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The U.S. Patent System Is Under Siege

By George Landrith • RedState

The 2010s have been hard on the U.S. patent system. It has been attacked from multiple directions: by big tech, which waged a lobbying campaign to weaken it; by China, which uses IP theft to siphon up to $600 billion out of America annually; and by Washington, D.C., where court decisions and legislation have thrown patent law into turmoil.

The good news is, some are fighting back. President Trump is battling to keep IP protections at the center of trade discussions with China, and the Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee, led by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), held historic hearings just this month to re-stabilize the foundation that patents provide to the U.S. innovation economy.

These efforts are centered on restoring predictability. Today, inventors are uncertain of whether or not their intellectual property rights will be protected. This erodes their incentive to invest time and treasure into creating property in the first place.

Consider the recent words of retired Judge Paul Michel, who spent 22 years on the Federal Circuit and almost a decade working with patent cases. He said of the modern status quo, “I cannot predict in a given case whether [patent] eligibility will be found or not found. If I can’t do it, how can bankers, venture capitalists, and business executives?”

Predictability took its biggest hit in 2011, when Congress enacted the America Invents Act. Among its most damaging provisions was the creation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), an unrestrained tribunal through which anyone can petition to have a patent declared invalid.

And petition they have. By 2016, PTAB had heard challenges to nearly 100,000 patents. A review by IPWatchdog.com found that only 4 percent of cases ended with all challenged patents being upheld.

PTAB’s overreach is particularly egregious because it is extrajudicial. Patent infringers use it to rob innovators not just of their inventions, but of their constitutional right to due process.

Just ask Josh Malone, the inventor of popular water balloon toy Bunch O’ Balloons, who had his invention ripped off by a large toy maker. When faced with his allegations of infringement, the toymaker went straight to PTAB to have his patents invalidated. It took Josh several years and millions in legal fees to finally get his patents re-validated and lost profits awarded by a jury.

Inventor Roman Chistyakov, and his now defunct company Zond, weren’t as fortunate when faced with similar abuse by infringers. Zond’s patented plasma etching technology used in razorblades and semiconductors was gang-tackled by corporate giants Intel, Toshiba, Fujitsu, GlobalFoundries, and Gillette who filed 125 individual IPR petitions costing Chistyakov and his company millions of dollars. Before the IPR proceedings, Zond owned 371 unique patent claims and employed over 20 people. By the end of the IPR proceedings, all of Zond’s patents and employees were gone.

Or consider the ongoing saga of a small company called EagleView, founded in 2008 by a roofing salesman and his software engineer brother. Their idea was to produce 3-D models from aerial images of roofs, enabling insurance and construction companies to better estimate the cost of repairs. As the company grew, established players promptly swooped in to copy the idea. EagleView alleges that Verisk Analytics, which has a market cap of over $24 billion, began stealing key technologies after its attempt to acquire EagleView fell through. EagleView filed for patent infringement, but Verisk attempted to use PTAB as a get out of jail free card by filing petitions to invalidate the more than 150 patents in question.

No matter what, patent law should always rest on the presumption of validity for patent holders and protect their right to due process in the courts. It’s the only way to ensure that the system is predictable for inventors and small companies up against corporate goliaths. None of these patent holders should have had to fight so long and hard for the basic right to have its day in court—a right that should be as central to the patent system as to any other corner of American life.

Increasingly, this is a matter of public interest. So much of modern society relies on patented innovations—from the medicines we take to the cars we drive to the computing technologies that permeate our lives.

America birthed many of these technologies by being the world’s number one protector of intellectual property. To preserve that status, we must fend off the modern siege of the U.S. patent system. We should meet the battle in our courts, our Congress, our trade deals, or anywhere else it presents itself. Innovation itself hangs in the balance.


It Is Time for America to Reassert Leadership in Space

By George Landrith • Newsmax

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has opened a wide-ranging conversation about America’s space exploration program. I remember being a young boy and watching with fascination as rockets in the Apollo program lifted off from Cape Canaveral and as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made that giant leap for mankind on the surface of the moon. President John F. Kennedy never got to see the lunar landing, but he set the nation’s sights on the moon and helped establish America’s preeminence in space.

Sadly, by the end of the George W. Bush Administration and during the entirety of Barack Obama’s Administration, America’s space exploration program was all but shut down. Something like that can escape notice for a while, but eventually, the impact will become obvious. Imagine if the Soviets had won the space race! A great deal more than national pride is at risk.

