Thursday, May 12, 2016

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Left to right:  Tim Hart; Joe Bast, president of Heartland; Bill Kehr

By Nancy Thorner – 

The Michael Parry Mazur Memorial Library at the Heartland Institute’s new facility in Arlington Heights celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. A wine and cheese reception and library tours were offered before the main program began and continued after the formal program ended.

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Jim Johnson, trustee at The Heartland Institute, browsing through the stacks

About the Michael Parry Mazur Library
The Michael Parry Mazur Memorial Library, referred to as “The Library of Liberty,” holds nearly 10,000 books on education, environment, healthcare, and other topics. This collection will be of special interest to students and scholars studying economics, public policy, and political science, elected officials and members of their staffs, and concerned citizens. Eight colleges are located within a 20-minute drive of the Heartland Institute, and 20 more are within an hour’s drive. The library contains some out-of-print books and journals unlikely to be found in public or university libraries. Featured authors include William F. Buckley, Whittaker Chambers, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Richard Weaver. A wish list includes the complete works of Hayek, James Buchanan, and George Orwell.
Welcoming words from Jim Lakely, director of communications, pointed out the nature of the The Heartland Institute as a national nonprofit public policy research organization, tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Founded in Chicago in 1984, The Heartland Institute is devoted to discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. According to Lakely, everyone at Heartland had a hand in getting the library ready to operate as a functioning one.
Heartland President Joe Bast: Why Build a Library Devoted to Liberty?
It was fitting that Joe Bast, president and co-author of 12 books, spoke on this topic. 7,000 of the nearly 10,000 books in Heartland’s Michael Parry Mazur Library were owned by Joe Bast before he donated them. As a student in the 1970s and ‘80s, Joe said he would go without eating so he could buy bargain books in a used book store. With such affection and desire for books – for the truth of them – Joe never thought he would give his books away … until he did.
Mr. Bast assured attendees that when books are donated to The Heartland Institute they will be put on shelves so people have the use of them and they will not disappear. It is true that the Internet can be searched for information, but on-line information can be deleted and altered to serve a purpose other than the truth. Also, there is so much information on-line that it is difficult to locate the good stuff, in contrast to a library where the complete works of an author can be immediately viewed. Printed books, unlike an online entry, cannot be edited, and a library becomes a physical place where people can come together without fear. Mr. Bast said he hopes to see a steady stream of people in and out of the building to review the books on site, and take them home when the library is ready for lending sometime in the near future. So let your friends know about it.
Presentations at the Grand Opening
Hon. Thomas Hayes, conservative mayor of Arlington Heights – who participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Heartland’s Arlington Heights headquarters in August – was on hand to dedicate the library. He had kind word to say about The Heartland Institute, noting that Arlington Heights had many attractions, but it didn’t have a think tank within its borders until last year. Hayes went on to say that the concepts of liberty and freedom, which convey Heartland’s values, are very important to area residents. Lastly, Mayor Hayes thanked Heartland for its invitation, and wished The Heartland Institute many years of success.


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Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes; Dr. John Mazur, after whose brother, Michael Parry Mazur, the new library is named

Dr. John Mazur was on hand to talk about his family and the donation that put the name of his brother on the library. The youngest of four boys, Dr. Mazur brought smiles to the audience by noting he is a bee keeper with “800,000 residents in his back yard.”

Dr. Mazur described his brother Michael as a talented libertarian economist. Very bright and academically minded – having even studied Arabic which, was almost unheard of decades ago – Michael Parry Mazur graduated from Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a Ph.D. in economics. He was a staff economist at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C., serving under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Michael Parry Mazur passed away in 1987 from cancer at age 39. Before his death, Dr. Mazur said, his brother confessed that the sadist part of his life was not getting cancer, but failing to win his group in the Boston Marathon. Michael had run it several times, and was considered a shoo-in to win, but was unable to compete when he was struck with cancer.

Joseph Davis, an ardent reader and a professional librarian, helped prepare Heartland’s Michael Parry Mazur Library over the last two months. Davis stressed how old books can be just as important today as when they were published. Davis compared books to individuals, much like private actors competing in the free market. Accordingly, reading a book is like having a talk with the author. Books that span the ages produce good citizens, so that free men and women do not perish from the earth.

Diane Carol Bast, executive editor and finance manager at Heartland, is the wife of Joe Bast and was instrumental in organizing the library. She recounted how she never helped Joe collect and organize his library at home because that was his space. So it was ironic she had such a hand in building this one – including an online database from which you can browse every book in the library. There are 16 categories organized by topic, including a Socialism and Soviet Studies section. It is not organized the way a public library is, but is laid out more like a research library. For instance, you’ll see Milton Friedman’s works in the economics section, but also separately in the education section.

The library is open from 9 a.m. to  5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but it would be best to call ahead before arriving to make an appointment (312-377-4000). As noted above, the library does not yet lend books, but there is a wealth of material to explore and no admission fee. Further amenities include available study space, free wi-fi, and access to copiers and printers.

If you have books on economics, politics, public policy, philosophy, and other intellectual pursuits (including biographies of significant public figures), you can donate those books to the Michael Parry Mazur Library – even if you have notes written in the margins and sections highlighted or underlined. Duplicates of books already on the shelves are also accepted.

Click on the link below to see video of the Grand Opening presentations, announcing the creation of the largest collection of books about free markets and liberty in the Midwest. 

Upcoming events at Heartland

Upcoming events at The Heartland Institute include three free movie nights with screenings of the recent Atlas Shrugged movies – parts one, two, and three. In 1957, Ayn Rand introduced the world to a new kind of hero, molded from the best within man, a hero who exemplified the joy of individual achievement. With passion and conviction, Atlas Shrugged speaks to the hero in all of us.

Join Heartland and fellow lovers of liberty for this special series of Heartland Movie Nights, in which each part of the trilogy will be shown on three Wednesdays in a row. 

