Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thorner/O’Neil: Lead plaintiff of ‘Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association’ states her grievances

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By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

As noted in our collaborative article published Monday, Nov. 9, 2015 in Illinois Review“Supreme Court to Adjudicate Mandatory Union Fees”, Rebecca Friedrichs is the lead plaintiff, an outspoken opponent of her teachers’ union who agreed to let her name become identified with the case. Friedrichs has taught elementary school for 28 years, mostly in the Savanna School District in Anaheim, Ca. You can listen to her discuss the case here, read a Q&A with her here, and a commentary by her in the Orange County Register here.

We cannot deny there is much wrong in the world of government and politics today, but few who complain about specific problems do anything to correct them. That may be because the average person feels incapable of facilitating a positive change, believing it a difficult, even hopeless task. True, it is a daunting task, often quite expensive and absolutely time consuming. Therefore, it is understandable that individuals consider themselves ill-equipped to facilitate any significant policy change, and thus most of us choose to just live with the problem, which is why problems remain problems year after year and end up lasting for decades.

Anthropologist. Margaret Mead, believed individuals could facilitate change in our world, as evidenced by her famous quote:  “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world.  For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Some might argue that Mead, born in 1901, lived during a period of time when it was possible for individuals to facilitate a change, but that our world today is far more complicated, and it has become increasingly difficult for an individual to accomplish any major change in established laws or procedures.

That may be true, but even today there remain a few American citizens willing to try to correct problems they encounter, especially when it significantly impacts their lives as well as others. Rebecca Friedrichs is a perfect example of such a person. She saw a significant problem with the rules and tactics of the powerful California Teachers Union and decided for the sake of teachers, students, and ultimately society that these problems needed to be exposed and challenged. Mrs. Friedrichs’ ultimate hope in doing so was to facilitate a positive change that would benefit teachers as well as students.

Lead Plaintiff’s Concerns

Friedrichs realized the California Teachers Union (CTU) had expanded its scope of responsibility far beyond its original role of helping and protecting teachers from job-related problems, such as providing legal counsel in situations where teachers needed assistance. Instead, the Union morphed into an organization with unprecedented power, far exceeding the authority reasonable people deem acceptable.  The Union increased teachers’ obligatory dues and used the additional money to insert itself into state political matters, even when there was little or no reason to believe such actions were protecting the welfare of teachers or benefiting the education of our children. The California Teachers Union began using members’ dues to finance and support specific organizations which had little or no benefits to teachers.  That practice has escalated with funding directed to highly controversial organizations that a significant portion of the teachers actually oppose.

Friedrichs’ main concern was not about union dues for collective bargaining, but about these additional fees teachers are asked to pay.  Friedrichs is one of many who resent financing groups, candidates, and/or politicians whose purposes are in direct opposition to her own and others.  The Union allows teachers to be exempt from paying those specific fees, but they must then continue to work with Union leaders and teachers who resent their decision and exhibit overt resentment.  Thus, there is subtle pressure for teachers to be silent and to continue paying the full dues.

Fair minded people sympathize with teachers who show the courage of their convictions and opt out of paying the fees.  Thus some do applaud Mrs. Friedrichs for being willing to stand up to the injustice, the powerful Union, and the politicians and organizations that have been benefiting from the Unions’ donations. However, there are powerful people benefiting from the donations, making it all the more difficult to find a way to stop the CTA from such practices.

The political power of the California Teachers Union has been well known in specific circles, but recently has also become more obvious to the general public. That is partially the result of reports like the one released by the California Fair Political Practices Commission which stated that the CTA is number one on the “Billion Dollar Club” list of top spenders in California politics.   The CTA alone has spent more money in California politics than Chevron, AT&T, Philip Morris, and Western States Petroleum Association combined.  You read that correctly – “combined.”    For their record breaking spending in politics and for other reasons, former George W. Bush speechwriter, Troy Senik has deemed the CTA the worst union in America.

