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By Nancy Thorner – 

As published in the New York Times on Wednesday, April 19, 2017:

Tucker Carlson, a conservative provocateur who joined Fox News’s prime-time ranks only three months ago, has been tapped to replace Mr. O’Reilly at 8 p.m. Eastern, beginning on Monday, the network said. Mr. Carlson has become, seemingly overnight, one of the network’s most vital players, a remarkable turnaround for a pundit whose bow-tied heyday had seemed behind him.

About a week or so ago I discussed with CA political writer and humorist, Burt Prelutsky, my observations regarding Tucker Carlson’s Fox cable show.

Illinois Review readers were first introduced to Mr. Prelutsky and his one-of-a-kind writing though my review of his book, Angels on Tap, on Monday, March 27, 2017.  Angels on Tap is now a delightful, family-oriented movie with religious overtones. (Lacking yet is a distributor)

Perceived was a decided change in Tucker Carlson’s manner from the more aggressive stance he first took when his show premiered until now. But did Tucker really tone down his show, or did perhaps some of the novelty of a new Fox face lead to a false perception?

As Burt Prelutsky suggested, perhaps booking more guests would help.  By so doing Tucker wouldn’t have to waste so much time with some of his self-righteous pinheads guests. Prelutsky used Tucker’s Wednesday, April 20th show as an example. When interviewing the woman who thought there was no limit to Muslim immigrants Europe should be welcoming, Tucker kept demanding the woman answer his “core question,” belaboring the point like a dog with a bone.  As Burt wrote in his typical witty fashion:

But if people don’t care to answer, you have the option of either asking a different question or tying them down and hitting them with rubber hoses.  It felt like the segment went on for half an hour.

Food for Thought: 

  • We both perceive that Tucker is showing a tad too much fear about a war with Russia.  It makes him sound too much like a liberal.  Most people don’t want to go to war, but by standing up to naked aggression, we have less chance of a war than we had under Obama, who encouraged our enemies by never standing up to them.
  • Tucker repeatedly misses cues, as when he fails to mention Hillary’s turning over 20% of America’s uranium in exchange for a bribe to the Clinton Foundation when a guest slanders Trump for his alleged bromance with the Russian despot.
  • With Tucker taking over Bill O’Reilly’s highly prized time slot, viewers will have to decide if he’s ready for primetime.  On balance, we both feel that an hour spent with Tucker is worthwhile more often than not.

Burt Prelutsky granted me permission to share his blog post about Tucker published on Monday, April 17, 2017, demonstrating Prelutsky’s fact-filled and humorous way of writing, which defines all of what Mr. Prelutsky’s writes. .

LISTEN UP, TUCKER CARLSON

Nobody was happier than I was when Tucker Carlson replaced Megyn Kelly on Fox.  But I am beginning to lose patience with him because he’s reminding me of the famous little girl with the curl, the one who was very good when she was good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.

The other night, (Monday, April 11, 2017) we got to see both Tuckers in the same hour.  He did a good job of ridiculing Brad Sherman  who just happens to be my congressman.  After Sherman theorized that Trump had tomahawked Syria, not for humanitarian or militarily strategic reasons or even to send a clear signal to China and North Korea, but simply to deflect claims that he’s in bed with Putin, Tucker did a splendid job of mocking him as the ignoramus I know him to be.

But Sherman, whose skin must be nearly as thick as his head, appeared unfazed.  In fact, when Tucker asked him if he didn’t agree that the pinpoint attack on the Syrian airfield was a good thing, Sherman replied: “After the chemical bombings of civilians by Assad, any president would have done the same.”

I, and I suspect the majority of Carlson’s viewers, sat in stunned silence when the host failed to point out there had in fact been a president, a member of Sherman’s own party in fact, who, even after drawing a red line in the sand, had done absolutely nothing.

But missing his cues has become something of a habit with Carlson.  A few nights earlier, when another left-wing congressman accused Donald Trump of playing footsies with Putin, Carlson failed to mention that not a single Democrat in Congress complained when Secretary of State Clinton handed over 20% of America’s uranium to Russia in exchange for a huge bribe to her family’s foundation.  As mortal sins go, most people would agree that playing footsies, even if true, would pale by comparison.

I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that Carlson’s case is hopeless.  After blowing it with Rep. Sherman, he made something of a comeback when he had on a New York City public defender whose client is an illegal alien who had been convicted of sexually abusing a child and deported.  As so often is the case, the schmuck snuck back in.  This time he attacked a woman on a subway.