May 18, 2016 Heartland Movie Night: Atlas Shrugged Part 1

May 25, 2016 Heartland Movie Night: Atlas Shrugged Part 2

June 1, 2016 Heartland Movie Night: Atlas Shrugged Part 3

Doors to Heartland’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center open at 5:30 p.m. and the film rolls at 6, followed by a group discussion at the end. To register for this free event, click here:

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Marytown - McConchie, Corrigan, Wheeler, Jesiel (left to right)
Left to Right:  Sen Dan McConchie, Eddie Corrigan, Legislative Correspondent and Staff Assistant to Rep. Peter Roskam’s District 6 office, State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, State Rep. Sheri Jesiel

By Nancy Thorner – 

A Pro-Life Legislative Forum, sponsored by Right to Life Lake County and Right to Life McHenry County, was held on Saturday morning, April 30th, 2016, at Marytown, Libertyville, IL. Hosting the event was Bonnie Quirke, Lake County Pro-Life Chair. A free breakfast was served preceding the speakers. Updates on legislative pro-life bills were presented by state representatives representing Lake and McHenry Counties. They included State Representative Barbara Wheeler, District 64; State Representative Sheir Jesiel, District 61; and newly appointed State Senator Dan McConchie, District 26.  

Mike Danford speaks about upcoming Peoria Republican State Convention 

As the issue of selecting state delegates to attend the Republican Convention this summer in Cleveland, Ohio is front and center in the news, Mike Danford, First Vice Chair of the Lake County Republican Party, was on hand to speak. A state convention is held every four years. The 2012 Illinois Republican Party Platform, as approved on June 9, 2012 at the Illinois Republican State Convention in Tinley Park, Illinois, has in it  “Embrace of The Traditional Family” and “Embracing The First Freedom: The Right to Life” platform planks.

As a pro-lifer, Mr. Danford described the pro-life philosophy as one based on truth. An invitation was extended to pro-lifers in attendance to be in Peoria, Illinois on May 19 -21 to become delegates. At that time the 17-member Platform Committee will meet and decide upon the conduct of the Republican Party.

Said Danford, “There are those who want to eliminate the pro-life and pro-marriage planks from the Illinois Republican Platform. Pat Brady is one of them.” 

 If enough votes are garnered to bring about a minority report, and if that report is voted upon and passed, a portion of the Republican Platform could be destroyed.  The result would be an IL Republican Platform similar to the one at the national one.  This would not be acceptable.  The pro-marriage and pro-life planks must remain in the IL Republican Platform.  If you can’t attend all three days, Saturday is the most important day, as this is day voting takes place.  As Danford reminded attendees, “You are the hands and feet of the party, be active or be trampled over.”

Marytown - Elise Bouc  Marytown - Bonnie Quirke
Elisa Bouc (from STOP ERA) and Bonnie Quirke of McHenry Right to Life

Equal Rights Amendment update

An update was given on the Equal Rights Amendment (EPA) by Elise Bouc, STOP ERA Chairman in Illinois.  In speaking about the Equal Right Amendment (EPA), Elise Bouc noted that despite the defeat of the Amendment in 1977, it still remains an issue today. Just what does equal rights mean in the Equal Rights Amendment?   See here an article by Elise Bouc published at Illinois Review in November of 2014.  If enacted, in light of this poor wording of the amendment, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex , no decision made could be based on gender, thus making it impossible to defend traditional marriage.  State EPA’s have been used in courts to overturn restrictions on abortion and to mandate public funding for abortions.   

After the formulation of the “three-state strategy” for ERA ratification in 1995, ERA bills have been introduced in one or more legislative sessions in nine of the unratified states (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Virginia).  With only three more states needed to ratify and then retroactively pass ERA in Congress, Illinois has been the focus of EPA since 2003.  The Illinois House, but not the Senate, passed an ERA ratification bill in 2003. In 2011, 2012, and 2014.  An attempt was made this year to pass ERA in the Illinois Senate, but it failed on Tuesday, April 29, when at the last moment the sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment decided not to bring it up in Senate committee hearings.  But EPA is not dead in Illinois. Forces will be gathered to pass the bill in the future.  This must not be allowed to happen.  It is urgent that Illinois State Senators be called and told not to approve ERA if and when they might have another occasion to do so in the near future.

Following Elise Bouc’s presentation, Eddie M. CorriganLegislative Correspondent and Staff Assistant to Rep. Peter Roskam’s District 6 office, Washington, D.C., Rayburn House Office Building (1-202-225-4561), spoke on behalf of Rep. Roskam.  Corrigan noted that Rep. Roskam, as a member of the pro-life conference, has helped push the pro-life movement.  According to Corrigan, “History is on our side.” The Republican Caucus, under the pro-life leadership of Jim Durkin, is 100% unwavering pro-life with 47 members in the House and 20 in the Senate.  There are pro-life Democrats, but not enough to pass pro-life legislation.

Pro-life Elected Legislators Speak: Wheeler, Jessel, and McConchie

Rep. Barbara Wheeler, District 64, is in her second term and 3rd session.  Having never before conducted a pro-life legislative forum to explain about the bills being put forward relative to pro-life and anti-pro-life groups, she found Bonnie Quirk receptive to holding such an event.  For as Wheeler explained, “Legislators can only do what they are able to do.  The rest is up to concerned citizen constituents.” As to lobbyists, they are not all being equal. Some lobbyists help pro-life legislators get their bill filed. Wheeler spoke about pro-life legislation filed so far in 2016.  Rep. Wheeler filed four out of the seven bills. A description of the bills will follow later on in the article.