It is high time America reassert its leadership in space. Leaving the cosmos to China would be a catastrophic mistake. The technological, economic, and national security implications are important and very real. To simply cede these matters to China would harm not only the United States, but the rest of the world. The communist Chinese intend to dominate militarily and would love for us to cede this arena to them.

Fortunately, President Donald Trump sees space as an important frontier. Early in our nation’s history, President Thomas Jefferson launched a major exploration of the western half of the North American continent. President Kennedy set in motion America’s successful Apollo 11 lunar landing. Now, President Trump is pushing America towards Mars.

On July 4, earlier this year, President Trump said, “I want you to know that we are going to be back on the moon very soon, and someday soon we will plant the American flag on Mars.” That is a worthy objective and a worthwhile goal!

Landing on Mars and returning safely home again will happen as we reestablish the capability to safely return to the moon. A round trip to Mars is about 18 months. The safety issues are exponentially more complicated than a lunar landing. There is no returning half way once headed to the Red Planet. But once we conquer these challenges, we will again be the clear and undisputed leader in technology and space exploration. That will include valuable economic benefits, obvious technological advancements, and significant national security advantages.

This is a mission worthy of a new generation of American children who dream of becoming astronauts, scientists, and engineers. But there are those who hope to demote NASA into a space agency with small dreams and mundane goals.

For example, Lori Garver, Obama’s NASA Deputy Administrator from 2009 to 2013, has recently wrote an article in the Washington Post arguing that NASA should nix plans to go to Mars and instead make its budget available for more climate science research — something that nearly every other federal agency puts plenty of money towards. According to OMB, the federal government has 19 agencies that funded climate change research to the tune of $13.2 billion in 2017 alone. But Garver sees NASA’s budget and she covets its less than 1/2 of one percent of federal spending. She wants to raid NASA’s budget to fund her own priorities — even more climate change research.

We should all be glad that Garver and her ilk were not around in the 1960’s when President Kennedy was inspiring America to aim for the moon. America needs, and will benefit from, a serious space exploration program.

But people like Ms. Garver are not the only impediment to America’s resurgence into deep space exploration. Newt Gingrich, while supportive of President Trump’s plans to go to Mars, has been advocating for policies that run counter to that goal.

Over the last few years the former Speaker of the House has repeatedly boosted Elon Musk and SpaceX as the future of space travel. From a flurry of tweets lauding the company and its founder, to a series of op-eds, including one where he encourages the government to take on “the role of an investor” in SpaceX, the policies he advocates for in the opinion pages and on social media appear to align with the company’s agenda.

Unfortunately the SpaceX agenda is mostly about getting special concessions and huge subsidies even when it fails to meet contractual benchmarks. While Musk’s prowess in space is questionable, he is a master at public relations campaigns designed to portray him as a forward thinking innovator. But the truth is, Musk is a creature of the D.C. swamp who has succeeded — far less by innovating — than by getting billions in government handouts and subsidies.

Musk’s and SpaceX’s track record on accomplishment and safety are spotty at best. Their delays and failures are commonplace. Yet, they managed to play the Washington swamp game adeptly. As a result, Musk got huge taxpayer provided subsidies for each Tesla he sold and got even larger government provided benefits and subsidies for SpaceX. Musk even managed to get the Obama Administration to pay for contract work that SpaceX failed to deliver on.

I admire Gingrich — I’ve got a photo with him hanging in my office and I signed the Contract with America. But I disagree on his proposed path to Mars that favors Musk’s legacy of failure, delay, and rent seeking. By pinning our deep space exploration hopes on Musk, Gingrich — who has a reputation as being an innovative policy mind — risks miring our space program in the swamp slime and muck that has allowed Musk to make his fortune on the backs of the U.S. taxpayer.

Going to Mars is exponentially more difficult than landing on the moon. It presents a great deal more safety challenges. Musk has proven over the past decade that safety is not his concern. In fact, he seems to view safety as a bother. Our policy makers should take this into consideration when deciding how we will take our astronauts back to the moon and beyond.