The lawyer’s complaint was that the NYPD had informed ICE of his court date, so they’d be in a position to take him into federal custody.  She regarded this as a moral outrage because Mayor Bill De Blasio had assured everyone that New York was a sanctuary city, and that such things would never happen.

Apparently, there are those, including this public defender, who believe, as does Mayor De Blasio, that he is God.  Carlson did a good job of disabusing her of that notion.

Carlson also did a good job of refuting a lawyer who is fighting the Texas law requiring people to show a government-issued I.D. (driver’s license, passport, gun permit) in order to vote.

As Carlson pointed out, you can’t board a plane, receive welfare, hold a paying job or get a credit card, without one of these documents.  In most places, you can’t even register your kids for school if you can’t prove who you are.

But the lady ignored the facts, instead focusing on a fraudulent number — 600,000, mostly black and Hispanic — whom she insisted had lost their voting rights because of the Texas bill.

Carlson patiently explained that while it’s true that voting is a constitutional right, so is owning a gun.  And yet, there are several barriers that American citizens have to successfully hurdle, including providing a photo I.D., before they can purchase a pistol.

Instead of agreeing that it’s not unreasonable for Texas to require the same proof of identity before allowing someone to vote that is required of someone buying a six-pack of Budweiser, the loon doubled down by contending that only two cases of voter fraud had been discovered in Texas, and so those pesky ID’s are clearly unnecessary.

Heaven only knows what they’re teaching in law school these days, but, apparently, logic isn’t one of them.


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By Nancy Thorner –  

The Heartland Institute on April 12 hosted “An Evening with Sen. David Leyonhjelm,” a lawmaker that distinguishes himself as the only Libertarian in the Australian Parliament – the “Rand Paul of the Senate Down Under.”  Leyonhjelm stopped at Heartland as part of his week-long tour of the United States.

In Australia, what Americans know as the Libertarian Party goes under the party name “Liberal Democrats.” While both terms may convey nasty connotations to some, not so if liberalism is referred to in its “classical” sense as a philosophy and ideology belonging to liberalism – in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual, and upon the realization that a “Democrat” in Australia does not resemble America’s Democratic Party. The same applies to Australia’s main political parties: The Liberal Partyresembles conservative-leaning Republicans, while the Labor Party is most like our Democrats, and Australia’s Green Party is America’s Socialist Party.

The Liberal Democrats were founded as a political party in Australia in 2001, although Leyonhjelm didn’t join until 2005. Active in managing the Liberal Democrat Party in 2007, 2010, and 2013, it was in 2013 election that Leyonhjelm won his seat in the Senate representing New South Wales as the first member of the Australian parliament from the classical liberal or “Libertarian” Party. When Senator Leyonhjelm joined the party, its membership totaled 150 members. It now has more than 4,500. Review here the positions taken by the Libertarian Party in Australia.

Australia’s Government Allows Minority Parties to Thrive

Jim Lakely, Heartland’s director of communications, introduced Leyonhjelm and suggested he speak about the political disruption in Australia, and if it’s similar to what happened with the election of President Trump in the U.S. and Brexit in Great Britain. Leyonhjelm agreed that there has been a disruption of Australia’s major political parties but first wanted to explain the make-up of Australia’s parliamentary system of government, which differs greatly from the U.S. in that it allows minority parties to exert influence.

  • There are 76 senators – 12 from each of the six states, two from each territory. The usual term is six years. The support of the majority party never happens in the Senate. Leyonhjelm is the only elected member of the Liberal Democrat Party in the Central Parliament.
  • Government is formed in the lower House, the House of Representatives. Whoever wins the majority in the House forms the government and who governs. In the Senate the government never has majority support.
  • The House of Representatives does require the support of Senate members to pass legislation. These Senate members are referred to as “crossbench” senators.
  • Presently there are 12 crossbench legislators in the Senate. Leyonhjelm is one of them. Government needs the vote of 10 crossbench legislators to pass bills.

Senator Leyonhjelm then went on to speak about protest votes – which took place in Australia in 2012 and 2016 – and were not unlike what happened to elect Trump and with the Brexit vote in Great Britain. In 2012, a protest party won three seats in the Senate, which no longer exists because of disunity among its members. Then in 2016, another protest party formed and won four Senate seats, which accounts for the12 crossbench legislators now in the Senate. Senator Leyonhjelm is among them.

Conflict About Australian Immigration Policy

As Leyonhjelm explained, although Australia has always welcomed immigrants – and Australia has very few illegal immigrants – immigration has now become an issue in the country. As the Australian Constitution has no Bill of Rights to assure Freedom of Speech, immigration has become linked with free speech. A pending law would make it illegal to “assault” with speech anyone on the basis of their race, nationality, or color. It was in 2014 that Senator Leyonhjelm said that some cultures are incompatible with Australian society, and that could become illegal in his country.