Rep. Sherry Jessel, District 61, ran for office to fight for life.  Her district extends up to the Wisconsin border.  When elected Jessel was advised to focus on fiscal issues. Although very important to Jessel, she views the pro-life issue as the building block of our culture. Ms. Jessel further noted the difficulty of being pro-life in today’s society, of being true to who you are and what you believe.  Rep. Jessel filed one of the seven pro-life bills filed in the House so far in 2016, HB 6078 – “Abortion Clinic Regulation (Health and Safety)” bill.  Jessel explained how the process for a bill begins when sent to the Rules Committee.  From Rules a bill is assigned to a specific committee for review. As both committees are dominated by members of the Democrat Party, it’s difficult for a pro-life bill to pass Democrat scrutiny to be heard on the House floor.  If by chance a pro-life bill should pass in the House, it would move on to Senate, where it would be even less likely to pass, before moving on to the governor to be signed into law.

Senator Dan McConchie was sworn-in on April 20, 2016 to represent the 26th District of Illinois by Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes, accompanied by his wife and two daughters. McConchie won a heavily-contested three-way primary last month. McConchie month.  McConchie has spent his career working in nonprofits as an advocate for the weak and vulnerable both at the beginning and end of life. As a national expert on state legislation, he is committed to bringing his experience in legislative strategy, marketing, coalition building and grassroots advocacy to furthering Governor Rauner’s pro-growth agenda in Springfield. 

Senator McConchie related what his first day as senator was like when driving down to Springfield the day after he was sworn in to join fellow reform-minded legislators actively working to return power back to the people and get our state on the right track again. As the bills were announced rapid fire one after another for voting in the Senate Chamber, McConchie, not being familiar with the background of some of the bill, watched how others he trusted were voting. One time McConchie’s plan of action backfired, when in voting “yes”, McConchie didn’t realize that those voting Yes had all changed their vote to “NO”!   In the near future Senator McConchie will be opening a district office in Lake Zurich.  McConchie noted how the process to pass a bill in the Senate is similar to the process described by Rep.Jossel in the House.

House-sponsored pro-life bills in 2016 (Go to to follow the bills)

Listed below are the seven pro-life Illinois General Assembly Legislative bills sponsored so far in 2016.  Most didn’t make it out of the Rules Committee.  Only two of the seven listed did – HB 5022 and HB 58917. Both bills were introduced by Rep. Barb Wheeler, where they died when put into a bad House committee and then subcommitted by the chairman.  

  • HB 4392 (Pritchard-Reis) Create4s Choose Life Fund to allow Choose Life decals on plates.
  • HB 4421 (Rep. Wheeler) – Ultrasound Opportunity Act.
  • HB 5686 (Rep. Wheeler) – Prohibits any uses from aborted fetal tissue.
  • HB 5817 (Rep. Wheeler) – Requires Public Health to report 5 or more deaths or complications from abortions [currently, will only report if over 50 from abortions].
  • HB 4421 (Bryant) – 20 week abortion ban.
  • HB 6078 (Rep. Jesiel) – Abortion Clinic Regulation (Health and Safety) bill.
  • HB 6566 (Rep. Wheeler) – Bans abortions for sex selection and birth defects. 

Four pro-abortion bills that are now before the Illinois House requiring action

 A Pro-Life action alert was issued for these four pro-abortion bills that are now before the Illinois House.  Your action is needed.  Call your state representative to vote “no” on all four!

  • HB 887 (Williams) – Amends the Illinois Insurance Code. Makes a technical change in a section concerning the insurability of newborns.  This bill is coming over to the Senate!
  • SB 1564 (Biss, Gabel) – under this bill, crisis pregnancy centers,pro-life physicians and hospitals will be forced to participate in abortions against their consciences. Provides a list of places where a woman could reasonably be able to receive an abortion.
  • HB 4013 (Feigenholtz) -Removes all prohibitions on using taxpayer funding for all abortions throughout the full nine months of pregnancy under Medicaid and more.
  • HB 5576 (Nekriz) – Contraceptives paid by insurance bill.

Emphasized was that pro-life legislation must continue to be put forward in the House, even though the current make-up of the General Assembly isn’t favorable to having the bills passed.  The conscience of voters can be pricked by talking about an issue, which helps in adding pro-life legislators to the Illinois Senate and House. 10 more pro-life members are needed in the Senate and 13 in the House to obtain a majority.  While it is often stated that Illinois is a blue state, it is really a purple state. Pointed out is that there is only a 4.6% difference in the way citizens vote in state legislator races between Democrats and Republicans.

House Witness slips a way for public to make a difference

Educating the public is important.  Signing witness slips is one way the public can make a difference in bills put forward in the House.  Launched by the House in March of 2012 as a new venue for citizens to participate in the legislative process by filing witness slips online, and reported at the time by Illinois Review, the  House allows citizens over age 13 to file witness slips online which provides a way for virtual participation in the House proceedings.  The online witness slip entree can be found at  Select the committee where a particular bill is assigned, find the bill on the committee’s schedule, then fill out and submit the form provided for the particular bill online.

In addition to calling your state representative and senator, don’t neglect Governor Bruce Rauner.  Personal letters rate high.  Governor Rauner needs to be informed to stand firmly with the Republican caucus in the Illinois General Assembly.  To write: Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL  62706  and Office of the Governor, James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, IL 60601. 

Pro-life candidates introduced:

Judy Martini (R – Fox Lake, District 5) received the Republican primary nod and will face Democrat Gloria Charland in the race for Lake County Board District 5. They are seeking to replace longtime Lake County Board member Bonnie Thomson Carter, a Republican who is not seeking re-election.

Having run unopposed in the primary, Michael Amrozowicz is the 2016 Republican candidate for District 31 of the Illinois State Senate.  Illinois’ thirty-first state senate district is presently represented by Democratic Senator Melinda Bush. As a Navy man Amrozowicz is used to fixing things, describing himself as a “conservative who serves Christ.”

