Panel, Earthquake Election

By Nancy Thorner – 

Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute, welcomed guests to the European Crystal Banquet, 519 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, commenting that it was the kind of venue Donald Trump would appreciate being at.  A brief history followed of the move The Heartland Institute made in the summer 2015 to its headquarters at 39 Arlington Heights where freedom and liberty are respected, having been located in the corrupt City of Chicago prior to the move for 32 years.  Lakely further stated that The Heartland Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit, free-market think tank that doesn’t support political candidates.

With the introduction behind him, Mr. Lakely signaled the beginning of what he said would be an “amazing positive and happy program” which would delve into the “an earthquake of an election.”  In Lakely’s words:  “We are here tonight to talk about the earthquake of an election on Nov. 8th.”

Lakely invited each panelist one by one to join him on the stage, introducing each panel member until all four were lined up on stage.

Heartland’s All-Star Panel:

DAN PROFT, radio host at AM560, senior fellow at Illinois Policy Institute
KATHLEEN MURPHY, communication director at Illinois Opportunity Project
PATRICK HUGHES, co-founder of Illinois Opportunity ProjectJIM LAKELY (moderator), director of communications, The Heartland Institute

When seated on the stage, Jim Lakely proceeded to direct each question to a specific panel member, after which the other panels members were invited to jump in at will to add their thoughts.

Jim Lakely’s first question was directed to Dan Proft.  In doing so, Mr. Lakely referred to how Dennis Preager, a radio talk show host on WLS AM, spoke about the two presidential choices available to American voters.  It was a choice between two candidate.  On one door was Man Eating Lion.  On the other door was Maybe Man Eating Lion.  The people choose Trump, the Maybe Man Eating Lion.  In jest Lakely referred to Trump’s maim of hair.

Question 1:

Did American voters in the Midwest and Rust Belt just save the American experiment — dodge the bullet — from forces on the Left to save Western civilization?  

Dan Proft believes that we have, to some extent, halted the onslaught of the Left.  Proft, in a light-hearted way, questioned the nature of Lakely’s question:  “How did we go from low expectations to talking about saving Western civilization?”   Proft credited Victor David Hanson of National Reviewas recognizing early on Trump’s winning message, how the elites, wherever they may function in society, are worse than you think they are.  A plus is that Trump comes into office without owing the establishment anything.

Joe Walsh was quick to add his opinion about the Trump victory:  “This election was about the uprising of us, regular Americans, against a broken political establishment.  It had zero to do with the Republican Party.  It was against the elites.”  In agreement with Proft, Walsh doesn’t believe Trump owes the Republican Party a thing as an outsider.  Walsh spoke of going to Washington, D.C. with the same spirit of an outsider to serve in the House.

Patrick Hughes spoke about the Supreme Court and what a Hillary win would have meant had she been able to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Alito and possible other retirements.  Presently under attack is free speech, abortion rights, the 2nd amendment, etc.  With good, solid Supreme Court appointments our Constitutional principles can be reset, as justices now up in their 80’s, and who ascribe to a Living Constitution, choose retirement during a Trump presidency.

Dan Proft, ever the scholar, warned that the election of Trump was only the beginning, as elections are but the means to policy ends.  It was a big election for Trump.  Not even Trump could stop Trump.  He did try and couldn’t.  Proft was not charitable to House Speaker Ryan and other Republicans legislators who did nothing to help Trump.  As such, Republican legislators in both the House and Senate must have their feet held to the fire, for there will be policy fights. There must be no doubt that Trump is the new sheriff in town.

Joe Walsh likewise harbored strong feeling about holding Republican feet to the fire.  Paul Ryan was scorned by Joe in Ryan’s refusal to help Trump in his election bid, which held true of the Republican Party as a whole. It was because of Trump that Ryan could resume as speaker.  As Walsh warned:  “We won a battle, but the war continues. We still have a long way to go.”  As many conservatives realize, “We are losing the battle over American values.”  As Walsh related, “Had it not been for 12,000 votes in 3 states — Michigan, PA, and Wisconsin — Trump would have lost.”

Question 2:

It’s crazy out there.  What happening on the streets of America right now? 

