in swift order by President Trump – new street signs pointing to U.S. embassy in Jerusalem:

At Long Last - U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

At Long Last - U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

May 4th, 2018 at 1:25 pm
Holman Jenkins on the Return to FCC Sanity Under Chairman Ajit Pai
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

From the always-insightful Holman Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal in his latest “Business World” commentary:

Mr. Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, cares about good policy.  That hasn’t been the rule for years.  During the Obama era, tech and telecom policy were driven by White House interest in whipping up millennials and exploiting public hostility to cable providers.”

April 30th, 2018 at 10:12 am
Image of the Day: A Jobs Boom
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

It’s almost as if the wave of deregulation and tax cuts had some sort of impact.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), no refuge of supply-side enthusiasts, just boosted its job growth estimate by 2.6 from last year’s estimate:

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Deregulation and Tax Cuts:  Jet Fuel For Jobs

Deregulation and Tax Cuts: Jet Fuel For Jobs

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April 26th, 2018 at 5:51 pm
Help Modernize the U.S. Sugar Program: Text “SUGAR” to 52886

We at CFIF have long sounded the alarm regarding the federal sugar policy morass.

There may be no uglier illustration of the crony capitalism, government meddling in our economy and bureaucratic mandates anywhere within our federal government.  And the program demonstrably ends up costing far more jobs and hurting far more American consumers than it benefits, as we noted in January:

It costs almost three times as many jobs as it claims to protect;  results in American consumers and manufacturers paying double the cost for a product that consumers and industries in other countries pay;  eliminates over 100,000 American manufacturing jobs;  and costs Americans approximately $3 billion per year.

But now there’s something you can do to bring about positive change.  Our friends at the Alliance for Fair Sugar Policy have launched a simple and effective grassroots tool to help generate messages to Congress.

There’s nothing that grabs the attention of Senators and Representatives and drives them to action more than hearing from actual constituents. Accordingly, please take just a short moment to view the image below and take action by simply texting “SUGAR” to 52886.

April 23rd, 2018 at 3:58 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show Lineup
Posted by CFIF Staff 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: Mimi Teixeira, Graduate Fellow in Welfare Policy at The Heritage Foundation: Welfare Reform and Food Stamps;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Lee A. Casey, Partner at Baker & Hostetler: Trump’s Pardon of Scooter Libby;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Tzvi Kahn, Senior Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Syria;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Steve DelBianco, President and CEO of NetChoice: Wayfair and Internet Taxation;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: William J. Conti, Partner at Baker & Hostetler: Comey, Cohen and Stormy; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Leslie Coleman, Public Relations Coordinator for Lifeguard Ambulance Service: Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Business and Leadership Conference.

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

April 22nd, 2018 at 10:35 pm
Image of the Day: Another Blown Climate Alarmist Prediction
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

From our friends at AEI in honor of Earth Day, another “inconvenient fact” refuting hysterical climate alarmist claims:

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Another Inconvenient Fact

Another Inconvenient Fact

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April 18th, 2018 at 9:52 am
Image of the Day: Job Growth Estimate Boosted
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So after just one year of tax-cutting and deregulation under the Trump Administration, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has revised its estimate of job growth over the next decade upward by over 2.5 million new jobs.  As they say in the legal field, “res ipsa loquitur” – “the fact speaks for itself.”

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Upward Job Growth Estimate

Upward Job Growth Estimate

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April 12th, 2018 at 4:19 pm
Facebook Testifies Before Congress, but Where’s Google?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Where’s Google?

That’s the question asked by Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, in an op-ed published by The Hill in the lead up to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s much-anticipated testimony before Congressional committees this week.

While Facebook understandably is dominating the news, Lee wrote, “Google’s data practices are perhaps even more troubling.”

Lee goes on to suggest that its time for all internet platforms, including Facebook, Google and others, to stop eschewing accountability:

As a threshold matter, platforms must accept that they play an important role in addressing the harms they enable. To date, their voluntary measures have fallen far short, largely consisting of asking outside groups like Wikipedia or Snopes.com to referee their problems. But non-profit encyclopedias and fact-checkers simply aren’t equipped to solve these problems, particularly those who might possess their own biases and motives. Platforms themselves can and should do far more to address illegal and illicit conduct they facilitate.