Special guests introduced: 

  • The Honorable Thomas M.Schippers, Circuit Judge, Lake County 
  • Larry Falbe, President of the Lake County Republican Federation
  • Representative from Bob Dold’s office (District 10)
  • Representative from Randy Hultgrin’s office (District 14)
  • Rep. Peter Breen (48th – R), a constitutional attorney specializing in defense of free speech and religious liberty rights, was cited by State Representative Barb Wheeler as a great warrior of the House for his ability to explain the nature of bills.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thorner: Heartland Institute Panel: Vaping as a Public Policy ‘War’ – Part 2


By Nancy Thorner –  

Public Health England last in August of 2015 became the first national government agency to endorse e-cigarettes as safer options for current smokers. Its report also dispelled several bogus anti-tobacco claims.  Why is it that e-Cigarettes are seen as life-savers by the UK Government, but condemned by the US?  Find out why by checking this recent article of Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Brian Foitik, guest speaker at The Heartland Institute’s event about “The Vaping War” on Wednesday, April 20 (see Part 1), linked the “war” on vaping to a happening 52 years ago when the Surgeon General recognized tobacco as a health issue, where upon tobacco was taxed at all levels of government.  It was easy to levy a tax on tobacco because of the limited of individuals who smoked at the time.  Nevertheless, even after a 52-year campaign of educating the public about smoking and related health issues through word-of-mouth, negative advertising, and marketing restrictions, there are still 40+ million smokers in this nation.  450,000 will die every years from tobacco-related illnesses.  Although 70% of smokers want to quit; a majority have tried to quit but weren’t successful.

Even though many e-cigarette smokers begin vaping to wean themselves off tobacco products, why do e-cigarette smokers reap the same hatred from the non-smoking public as those who smoke tobacco cigarettes?   Might it be because people are taught not only to hate cigarettes, but also to hate the one who smokes them?  For these individuals a cigarette is a cigarette.  It matters not that one is a tobacco product and the other a vapor product that is not comparable to the thousands of toxic agents formed when tobacco is burned.

Vaping as a Consumer-Driven Business

As more and more individuals desire a product that is a safe and effective smoking cessation aid, the number of consumer driven vapor shops are growing proportionally.  There are 15,000 vapor shops.  All are new businesses; people are employed and property taxes are paid.  When there are people who want something, products are offered as a solution to the problem.  This is the free market at work.  Regulations and taxes only inhibit innovation in a free market system.

Pharmaceutical companies are able to come up with new products to help people stop smoking, but each new product must receive FDA approval, which requires an expensive and lengthy process to be able to market and sell a new product. Pharmaceutical companies do get a break from taxes.  As a result of ill-conceived tax breaks, the pharmaceutical industry pays just 5.6 percent of its profits in taxes.  After one product doesn’t work, repeat customers can be drawn back when a new cessation of smoking product is developed.  In contrast, the vaping community could ill afford, with its limited resources, to have each vaping product approved by the FDA.  Even a different vaping flavor would require new FDA approval at a great cost and with considerable approval time.

The vaping industry enjoyed a bit of a victory in a report dated April 14, 2016, when the House appropriations committee voted to approve an amendment to the FY 2017 Agricultural Appropriations bill that would change the predicate date for newly deemed tobacco products. Products on the market since 2007 would not have to retroactively go through the PMTA process.  As such vaping products would not be considered tobacco products. The bipartisan amendment by Rep. Tom Cole (R – OK) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D – GA) passed by a 31-19 vote.

Victoria Vasconcello, former long-time smoker and owner of Cignot Inc.

As already noted in Part 1, Ms. Vasconcello, as a former long-time smoker, has been in the vaping business since 2009.  She considers vaping as a consumer-driven solution to a problem; however, government is seeking to balance budgets by putting lives in jeopardy.  Victoria Vasconcello graciously relinquished most of her allotted speaking time, noting that Brian Fojtik had covered the vaping topic so thoroughly in his prior comments, likewise expressing that she wanted there to be ample time for a productive Question and Answer session.

In response to one of the question from the audience (questions were also submitted by those watching the live on-stream presentation) “What can the little guy do to have a presence in CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternates)?” Ms. Vasconcello suggested joining the 135,000 member CASAA group and meeting with local legislators.  The science is out there to support the use of e-cigarettes.  Help legislators know what the science is.  Genuine fear develops from not knowing the truth.  Finally long time smokers have found something that helps them, and they are standing up and fighting with truth on their side.  Consumers do have power!

Concluding Thoughts

Support for the vaping community can be broadened by minimizing the arguments of center left groups.  Unfortunately, PR hasn’t been on the side of e-cigarettes to enable them to become mainstream, unlike in England where the government backs e-cigarettes for smokers.  There is limited money in the vaping community to get out the truth. This results in most of the studies being done by those who hold a con e-cigarette agenda.  The minds of the American people must be changed.  A New Poll Finds Americans’ Risk Perception of Vaping is All Wrong.  The vaping community just wants to compete!

As government is addicted to the money it receives from tobacco products, and this money is decreasing as smoking decreases, there are attempts being made to tax e-cigarettes to keep coffers filled. The good news is that there have been 500 pieces of legislation enacted which attempt to tax and restrict e-cigarette use, but only a few of them have passed.  It is ironic, however, that the Omnibus Bill Will Protect Cigarette Markets & Harm Public Health.  Letters to the Editor are a good way to educate the public about e-cigarettes.

Below are three articles that show how Chicago is dealing with e-cigarettes.  The e-cigarette tax referred to in the first article went into effect on January 1, 2016.

Chicago’s Deadly E-Cigarette Tax Takes Effect Tomorrow

Chicago Vaping Tax is About Cigarette Tax Dollars, Not Health

Rahm Emanuel’s E-Cig Tax Will Kill Smokers & Small Businesses

Following are additional note-worthy e-cigarette articles:

1.  Articles by Brad Radu, Heartland’s Senior Fellow who holds the Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research at the University of Louisville.

2.  “Wall Street Journal” article published Monday, April 11, 2016.

In the article “Are E-Cigarettes a Healthy Way to Quit Smoking?”, both the pro and the con sides were presented.  Even though e-cigarette sales have been growing, they remain dwarfed by the $100 billion tobacco market. 