Political Power Vested Through Dues

According to Lennie Jarrett, project manager for education transformation at Chicago’s Heartland Institute, an article dated February 5, 2014, states that Illinois has the same problem as California.  A teacher will pay $1,000, on average, in union dues each year. It is the policy of most unions to convince teachers they have no choice and must pay these dues to be allowed to work.  Of this money, up to 80 percent is used for purposes other than collective bargaining, and more than 50% is used for politics.

In almost every state, teachers are automatically signed up to have a specific amount of their pay diverted to their unions’ political funds.   The facts indicate when “paycheck protection” laws require unions to get permission from teachers before taking money for political purposes, teachers almost always say “no.” When teachers were given the chance to opt out of paying for the political causes engineered by education unions, they did so in droves.

Education unions have become perennial political powerhouses, nationally and locally. Terry Moe argues in his groundbreaking study of teachers unionsSpecial Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools, that “by comparison to other interest groups, and certainly to those with a direct stake in public education—parents, taxpayers, even administrators — the teachers unions are unusually well equipped to wield power.” Consider the following:

  • Fortune magazine has consistently ranked the National Education Association in the top 15 of its Washington Power 25 list for influence in the nation’s capital.
  • The head of the Chicago Teachers Union had this warning to any mayoral candidate in the 2011 mayor’s race who didn’t toe the teachers’ line: “I think the opportunity is to throw the weight of 30,000 members and their families and students and teachers.  I mean, we’re looking at maybe 800,000 people we could affect on some level.”

Due to their massive base and the massive dues that they charge, teachers unions can both mobilize voters and spend huge sums of money to defeat ballot initiatives and candidates that they don’t like. As Terry Moe put it, “when all is said and done, the power of the unions to block change is the single most important thing that anyone needs to know about the politics of American education.”   Enormous political clout is exerted by union heads at the expense of their members who frequently disagree with their union bosses’ political agendas.  Most of the union dues collected (often as high as 95%) flow to a specific political party’s candidates, even though, according to 2003 polling data from a National Education Study, only 51% of teachers who are union members identify with that party. Thus almost half of the union members are paying to elect candidates with whom they specifically disagree.

In disclosure forms filed at the end of the year 2011, it was revealed that the NEA spent almost $88 million — more than 20 percent of its entire budget — on “contributions, gifts and grants” that largely funded left-wing and non-education-related causes, including drives to raise the minimum wage and organizations promoting radical social issues. As a Wall Street Journal” editorial noted, the union’s financial disclosure forms “expose the union as a honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do with teachers, much less students.”

Left-leaning organizations supported by NEA dues include: 

  • ACORN
  • Business and Professional Women/USA
  • Campaign for America’s Future
  • Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
  • Democratic Leadership Council
  • Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
  • GLAAD
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • NAACP
  • National Association for Bilingual Education
  • National Council of La Raza
  • National Partnership for Women & Families
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • People for the American Way
  • Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • Sierra Club

This website provides more examples of left-leaning recipients of teachers’ unions.

Fairness and equality for all is what our citizens expect of America’s leaders.  Our nation has prospered largely due to those who understand the concept that injustices will survive only as long as people remain quiet about them. Within months, it is expected that Chief Justice John Roberts, and esteemed Justices Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Anthony Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Scalia, and Clarence Thomas will all have the opportunity to finally put an end to the cleverly designed teachers’ mandate that has forced teachers to pay into a system that uses their money for political purposes and candidates with whom they politically oppose.   May the Supreme Court vote reflect what is best for all our people, not just those who abuse their leadership privilege. We thank Mrs. Friedrichs and the other ten teachers who have chosen to challenge the status quo and restore equality. We wish them and their attorney well as they expose truths, present facts, and argue their position to the above esteemed Supreme Court Justices.