The truth is, America already has a capable new rocket that dwarfs the capabilities of the Saturn V rockets that took our astronauts to the moon. The Space Launch System will be online and ready later this year. As with any attempt to design and build something that has never been done before, the Space Launch System had some challenges. Guess what? The Apollo program had many challenges too. Even Lewis and Clark’s mission had challenges and cost overruns. When something has never been done before, developing it isn’t like buying a Betty Crocker cake mix and baking it in the oven.

Real and robust competition pushes all participants to perform their best. But SpaceX has so far been able to avoid real competition. Without any real requirement that it ultimately succeed, SpaceX has been a technological failure, even while Musk has managed a public relations success and gotten paid based on his public relations campaign, more than actual accomplishment. To make it to Mars we must encourage real competition, not Elon Musk’s fake version of competition where he gets paid regardless of what he produces.

Returning to the moon and then going on to Mars is a worthy goal and the right objective! But it won’t happen if NASA becomes just another federal agency studying climate change. And it won’t happen if Elon Musk is able to co-opt the process as he did during the Obama years. Musk’s life goal appears to be famous and rich. But America needs to make it our goal to go to Mars and bring our astronauts safely home again.


Supplement to the Letter to Secretaries of State & Treasury about the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and Hungarian Violators of March 1, 2018

As the Frontiers of Freedom’s Letter of March 1, 2018, proved, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, his family, and his closest collaborators have been engaged since he assumed his office in institutionalized, conspiratorial, deliberate, and large scale theft, embezzlement, fraud, and malicious corruption against the Hungarian state, and its citizens.

The Institute that has dedicated itself to the universal promotion of human rights and the fight against corruption, hereby submits a Supplement to its original letter, calling the Secretaries’ attention the newest case of flagrant corruption committed by the same and additional officials against the Hungarian state and its citizens.

The case in point is the corruption perpetrated by the managers and employees of Microsoft Corporation’s Hungarian subsidiary that was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice, which resulted in a fine of $25.3 million against the Redmond, California based corporation. Microsoft Corporation admitted guilt under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.

The full documentation is available at the Department of Justice. The Department demonstrated on two specific cases the well-thought out conspiracy to defraud Microsoft and the American taxpayers. In its summary, the final report states that the conspiracy reached all the way up to the Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office.

For this reason, it is incumbent upon the United States of America, as the leading power of the world to take appropriate action to combat the malignant spread of official Hungarian corruption and to prevent further damage to the security of NATO and the European Union. At stake are the fundamental principles of the rule of law and the basic value systems that the United States of America and its allies all over the world have cherished, have fought for, and have been determined to uphold.

The most important individuals are the same that the Institute’s original letter already listed.

Sincerely,


Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi, Senior Executive Vice President


Coalition Letter to DOJ — Re: Antitrust Consent Decrees with the Two Largest Music Collectives

To: The Honorable William P. Barr

Dear Attorney General Barr,

The undersigned free market organizations write to raise serious concerns regarding the possible termination, sunset or significant changes to the antitrust consent decrees between the Department of Justice and the two largest music collectives:  the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).

The Department’s Antitrust Division is currently reviewing scores of legacy consent decrees for possible termination. Many of these decrees are outdated, governing industries that no longer exist or markets that no longer pose antitrust concerns. In those cases, such needless regulation should be eliminated. The ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, however, remain extremely relevant to a functioning marketplace. Millions of businesses across the country rely on the efficiencies and anticompetitive protections that these decrees provide.  

The market for music licenses is inherently anticompetitive, and traditional free market principles do not necessarily translate. Rather than competing against one another to sell their products, the vast majority of songwriters and publishers have chosen instead to band together under the ASCAP and BMI umbrella (representing about ninety-five percent of all music) in order to collectively set a standard price for music. This approach of music sellers colluding instead of competing recently led a Federal court to find that SESAC, the next largest music collective, with less than five percent of all music licenses, does possess market power. This finding resulted in the much smaller SESAC agreeing to an antitrust settlement with terms similar to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees.

This sort of market power, collusion, and price fixing is antithetical to a traditional free market, yet it remains necessary for the music licensing market to operate efficiently. Most businesses, from restaurants to local radio stations, must license millions of songs to indemnify themselves from ruinous infringement damages. Rather than negotiate with thousands of individual rights holders, ASCAP and BMI offer a one-stop shop opportunity. Similarly, thousands of rights holders rely upon the scale of ASCAP and BMI to maximize the enforcement of their copyrights. 

These benefits, however necessary to market efficiency, should not excuse ASCAP and BMI from the nation’s antitrust laws. 