Directed to Kathleen Murphy, Kathleen wasn’t about to blame the entire millennial generation.  Not all are protesting and not all are protestors.  Those who are are being fueled by the mainstream media, college professors, social media, etc.  Millennials came of age during this century’s Great Depression. They have not experienced market-made success, but instead see government as a way to improve life.  46% believe their future will not be as good as their parents.  Only 16% feel their lives will be better.  1/3 of Millennials live at home with their parents; only one in three are unemployed.  But the protestors are hypocrites.  All would have been fine had Hillary won, but anger attributed to shock over how people could possibly have voted for Trump has fueled the protestors. Trump, as president elect, is not acceptable to the protestors, and anyone who voted for Trump is labeled a racist.  It is, however, the protestors who are the intolerant ones.  For the protestors, Trump’s win gives them the license to disregard the rule of law and reality.  In regard to those who were shocked that women voted for Trump, Murphy had this to say, “Why would many women choose not to vote for a criminal?

Pat Hughes spoke about his16-year old daughter and how selecting a college is close at hand.  In light of what has been happening at colleges in the aftermath of Trump’s victory, more and more colleges have been crossed off by Hughes because they have given in to students who have seemingly been traumatized beyond the ability to function over the election of Trump.  The University of Michigan has brought in puppies for students to pet.   Hillsdale College was mentioned as an exception, but not all college-age students can attend Hillsdale.  Hughes predicted that the protestors will look back on this time in their lives and regret their actions.  Accordingly, Hughes believe the radicals of today will grow up.  Hughes is more worried about radical feminists   Noted was how difficult it is for a woman to be a conservative, and how they are shamed for being so.

Dan Proft spoke about what is happening to young people today in college situations and equated the problem to a “lack of self-awareness.”  Students believe they have a Constitutional right not to be offended and to be shielded from words that they do not wish to hear.  Such opinions must he recognized and combated.  In regard to Hillary, the firewall for Hillary’s win was supposed to be college educated women and Rust Belt states.  In the end Hillary only won 51% of women.

Joe Walsh chimed in to explain how a Trump victory was possible in what is a divided country.  Trump won because of 112,000 votes in three states.  Hillary couldn’t bring out the young, single women, or the blacks she needed in her camp to win; however, they are still out there.  Walsh admitted that he completely under estimated how bad a candidate Hillary was.  No one likes her, not even Bill!  She was an extremely flawed candidate.  This election was a wake-up call for Democrats.  Walsh believes such a mistake won’t happen again

Dan Proft, in expanding upon the comments by Walsh, reiterated how the Democratic Party has now become a Coastal Party and Illinois.  The election of Donald Trump ushered in a schismatic shift in power.  Republican now hold two-thirds of state legislative bodies, along with 33 state governorships.  Proft hopes that some of the good working state models will be adopted by Trump at the federal level.

Pat Hughes sees positive momentum going into 2020, if polices are enacted that provide positive results for the American people.  It is essential that we start now to build our coalition so the momentum is there in 2020 to continue and expand Republican control.

An article to follow will feature Question 3:  How important milestone was it by breaking the Democratic Super House majority.  Will it be more of the same or is there some chance for needed reforms to be enacted?  and Question 4:  What is the Alt-Right and should we be afraid of it?  

Thorner: Women in Politics ‘Stand by Fire’ as Legislators and Candidates

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 2.28.51 PM

By Nancy Thorner – 

“Women in Politics” was the topic of a lively discussion hosted by the Heartland Institute last Wednesday. The panel, moderated by Lake Forest resident and attorney Elizabeth Yore, was made up of seven distinguished women in politics: Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti; Illinois state Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno; Illinois State Rep. Patti Bellock; Wisconsin State Rep. Samantha Kerkman; Illinois State House Candidate Dawn Abernathy; Kathleen Murphy of the Illinois Opportunity Project; and Linda J. Hansen, Deputy Chief of Staff of Herman Cain’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Elizabeth Yore Sets the Stage 

Yore spoke about the 2016 presidential race as undoubtedly “the most colorful and contentious political campaign in the history of the Republic,” further remarking “This has been a campaign dominated by Wikileaks, leaked videos, leaked audios, Bleachbit, and bleached blonds.”

Social media has dominated the race to trigger the prevailing ‘modern digital political warfare,’ she told the audience. 