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Common Sense Prevails in Climate Change Presentation

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Bill-and-hillary-clinton

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

Hillary Clinton’s old emails are popping up everywhere. The State Department found some about Benghazi, the administration some with David Petraeus, and the FBI some that were deleted. The “drip, drip drip,” as Hillary recently described the on-going reporting about her emails, is having some effect on Hillary’s slide in the polls and likewise raising doubts among supporters. But is this enough to derail Hillary’s campaign?

On Sept. 28th “The O’Reilly Factor” examined here the latest in the controversy surrounding the former Secretary of State and presidential hopeful.

Now husband Bill is coming to Hillary’s rescue.

In an interview aired on CNN on Sunday, September 20, Clinton remarked:

“You know, at the beginning of the year, she was the most admired person in public life,” he said. “What happened? The presidential campaign happened. And the nature of the coverage shifted from issue-based to political.” “I have never seen so much expended on so little,” the former president said. “The other party doesn’t want to run against her. And if they do, they’d like her as mangled up as possible.” “She did say she was sorry that her personal email caused all this confusion.”

It must be remembered that Hillary is an attorney and a long time politician. Nothing she does is without some purpose, despite claims to the contrary. The underlying Clinton strategy is to deny allegations and ignore requests for more information. Eventually the news cycle will turn to other things, but if something breaks, the scandal is now “old news,” and eventually reporters will stop asking. Unfortunately for Hillary, Congress has not gotten the message that there’s nothing more to ask.

In the next couple of weeks (October) Hillary will once again appear before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. A good attorney never asks a question which he does not know the answer, and the Republicans on the committee are all attorneys. Here are a few questions which will either elicit good answers or constitute perjury. A candidate running for high office cannot afford to plead the fifth amendment.

  •  Question One:  It has been suggested that you used a private email server to shield your communications from FOIA requests. How do you respond to this allegation?

Hillary claims that the State Department knew and approved of her use of a private server. However, State did not qualify their response to requests for emails by Congress or private parties suing for their release. State seemed to be ignoring these requests until a federal judge lowered his hammer. Everybody seemed to be surprised when the Washington Post revealed its existence last March, 2015.

  • Question Two: The use of an attorneys to perform certain tasks is called “work product,” which is subject to client-attorney privilege. Was this a lawyerly attempt to conceal the process of separating public from private email and the contents of those messages from the government, public, and ordinary judicial review?

Activities of this nature by attorneys is called “work product” and is protected by the attorney-client privilege. This means the attorney cannot be compelled to reveal any details except under extraordinary circumstances. Hilary claims she did not take a direct role in this process, and theoretically can’t be forced to respond. It is usually done to deny or delay future inquiries. However the attorneys were not authorized to possess classified material even briefly. Commission of a crime is not protected under color of law.

  • Question Three: You previously maintained, under oath, that no classified documents were stored, received or transmitted from your private server. The Inspectors General and State Department have determined otherwise. As head of the department, you were ultimately responsible for classification. Please respond to these allegations.

This is proven to be false on both counts, based on the Inspectors General reports, and news from State.

  • Question Four: You affirmed, under oath, that all official emails on your server were transmitted to State, yet several hundred emails from you have surfaced which were not in your transmittal. How do you explain this omission?

This too is undeniable. Nearly 900 emails between Clinton and General Petraeous were released by State last week, and none were included in the 50,000 or so printed pages she submitted to State. Secondly, there is a two month gap in emails surrounding the Benghazi incident. It is unbelievable that the Secretary of State had nothing to say other than face to face.

On Wednesday, September 30, it was learned that FBI Director James Comey has started briefing select lawmakers on the status of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server, confirming that investigators are actively looking for evidence the server was compromised by a foreign entity or hacker.  The same source revealed that FBI Director Comey has reassured lawmakers that his “top people” are handling the investigation and that no resource is being spared.  His team is working “24/7” to determine whether classified information was compromised.

Will the high-stakes investigation be influenced by politics?  Let’s hope that the FBI does its work professionally, even as it’s done in secret so the ability to do due diligence is not jeopardized in any way.