Budget and Energy Issues Loom Large in Australia

On Australia’s budget, Senator Leyonhjelm said his country is not as close to the cliff as is the U.S. and Europe, but it will get there soon if left unchecked.

Regarding energy, Leyonhjelm laid the blame of Australia’s energy problems – including rolling blackouts in the state of South Australia – on poor government policy. A goal was set to have 23.5 percent of all energy by 2020 produced by renewable energy sources. As of now, Australia is nowhere near that target. Leyonhjelm spoke of the high and rising costs of electricity, with no one willing to build private baseline power plants because of regulation uncertainties.

His prediction: Black outs will be frequent next summer, and taxpayer money will be needed to build fossil-fuel (coal) power stations that used to be funded by the private sector. Although there is a ban on fracking in several Australian states, there is lots of coal and gas. There is also plenty of uranium – which matters not, because nuclear energy is also banned in Australia. Senator Leyonhjelm did take a stand last year against the need for a carbon tax or any other type of tax.

Senator Leyonhjelm’s Fight for Liberty in Australia

Despite being the only libertarian in the Australian Parliament, Senator Leyonhjelm described his leverage vote in the Senate as a good one from time to time. He has two promises he strives to keep: He’ll never vote to raise taxes, and he will always vote to increase liberty. While holding that pledge from the crossbench seat, he’s been able to get concessions from the government, such as:

1. Saved a rifle range in Sydney, Australia that was in danger of being shut down. Leyonhjelm was able to extend its operation for 50 years.

2. Established an inquiry into the Nanny State, believing that good laws create freedom, not a nanny state.

3. Promoted an inquiry on Red Tape. Senator Leyonhjelm, representing New South Wales, chairs the committee as the only Liberal Democrat Party member in the Senate.

4. Introduced the concept of Liberty Offsets, in keeping with his principle rule as a senator mentioned above – that he will never vote to increase taxes or for a reduction of liberty. As explained by Senator Leyonhjelm at a news conference in Canberra: “The whole idea of these negotiations has been to offset any lost freedoms by introducing new ones.”

Additional Issues Facing Australia

In regard to Australia’s GDP, scheduled to be reported in May, it will not going up. This is not a surprise to Senator Leyonhjelm, which he contributes to Australia’s immigration program and the cost related to the free services provided. Such a practice does not contribute to elevating the per capita income.

Concerning free speech issue in Australia’s High Court, the media is not permitted to report on Court hearings. Senator Leyonhjelm does have a number of private bills in the Senate regarding advancing the principle of free speech. Even though private bills aren’t usually passed, it does force government to consider them. Leyonhjelm supports removing the ban for assisted suicide, for the simple reason that we should own our own lives. If we are not free to end our lives, with assistance if necessary, then we are not free at all.

In reference to Australia’s energy and budget crisis, Senator Leyonhjeim further related how public politicians have NO appetite or the courage to cut back spending and reduce taxes. Politicians might agree on what must be done, but don’t know how to do so to get re-elected, for saying the right thing is not the same as doing it. Does this sound familiar? Notwithstanding, Australia’a budget moves closer to the cliff every year. Leyonhjeim believes the energy crisis will only be solved when more blackouts occur this summer.

Senator Leyonhjelm further believes that only a left-wing government would be able to give government a haircut – much the way only Nixon could go to China. A left-wing government could get away with it, while a right-wing government would be branded as heartless. Australia, by the way, presently has a conservative government.

As to Senator Leyonhjelm’s political life as a Libertarian in Australia, he admitted it was a lonely one. Gratitude was expressed for the support Leyonhjelm receives from Libertarians here in America, especially The Heartland Institute. Leyonhjelm also reminded attendees, only half in jest, that there is no law against contributing here in America to his party in Australia.

Personal Observations About Leyonhjelm’s Speech at The Heartland Institute

1. On the whole, Senator Leyonhjelm’s talk sounded quite reasonable as he never touched on those hot-button issues that make libertarians unacceptable to those of who hold dear our conservative Republicans values. Observe here the positions on issues set forth by the Liberal Democrats (Libertarians) in Australia. They seem to closely mirror the libertarian political philosophy here in America, down to supporting the legalization of use, cultivation, processing, possession, transport, and sale of cannabis, with protection of minors and penalties for driving while impaired.

2. I found this piece about Donald Trump written on March 20 by Senator Leyonhjelm. Perhaps Leyonhjelm was hesitant at Heartland to admit what he really thought of Trump, knowing there were likely conservative Republicans in the room?