Although life on the national campaign trail often mimics a reality show, Yore related how state and local campaigns must focus on issues that directly impact voters, especially “in their pocketbook and their families.” In speaking about the women who would be featured on the Heartland stage that night, Yore said they were epitomized the words of Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve both in the U.S. House and Senate:

Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.

Yore also recalled her favorite advice from Andrew Breitbart – which is on a poster as you walk into Heartland’s event space named for him – as being applicable to the group of smart, dedicated women leaders who would speak that night:

Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are footing for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it, too.

The night’s event was split up into two panel discussions.

Panel 1 – Life on the Campaign Trail

Christine Radogno is Illinois’ State Republican Senate Minority Leader. She was the first female caucus leader in the General Assembly history. Having served in the Illinois Senate since 1997, Christine began her third term as Senate Republican Leader in 2013. Christine represents the 41st District in DuPage, Will, and Cook Counties.

As so often happens, Radogno’s involvement in politics began with a local issue – preventing a fire station from opening up on her street – which then led to another level of government involvement. In 1996, Radogno believed she was a better candidate than the incumbent, Democrat Robert Raica. And even though an incumbent wins 98% of the time, Radogno decided to run for the Illinois Senate. Running on a shoestring budget, she won by 100 votes.

Together Radogno and another candidate, who eked out a victory with a 200 vote margin, succeeded in keeping the Illinois Senate in Republican hands. Radogno confessed that she had no idea the odds of winning were so unfavorable to her. Nevertheless, it is important to take the leap even if you think you’re not going to make it – for it will inspire other people to run, help a candidate realize there is another side on issues, and in the end embrace the experience of running as a satisfying and rewarding experience.

Dawn Abernathy is challenging incumbent Carol Sente for Illinois State House, District 59. Abernathy grew up in Libertyville and attended Carmel High School in Mundelein. Her interest in politics began at a very young age with parents who were very conservative and taught her that she must be a concerned voter. After raising five children, Abernathy said she knew it was time to become politically involved, something she had always wanted to do. Abernathy ran, and won, a seat on her local board of trustees. She was inspired to run for the state House by observing the mess in Springfield, and being told constantly that taxes must be raised to pay for the mess current politicians created.

Abernathy’s campaign has gotten nasty. Seventeen negative mailings have been sent out against her. Abernathy said she almost lost herself in trying to defend herself. So she decided that to win, she must knock on doors to convert those who are against her. Closing thoughts by Abernathy: 1) Her campaign has been hard and grueling, but she has enjoyed every minute of it. 2) There was no social media when she was in college, but life today has become an open book through Facebook, etc. 3) Make sure you guard your privacy. 

Kathleen Murphy is director of communications for the Illinois Opportunity Project, which seeks to promote the social good and common welfare by educating the public about the principles of liberty and free enterprise. Murphy stressed that women don’t benefit when government grows. When government grows, it encourages women to become helpless wards of the state.

Murphy said the number one barrier to women entering politics is fear of government intrusion in their lives, or the targeting of their families by political operatives. Women will say to her often, Murphy said: “You can do it, but I can’t.” For women who fear entering politics, Murphy had this to say: “The only people who have no fear are the sociopaths. Just take the next step.” Overcoming this fear is the right thing to do, she added. Women must be supported if they take the first step. There is a place for you. We need women at the local and state levels, as well as in the federal government – where change is so badly needed.

Linda J. Hansen is the founder and president of Capacity Strategies, LLC, and is a strategic political and business consultant, a certified personal and executive coach, author and speaker. Hansen is most known for her role as Deputy Chief of Staff for Herman Cain’s 2012 presidential campaign in Wisconsin.

With decades of political experience at local, state, and national levels, Hansen played a key role in developing the strategies that led to the historic 2010 partisan shift in Wisconsin. Hansen noted how it takes fearlessness and courage to run for public office.

Hansen said her “birth” into politics began when she held her first child, of which she now has six. She wanted her child to grow up free, to be everything God wanted him to be. It is Linda’s love for her six children and her six grandchildren that fuels what she does now. 