Hilary is an attorney, and historically speaking, not a particularly good nor ethical one. This whole affair has the appearance of someone hiding behind the law. Now it looks like the law might actually tip over and crush Hillary, unlike what the many past Bill and Hillary scandals failed to do.

Monday, July 20, 2015

By Nancy Thorner – 

Congressional authorization for the Export-Import bank lapsed as of July 1, 2015. As a result, the bank cannot engage in new business, but it can continues to manage its existing loan portfolio. While closing Ex-Im will help to free the market and end corporate welfare, its advocates are still trying to reauthorize the bank.

Thanks mostly to intense opposition from a large faction of conservative Republicans, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, who said the bank was a “waste of tax money” and “a form of corporate welfare”, the federally backed bank was left to expire at the end of June. Not surprising is that some Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and most Democrats, still support the bank’s return, arguing that it helps small businesses and supports U.S. jobs.

 

Linking Transportation Bill to Ex-Import

Now a good probability, and as predicted by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, senators plan to attach a provision to revive the Export-Import Bank to a transportation funding measure that is headed to the Senate floor. The transportation funding bill is a “must pass” measure that guarantees money for critical highway and infrastructure projects. It needs to clear Congress by the end of this month to prevent summer construction projects from grinding to a halt.

Even though Senate Majority Speaker McConnell (R.Ky.) doesn’t support the extension of the bank, he did strike a deal with Democrats on recently passed trade legislation that allowed a vote on extending the bank, which failed, while later agreeing to attach it to the transportation bill. Notwithstanding, some Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and most Democrats, support the bank’s return, arguing that it helps small businesses and supports U.S. jobs.

If and when the Senate passes the highway bill with the Export-Import Bank provision attached, the House will take it up.  But should the highway bill pass with the attachment, it has been reported that House conservative opposed to the bank will do everything in their power to split the two issues through a parliamentary maneuver, even if it means blocking the resolution to advance the measure and begin debate.

 

Why Ex-Imp bank should remain expired

There are currently 92 members of the House of Representatives who publicly oppose the Bank, as does every major Republican Presidential contender, as well as millions of Americans who have joined the fight against it.

Below are ten facts you should know about the Export-Import Bank that represent crony capitalism:

  • Boeing, GE, and Caterpillar received 87% of Ex-Im loan guarantees in FY13.
  • The Ex-Im Bank provides export financing for just 0.009 percent of America’s small businesses.
  • The vast majority of exporters—98 percent—do not receive assistance from the Ex-Im Bank.
  • Export financing doesn’t create new jobs, it merely redistributes jobs across America’s economy.
  • Among the top 10 buyers of Ex-Im exports, 5 are state-controlled and rake in millions of dollars from their own governments in addition to Ex-Im Bank subsidies.
  • There are 31 open corruption and fraud investigations into the bank.
  • The top beneficiaries of Ex-Im also have massive backlogs of orders, meaning jobs would not be lost when the bank expires.
  • Ex-Im subsidies benefit China, Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia. State-owned foreign airlines have received $16 billion in subsidized financing since 2009.
  • Taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $140 billion in the Ex-Im loan portfolio.
  • The companies advocating for the reauthorization of Ex-Im have admitted they do NOT actually need it.

What If Transportation Bill Is Toxic by Itself? 

As stated earlier in this article, the Highway Trust Fund’s authorization will expire on July 31. Long unsustainable, the trust fund contains large diversions for mass transportation and other wasteful projects. Congress is currently considering a 6 month, $11 billion bailout for the fund, but real reform is needed, not bailouts! Here is an excellent backgrounder on the Highway Trust Fund.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL06) have introduced the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) which would return control of highway decisions back to the states, thereby eliminating wasteful diversions and ensuring that highway dollars fund highways.