Given the anticompetitive nature of the music licensing market as a whole, ending the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees would assuredly necessitate some other form of government regulation over the market. Disrupting entire industries, potentially harming millions of individual businesses in the process, only to trade one form of regulation for another, is not in line with conservative, free market principles.

Sincerely,

George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom

Rick Manning, President , Americans for Limited Government 

Andrew Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom & Prosperity 

Chuck Muth, President, Citizen Outreach

Chris Salcedo, Executive Director, The Conservative Hispanic Society

Mario Lopez, President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Patrice Onwuka, Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women’s Forum

Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty

Hector V. Barreto, Chairman & CEO, The Latino Coalition

Seton Motley, President, Less Government

Peter Ferrara, Senior Policy Advisor, National Tax Limitation Committee 

Tom Zawistowski, President, We the People Convention


The fraud of single-payer health care

The consistent failures of single-payer health care worldwide are well-documented

By Scott W. Atlas • The Washington Times

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) directly harmed America’s health care, far more than just breaking promises about keeping your doctor and your insurance. Its extensive regulations made private insurance unaffordable, as premiums for individuals doubled and for families increased by 140 percent in four years, even though deductibles also increased substantially. 

It funneled massive taxpayer dollars to add millions to substandard Medicaid insurance, widely known to have worse outcomes than private insurance and far less acceptance by doctors, even by doctors with contractual agreements to accept it. It dramatically reduced choice of hospitals and specialists for patients with private insurance, so that almost 75 percent of private ACA plans became highly restrictive. And it generated a record pace of consolidation across the sector, including anti-consumer mergers of doctor practices and hospitals that are associated with higher prices of care. The ACA was significantly damaging to patients and cost taxpayers enormously. 

The antidote most Democratic presidential candidates now propose to the regulatory nightmare of Obamacare is the ultimate hyper-regulation of health care — socialized medicine, clothed in more pleasing terms like “public option” and “Medicare for all.” And their simplistic messaging is enticing; who wouldn’t want “guaranteed, free health care?” 

The answer to “who wouldn’t want it?” is found in existing single-payer systems all over the world, in countries with decades of experience, which offer those same “guarantees.” People with the financial means increasingly choose to circumvent single-payer systems for private health care. Even though they already pay £125 billion per year, equivalent to $160 billion, for their single-payer health care, half of all Brits who earn more than £50,000 buy or plan to buy private health insurance, according to Statista 2017. 

In Sweden, about 650,000 who can afford it buy private insurance despite already paying $20,000 per family per year through taxes for their nationalized system, according to Insurance in Sweden 2015. And more than 250,000 Brits spend out-of-pocket cash for private care. According to the European insurance and reinsurance federation (CEA), private insurance in the EU bought by those who can afford it grew by more than 50 percent over a decade to 2010, specifically to fill the “ever growing gaps in coverage” in public health systems. Only the poor and the middle class are stuck with nationalized, single-payer health care, because only they cannot afford to circumvent that system.

Americans should wonder why those with financial means would need to spend even more money than their already high taxes for something that is “guaranteed and free.” Unbeknownst to Americans and hidden by single-payer advocates, consistent failures of single-payer health care are well documented, proven to be inferior to the U.S. system in important objective measures of access to care and quality. As a direct consequence of explicit restrictions on specialists, surgeries, drugs and technology, single-payer systems have factually worse outcomes than the U.S. system from almost all serious diseases, including 


Rural Americans would be serfs if we abolished the Electoral College

If the National Popular Vote drive kills the Electoral College, rural and small town Americans who supply our food and energy will lose their voice.

By Trent England • USA Today

Should rural and small-town Americans be reduced to serfdom? The American Founders didn’t think so. This is one reason why they created checks and balances, including the Electoral College. Today that system is threatened by a proposal called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPV.

Rural America produces almost all our country’s food, as well as raw materials like metals, cotton and timber. Energy, fossil fuels but also alternatives like wind and solar come mostly from rural areas. In other words, the material inputs of modern life flow out of rural communities and into cities.

This is fine, so long as the exchange is voluntary — rural people choose to sell their goods and services, receive a fair price, and have their freedom protected under law. But history shows that city dwellers have a nasty habit of taking advantage of their country cousins. Greeks enslaved whole masses of rural people, known as helots. Medieval Europe had feudalism. The Russians had their serfs.