Hansen first became a county political volunteer, and then took on more responsibilities out of her home as her children grew older. In the fall of 2008, Mark Block asked Linda to meet with him to discuss his plan for taking back the state of Wisconsin from the leftist politicians who ruled it. Block was head of Americans for Prosperity at the time with a membership of 12,000. Block’s suggestion was met by opposition by those in the Republican Party who said it couldn’t be done. Hansen realized that to take back Wisconsin, they had to contact and enlist ordinary people into the movement – and she helped grow AFP- Wisconsin to a force of 100,000 people. Those who said it couldn’t be done were only standing in the way of those who were trying to get something done.

Hansen founded Prosperity 101, LLC in 2009 to provide educational resources designed for use in small businesses or large corporations across the United States. Linda published a book with the same name, Prosperity 101, in which she connects boardroom to breakroom and the importance of educating employees in a non-partisan way. Linda’s book was a big part in helping to save the state of Illinois in its recall battle. 

Hansen expressed how honored she felt to be part of Herman Cain’s presidential campaign in 2012. She helped put together a plan – which sounded crazy at the time – to elevate the unknown Herman Cain to the top candidate in the polls. Describing the Herman Cain campaign as a movement without a lot of money, Cain did reach number one in the polls for six weeks without a single paid advertisement.

Hansen mused how it was possible to accomplish such much starting out, as she did, as a mom without a college degree who was home-schooling her children.

Panel 2 – How Women Directly Impact the Actual Process of Government

As Yore, the moderator, so accurately noted: “As government expands, liberty contracts. Our Founders’ vision of limited government enabled American creativity and entrepreneurship to flourish.” 

Samantha Kerkman, a Wisconsin State Representative, has served in the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2001. Born into a political family, Samantha was taken by her father to political events at a very early age, and spoke to the Heartland audience about how Wisconsin politics really works. 

Kerkman was only 26 when she first ran for office in 2000. Having decided to run and feeling great excitement at her decision to do so, Kerkman said her own grandfather told her: “You can’t run. You’re a woman.” This response only emboldened her to prove that she could run and win.  

As to Wisconsin’s economic progress in the last 36 months, Kerkman said Wisconsin has gained 6,000 jobs, which were realized because of the reforms passed in 2011 are now kicking in. Uline just announced it will add another 500 jobs in Wisconsin by the spring of 2017. 

Kerkman said she doesn’t look at herself as any different from her male counterparts. Men can deal with facts and figures, and so can women. But women have an advantage because they are better at telling humanizing stories when appealing to fellow legislators and their constituents. As a mother of two children, Samantha continues to do what she has done in her 16 years as a legislator. Although, she said, her family has to realize that it comes with costs … and not a small amount of intimidation. Kerkman recounted how her home has been vandalized, and one protestor sat in front of her house for several months.

Patti Bellock is serving her ninth term in the Illinois Senate and was appointed Deputy Minority Leader in

October 2013. Her assignments include serving as chief budget negotiator for the House Republicans, minority spokeswoman on the Human Services Appropriations Committee, and a member of the Labor and Commerce Committee. She has been described as the “guardian of small business in the western suburbs.” 

Bellock noted how she didn’t come from a political family, but from a sports family. Her father was a pitcher for the White Sox. As a stay-at-home mom for 22 years, Bellock spoke of always being involved with the issues, knowing the right thing to do, but not having the courage to move forward to take action – which requires courage, persistence, and passion. 

Being a legislator, Bellock said, is a 24/7 job. People will question legislators wherever they go, and cell phones now insure that a legislator’s life is often subject to the beck and call of others. Bellock only won by 210 votes in her first campaign, and attributed her victory to getting up early every morning to be at train stations to meet commuters.  

Bellock said she views educating one’s self as paramount for a legislator. Knowing the issue is so necessary in order to debate it – on the legislature floor and at home. One thing is for sure, Bellock said: “You cannot tax your way to a better government.” Democrats, she said, want the approval of $4 billion spending plan, but those who know and care about the dire financial status of Illinois consider such a request irresponsible. As Bellock said, “We can’t afford it.” 

Gaining respect from the other side is the only way anything can be passed, Bellock said. It takes staying focused and persistent, knowing that there are 118 Illinois state representatives all with their own opinions. Medicare reform, she said, is one issue on which both sides could come to an agreement. 