As stated in an article by Michael Sargent, a research assistant at Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, “Why We Can’t Have Nice Highways and Bridges”:

“Every American who buys gasoline pays 18.3 cents per gallon to the federal government’s Highway Trust Fund, which was created in 1956 to pay for the construction and maintenance of the interstate highway system.

But in recent years, the Highway Trust Fund has expanded to spend motorists’ tax dollars on things that have little to do with highways. For instance, the Transportation Alternative Program, created in 2012 to replace a variety of “transportation enhancement” programs and funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, siphons funding that otherwise would go to highway construction to a variety of projects that were traditionally in the hands of local government.”

 

Action to take: Call your Representatives and Senators and ask:

  • “Do you plan to vote in favor of bailing out the Highway Trust Fund at the end of July?
  • “If the Export-Import Bank reauthorization is attached, how will you plan on voting?”
  • Let them know that the Highway Trust Fund has little to do with highways and that the Ex-Import bank stands for crony capitalism.  The bill should be opposed.

Conservatives forced the Ex-Im Bank to shut down and prevented a long term bailout of the Highway Trust Fund last year. This is a critical fight and one that conservatives must win!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thorner: Chicago’s 10th Annual March for Life attracts over 4,000 participants

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Chicago Bears’ owner Pat McCaskey declared his support for life Sunday

By Nancy Thorner – 

For the 10th year, the Annual March for Life in Chicago was held Sunday, January 18 to commemorate what is now the 42nd year since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Chicago Bears’ owner Pat McCaskey and Congressmen Dan Lipinski and Peter Roskam were featured speakers.

This year’s march was on a beautiful day in contrast to the brutally cold weather that greeted participants of last year’s rally. Because of the relatively mild weather, the attendance at Sunday’s rally set a record, 4,000 strong.

Chicago’s Federal Plaza at 50 W. Adam, where the rally began, overflowed with participants holding yellow balloons distributed for the occasion, and signs, if not homemade, were readily available. The signs were  proudly displayed and held high, as participants walked the few blocks from the Federal Plaza to the James R. Thompson Center to continue the second half of the rally. The ralliers marched to the beat of drums and joyful singing, with policemen on motorcycles shepherding the marchers through the streets of Chicago.

Orthodox church leaders, such as the Right Reverend Anthony, Bishop of Toledo, and the Right Reverend Paul, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest, set the mood for the afternoon with their opening prayers. As alluded to “One can either believe they come from someone or come from no one.  Life does matter as a creation of God, and not if life is foreign to God.”

Initial greetings were extended to the assembled by a vibrant and attractive Mary Louise Kurey Hengesbaugh, who as Miss Wisconsin of 1999, is the author “Standing with Courage: Confronting Tough Decisions about Sex.”

Time after time Ms. Hengesbaugh, who served as Master of Ceremonies at both the Federal Plaza and Daily Plaza, asked this question, “Chicago, are you prolife?”  The response was always a resounding “YES!”

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First to speak at Daley Plaza was Chicago’s three generation pro-life team, the Scheidlers.  With Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action, was his dad, Joe Scheidler, who is known fondly as the “grandfather of the pro-life movement,” and Eric’s son, Sam Scheidler. The traditional black fedora was on full display by Joe Scheidler and son Eric. (Surely Eric Scheidler’s son, Sam, will don a fedora by next year as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and father.)

Eric Scheidler asked each participant to commit one hour a week to praying outside an abortion clinic. With 551 abortion clinics in the U.S., most have never been visited by a pro-life activist, he said.

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Pro-life Pastor Mark Jobe of New Life Community Church spoke on behalf of the 65 million unborn children not able to raise voices of their own. He asked the crowd to remember that God is the one who opens and closes the womb. Pastor Jobe then spoke about the birth of his three children and how he and his wife were told that their 3rd child would be born with some from of abnormality. Aborting was not an option, for the Divine Law informs that every human being is born with dignity in the image of God. Despite the doctors’ warnings, Jobe’s third child was born healthy and at 15, stood at his dad’s side.