Credit the American Founders with setting up a system of limited government with lots of checks and balances. The U.S. Senate makes sure all states are represented equally, even low-population rural states like Wyoming and Vermont. Limits on federal power, along with the Bill of Rights, are supposed to protect Americans from overreaching federal regulations. And the Electoral College makes it impossible for one population-dense region of the country to control the presidency.

Skipping the constitutional amendment process

This is why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. Instead of winning over small-town Americans, she amassed a popular vote lead based on California and a few big cities. She won those places with huge margins but lost just about everywhere else. And the system worked. The Electoral College requires more than just the most raw votes to win — it requires geographic balance. This helps to protect rural and small-town Americans.

Now a California millionaire named John Koza is trying to undo this system. He is leading and funding the National Popular Vote campaign. Their plan is to get state governments to ignore how their own citizens vote in presidential elections and instead get them to cast their electoral votes based on the national popular vote. If it works, this will be like getting rid of the Electoral College but without actually amending the Constitution.

‘2 wolves and a lamb’ voting on lunch

California has already passed NPV, along with 13 other states plus Washington, D.C.  Nevada, with six electoral votes, could be next. NPV only takes effect if it is joined by enough states that they control 270 electoral votes, which would then control the outcome of all future presidential elections. If that happens (NPV needs 81 more electoral votes), and if the courts do not strike it down, big cities will gain more political power at the expense of everyone else.

The idea that every vote should count equally is attractive. But a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin famously reminds us that democracy can be “two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch.” (City dwellers who think that meat comes from the grocery store might not understand why this is such a big problem for the lamb.) And when you think about it, every check on government power, from the Electoral College to the Bill of Rights, is a restraint on the majority.

The Electoral College makes it even harder to win the presidency. It requires geographic balance and helps protect Americans who might otherwise have their voices ignored. All Americans should value constitutional protections, like the Electoral College, that remind us that the real purpose of government is to protect our individual rights.


Importation of Drugs is risky and short-sighted

Frontiers of Freedom released this statement on importation of drugs:

“Safe” importation is an oxymoron. It may sound good, but it’s very risky. The reality is that many drugs labeled as “Canadian” and thus assumed to be safe, are usually counterfeit or tainted medications that come from third world countries

For years, healthcare policy analysts and health safety experts have produced a cacophony of powerful objections to importation based on worries about safety and pricing. Even many government reports make it clear that drug importation is a risky business and that there are better ways to keep costs in check. The health, legal and economic dangers posed by drug importation makes it dangerous public policy. 

Additionally, drug “importation” would actually import Canada’s price-controlled, government- run healthcare system and kill off the incentives to develop new medicines. If we hope to find the next generation of cures and treatments to many of the terrible diseases that have plagued mankind for millennia, then we need to encourage innovation, investment and research — not stifle it. 

Simply stated, the new @HHSGov proposal may have a certain rhetorical appeal, but when the shiny stylistic glitter is wiped away, it becomes clear that the proposal is dangerous and potentially deadly for American patients. Plus it will hamstring future innovation and development of new medications. None of that is a good idea, and none of that will help American’s stay healthy or end up reducing healthcare costs.


Ukraine’s Peaceful Civil War

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi • Frontiers of Freedom

Prior to this year’s elections, Ukrainians appeared to stumble collectively toward their second civil war in five years, thus forecasting a renewed domestic catastrophe as well as instigating an ominous foreign policy crisis for the Trump administration in a strategically pivotal part of Europe amid enduring tensions between the United States and Russia.

After declaring independence from the disintegrating Soviet Union on August 24, 1991, the elected representatives of the sovereign republic of Ukraine faced two fundamental problems: the establishment of a Ukrainian national state and the creation of a free market economy. Three decades later the verdict is in: successive Ukrainian presidents have utterly failed to make the people the real sovereign, while simultaneously, have managed to turn the Ukrainian economy into a tightly controlled corrupt, criminal political enterprise. The people’s feeble attempt at facing these challenges decisively in 2004, ended in a spectacular failure. A second similar attempt in 2014, proved to be even worse. It was an unmitigated disaster. By early 2019, during the waning days of the Poroshenko presidency, Ukraine was in an extremely deep political, financial, economic, social, cultural, and moral crisis.