Evelyn Sanguinetti is the 47th lieutenant governor of Illinois. She was formerly an adjunct professor of law and a Wheaton City councilwoman, earning her law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Gov. Rauner appointed Sanguinetti chairman of the Local Government and Unfunded Task Force, with its goal to reduce costs to taxpayers.

Sanguinetti, the last speaker of the night before Q&A, had the most unusual and amazing story of all to tell – one that was inspiring and incredible in its scope, admitting that she never could have dreamed of holding the position she now does. 

Sanguinetti described her background growing up in Florida. Her mother was a refugee from Cuba, and her father was from Ecuador. In coming to America, her parents dreamed of giving freedom opportunities to their family.

Food stamps were a way of life for her. All the children in Sanguinetti neighborhood had free lunch cards to use, but she was ashamed to use hers. It took urging from her mother for her to do so. Not knowing at the time that music would be the saving grace for her daughter, Sanguinetti’s mother was told that it was good for a child to play a musical instrument, so Elizabeth was given piano lessons. 

Sanguinetti spoke of her disinterest in school, having even failed the first grade! When she was around 11 or so, Sanguinetti heard about an opportunity being offered by a magnet school in Miami and decided to audition. When in the practice room on the day of her audition, Sanguinetti could hear all around her others playing compositions by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. She, meanwhile, was going to play a popular song of the day. To her surprise the magnet school saw promise in her, and Sanguinetti received the magnet school scholarship. It changed her life, as she went to college on a scholarship – when she once never even dreamt that college would be in her future. 

Sanguinetti came to Chicago to obtain her law degree. It was her interest in the Latino movement and women in politics that led her to meeting Bruce Rauner. As head of Rauner’s Local Government and Unfunded Task Force, with offices in both Springfield and Chicago, Evelyn spoke about streamlining the services offered by the Task Force, as well as the task force itself which she cut in half. Sanguinetti emphasized the importance of passing term limits, remarking how she was only three months old when House Speaker Michael Madigan was first sworn into office. Additionally, the fight must continue with the unfairness of redistricting, she said.


It is hoped that the women featured in the two panels will inspire, inform, and even spark the next generation of women to “Walk Toward the Fire” and “Stand by the Fire” by taking the plunge and running for office.

The youtube video of the program can be viewed here.  

Upcoming event at The Heartland Institute – Nov. 2nd Wednesday Alex Newman: Crimes of the

Educators 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Arlington Heights, Illinois


By Nancy Thorner – 

Are you like many Americans concerned about your gun rights, as you have every right to be? The Second Amendment is considered to be one of the most important civil rights in the United States. This right has been under assault because liberals have long had an appetite to impose strict gun control measures.

John R. Lott, Jr., called by Newsweek the “Gun Crowd’s Guru,” addressed 80 members and friends of The Heartland Institute at its Arlington Heights headquarters on Wednesday, October 5. Lott’s talked about the issues raised in his new book, The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies. Lott’s comments took aim at well-funded anti-gun studies and stories that perpetuate false statistics in order to frighten Americans into giving up their guns.

Lott has spoken four times before at Heartland Institute events, but this was the first time at Heartland’s Arlington Heights facility, which they moved into after being located in Chicago for 31 years.

Lott is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984, and went on to hold research and/or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford University, UCLA, Wharton Business School, and Rice University. Lott has published nine books, including his latest book, and his publications include over 100 articles in academic journals. His TV appearances include evening news broadcast of ABC and NBC, Fox News Channel, PBS’s The NewsHour, and the Today Show.

Dramatic Prelude to the Event

Before the event got properly underway, Development Director Gwendalyn Carver took the stage to inform the audience that the son of another Heartland executive was recently shot in Chicago. (The young man is now in recovery.) Carver stressed that the victim’s mother wished to stress that “gun control does not stop crime.” “These criminals will always be able to get illegal guns,” Carver continued. “We recognize this is a serious matter, not only in the city of Chicago, but in our families.” She asked all in attendance to pray for the family.

Lott’s initial comments were in solidarity with Carver’s comments about the senseless shooting of a Heartland co-worker’s son. In speaking about urban crime, Lott reiterated how difficult it is to stop gangs from getting drugs. Should success actually be achieved in getting drugs or weapons away from gangs, mused Lott, it would take but 20 minutes before they started coming back into the area. Gang members use the same source to obtain illegal guns as they do to obtain illegal drugs.