The New Archbishop of Chicago, Blaise Cupich, was firm in his support of Chicago’s March for Life.  He said being at the rally was a signal that we will all walk with a mother that might be afraid or poor.  “I’m proud to be able to walk with people who are concerned about the protection of human life from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death,” he said.

Always impressive, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Chicago’s Moody Church, read a letter from a young girl who wished she had not had an abortion, but she had no place to go and no alternative. Dr. Lutzer questioned how many would be willing to help young girls and women who don’t have a place to live, further emphasizing that the pro-life community must be willing to help those in need.

As the final speaker at opening rally at Federal Plaza, Katie Melody, president of Loyola Students for Life, spoke passionately about how abortion hurts her generation the most. Her fellow students have all come of age when destroying the life of a pre-born is considered the normal thing to do.  Accordingly, her generation are all survivors of the culture of death, she said.

Without missing a beat, rally participants marched the several blocks to the James R. Thompson Center, mostly disregarding the pro-abortion protesters along the way. A joyful atmosphere prevailed, unlike the grim faces  and angry words that came from the protesters.

Sandra Hiltebrand was ready to address the reassembled pro-lifers at the Thompson Center.  Standing with Sandra Hiltebrand was her daughter Julie Cooper, and her granddaughter, Mary Cooper, representing three generations of pro-lifers. They shared the importance of having profound respect for the culture of life from conception until natural death. “Life is precious,” Hiltebrand said. “We are created in the likeness of God.”

Chenelle Moore presented a moving testimony about what having an abortion did to her.  As a young woman, Moore went to Planned Parenthood for help, and had an abortion on Feb. 19, 2011.  Along with her child dying, a part of Chenelle also died, she said. For Chenelle, it was important to let others know they are not alone, that help is out there.

As pro-life is a bi-partisan issue, two pro-life U.S. congressman were featured, one Democrat and one Republican.

Representative Dan Lipinski (D -IL 3) joined the crowd across party lines and generations, to uphold the dignity of all human beings.  Congressman Lipinski announced that this week Congress would be passing an abortion ban of 20 weeks after gestation.

Congressman Peter Roskam (R – IL 6) shared a post from his daughter’s social media blog after attending last year’s March for Life event.  The year-old post of Roskam’s daughter, encouraged his daughter’s college friend to seek help and choose life for her unplanned baby.

Chicago Bears’ co-owner Pat McCaskey was greeted enthusiastically as a fellow pro-lifer as he approached the podium.  McCaskey displayed creativity, with a sprinkling of humor, as he read his pro-life adaption of Tennyson’s poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” naming his Tennyson version, “March of the Brigade.”

A fitting finale for this year’s March for Life Chicago event was Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood manager.

Abby Johnson spoke of her checkered childhood during which her parents never gave up on her. Abby believes that no one is beyond conversion through the power of God.  Abortion was noted as a human rights issue. When Abby came to a pregnancy crisis center, Aid for Women was there for her.  Upon seeing pictures of her baby, the future of Abby’s life was changed. Her child Max, is now an amazing gift to her life.

Looking around the rally sites were pro-life citizens of all ages and ethnic backgrounds who were drawn together to tell Chicago that life matters.  Participants came from throughout the state of Illinois and from the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana. It was harkening to see so many like-minded individuals gathered together, in what will surely provide a source of inspiration to go out and spread the word that the sanctity of human life does matter from conception to death.

May next year’s Life for March Chicago rally top this year’s outstanding one. This can happen, for as expressed by several of the

speakers, more and more young people are becoming pro-life, as they contemplate who might be missing as fellow classmates had abortion not been the chosen option?