(Watch his presentation here.)


Monday, April 10, 2017


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Watkins - #2By Nancy Thorner – 

What did the American Founders actually intend for the country and does it even matter today?

William Watkins, Jr., as the featured speaker at The Heartland Institute’s Wednesday evening free series of event, spoke about his book, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. Watkin’s book takes a surprising and thought-provoking look at the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and asks what we can learn from them.

William Watkins, Jr. is a research fellow at the Independent Institute. He received his B.A. in history and German summa cum laude from Clemson University and his J.D. cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a former law clerk to Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has served as a prosecutor and defense lawyer and has practiced in various state and federal courts. Other books include Judicial Monarchs: The Case for Restoring Popular Sovereignty in the United States, and the Independent Institute books, Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy; and Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation. 

William Watkins, Jr. introduced by Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute

William J. Watkins, in Crossroads for Liberty, rescues the Articles of Confederation from obscurity and condemnation. Watkins does not claim that the Articles constituted a perfect system, but it was a much better system than has been portrayed in history books.

For many years, the Articles of Confederation have been taught in American History class as having created too weak a central government, that it accomplished nothing, and that thankfully it was scrapped and replaced with the U.S. Constitution. Not so, according to Watkins. The Articles needed some reform, but it was a credible document before the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Watkins likewise cleared up a misconception held by many that the Revolutionary War was all about taxation, brought to a head with the Boston Tea Party. Not true, he said. The argument was about sovereignty. Where did it lie? Did it lie in the British Parliament, or would individual states be able to govern themselves. In the Declaration of Independence, King George III of England was mentioned as the recognized power of authority whose removal was necessary for local state assemblies to achieve local rule.

Articles of Confederation Empowered State Governments

As to why the Articles of Confederation were adopted in the first place, patriot leaders at the time didn’t want some far off government telling them what to do concerning local matters. The Articles of Confederation were designed to let the people of each state govern themselves, while forming an alliance to maintain their independence. Delegates couldn’t serve more than three years out of a six-year period. In this way, legislators would feel the bit of the laws they passed.

In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, Federalists like Alexander Hamilton began to express dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, thinking it a hopelessly weak common government for the United States that needed replacement. Others, like anti-federalist Patrick Henry, strongly voiced how under the Articles of Confederation its government had put an army in the field for seven years to defeat the mighty British Empire. Said Henry: “Ditching the Articles of Confederation would only lead to an increasingly centralized government that would eventually result in weak states dictated to by a centralized government.”

Using the same reasoning as proclaimed by Patrick Henry, Watkins noted how the goals of the Articles of Confederation had been met:

  • Great Britain was defeated. Hadn’t the British Navy ruled the world?
  • Self-government and the states had been preserved.

But economic hardship did exist in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War due to the cost of achieving freedom from Great Britain – i.e. hard cash was limited, the protection of the British Navy was lost, as was the right to trade with the British West Indies. 

Ratification of Constitution Hinged on a Bill of Rights 

Federalists won the argument. Led by Federalist Alexander Hamilton, who believed a Constitution with a federal system of government could accomplish the same thing without the deficiencies in the Articles – and who further argued that because the Articles of Confederation were committed to states’ rights reform of the Articles was not possible — a Constitutional Convention was needed. Subsequently, a Constitution was written during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia by 55 delegates to a Constitutional Convention that was called ostensibly to amend the Articles of Confederation (1781–89), the country’s first written constitution.

The new Constitution was submitted for ratification to the 13 states on September 28, 1787. It was ratified by nine states in June of 1788, as required by Article VII. The date of March 4, 1789 was set by Congress as to when the new government would begin operating, with the first elections under the Constitution held late in 1788. 

Why did four of the 13 states refuse to ratify the Constitution when first submitted to them? As Watkins explained, one of the many points of contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the Constitution is that it lacked a Bill of Rights that would place specific limits on government power. Although nine states had ratified the Constitution by June of 1788, the key states of Virginia and New York would only ratify the Constitution after James Madison promised that a Bill of Rights would be added after ratification.

Two states, Rhode Island and North Carolina, refused to ratify without a Bill of Rights. In June 1789, Madison proposed a series of amendments to be debated in the first Congress. These amendments to the United States Constitution (10 of them) became known as the Bill of Rights.

Rough Sailing for the Newly Adopted Constitution of 1787

Watkins enumerated three lies that angered segments of the American population after they had been assured that certain things would not happen with the ratification of the Constitution.