Would Background Checks on Private Transfer Be Effective?

Hillary Clinton is pushing a law to impose background checks on the private transfer of guns – which often involves a family member giving or selling a firearm to a relative. Lott said exactly zero criminal shootings would have been stopped by such a law in the last 16 years, according to the latest gun statistics.

Lott reported that 2.4 million so-called dangerous people have been stopped from getting a gun through background checks, but 99 percent of them were cases of mistaken identity. They had the bad luck of having names similar to those of criminals. Unfortunately, many of the cases of mistaken identity negatively affect those who really need guns. He noted that 40 percent of the U.S. Vietnamese population has the same last name; and the “same identity” rate among the U.S. black population is 30 percent.

Why such a high rate of false positives? When an individual fills out and sends in the 4473 Form government bureaucrats are negligent in carefully checking names, Social Security numbers, and the addresses listed on the forms it receives.

The Cost of Gun Bureaucracy

The appeals process to clean up a mistaken identity requires one to hire a lawyer – which is expensive and discourages minorities in high-crime urban areas from getting guns for personal protection.

Also, 16 hours of study is needed to quality for a concealed carry permit in Chicago. Because of the absence of gun shops in the city, those who want training must travel the suburbs. Because of the high cost ($450) of getting a concealed carry permit in the first place, those who most need guns for self-protection are unable to defray the cost.

America’s Mass Shootings Are Not Higher Than in Other Nations

President Obama is wrong when he claims the U.S. is the only country in the world encountering mass, pubic gun attacks, Lott said. During the first seven years of the Obama administration, there were 25 mass shooting in Europe, the same number as occurred here in the U.S. In looking at shootings involving K-12 schools, three out of four of the worst attacks happened in Europe. In France, which has one-fifth our population, four public mass shootings occurred with 532 casualties.

This rather amazing statement was made by Lott: “The murder rate in the rest of the world is 20 percent higher than in the U.S.”  The Solomon Islands, where guns were banned in 1988, is a good example, Lott said. The media had reported not a single act of gun violence in the Solomon Islands from 2001 to 2005. But Lott uncovered the truth by checking the Solomon Islands police records. In fact, the islands, which has a population of 500,000, there were three large-scale public shootings. Why no public accounts of the mass shootings?  The Solomon Islands depend of tourism for operating revenue, and reporting the truth would hurt business.

In Africa gun violence is 380 percent higher than in the United States, Lott added. Israel has a rate 2000 percent higher; and Australia’s gun violence tops America’s by 320 percent.

Gun Free Zones

Lott noted that 98 percent of all mass shootings occur in “gun free zones,” such as a church. Lott talked about the Charleston church shooting, which took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on the June 17, 2015 during a prayer service. The shooter cased the church, and determined how long it would take to drive from the police station to the site of his crime. 

In 2012, a gunman opened fire at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, turning the Batman movie into a real-life horror film. The shooter chose the only movie theater out of the seven near his apartment that had a sign posted banning hand guns. Consider also the 2007 Westroads Mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska. Although there were other malls in the area, the shooter chose the one with the “no guns” sign posted out front.

France’s Attempts to Tackle Terror

Paris, France is at a disadvantage because all venues are gun free zones, as is the situation in other EU countries, Lott said. After the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015, France went on high alert. The president of France opted to put 10,000 military personnel on the street, thinking it would stop gun crime. But it failed, because not all of the military was on the streets at the same time. There were too many targets that required guarding. Three more shootings took place after Charlie Hebdo.

One mass shooting that received wall-to-wall American TV coverage was the Paris shooting which left 100 dead at the Bataclan concert hall at the hands of three ISIS terrorists. Policemen might be the most important factor in reducing crime, but because of their uniforms they are also targets. This was the fate of some of the armed guards in the Paris shootings.

This interesting bit of information was related by John Lott: From 1940 to 1972, machine guns were used in Israel by terrorists. Why did terrorists switch to bombs after 1972?  Because Israeli citizens were permitted to carry guns. Using a bomb meant there would be very little left of the individual(s) targeted by the terrorist, who considered the sacrifice of his/her own life a noble act which offered great rewards in the here after. [It could be concluded that France, and other countries in the West – including the US – are increasingly the victim of a cruel twist of irony in which their own founding values and principles are turned against them.] 