Jim Lakely, Communications Director at The Heartland Institute, served as moderator, describing The Heartland Institute as a free market think tank that fights for policies that increase freedom and liberty and promotes the free market.  Covering only domestic policies, Heartland is one of few think tanks that stands up for the rights of the smoker.

An announcement was made by Jim Lakely to join Heartland for the Grand Opening of the largest freedom library in Chicagoland. The Michael Parry Mazur Library, named after an economist who passed away in 1987 by his family in Mazur’s honor, is a rapidly growing research library containing an excellent collection of works on economics, history, political science, public policy, and related topics. The public is invited to attend on Wednesday, May 4, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 p.m. at Heartland headquarters, 3939 N. Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004. Registration is free. See map: Google Maps.  Check this link for free registration for the event. 


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Saturday, April 16, 2016


Mark Weyermuller said…

Any thing called smart is usually not smart, these meters are dangerous.

Excellent job Nancy Thorner on your reporting

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Friday, April 15, 2016

By Nancy Thorner and Elvira Hasty – 

The following comes from a recent article by Timm Amundson on The Federalist: 

“Trump is usually rude and obnoxious. His demeanor can be arrogant and dismissive. At times, he comports himself as reckless and willing to lash out prematurely, prior to fully understanding all of the facts at hand. To put it simply, he is a wrecking ball.”

While a Trump supporter, Mr. Amundson apparently felt he first had to apologize to his “conservative elitist friends.”  Does this sounds similar to other articles you’d read about “conservatives” who dare support Donald Trump?  How sad that maintaining political correctness has become the expected standard of operation.

Since every human being is sinful and harbors many faults, the same tone exhibited in the opening paragraph could apply to most individuals.  Why then is it that only Donald Trump deserves this hate-filled treatment, not only from organizations whose purpose it is to destroy the Trump candidacy, but also among those who call the shots within the Republican establishment?

Did we encounter this during the administration of Bill Clinton? There is no need to remind those who lived through the Clinton years of his vulgarity? And what about the vulgarity exhibited by the Republican establishment.  Under the pretense of listening to conservatives, the establishment enthusiastically endorsed John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections?  Or of the recent vulgarity shown by the GOP establishment through constant threats of a brokered convention, aimed at suppressing the voice of the Party’s base? It all depends on what the meaning of vulgarity is?  Right? 

Americans should welcome a Trump presidency with open arms, not only for what he can accomplish, but also for replacing the vulgarity of the Obama family with the classy Trump family.  CNN presented an hour-long town hall meeting on Wednesday night, April 12, highlighting Donald Trump, the man, and his outstanding family.  It would be an astonishing transformation and welcomed in every corner of the world.
Religious individuals accept Donald Trump for his flaws, just as God accepts Christians and others, for we all have flaws. We have never heard bad words from Mr. Trump. The accusation of vulgarity comes from privileged elitists who have no respect for working people in places like Queens and Brooklyn where Trump was raised. As his son Donald Jr. has said:  Donald Trump is a blue collar billionaire.

Donald J. Trump recognizes that those who make this country run are working class Americans.  As a young man, Trump worked alongside construction workers.  He learned more from the working men and women than most congressmen have the opportunity to ever do.  Trump knows the working class and respects workers as individuals, unlike politicians who see them as an expendable collective mass who can be replaced by foreigners at lesser salaries in order to please fat-cat Republican Party donors.  Trump would end their gravy train!

Truth be told, it is not “vulgarity” that the GOP establishment and the media actually care about; it is the way Donald Trump’s honesty has damaged their political correct speeches, coupled with their lack of transparency in dealing with legislation. No more hiding behind “reaching out to Hispanics” (code phrase for welfare to illegals); no more hiding behind the “race card” that continues to hurt Black Americans living in Democratic cities; no more hiding behind the “feminist card” of being offended when a woman is not strong enough to face competition; no more hiding behind the “islamophobia charge” for wanting to vet Muslim immigrants; no more hiding behind “DREAM” for the Mexican children crossing the border illegally.  It will all end!

Donald Trump talks plainly and directly; he lets everyone know exactly what he thinks and what he’ll do to make America great again. And none of it includes the old politicians, the media, the lobbyists, the DC insiders. Finally the American people found a true patriot who is willing to sacrifice in order to stop the corruption of the D.C. bureaucracy. Welcome Donald Trump!  We’ve been waiting almost three decades.
For those who continue the mantra that Mr. Trump is not conservative, whatever it means these days, let me enumerate his position on our most pressing issues:
  1. Against illegal invasion of our country by securing the border building a WALL that Mexico will pay for.
  2. No amnesty. No sanctuary cities.
  3. Building a strong defense, with a feared military capacity.
  4. Support and help for our veterans, ending years of mistreatment.
  5. Support for our law enforcement agencies, such as the police and ICE.
  6. Stop the acceptance of Muslim immigrants until a time when we have a better understanding of the problem.  Best to build a safe zone in their countries.
  7. Destroy ISIS and fight radical Islam
  8. Rebuild our country infrastructure.
  9. Re-think and re-negotiate NATO and the expense of having our military all over the world.
  10. Reduce our over $19 Trillion debt.
  11. Eliminate waste by closing or reducing certain departments like Education.
  12. Reduce taxes for the low income and middle class Americans.
  13. Reduce regulations for businesses.
  14. Eliminate Common Core and make education local.
  15. Defend the Second Amendment.
  16. Repeal and replace Obamacare with private plans.
  17. Negotiate trade deals that are fair and take our country into account first.
  18. Bring jobs from overseas.
  19. Pro-life and support for our religious freedom rights.
  20. Become energy independent by exploiting all sources of energy production.
Which part of the above is not conservative?  But if the positions listed above are not conservative, then Thorner and Hasty cannot claim to be conservatives, yet at the same time stand in support of Trump. We need to stop labeling ourselves Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, and start by being American first.
Cruz supporters and others who genuinely hate Trump, continue to repeat that Trump is not serious about these positions because he once was “a Democrat.”  First, take a look at the table below that shows his political donations since 1989; keeping in mind that business people always give these donations to both parties.