1st lie

Farmers were told that the excise power in the Constitution wouldn’t be used except in unusual situations. The Whiskey Rebellion was a response to the excise tax proposed by Alexander Hamilton, who was Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1791. In January 1791, President George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton proposed a seemingly innocuous excise tax “upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same.” What Congress failed to predict was the vehement rejection of this tax by Americans living on the frontier of Western Pennsylvania. By 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion threatened the stability of the nascent United States and forced President Washington to personally lead the United States militia westward to stop the rebels. Learn More

2nd lie

It was the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, signed into law by President John Adams, that when put into practice became a black mark on the Nation’s reputation. People were lied to again. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act.

3rd lie

Alexander Hamilton’s claim that the Articles of Confederation were useless, and the only remedy was to draft a new governing document.

Anticipated Fears about 1787 Constitution Were Not Speculative in Nature 

Watkins suggested that our Constitution of 1787 is not the greatest gift of political science that the world has ever seen.

1. How can one size fit all with a nation of 50 states?

2. How can a national government be in charge of 300-plus million Americans? 

3. Shouldn’t individual states serve as laboratories of experimentation and policy making?

4. Does James Madison’s worry about the accumulation of power, which, he said “in one place is paramount to tyranny,” seem justified?

5. How can “We the People” monitor those we elect given the super-sized districts they represent? Watkins believes that the present system of limiting the House of Representatives to only 435 members is detrimental to limited government, for as the population expands those representatives become increasing disconnected to the very people they are supposed to be representing.

6. Can representative government even exist in a country of this size?

A massive shift of power happened when Senate members were elected. The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution – proposed by the 62nd Congress in 1912 – established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. The amendment supersedes Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures.

As Watkins stated, the Founding Father reasoned that only licentious behavior and luxury could destroy the Constitution. Some 230 years later, this long-ago fear has been realized, as the founding principles of this nation have been eroded and cast aside in the interim. 

Human nature is flawed, and, as noted by Jefferson, “the chains of the Constitution” were needed, but what can now be done? As reasoned by Watkins, we certainly cannot return to the Articles of Confederation, nor is it possible to return to the Constitution, at least not as it was first conceived by our Founding Fathers.

Watkins suggested that general education is needed so the public, and especially young people, come to realize that the Socialism spouted by Bernie Sanders, embraced without even realizing what was being offered, is an evil and unworkable system of government.  

Selected Questions and Answers

Q: Why was the American Revolution different from revolutions in other nations?

A: Our revolution was based on the Rule of Law, whether sovereignty existed with the King of England or with state assemblies, which gave us a foundation upon which to base our government. The American people perceived that things were out of kilter and had to be restored.

Q: Is an Article V Convention a realistic plan? Is this an efficient way to address some of the flaws in our Constitution?

A: Watkins didn’t think it wise to take what we have and then trust that the results will be positive. As Watkins notes in his book: “There never have been enough states requesting a convention and this is for good reason. First, no one knows whether such a convention would be limited or unlimited in its scope. If the states requested a convention to consider proposing a balanced budget amendment, would the convention be prohibited from also offering amendments on matters such as abortion or capital punishment?” Watkins adds, “A convention could result in much chaos and constitutional uncertainty.”

“On paper,” Watkins laments, “they [the states] could demand a convention, but in reality Congress holds all the cards when it comes to constitutional change.” Instead, Watkins argues that “the states need the ability to propose and consider amendments without the involvement of the national legislature or the risk associated with a convention.” 

Q: Why the need for the Bill of Rights? 

A: People and states were fearful of a new federal government having too much power. 

Watch here the YouTube video of William J. Watkins, Jr. discussing his insightful book, Crossroads for Liberty. 



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Heartland Institute’s President and Founder Joe Bast

By Nancy Thorner – 

The Obama administration used concern over “global warming” as a false flag operation to advance it’s left-wing agenda to “transform” the country’s energy sector. This makes global warming policy — not global warming itself — the greatest threat facing this nation. This was one of the themes of The Heartland Institute’s Twelfth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-12), held in Washington D.C. on March 23-24, 2007.

According to Heartland President Joseph Bast in opening remarks, the election of Donald Trump on November 8 opened a new chapter in the global warming debate, creating hope that a new pro-environment, pro-energy, and pro-jobs agenda will be created to benefit the American people.  ICCC-12 was the first major conference on climate change to take place after Trump’s election, and its 40-some speakers presented the science and economics that are the foundation of that new agenda.  Speaker after speaker rejected the policies and claims of President Barack Obama and showed optimism about the possibility of dismantling these policies now that Donald Trump is in office.