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Photos by Barrett Weadick of Wauconda

Saturday, December 20, 2014

John-stossel31

By Nancy Thorner – 

The Heritage Foundation Luncheon on Friday, December 12 spear headed Jim DeMint, President of The Heritage Foundation, as Master of Ceremonies. Prior to the luncheon a panel discussion had taken place during which time DeMint and Michael Needham, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, discussed “A Bold Agenda for a Better America, Taking on the 114th Congress.” See Part 1 for write up.

John Stossel, Fox Business Network Host and Commentator, gave the keynote luncheon address. Prior to Stossel’s remarks, Governor-elect Rauner offered some special remarks of his own. Introduced by Illinois native Steven Moore, Rauner was described by Moore as not a criminal, as  knowing economics, as not being owned by any one, and believing that Chicago could be a great city and the next Hong Kong if he succeeds.

Bruce Rauner spoke about restoring the American dream for Illinoisans.  Said Rauner: “It’s not how much we spend, but how and why we are spending the money we do.”  Rauner intends to take on the core elements of the spending process to eliminate waste and fraud.  In speaking about his agenda, Rauner expressed high aspirations. Rauner’s agenda items include: 1) Ethics reform; 2) substantial tax reform; and 3) school choice.  Noted by Rauner was that for years Illinoisans had elected individuals based on promises, only to discover later on that many had turned out to be unprincipled and even corrupt   For success to happen Rauner needs a big team effort.  An invitation was extended to attend Rauner’s inauguration in Springfield on January 12, 2015.

President Jim DiMInt introduced John Stossel.   DeMint, in explaining why John Stossel had been chosen to speak at The Chicago Heritage Foundation event, noted: Stossel is despised by Democrats who are suspicious of free market and capitalism, and not particularly popular with conservatives because he believes in personal freedom, but as an advocate of the Free Market System, Stossel is in step with The Heritage Foundation.  Having started his career in viewing the marketplace as a cruel place where you need intervention by government and lawyers to protect people, after watching regulators work Stossel came to the realization that the free market provides the protectors of the consumer.

Agile and looking younger than his chronological age of 67, John Stossel bounded onto the stage, and positioning himself behind the podium, he quipped, unapologetic for being a Libertarian:  “Born and raised in Illinois, I escaped Illinois, but you didn’t.”  Born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, Stossel is a graduate of New Trier High School.  Although a stutterer early in life, Stossel over time conquered this speech problem which could have derailed his career.

John Stossel spoke of being trained as a liberal consumer reporter.  Believing rules were needed because life was complex, Stossel whole heartedly endorsed regulations, only to watch them fail.   As to the The Department of Consumer Affairs, Stossel spoke about licensing requirement for repair shops.  Licensing, however, didn’t protect customers.  30 years later repair shops, despite being licensed, were still fooling consumers and not giving consumers what they were promised to expect.

Stossel believes in invisible spontaneous order to help people organize their lives. Simply put, spontaneous order is what happens when you leave people alone, when entrepreneurs see the desires of people and then provide for them.  Admittedly, many Americans believe central planning works best.  To illustrate why competition works (free market) much better than government, and how it is better and more productive than relying on a handful of elites in some distant bureaucracy, Stossel spoke of communist-era automobile disasters. The East German Trabant, with its sputtering two-stroke engine and resinated paper-mache bodywork, barely deserved the devotion lavished on it by that country’s frustrated car-lovers, yet it was the best car a planned economy could produce and mediocre at best!  Consider also the Yugo built in Soviet-bloc Yugoslavia, which earned the reputation of being the worst car in history.

And what about OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association), the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation.  OSHA would make people safe.  Trumpeted was how fatalities had dropped since the beginning of OSHA?  “Not so,” said Stossel.  Free people will make the adjustments needed when an accident happens, treating accidents as free market problems without government interference.

Consider also the “War of Poverty.”  Poverty was decreasing even before the War on Poverty began.  The programs established to decrease poverty only encouraged and taught people to be dependent and remain in poverty.  And what about wars fought in other countries to protect this nation?  In prior generations government would shrink after wars ended, but not anymore.