Politically, the sovereignty of the Ukranian people was a shame. The citizens were held hostage to the reign of greedy and irresponsible oligarchs. Financially, the local currency, the hryvnia, became almost worthless and the national debt reached 40% of the GDP. Economically, Ukraine has turned into the poorest country of the European continent. Socially, destructive hatred and fear from each other among various ethnic

communities pushed society to the brink of another bloody civil war. Culturally, the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Russian: Pravoslavna Tserkva Ukrayiny) on December 15, 2018, has created even among the 43.9% Ukrainian population fundamental confusions concerning their religious loyalties. Morally, this hatred and the resulting mistrust have inflamed long simmering racially motivated enmities mainly between the Ukrainian and Russian inhabitants of the country. As a result of the bloody Maidan coup d’etat and the subsequent policies of former President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine has lost the Crimea and has triggered a deluge of fire and blood in the eastern part of the country. The latter in particular, has turned into a vicious circle, in which peace has become elusive.

Amid all these fundamental problems and uncertainties, most Ukrainian presidents have oscillated between their citizens’ desire to anchor the country in the West and the formers’ political inclination to maintain dictatorial powers with democratic facade. Their successive power grabs have moved Ukraine ever closer to its eastern neighbor Russia. In this manner, the so-called Ukrainian democracy has become a joke. That the West, in particular the United States of America, has been unable to stop the gradual descent of Ukraine into chaos is a tragedy for its sorry diplomacy. Specifically, the eight years of the Obama administration that allowed Vice President Joe Biden to take advantage of the all pervasive corruption, and help his son Hunter to enrich himself to the detriment of both countries, have been an unequivocal disgrace. Regrettably, the same Obama/Biden bureaucrats still control Ukrainian affairs from the State Department. Thus, American policy toward Ukraine remains abysmally contradictory and absolutely ineffective. In order to redefine the bilateral relationship with the new Ukrainian administration, the Trump administration should be guided by the facts on the ground. Accordingly, the White House must understand that what has transpired in the spring and more recently in the summer in Ukraine has been a real and fundamental transformation, in which the vast majority of the people have participated in a bloodless revolution to prevent another bloody civil war.

Onto this political minefield has stepped as an unlikely presidential candidate in early 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky. A lawyer by education and an entertainer by profession, he has succeeded to trigger a national uprising not just against President Petro Poroshenko who was running for a second term, but also against three decades of political and economic corruption.

The young Volodymyr Zelensky first introduced himself to the national audience in 2002, in the widely popular Russian language show called The Club of the Joyfuls and the Resourcefuls (Russian: Klub Viselikh i Nakhodchivikh). Starting to run in the Soviet TV in 1960, the show quickly became a national phenomenon. In 1972, Leonid Brezhnev closed the show, because of its increasingly critical political content. Under Mikhail Gorbachev the show was reinstated. In 2002, the best team was named The 95 Resident (Russian: 95-iy Kvartal) led by Volodymyr Zelensky from the town of Krivoy Rog. The team turned its newfound success into a permanent television show. Under the title Kiev Night (Russian: Vecherniy Kiev), they appeared every Saturday night on one of the Ukrainian TV channels. Not being satisfied with a weekly show, the team also performed live on streets and squares throughout the country. Finally, starting in 2006, they introduced a thirty five episode program entitled Servant of the People (Russian: Sluga Naroda) that became by far the most popular television show in Ukraine.

The storyline of the show is as simple as effective. A poor high school history teacher by the name of Vasyl Goloborodko (meaning in Ukrainian Clean Face), who lives with his parents, are convinced by his students to run for president. The show presents a critical picture of conditions in Ukraine from the Maidan events in 2014 on. Based on this criticism, the hero of the show builds a national movement and decisively wins the presidential election. In real life, Volodymyr Zelensky beat Petro Poroshenko 73.23% to 24.46%. Following the dissolution of the Verkhovna

Rada on May 20, 2019, parliamentary elections took place on July 21, 2019. President Volodymyr Zelenski’s party, appropriately named Servant of the People, received 254 mandates out of 424 overall.