Of note is that four special awards were presented to those who had made huge contributions to the Climate Debate.

  • Col. Walter Cunningham is best known as pilot of Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the Apollo Program to land a man on the Moon. 
  • J. Scott Armstrong, Ph.D., a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, was applauded for his research on forecasting.
  • Myron Ebell, director of energy and environment policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and chair of the Trump administration’s EPA transition team.
  • Dr. John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY) is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environments and Public Works (EPA).  Unfortunately Barrasso was unable to attend to receive his award in person because of the House debate on replacing Obamacare.

Three Republican legislators were scheduled to appear at ICCC-12, but only Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) could attend in person.  Senator Barrasso, M.D., a reward recipient, received his award In absentia, while Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma made his remarks through a video presentation. Unfortunately, many legislators were tied up in their respective Chambers during ICCC-12, House members with repealing Obamacare and Senate members in dealing with Chief Justice nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Joseph Bast, president and CEO of The Heartland Institute welcomes guests

Joseph Bast, president and CEO of The Heartland Institute, welcomed an enthusiastic group of 300 attendees. The meeting included eleven panels and five plenary sessions offering views on such topics as climate science, environmental economics, and the relationship between fossil fuels and human prosperity, the environment; human health; and world peace.

On Heartland’s agenda was an impressive group of keynote speakers including Lord Christopher Monckton for his wit and humor as well as mastering of mathematics and statistics; Patrick Michaels, a climate scientist with the Cato Institute who has written numerous books on the subject; Roger Helmer, a member of the European Parliament; and Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr, who delivered a presentation he and others at Heartland had prepared to deliver to President-elect Trump in person.

Bast related how EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, recently remarked on CNBC that human activity is not the primary activity of the global warming that we see. More good news followed when Bast recounted a remark made by Trump’s budget director when announcing that global warming activities were not going to be funded because the president doesn’t think the issue is important. 

Climate “realists” have won the public opinion debate, Bast claimed. He cited survey data showing most Americans don’t believe human activity is responsible for most global warming, further stating that “42% of Americans don’t want to spend a dollar more to prevent global warming.”  Bast then related how the Trump administration has proposed cutting EPA funding by 1/3, and how the subsidies shoring up the wind and solar industry are soon to be on the cutting block. Without those subsidies, wind and solar energy would be unaffordable. Britain, Spain, Germany, and Australia are all cutting back on their sustainable energy funding, Bast said.

Breakfast, Thursday, March 23:  Keynote Address, Jay Lehr, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Science Director of The Heartland Institute  

Following opening remarks, Joe Bast spoke about the 20-minute presentation The Heartland Institute was asked to prepare and present to explain global warming to President-elect Trump. Jay Lehr, PhD. was selected to share Heartland’s compilation of facts based on sound scientific research to President-elect Trump. Lehr’s direct presentation never happened, but Heartland’s message was shared with others in the Trump administration.   

With this in mind, Mr. Bast called Dr. Jay Lehr to the podium to present Heartland’s slide presentation as prepared for President-elect Trump. Lehr, who delivers one or two addresses a week all across the country, was described by Bast as the most popular speaker expressing climate change realism in the country today. 

Dr. Jay Lehr’s Powerpoint Keynote Breakfast presentation addressed the elimination the EPA and turning its functions back to the states to legislate.  Dr. Lehr playfully suggested that he might be paying penance for a 1971 crime, for when joining the Nixon administration he helped create the EPA. As Dr. Lehr remarked:  “For 10 years the EPA did some good work, but since 1980 no good has come from the EPA.” 

As to devolving the EPA, Dr. Lehr states the following reasons:

  • The states are eminently capable of, and should be responsible for, the protection of our air land water.
  • His plan migrates that responsibility from the EPA to the states over a 5-year plan, and thereby materially alters the existing structure of the EPA, which is worthy of serious consideration.

Lehr went on to explain how there are 14 separate offices within the EPA, each having their own staff and budgets, but only 5 of the offices deal with the environment:  1) Office of Water; 2) Office and Air and Radiation; 3) Office of Chemical Safety and Emergency Response; 4) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response; and 5) Office of Research and Development. 

What’s more, two of the offices belong in the Bureau of Indian Affairs 1) Office of American Indian Environmental Affairs and 2) Office of International and Tribal Affairs, while seven more of the offices within the EPA are entirely non-scientific in nature: (Office of Policy; Office of General Council; Office of Chief Financial Officer; Office of Environmental Information; Office of Administration and Resource Management; Office of the Enforcement and Compliance Management; and Office of the Administrator).