Stossel, in looking back over the years and the many issues he confronted as a consumer reporter, expressed embarrassment that it took him 15 years before he really woke up to the fact that almost everything government attempts to do makes it worse.  As Stossel tells it:  His work as a correspondent for 20/20 and a consumer reporter for “Good Morning America” stems back to 1981. Stossel was named co-anchor of 20/20 in May of 2003, where eight to 10 million people watched his program weekly.  Stossel’s discovery ofReason while co-anchoring 20/20 — a libertarian monthly print magazine covering politics, culture, and ideas — was cited by Stossel as the impetus that channeled his movement toward embracing Libertarian beliefs.  In October of 2009 Stossel left his long-time employment at ABC News to join the Fox Business Channel and Fox News Channel.  He presently hosts a weekly news show on Fox Business and regularly provides analysis on various Fox News programs, including a weekly appearance on The O’Reilly Factor.  Additionally, Stossel writes a Fox News Blog, “John Stossel’s Take,” and has been a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist since February of 2011.  His article appear in online publications such as Newsmax, Reason, and Townhall. To Stossel’s credit, he has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club.

John Stossel, as a believer in the free market system, is reaching out to high school and college students through his DVDs.  His new Economics DVD, published this year, “The Power of Markets vs the failure of Regulation,” uses segments from recent shows to compare and contrast resource allocation based on market decisions with the actual effects of allocation caused by government regulation of the market. His first DVD, published in 2011 is titled “Making Economics Come Alive” with John Stossel.  Both of the Economics DVDs are designed for high school and college students and sell for $19.95. Both can be ordered for a special price of $29.95.

In working with high school students, Stossel asks this question:  There are 7 billion people in the world. 2 billion of them live on a buck or two a day.  Why do we do well and others live in poverty?  Responses from students:  1) Because we are a democracy, 2) Because we have lots of resources, and 3) Because of over population.

Stossel then inquires students to think about India noting, “While India is overpopulated, so is New Jersey. What about Hong Kong?  It isn’t a democracy, and it has no natural resources, yet in 50 years it went from the third worst city to the first in the world.  Why?  Because Hong Kong honors a rule of law that dictates not to kill or steal from each other.  Hong Kong also has economic freedom.  It is free people left alone that made Hong Kong rich.”

In Hong Kong it’s possible to open a business in only one day. In India it would take a year to do so.  Stossel then related about trying to open a lemonade stand in NYC.  He gave up after 60 days.  There is a teachable moral:  If and when fewer people are unable to open businesses because of imposed restrictions and rules, more people will remain poor.

In closing, Stossel indicated there were two ways to do business:  by force or voluntary.  But for business to flourish both parties must win. It is economic freedom that brings prosperity.

Big government makes us poor and makes us less (we become smaller). On a positive note Stossel added this thought: “Despite all the controls, this nation has continued to proper and grow despite government restrictions.”

The Question and Answer session offered several comments worth noting .

  • How can big government be trusted when government can’t even count votes correctly?
  • Stossel’s defined the EPA as standing for ENOUGH PROTECTION ALREADY.
  • The first thing Stossel would like to see Rauner do is for Rauner to embarrass the stranglehold control of unions.

Stossel has written three books.  His most recent book, “No, They Can’t:  Why Government Fails – But individuals Succeed”, was published on April 10, 2012.  Read here a review of the book. The book can be purchased at Amazon.com.   Stossel’s first book, “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media”, published in 2005, is an autobiography that documents Stossel’s career and philosophical transition from liberalism to libertarianism.

DeMint’s closing remarks looked ahead to 2016.  Of importance: 1) to preserve those things we know work, 2) to recognize the importance of informed and engaged citizens, 3) to look back at programs that lifted people out of poverty, and 4) to create an environment so people with wrong ideas will do the right things

Part 1: DeMint proposes a bold agenda for a better America – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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Monday, November 17, 2014