In his inauguration speech, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that presently he has no intention to run for a second term. Then, admonished his countrymen and countrywomen to internalize their desire to be an integral part of Europe. He added that anyone who feels to be Ukrainian and would like to help the country are welcome and could obtain citizenship. Turning to politics, he emphasized the overwhelming importance of peace. To achieve peace, he stated that he would be willing to go the extra mile. He proposed direct talks with all parties involved. He strongly emphasized the unity of the entire Ukraine. Ukraine cannot be divided. The Donbas region and the Crimean peninsula are parts of Ukraine. Acknowledged that the social conditions in the country are untenable. Accordingly, everything must be done to restore the viability of the economy. Finally, President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed symbolic measures to restore the people’s faith in government.

The most important question is how to achieve these objectives. First, the new president, as soon as members of the new parliament are sworn in, must deliver a decisive and crushing blow to all who took part in running Ukraine to the ground. Second, Russia should neither be hated or feared. Negotiations must be conducted with a great deal of patience, because Russia is also fears and even hates any sovereign government in Ukraine. However, peace in the east and negotiations regarding the future of the Crimean peninsula are vital to normalization of domestic and foreign affairs of Ukraine. Third, the most thorough audit of Ukraine’s finances must be undertaken by foreign auditors. Finally, the president must work to realize the two major unfinished objectives, namely, the establishment of the Ukrainian national state and the creation of a national free market economy.

The United States of America and the European Union must wish success to Ukraine and extend all the assistance they can possibly marshall for this onerous undertaking.


Unreliable Nature Of Solar And Wind Makes Electricity More Expensive, New Study Finds

By Michael Shellenberger • Forbes

Solar panels and wind turbines are making electricity significantly more expensive, a major new study by a team of economists from the University of Chicago finds.

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) “significantly increase average retail electricity prices, with prices increasing by 11% (1.3 cents per kWh) seven years after the policy’s passage into law and 17% (2 cents per kWh) twelve years afterward,” the economists write.

The study, which has yet to go through peer-review, was done by Michael Greenstone, Richard McDowell, and Ishan Nath. It compared states with and without an RPS. It did so using what the economists say is “the most comprehensive state-level dataset ever compiled” which covered 1990 to 2015.

The cost to consumers has been staggeringly high: “All in all, seven years after passage, consumers in the 29 states had paid $125.2 billion more for electricity than they would have in the absence of the policy,” they write.

Last year, I was the first journalist to report that solar and wind are making electricity more expensive in the United States — and for inherently physical reasons.

Solar and wind require that natural gas plants, hydro-electric dams, batteries or some other form of reliable power be ready at a moment’s notice to start churning out electricity when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, I noted.

And unreliability requires solar- and/or wind-heavy places like Germany, California, and Denmark to pay neighboring nations or states to take their solar and wind energy when they are producing too much of it.

My reporting was criticized — sort of — by those who claimed I hadn’t separated correlation from causation, but the new study by a top-notch team of economists, including an advisor to Barack Obama, proves I was right.

Previous studies were misleading, the economists note, because they didn’t “incorporate three key costs,” which are the unreliability of renewables, the large amounts of land they require, and the displacement of cheaper “baseload” energy sources like nuclear plants.

The higher cost of electricity reflects “the costs that renewables impose on the generation system,” the economists note, “including those associated with their intermittency, higher transmission costs, and any stranded asset costs assigned to ratepayers.”

But are renewables cost-effective climate policy? They are not. The economists write that “the cost per metric ton of CO2 abated exceeds $130 in all specifications and ranges up to $460, making it at least several times larger than conventional estimates of the social cost of carbon.”

The economists note that the Obama Administration’s core estimate of the social cost of carbon was $50 per ton in 2019 dollars, while the price of carbon is just $5 in the US northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and $15 in California’s cap-and-trade system.


WaPo Article Preposterously Claims Abraham Lincoln Was ‘Into Karl Marx’

A Washington Post article erroneously claimed Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx were ‘friendly and influenced each other,’ and that Lincoln had strong sympathies for socialism.

By Elad Vaida • The Federalist

The Washington Post has seen better days. The newspaper that once brought us Watergate published an article last week titled “You know who was into Karl Marx? No, not AOC. Abraham Lincoln,” claiming that Lincoln and Marx were “friendly and influenced each other,” and that Lincoln had strong sympathies for socialism. The article distorts history, and relies on questionable evidence and flimsy anecdotes.

Gillian Brockell, who wrote the article, states that Lincoln was “surrounded by socialists and looked to them for counsel,” citing his close connections with the leadership of the New York Tribune as proof. Brockell mentions Lincoln’s close friendship with Horace Greely, founder of the Tribune, a man who “welcomed the disapproval of those who championed free markets over the interests of the working class, a class he recognized as including both the oppressed slaves of the south and the degraded industrial laborers of the north.”