Q&A Session with John Lott

Question: What was the emotional state of the recent American mass shooters?

Answer: Sixty percent of the shooters were under the care of a mental health professional, but not one was identified as being a danger to themselves or others. Why? The mentally ill are considered less likely to be violent than those in the general population.

Question: Why do you have difficulty getting on TV to debate, Mr. Lott?

Answer: Even on Fox producers sometimes call Lott at the last minute to tell him that his debate opponent won’t go on if he’s involved. Either the person insists on appearing by himself, or Lott is asked if he could suggest another person who has the same views to act as a substitute. Those supporting gun control are therefor able to control the message of what people hear and see on TV.

Question: What about crime in Chicago?

Answer: Fifteen percent of all shootings in Chicago result in death. The shootings relate to the large volume of drug trafficking in Chicago and gang turf battles. Furthermore, gang members don’t shoot well but tend to spray when shooting. Corruption is also wide spread in Chicago. Policemen are told to not go into certain areas of Chicago or they will be suspended. Then too, murders are often reclassified as “accidents,” so the actual murder rate in Chicago is unknown.  

Question: How can the crime rate be reduced in Chicago?

Answer: If we really want to reduce crime rates we must legalize drugs. During the last year of the prohibition on alcohol in 1932, murder rates were at their highest levels. After 1934, they fell because the incentive for gangs to fight over turf with one another was eliminated. (The solution suggested by John Lott of how to rid Chicago of gangs is soundly rejected by Nancy Thorner. Comparing the consequences of alcohol use with that of drug use seems shortsighted and without merit, yet the libertarian viewpoint is in line with this message.)

Question: Should airline pilots be allowed to carry guns?

Answer: From 1924 to 1963, every commercial airline pilot was required to have a hand gun with them. Up until 1979, pilots were still permitted to carry a loaded gun on a plane. It was Jimmy Carter who ended the practice.

Question: Why is this presidential election so important?

Answer: There has never so much at stake as there is right now with this election. Some 70 percent of federal judges have been appointed by a Democrat, and the Supreme Court is tied 4-4. One more Clinton appointment is needed to overturn the Heller Supreme Court decision allowing personal gun ownership in Washington, DC.      

Watch the entire Heartland event with John Lott here.


Thursday, September 08, 2016

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


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?  

Friday, June 26, 2015


Wednesday, June 24, 2015


By Nancy Thorner – 

George Orwell more than 30 years ago, coined the term “doublethink” in his novel, 1984. “Doublethink” is still very much alive today in discussing and debating Climate Change.

From a featured slide at Hearthland Institute’s recent International Climate Change Conference 10:

  • Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs in mind simultaneously (cooling is warming) and accepting both as true.  We thereby become unaware of any discrepancy between true and false.
  • Doublethink mostly stems from total belief in an ideology as in any kind of ISM, like Communism.  The ISM holds the “truth”, as embedded in the language of climatism, the subject of a book by Steve Goreham, “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism.”
  • Contrived language (C means CO2 can distort and corrupt our thinking, make us stupidly unaware of lies, and fail to question our leaders.  Control the language and you control the people, and hence the society — which is the route to dystopia.

Following are examples of doublethink that are inherent in the Climate Change lexicon:  The immediate intent is to deceive, but the ultimate aim is always to control (a featured slide at ICCC-10):

  • Carbon Dioxide is soot
  • Extremely likely is 95%
  • Climate is Weather
  • Denier is Liar
  • Skeptic is Septic
  • Social License is Green Approval
  • Mitigation is Prevention

The present time as a “pile of filth”?

Despite the doublethink inherent in climate change with its intent to deceive, such as when deniers are called liars, it is amazing that the American people ranked climate change dead last among eight other listed concerns in a recent Gallop poll .  But will public opinion change in lieu of the Vatican’s recently released encyclical by Pope Francis in which the pope blames climate change on human activity and subsequently refers to the present time as a “pile of filth”?

This brash terminology seems to fly in the face of history and reason and more of less redefines the best of all possible times as a living hell-hole.  Granted, many still live in squalor without electricity and even denied electricity, yet we live in luxury that even kings a few centuries ago could only dream about.  One only needs to look at the filth and squalor in which previous generations lived to know that most people in the past would have given anything to be born now.  How is it possible to promote fossil fuel as somehow evil, when it created and made possible the fantastic modern world we live in today?