Trump’s political contributions
Trump’s political contributions data is from and A breakdown of the data can be viewed here.
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Second, why is Trump being deceitful now, having been a businessman before his recent move to the political arena, while Cruz is perceived as the truth-teller after having served only a few years in the Senate?   What is the Cruz Senate record?  Ted Cruz voted in favor of amnesty; never proposed building a wall; voted for a very large increase of H-1B visas; favored neoconservatives in war expansions; never intervened for our veterans; and wrote with Paul Ryan an op-ed in WSJ in favor of TPP legislation.  Lately in his campaigning, Cruz seems to have changed his mind on several issues.
Donald Trump, unlike Ted Cruz, has already accomplished much in life. It cannot be disputed that Trump has built an excellent and successful business empire, but more importantly, he has raised incredibly bright, talented, articulate children who seemingly have good moral values.   By their fruits, you shall know them!

The next hurdle we must face is the nasty battle between Trump and Cruz, which is also causing friends to disagree and take offense.   Our enemies delight in seeing our “soft spots” exposed, making it easier for them to push through their radical agenda. 
May we not forget that whether we are firmly planted on the side of the Cruz or Trump camp, either one would be so much better for America than either Socialist Sanders or Hillary, who has left a long trail of terrible mistakes in her quest for power.



Monday, April 11, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner –

As part of The Heartland Institute’s continuing series of book and movie events, specifically designed to showcase freedom, the book, “Drilling through the Core”, edited with an introduction by Peter W. Wood, was presented by the author on Wednesday, April 6 in the newly named Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center, located at Heartland’s Arlington Heights facility, 3939 North Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60004.

As noted on the back outside cover of “Drilling through the Core”

“For the first time in history Americans face the prospect of a unified set of national standards for 8-12 education.  While this goal sound reasonable, and Common Core has been presented as a state-led effort, it is anything but.  This book analyzes Common Core from the standpoint of it deleterious effects on curriculum — language arts, mathematics, history, and more — as well as its questionable legality, its roots in the aggressive spending of a few wealthy donors, its often-underestimated costs, and the untold damage it will wreck on American higher education.  At a time when more and more people are questioning the wisdom of federally-mandated one-size-fits-all solutions, “Drilling through the Core” offers well-considered arguments for stopping Common Core in its tracts.” 

Peter W. Wood is an anthropologist and former provost.  He was appointed president of the National Association of Scholars in January 2009.  Before that he served as NAS’s executive director (2007-2008) and as provost of the King’s College in New York City (2005-2007).  Wood is the author of several books, including “A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now” in 2007 and in 2003 “Diversity: The Invention of a Concept.”  

Peter Wood was introduced by Lennie Jarratt, Project Manager – Education Transformation at The Heartland Institute.

According to Peter Wood, “The Common Core Is Dead”.  It died of parental opposition, teacher opposition, political defection, and perhaps most importantly, flat-out academic failure.  But it would be foolish to think that dead things can’t hurt us.  Consider Bernie Sander’s resurrection of the Socialist economic theories, twenty-five years after the burial of the Soviet Union.  Dead things can likewise also take the living with them, as in the case of Jeb Bush with his unconditional support of Common Core, from which he realized sizable financial gains. 

Common Core was first perceived by architects, David Coleman and Jason Zimba, as a solution to the achievement gap between White and Asians on one hand, and Blacks and Hispanics on the other hand. Finding this concept difficult to sell to the general public, the achievement gap premise was changed.  Common Core would now make all students ready for college and careers.

According to Peter Wood, Common Core was never intended to raise standards.  Instead, it was a plan to establish a nationwide floor that would also be a ceiling.  In other words, Common Core “was anti-excellence wrapped in the gift wrap and tinsel of excellence.”

A study by the liberal Brookings Institution in March of this year found no evidence that Common Core State Standards have made much of a difference during the six-year period when NAEP scores have been stagnant.  The good news in the report is that Common Core does not appear to be the cause for the NAEP stagnation, as states not accepting Common Core suffered the same stagnation. 

This troubling stagnation, as explained by Mr. Wood, has its basis in the following: an increase of single-parent families (the top factor); family dysfunction; financial insecurity, and immigration, all of which will result in poor school performance, and which likewise prove that changing the standards for K-12 education was never going to change the level performance of students. Common Core’s fine-tuned curriculum has seemingly moved in the opposite direction, which explains why SAT and ACT scores have dipped in the Common Core era. 

Common Core Language Arts and Math Standards evaluated

There has been a decline of instruction in literature, to be replaced by non-fiction.  Why?  Because Common Core insists that students learn best from treating everything as informational texts, despite the ability of literature to teach students how to read beyond the literal text.  As such students learn how to see the forest and not just the pine needles.  Common Core leads students into the territory of pine needles.

Regarding Common Core English Language Arts own standards, Mr. Wood knows of no college that would value an approach to literature that chops everything into fine pieces and then dissolves content so students come away not knowing why they read “Moby Dick” or any other book.  However, such a spoon diet of fragmented versions of great literature conforms to how Common Core views literature.  In its fragmented approach, Common Core is able to ward off literature as dangerously privilege or even elitist.   

Common Core math slows down the pace of math instruction.  Instead of third grade before pre-Common Core, when almost all state expected students to master basic addition and subtraction, Common core decided fourth grade would do.  Instead of 5th grade, the multiplication table and long division has been moved to the 6th grade.  Algebra is kicked up to the 9th grade.  Often there is no room for pre-calculus instruction, logarithms are barely mentions, parametric equations are absent, and Arithmetic series are omitted.  Adults can live without this mathematical knowledge, but the door is being shut for millions of students for careers in fields where a solid foundation in math is critical. 