According to Dr. Lehr, only 4 useful pieces of EPA legislation were created in its first ten years of existence from 1971 to1980.  They are:  

1.  Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed as the Clean Water).

2.  Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recover Act, Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (which covers deep mining too).

3.  Clean Air Act, Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). 

4.  Comprehensive Environmental Response compensation and Liability Act (Superfund).

As to the reach and size of the EPA, Lehr cited 15,000 employees spread between Washington DC and 10 regional offices and a few research centers, with a total budget of $8.2 billion.  Most importantly, what are taxpayers getting for the $8.2 billion budget of the EPA?  No actual environmental protection is produced.  This is all done by the 50 State Agencies. 

Given such a dismal record by the EPA, these stated conclusions are sound and need to be implemented by the Trump administration:  

  • We must aggressively trim, restructure and eliminate multiple programs within the federal system that have any association with the god of Sustainability, especially and starting with the EPA. 
  • It is incumbent upon use to strive to deliver the truth to the American people with good science, properly constructed legislation, and policy-making that is grounded in the Iron Law of Regulation.

Dr. Lehr asked each participant to set a target to change the minds of 5 people in a year who believe in global warming. With 200 individuals in the room, 1,000 individuals would be reached.

An addendum to article  

President Donald Trump on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, issued an “energy independence” executive order to undo several of the Obama administration’s climate change regulations. 

Happening so soon after Heartland’s successful ICCC-12 event in Washington, D.C., Trump’s sweeping executive order on Climate Policy, sorely needed, was greeted with much acclamation and applause.   

  • Orders the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review and repeal, or revise, the Clean Power Plan is the backbone of President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, requiring states to transform their electricity mix away from conventional fuels toward renewables.
  • Eliminates the use of the “social cost of carbon.” This figure, called the “social cost of carbon,” is a dollar amount that federal agencies apply to different regulations to calculate the “climate benefit” of abated co2 emissions. In 2015, the social cost of carbon was said to be $36 per ton.
  • Rescinds moratorium on new coal leases and methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal lands. Under Obama, the Department of Interior would not issue new coal mining leases on federal lands until the agency conducted a more comprehensive environmental review that included the estimated effects the lease would have on global warming.
  • Repeals guidance on agencies taking global warming into account when conducting National Environmental Policy Act reviews.  The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to conduct comprehensive environmental assessments for a wide range of projects, including permitting of infrastructure.

Live stream archives:  All sessions and speakers at ICCC-12 can be viewed here at Heartland’s Live Stream Archives.

Future articles by Nancy Thorner dealing with Heartland’s ICCC-12 will cover Fossil Fuels and Human Prosperity, Fossil Fuels and World Peace, Climate Politics and Policy, and Sustainability.



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By Nancy Thorner – 

Vaping: How Government Regulation Can Kill Innovation was the topic of The Heartland Institute’s continuing series of Wednesday evening events that are available free to the public. Featured speakers were Dr. Brad Rodu of the University of Louisville and Pamela Gorman of Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA). They discussed vaping from a scientific and industry perspective. 

Dr. Rodu is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, where he is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research.  He is also a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute.  For the past two decades Dr. Rodu has been in the forefront of research and policy development regarding tobacco harm reduction.

Pamela Gorman is executive director of SFATA, the largest trade group representing and protecting the interests of the vapor industry. She has worked in the vaping and tobacco industries for nearly a dozen years. As an elected official in Arizona, Ms. Gorman served terms in both the state House and Senate.

What are E-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes.  Many countries around the world (such as England) are recommending these vapor products as a tobacco harm reduction solution, while the United States government and local authorities have been trying to regulate these products out of existence. 

Health professionals have long known that the smoke created by combustible cigarettes, rather that the nicotine, is what makes smoking harmful.  Smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes provide a much safer and healthier alternative delivery system for nicotine.  

Dr. Brad Rodu introduced by Jim Lakely, Director of Communication at The Heartland Institute

A slide presentation was used to address the following issues:

1.  Poison reports by the American Association of Poison control Centers in 2015, showed that out of 547,286 reported exposures submitted, E-cigarettes came in very last at 0.5%.  At the high end were Cosmetics and personal care products (26%) and Household cleaners (21%).  

2.  Claims about E-cigarettes are exaggerated, such as, they are not loaded with toxins; they are not poisoning our children; they are not a gateway to teen smoking; they do help smokers quit; and indooteens.

  • Important to promote use as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking.
  • Passive exposure:  no evidence of signifir bans are not necessary. 

    3.  E-cigarette vapor contain nicotine, at various levels or none; water; propylene glycol and /or vegetable glycerin (both are in many consumer products and are FDA approved).  Propylene glycol is used to create artificial fog in theaters, concerts.