The internet has changed the way we communicate, conduct commerce and entertain ourselves. Growing concerns about the ease with which bad actors exploit it, however, undermines consumer confidence and erodes public trust. By eschewing accountability, dominant online platforms contribute to that downward spiral.
Read the entire op-ed here.

April 11th, 2018 at 5:17 pm
Great News: Comprehensive Music Reform Legislation Introduced in Congress
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

CFIF steadfastly supports America’s world-leading tradition of strong intellectual property rights, which have made us the most creative, inventive and prosperous nation in human history.

That includes the music industry, which stands unrivaled in terms of worldwide influence and fecundity, but which we’ve noted merits attention from Congress:

Under byzantine laws, artists receive just compensation whenever their post-1972 recordings are played, but in many cases not for their pre-1972 recordings.  That’s an indefensible and arbitrary artifact that has persisted far too long.  Why should Neil Diamond receive payment whenever ‘America’ is played, but not classics like ‘Solitary Man?’

Fortunately, the opportunity to correct that unfairness has arrived.  Even better, legislation to correct the existing flawed system arrives alongside other music legislation that galvanizes the coalition to finally correct the situation.  As a result, a broad coalition of music organizations representing everyone from songwriters, composers, performers, publishers and labels support three new pieces of legislation…”

Well, this week offers very welcome news.

The Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447) has been introduced in Congress, as cogently summarized by the musicFIRST Coalition:

Introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R – VA) and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D – NY), the Music Modernization Act combines music licensing reforms outlined in the CLASSICS Act, Songwriters Equity Act of 2015, the rate standard parity provisions of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, and AMP Act into a single, consensus piece of legislation.  The MMA addresses specific music legacy issues such as establishing federal copyright protection for artists who recorded before 1972, creating a single licensing entity to administer music publishing rights for all digital music and ensuring producers and engineers receive royalties for their contributions to the music they help create.

The consensus legislation introduced today in the House would not have been possible without the leadership from Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Nadler, Rep. Doug Collins (R – GA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R- CA), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D – NY) and other leaders from both parties who worked together to craft legislation that is broadly supported by the entire music industry, streaming services and music creators.”

This legislation is long overdue.  CFIF therefore applauds the Committee for its unanimous support, and urges swift passage by the House to finally rectify the existing unfairness in the nation’s music laws.

April 9th, 2018 at 2:30 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show Lineup
Posted by CFIF Staff 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: Sam Kazman, General Counsel, Competitive Enterprise Institute: Fuel Economy Standards;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute: Split Up the Ninth Circuit;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Tori K. Whiting, Jay Van Andel Trade Economist at Heritage’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies: China Trade Wars;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: David Keating, President of the Institute for Free Speech: Free Speech Index;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: David Williams, President of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance: Funding Cuts to WHO;

5:15 CDT/6:15pm EDT: Helen Raleigh, Successful Businesswoman, Chinese Immigrant and a Fellow at the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University: Dealing with North Korea; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Sam Parker, Santa Rosa County Commissioner: The Latest News and Commentary.

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

April 9th, 2018 at 9:21 am
Image of the Day: More Trump Bump, Which They Said Couldn’t Be Done
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

During the Obama years, when we endured the worst cyclical economic “recovery” in recorded U.S. history, we were told that the 3% economic growth to which we’d become accustomed since measurement began was a thing of the past, and that “secular stagnation” was the order of the future.  Well, in just the first year of the Trump presidency, a funny thing happened:

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Three Percent Miraculously Returns

Three Percent Miraculously Returns

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April 3rd, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Mike Bates in Pensacola News Journal: Florida’s New 2nd Amendment Restrictions Shamefully Unconstitutional
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Writing in the Pensacola News Journal, WEBY 1330 radio host Mike Bates offers potent commentary regarding Florida’s new Second Amendment restrictions:

Although well intended, the law’s exemption that permits 18- to 20-year-old military personnel to buy firearms is an outrageous provision.  Does the government of Florida really believe that military personnel deserve special constitutional rights that are denied to civilians?  Should constitutional rights be earned through military service and denied to those who do not serve?  That’s what the new Florida law does.”