The thinning out of math standards betrays the two main promises made by Common Core architects, already mentioned David Coleman and Jason Zimba, that the Standards would make students college and career ready, and that the Standards would be internationally bench marked to at least as high as the standards in countries that excel in math.  Last year the U.S. ranked a dismal 28th.   

Many parents have noticed that there children are being taught tediously complicated forms of computation in primary school, which are deliberately meant to drive a wedge between parent and child.  Geometry is now being taught in a way tried before in the Soviet Union in the 1980’s, where it was deemed a failure and discarded.

The aims of Common Core

As to what kind of people we want our children to become, as inferred by the nature of Common Core standards, the outcome is summarily set forth by Peter Wood:

Common Core aims to make children into well-organized utility-maximizers — people who do not waste time contemplating hard problems or dreaming big dreams, but who have a ready means to cut things down to the size they already know how to handle.  The perfect job for a Common Core graduate is probably coding. 

Parroting the confession made by one of the Common Core architect, Common Core defenders are now using the excuse that the initial  “college ready” promise of Common Core was meant to convey a readiness to attend a “community” college.

Peter Wood is adamant that Common Core is finished and that a resurrection by die-hard partisans can’t be achieved, for dead is dead!  Mr. Wood mused how the Common Core mess will be cleaned up; who will pay for it, and what will come next? 

Not so sure about “dead is dead”

Given the millions of dollars the Gates Foundation provided to set the stage for Common Core (some of which was used as bribe money to convince cash-strapped states to sign on to Common Core sight unseen) to the large investments spent in school districts on textbooks, teacher training, and computers to support the Common Core tests, the Common Core curriculum can’t be eliminated just by wishing it were so by waving a magic wand.

Consider what happened this past December when both the U.S. Senate and the House voted to continue this nation’s federal boondoggle in education.  Despite talking points about getting the feds out of creating standards, there is still a requirement that states continue to maintain high state standards, a clear nod to the continuation of the much-hated Common Core State Standards.  Furthermore, states must continue to submit their state plans for review and approval by the U. S. Secretary of Education.

Eagle Forum described the bill, “Every Student Succeeds”, as Common Core by a New Name and on Steroids.  Supported by the owners of the Common Core standards, the bill (S 1177) was guided through Congress by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Concluding thoughts

Suggestions given by Mr. Wood as to how parents can survive waiting out the bad years ahead: 

1) Move children out of public schools.

2) Keep children in public schools but work extra hard at home to compensate for Common Core’s poor delivery of essential knowledge and it mis-channeling of children’s intellectual development. 

Peter Wood’s current focus is to make less harsh the upstream damage to higher education.  One of his battles will be to fight the continuing effort of the College Board, under David Coleman’s stewardship, to institutionalize as much of the Common Core as possible through the SAT’s and Advanced Placement examinations.

A live stream youtube video of the Patrick Wood event can be seen here

Upcoming Heartland events in April will feature F. W. Buckley, author of “The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America” on Thursday, April 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

On Wednesday, April 18, Brian Fojtik and Victoria Vasconcellos will speak about the impact the new “vapor wars” (e-cigarettes) have on science, public policy, business and jobs?  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

John Dewey, known as “the father of modern education,” was an avowed socialist and the co-author of the “Humanist Manifesto.” The U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities discovered that he belonged to 15 Marxist front organizations. Dewey taught the professors who trained America’s teachers. Obsessed with “the group,” he said:

“You can’t make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society, which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”

Author Rosalie Gordon, writing about Dewey’s progressive (socialist) education in her book, What’s Happened To Our Schools, said:

“The progressive system has reached all the way down to the lowest grades to prepare the children of America for their role as the collectivists of the future. The group – not the individual child – is the quintessence of progressivism. The child must always be made to feel part of the group. He must indulge in group thinking and group activity.”

After visiting the Soviet Union, Dewey wrote six articles on the “wonders” of Soviet education. The School-To-Work program, now in our public schools in all 50 states, is modeled after the Soviet poly-technical system.

In 1936, the National Education Association stated the position from which it has never wavered:  “We stand for socializing the individual.”

The NEA, in its Policy For American Education, opined

“The major problem of education in our times arises out of the fact that we live in a period of fundamental social change. In the new democracy [what happened to our republic?], education must share in the responsibility of giving purpose and direction to social change. The major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual . . . Education must operate according to a well-formulated social policy.” 

An excerpt from the article states:

“As recently as the early 1950s, the typical American university professor held social and political views quite similar to those of the general population. Today — well, you’ve all heard the jokes that circulated after the collapse of central planning in Eastern Europe and the former USSR, how the only place in the world where Marxists were still thriving was the Harvard political science department.”

Higher education reflects inmates running the asylum

More generally, U.S. higher education often looks like a clear case of the inmates running the asylum.  This condition can be traced to students who were radicalized in the 1960s who rose to positions of influence within colleges and universities.

One needs only to observe the aggressive pursuit of “diversity” in admissions and hiring, the abandonment of the traditional curriculum in favor of highly politicized “studies” based on group identity, the mandatory workshops on sensitivity training, and so on to fully comprehend the stranglehold the Left has managed to secure today within our schools, especially at the university level where instructors need not be as concerned with parental interference, but instead have a captive audience in which to indoctrinate our children to their Marxist philosophies

Examining Chicago’s own Bill Ayers

An example of the Socialist infiltration in education can be seen in studying former terrorist, Bill Ayers, past leader of the radical Weather Underground in the 1960s.  Ayers decided blowing up America’s federal buildings was not working out for him or his gang of like-minded extremists.  He escaped going to prison due to the FBI illegally wire-tapping his conversations, probably helped by his father’s political clout in Chicago as head of ComEd.  This lucky break most likely caused Ayes to contemplate another more effective approach to change America from within, rather than from outside the nation’s mainstream institutions.