    4.  Nicotine and Caffeine are both addictive, but they can be used safely.  Both enhance concentration, performance levels, provide a sense of well-being and elevate mood.  Neither cause intoxication, nor are they not linked to any major disease.  We consume caffeine in coffee, tea and cola drinks.  Nicotine is delivered through smoking cigarettes and E-cigarettes, but it is the smoke created by combustible cigarettes smoking, not the nicotine that is dangerous.

    5. Medication to rid addition to combustible cigarettes provides only a temporary bridge to abstinence; it’s expensive; the very low dose of the medication is unsatisfying for smokers; there is only a 5% success.

    6.  The British are more informed than Americans about the use of E-cigarettes, which has led to a differing treatment of E-Cigarettes in the US.   The FDA, CDC, and the NIH all claim:

  • No evidence that e-cigs help smokers quit.
  • No evidence that e-cigs are less hazardous than cigarettes.
  • E-cigs might renormalize smoking and make it e a gateway to smoking among teens.
  • Only safe, effective methods should be used or quitting smoking.
  • E-cigs to be regulated exactly as cigarettes.

7.  The Royal College of Physicians & Public Health in England in 2015 found the following: 

  • Effective as aid to quit smoking.
  • E-cigs are not renormalizing smoking or serving as a gateway to smoking among
  • cant harm to bystanders. 

Pamela Gorman kicked the smoking habit with E-cigs

Once a smoker herself, Ms. Gorman’s used E-cigarettes to quit smoking.  She is now fighting for the free market principles in the vaping industry.  Like Pamela Gorman, nine million individuals have chosen to put down combustible cigarettes and instead use E-cigarettes.  Gorman put aside cigarettes in 2013, never picked one up again, and would find turning back distasteful.  

It was on June 22, 2009 when the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) was signed into law.  It granted the FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, as a way to protect the public and create a healthier future for all Americans. 

Restrictions created by the Tobacco Control Act:

The Tobacco Control Act does not:

The law makes clear that FDA’s role is to regulate and protect the public health, but it places a few restrictions on FDA’s powers. FDA cannot:

  • Require prescriptions to purchase tobacco products.
  • Require the reduction of nicotine yields to zero.
  • Ban face-to-face sales in a particular category of retail outlets.
  • Ban certain classes of tobacco products.

The Deeming Rule 

A big blow came to the vaping industry when almost overnight action taken by the Food and Drug Administration on 04/25/2014, to be made effective August 8, 2016, classified E-cigarettes in the same category as cigarettes (a combustible product) to be regulated like a tobacco product.  Called the Deeming Rule”, overnight E-cigarettes became tobacco rolled in paper.  The Facts on the FDA’s New Tobacco Rule.

According to Ms. Gorman, the vaping industry has a lease on life until August 8, 2018, when the FDA will prohibit 99.9%+ of vapor products on the market,” then all will go dark unless something is done. The new regulations are of concern for the e-cigarette industry, as approval of products offered will cost small companies millions of dollars that they cannot afford. 

If the FDA’s current approach is implemented, producers would be required to remove every single product from the market and submit expensive and burdensome applications for the chance to allow their products to stay on the market after the August 8, 2018 date.  There are 3,200 separate products and each one must go through separate testing that could cost $300,000 per application.  Then too, some of the studies required could take as long as 8 years. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association says the average vape shop makes $26,000 in monthly sales, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for new costs to be incurred.

As to the effectiveness of E-cigarettes, a report published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website showed that vaping has helped decreased the smoking rates among 21 to 35 year-olds. 

Help solicited from public

Federal level: A new bill (HR 1136) has been introduced by Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) that would change the predicate date in the FDA’s deeming regulations. The legislation is called the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017.  Changing the predicate date will not prevent the FDA from having approval authority over products introduced after the new predicate date, but it allows all current products to remain on the market without applying for marketing approval. Existing products will still have to meet safety and marketing standards imposed by the agency.  Co-sponsors are needed

Join  CASAA.org (Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association).

Heartland publicationVaping, E-Cigarettes, and Public Policy Toward Alternatives to Smoking by Brad Rodu, DDS; Matthew Glans, and Lindsey Stroud.  Pdf download available. 

The Smoking Status quo is unacceptable.  Although the American anti-smoking campaign is 51 years old, according to the CDC there are 39 million smokers in the U.S., with 480,000 deaths every year in the U.S.

If the status quo continues, in the next 20 years 9.6 million Americans will die from smoking.  All will be adults over 35 years of age.  None of them are now children. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017