Lincoln was also close to Charles A. Dana, managing editor for the Tribune and a close friend of Marx. During the Civil War, Dana worked as Lincoln’s “eyes and ears in the War Department,” and the president would wait “eagerly” for his dispatches. Under Dana and Greely’s watch, the Tribune published almost 500 articles by Marx, and since Lincoln was an “avid reader” of the Tribune, Brockell assures us that “it’s nearly guaranteed that… Lincoln was reading Marx.”

Good for Greely, and good for Dana, but what does this have to do with Lincoln being “into Karl Marx”? If being friends with socialists makes you a socialist, that means almost every single conservative on college campuses today would be “into Marx.” Neither does Lincoln’s “avid readership” of the Tribune make him a socialist. It’s not “nearly guaranteed” that he read Marx’s articles, and even if he had, there’s no guarantee he was sympathetic to or agreed with them.

Brockell also cites a perfunctory correspondence between Lincoln and Marx to prove Lincoln’s supposed sympathy for socialism. In January 1865, Marx wrote to Lincoln on behalf of the International Workingmen’s Association, a “group for socialists, communists, anarchists and trade unions,” to “congratulate the American people upon [his] reelection.”

A few weeks later, U.S. Ambassador to Britain Charles Francis Adams wrote back to Marx, saying that Lincoln accepted his message “with a sincere and anxious desire that he may be able to prove himself not unworthy of the confidence which has been recently extended to him…by so many of the friends of humanity and progress throughout the world.”

That’s it? A short congratulatory letter from Marx and a routine diplomatic response from an American ambassador are now proof that Lincoln and Marx were “friendly and influenced each other”?

Brockell graciously concedes that Lincoln was “not a socialist, nor communist, nor Marxist”—which is kind of her to do after spending half the article making the case that the Great Emancipator was cozy with socialists, sympathetic to their cause, and best buds with Karl Marx and Co. It would be even more gracious if she mentioned Lincoln’s view that “it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.” You can almost see Marx cringe.

Lincoln put his words into action when he became president. He signed the Homestead Act in 1862, which offered settlers large parcels of land in America’s western territories and streamlined the process for getting land titles, a major economic boost to millions of Americans who wanted to own land. Moreover, in his support for American industry, infrastructure improvements, and higher tariffs, Lincoln seems downright Trumpian.

Yet the biggest difference between Marx and Lincoln is not their economic views, but their views of democracy. Marx saw democratic institutions as the tools the bourgeoisie used to oppress the working class. He favored instituting a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” and once warned that the only way to shorten the “murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society” was “revolutionary terror.”

Lincoln, meanwhile, had an unshakable faith in American democracy. He acknowledged the evil of slavery but knew the best way to destroy it was by working through the constitutional system instituted by the Founding Fathers, not by taking a sledgehammer to our founding ideals. Lincoln favored limiting the expansion of slavery and supported “compensated emancipation,” a system that would pay slaveholders to release their slaves. Only when the southern states seceded did he finally resort to military force to keep the country united.

Most importantly, Lincoln still allowed for democratic elections to take place in 1864, despite the temptation to forego elections during the worst crisis the country had ever experienced. Lincoln’s reelection chances looked very poor in 1864 due to the bloody cost of the Civil War, which had continued for three years with no end in sight. Despite his doubts of victory, he made his cabinet sign a letter to “offer their unwavering loyalty and commitment to the preservation of the Union, regardless of the election’s outcome.”

The most shocking thing in the Post article is its effort to convince us that we don’t need to be worried about socialism. All this fear mongering about socialism, you see, is merely a “new arrow in [Trump’s] quiver of attacks,” a form of neo-McCarthyism. It’s ironic that Brockell warns us that socialism isn’t a rising threat even as she tries to rehabilitate Marx and portray Lincoln as a socialist sympathizer.

Perhaps the Post would have done better to publish a story on Grace Bedell. Grace was an 11-year-old girl who wrote Lincoln, urging him to “let [his] whiskers grow” because he would “look a great deal better” with facial hair. Within a month, Lincoln grew a beard, making an obscure little girl more influential over our 16th president than Karl Marx ever was.


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