Although it’s impossible to determine how the Pope’s encyclical will influence the attitude (concerns) of the American people over Climate Change, the Pope, performing much like a lobbyist, is urging prayers for passage of the UN Climate treaty, even telling his faithful “to ask God for a positive outcome” at the upcoming December Paris UN conference.

Heartland goes to Italy

In late April, the Heartland Institute sent a delegation to the Vatican “hoping to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: There is no global warming crisis!”  Seven scientists and other experts gave speeches at a Heartland event held near the Vatican, raising doubts about various aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change, and further urging the pope not to take sides.

The conclusion reached by the Heartland delegation was that Pope Francis had already made up his mind on the question of global warming. A French doubter, Philippe de Larminat, after achieving a spot at the Pope’s climate summit, was told there were no spaces left for him. As de Larminat said, “They did not want to hear an off note.” Philippe de Larminat authored a book arguing that solar activity, not greenhouse gases, was driving global warming.

The U.N.’s role in climate change remains paramount as it continues to move full steam ahead with a major December international climate conference in Paris.  At the December climate conference 196 countries will meet to sign an agreement to be adopted that will take the form of a protocol — a legal instrument or “an agreed outcome with legal force”– that will be applicable to all parties, and which will reflect ambitious outcomes that will have a real impact on tackling climate change.

Any U.N. agreement would not be grounded in sound science.  Its established protocol would impose economic burdens greatly affecting living standards, not only on the American people, but on individuals whose nations are signed signatories to the protocol.  Most certainly a U.N adopted protocol would be a slap in the face of the many renowned scientists who gathered recently at the The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) in Washington, D.C. on June 11 and 12, who are in agreement that CO2 is not a pollutant, nor does it cause global warming.  Fred Singer and Willie Soon, as noted in Article 2, predicted how a Little Ice Age could be on the horizon as a consequence of natural climate cycles and the influence of the sun on the climate, most certainly not CO2 induced!

Relevant questions not subject to review

The three questions noted below, although topics of discussion at the Heartland-sponsored ICCC-10 conference in Washington, D.C. on June 11 – 12, were not subject for review by the Pope. The questions were likewise ignored by the U.N. and others who believe and advocate that climate change is settled science caused by man and that the continued use of fossil fuels will result in horrendous, although unsubstantiated future calamities for Mother Earth.

1.  Is the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere a net positive or net negative for plant life, animals, and human prosperity?

2.  What is the cost of restrictions on energy generation and consumption imposed by the Obama administration and the United Nations?

3.  It is moral to withhold affordable and reliable energy from the impoverished living in the United States and those in developing countries?

What happens if the global warming theory doesn’t fit the data?  Just change the data, as was done by NASA.

Having been documented and verified to be so, global atmospheric temperature had not risen since 1998 (18 years and four months to be exact), despite human carbon dioxide emissions over that period representing 25 percent of all emissions since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution some150 years ago. So it was in early 2013 that a number of scientific and public commentators began to suggest that the phenomena was merely a “pause,” a “slowdown,” and a “hiatus.”  After another analysis of the temperature data since 1998, and through “adjusting” (fudging data) the numbers, NASA reported magically that there was no plateau after all, that the warming actually continued.

Climate change as biggest environmental challenge of our time? Really!

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy remarked at a White House summit on climate change and health on Tuesday, June 23: “Climate change is not just the biggest environmental challenge of our time, it is the biggest public health challenge of our time.” Accordingly, President Obama has moved climate change to the top of his agenda, both domestically and internationally, for the rest of his term. Really!

Perhaps it would behoove the White House to read how Global Warming was described by Robert Tracinski in his “Federalist” article on June 8th: “The Theory that Predicts Nothing and Explains Everything.”

Articles by Thorner about  the June 11-12 ICCC-10 conference in Washington, D.C.:

Heartland Institute Honors Sen. Inhofe for Challenging Climate Change Myths 

What if the Pope’s Encyclical Destroys Rather Than Save Humanity 

Part 4:  Positive results of modest global warming through eyes of leading scientists and speakers at ICCC-10.