In 1984 Ayers earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. Three years later, he received a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Columbia UniversityHad Bill Ayers and his friends just immigrated to a socialist state, it would have been much better for this nation, but instead Ayers became entrenched in the university system where he quietly began to invade college classrooms with his anti-American philosophies. This article documents the progression of Ayer’s radical educational network dating back to the 60s.  Hired in 1987 as a professor of education at the University of Illinois, Ayers held that post until retirement in 2010, retiring with the title of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar.  As of October 2008, Ayer’s office door at the university was adorned with photographs of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Che Guevara, and Malcolm X.

By 2008, Ayers was elected Vice President for Curriculum Studies by the American Educational Research Association.  He worked with Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley, with the goal of creating changes in Chicago’s school reform program.  Bill Ayers and wife Bernadine Dohrn continued to develop relationships and friendships with like-minded people, such as Barack Obama — even though Obama has denied knowing Ayers and Dohrn — and other Chicago politicians. It is documented that Ayers had a fundraiser in his home for Obama, and the Obamas were invited to at least one private party at the Ayers’ home.

Both men served on boards which Obama headed.  One of those boards awarded $2 million for Bill Ayers/Klonsky Small Schools Workshop.  Its goal, as Ayers repeatedly made clear, most prominently in a 2006 speech before Hugo Chavez at an education forum in Caracas, was to bring the same Leftist revolution that has always galvanized them into the classroom.  Regarding Klonsky, an unabashed communist, Obama gave Klonsky a broad platform to broadcast his ideas through a “social justice” blog on the official Obama campaign website.

Ayers was also the key force behind obtaining wealthy Annenberg’s $387 million dollar donation to Chicago schools, which became known as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. What appeared odd is that if Annenberg’s purpose was to elevate the dismal test scores of Chicago schools, why did the grant not require the recipients of his donation to meet specific education benchmarks?  Funds were not dispersed on the basis of the schools raising test score percentages in either reading or math.  It should be noted that Barack Obama was on the founding Board of Directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and elected as the Board’s Chairman when Bill Ayers was awarded the money for his Small Schools Project.

One would hope the infusion of such major funding into the Chicago schools would have made a major difference in the quality of education.  A recent 2014 report indicated students in grades two through six did not meet the national average in reading and no grades met the national averages for math.

Obama appoints Duncan to promote progressive Common Core standards

President Obama, upon being the newly elected President, quickly initiated a committee to develop a national education program, now known as the controversial Common Core.  Bill Gates donated at least $200 million dollars to promote the education program to state governors and teacher organizations.  Others, such as the Annenberg Foundation made significant donations, but the one that raised eyebrows was a $50 million grant from a Qatar Foundation International member, who gave it to Bill Ayers with the agreement it would be used to promote Muslims’ views and lead American children away from actual historical events, replacing them with specific propaganda.

This article, published in the Chicago Reader on November 8, 1990, by Ben Joravsky, tells of “The Long, Strange Trip of Bill Ayers.” It is a riveting interview account.  The article is prefaced by:

“He [Ayers) wasn’t just any suburban-bred all-American boy; his father ran Commonwealth Edison.  Ayers didn’t just rebel; he was a leader of the Weathermen, the group that bombed the Pentagon and sprung LSD guru Timothy Leary from jail.”

And Ayers hasn’t changed since Joravsky’s November 1990 published article.  Having retired from the University of Illinois in 2010, radical left-wing activist, education expert, and domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, (wearing a Black Lives matter T-shirt) recently attended the huge Trump rally protest that resulted in the cancellation of Trump’s rally at the University of Illinois. Here is what Ayers had to say:

“I’ve never seen anything this big at the University of Illinois, Chicago.  And it’s huge.  It’s galvanized Latino students, black students, Muslim students and white students. And everybody feels like, ‘Look, this is a university’.  We don’t need . . . organized hatred spilling into our center.”

President Obama wasted no time in appointing Arnie Duncan  as his Secretary of Education who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 20, 2009.  Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), a position he held from June 2001 through December 2008, when he resigned to join Obama in Washington, D.C.  Duncan helped convince 42 states to adopt education goals based on Common Core, and 21 of them to use tests that directly align with those standards, which were created by a bi-partisan group and attempted to make U.S. schools more challenging and the curriculum more similar from state-to-state.

Universities resemble Marxist indoctrination centers

We cannot blame just Dewey, Ayers, and Obama.   Much of the damage to our schools has been done by Teacher Unions that use mandatory teacher dues to support Leftist politicians, liberal organizations, and Left leaning school board candidates.  It is a very cozy group, and they have way too much power. Parents would be wise to investigate their children’s curriculum with a practiced eye in order to catch the clever ways liberal political viewpoints are strategically woven into their books and study materials. Professors in colleges are not even subtle. They have captive audiences who depend upon them for good grades and rarely worry about parents.

As Abraham Lincoln wisely stated:  “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” 

Dewey, Ayers, and many others of their ilk knew this to be true and thus manipulated our universities into resembling Marxist indoctrination centers rather than schools that provide a well-rounded education that prepares students for successful transitioning to the real world. Most of us had no idea what was going on behind the iron curtain classrooms which socialists created.  Certainly this explains how socialist, Bernie Sanders, can run for president of the United States and draw large crowds applauding him.  Not too long ago, he would have been booed off the stage by outraged American patriots who understood the dangers of the socialism he advocates. 

Exposing Anti-American teaching tactics

The anti-American teaching tactics need to be exposed, but the media has also become largely liberal, thus begging the question “who will speak up for our children?”   It must be those of us who remember the way it once was, who have read and honor our Constitution, and who know the history of how clever socialists ruined once great countries.

Each of us must contact our elected officials and demand tax-payer funds be yanked from any school with unfair hiring practices and/or that reflect an unequal number of conservatives verses liberal teachers/professors.  Each classroom must be monitored for any curriculum that opposes our Constitution or our basic Founding Fathers’ principles, and there must be fairness in presenting diverse viewpoints.  The future of America depends upon all of us demanding no less.