He concludes with a stirring call to action and citizen involvement:

If we are not steadfast in defense of our liberties, the politicians and judges will destroy our constitutional rights.  It won’t occur through outright repeals;  it will happen by rendering our rights meaningless through unconstitutional laws and court rulings.  It is an obligation of all decent citizens to prevent that.  The government of Florida has already shown it will not.  It’s disgraceful.”

Read the entire piece here.

March 29th, 2018 at 10:30 am
Court Reverses Another Obama Administration Regulatory Abuse
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Bit by bit, Obama Administration regulatory abuses are being dismantled by the executive, legislative and judiciary branches.  This month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned one of the worst.

The Dodd-Frank Act, which itself made matters worse rather than better in the wake of the government-fueled financial downturn of 2008, explicitly empowered the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the agency to formulate rules relating to investment advisers who offer “personalized investment advice about securities to a retail customer.”  The statute also explicitly prevented the prohibition of commission-based compensation.

But as was too often the case, a rogue federal agency under Obama felt unconstrained by mere laws and norms of conduct.  Specifically, Labor Department Tom Perez decided to dictate the exact opposite:

Mr. Perez essentially rewrote the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates employer- and union-sponsored plans differently from individual retirement accounts.  For instance, individuals are allowed to sue fiduciaries of employer and union plans for charging a commission.  Labor applied the more rigorous protections for employer and union plans to IRAs.  Mr. Perez also extended Erisa’s definition of ‘investment advice fiduciaries,’ who provide advice ‘on a regular basis,’ to broker-dealers and financial-insurance agents who merely  sell a product.”

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, was unamused and eviscerated Mr. Perez’s lawless maneuver.  Judge Edith Jones, one of the most reliably impressive judges in the entire judiciary branch, wrote for the majority that, “Transforming sales pitches into the recommendations of a trusted adviser mixes apples and oranges.”  She added that this created an impossible dilemma to navigate, as, “Thousands of brokers and insurance agents who deal with IRA investors must either forgo commission based transactions and move to fees for account management or accept the burdensome regulations and heightened lawsuit exposure required by the [best interest contract exemption] contract provisions.”

The inescapable consequence of such a rule raised costs for small investors most of all, who would’ve faced no alternative to what The Wall Street Journal labels “robo-advice.”  Indeed, several investment firms had already stopped offering services in those parts of the retirement investment marketplace.

There’s still much work to do in reversing eight years of Obama Administration malfeasance, including at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as we have constantly emphasized.  But the good news is that the job is underway, as this latest appellate court ruling illustrates.

March 28th, 2018 at 7:25 pm
Image of the Day: Anti-Gun March Spikes Record Online Searches for “NRA Membership”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So that profanity-laced anti-Second Amendment protest last weekend?  As illustrated by the Daily Caller, it actually triggered a record spike in online searches for the term “NRA membership.”  Oooops.

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Marchers Trigger Record NRA Membership Search Interest

Marchers Trigger Record NRA Membership Search Interest

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March 26th, 2018 at 3:03 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:  Dr. Leon Aron, Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies – Putin’s Re-Election;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Eric Wang, Special Counsel at Wiley Rein – Citizens United, Part 2;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Michelle Minton, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute – Legal Sports Betting;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:   Quin Hillyer, Contributing Editor of National Review Magazine, Senior Editor for The American Spectator Magazine, and a Nationally Recognized Authority on the American Political Process – Government Shutdowns;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Andrew Och, Award Winning Television Producer, First Ladies Man and Author – Women’s History Month and the First Ladies; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – Stronger Patents, US Postal Service and the Save Local Business Act .

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

March 23rd, 2018 at 12:25 pm
Image of the Day: State/Local Sales Tax Receipts Reached Record High in 2017
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

When internet sales tax proponents plead deprivation due to online commerce, highlight this CNS News graphic illustrating how state and local sales taxes actually hit a record high in 2017:

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State and Local Sales Taxes Reach New High

State and Local Sales Taxes Reach New High

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