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Liberal Anti-Fracking Groups Getting Funding from Secretive Russia-Connected Sources

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 27, 2015

Very interesting and well-researched piece today suggesting that the evidence is piling up about U.S. anti-fracking campaigns being funded (in part at least) by Russian interests.

Read the whole thing. Very detailed. But here's an excerpt:

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft. Read More >>

An Issue In Which We Can Agree: Fast Tracking the TPP

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | January 22, 2015

Trade may be the one area in which Congressional Republicans and the president can work together, and Obama has called the Trans Pacific Partnership a high priority that would not only strengthen the U.S. as a leader in the Pacific Rim, but also create jobs, boost investment, and be a boon to small businesses.   

  Read More >>

An Orchestrated, Loud Guffaw

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 19, 2015

Dear God, let this be the low point!

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 16, 2015

So Secretary of State John Kerry's idea of diplomacy is to take James Taylor to France and have him sing to the French people "You've Got a Friend?!" Read More >>

Against Armchair Advocacy

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 16, 2015

Recently, Eli Dourado at the Mercatus Center posted a blog in the wake of the Sony attack discussing stolen correspondence and privileged documents from the MPAA, which were leaked as collateral damage. I’m particularly disappointed to see Eli engaging in hyperbole that borders on dishonesty when he claims content owners are trying to “censor the Internet” and that MPAA is engaged in a “war against the Internet.” Preventing illegal activity on the Internet is not censorship, any more than preventing illegal activity on the streetcorner is censorship, and to use that language is sloppy, inaccurate, and even dishonest. This kind of hyperbole is often engaged in by activist groups, but is a surprise coming from some who claims to be a serious policy analyst at a serious policy organization. It’s also ridiculous for Eli to suggest that the whole episode surrounding Sony Pictures and the movie “The Interview” was a financial success for Sony. In truth, Sony has been devastated by the experience.

He suggests there are two lessons to be learned:  1) that the MPAA is trying to “censor the Internet” by reviving the Stop Online Piracy Act, the much maligned 2012 legislation aimed at combating online theft; and 2) that the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the release of “The Interview” are proof positive that movie studios should bypass theatrical exhibition altogether and release their films online as soon as the director yells, “cut!”

At the outset, it is troubling that when we have just witnessed an unprecedented attack by a rogue-state on an American company, people continue to focus on salacious details revealed in stolen material rather than the big picture. Here, Dourado chooses to exploit the attack to perpetuate stale narratives to support his disdain for copyright. Read More >>

This Valentine's Day, The Real Deal Means More Than a Copy

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | January 9, 2015

What's It All About, Eli?

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | December 17, 2014

It’s not clear to me what Eli Lehrer is torqued off about sufficiently to sit down and pen a blog entry about the fact that Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is working with content owners to help fight online piracy.

Eli grants that A.G. Hood has done “meritorious work” in a number of policy areas of which Eli approves, and he grants that Hood hasn’t done anything to violate laws, canons or legal ethics. (I’m a little confused that Eli thinks one of Hood’s meritorious causes include going after drug companies about drug prices—I thought free-market types thought markets should set prices rather than governments. Same with going after insurance companies. Of course, Eli is in favor of carbon taxes, too, so he’s full of surprises.)

Nonetheless, Eli gives us a five paragraph blog entry. His gripe is apparently that content owners are still trying to protect their content even though SOPA didn’t become law, and that A.G. Hood is willing to work with content owners to do so. Read More >>

Can President Obama Work with the Republican Congress on Trade?

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | November 19, 2014

An obvious question after the sweeping Republican election win is: “What hope is there for constructive outcomes between President Obama and the Republican Congress during the next two years?”

President Obama and Republican leaders have both answered this question with at least one answer in common: Trade policy. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that he and the President have already discussed trade as one area of possible cooperation,

There now appears to be a renewed possibility of Republicans passing fast track trade promotion authority early in the new Congress, which would revitalize trade negotiations such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other agreements. In general, it’s fair to say that Republicans are more favorably inclined toward trade liberalization than are Democrats, which is at least part of why Democrat Senate leader Harry Reid went out of his way to kill any possibility of progress on trade agreements early in 2014.

Support for freer trade has always been a hallmark of free-market conservative philosophy, although Republicans have also occasionally been guilty of protectionism, and there seems to be a disturbing distrust of free trade among some in the Tea Party movement that policy thought leaders like IPI will be addressing as part of our trade policy program. Ultimately, the evidence is overwhelming that freer trade leads to more economic efficiency and to greater job creation in areas of each nation’s competitive advantage. Read More >>

Freedom? There's An App For That.

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | November 17, 2014

We’ve updated the IPI mobile app. Be sure to download it today! Read More >>

MPAA Debuts Wheretowatch.com

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | November 12, 2014

Statement on the Passage of Denton's Fracking Ban

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | November 5, 2014

Unfortunately, those of us who support responsible use of innovative energy technologies such as fracking were unable to break through the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) spread by those who were pushing the Denton fracking ban. For various reasons insufficient effort went into addressing the health and environmental concerns of those who are normally in favor of energy production, but who have become fearful from the junk science being peddled by environmental extremists. And so, in Act I, the ban passed by a substantial margin.

Act II begins now, with several lawsuits filed already the day after the election. These lawsuits are not indicators of greed but rather of the very significant legal problems inherent in the ban. Contrary to what some ban proponents have stated, the simple fact that the ban was placed on the ballot does not indicate legal soundness. In fact, the ban is almost certain to be found illegal on multiple fronts—the only question is which set of legal perils prevails first. Read More >>

The Only Fracking Stopped by the Ban Is the Good Kind

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | November 2, 2014

Most reasonable people would probably agree that, ideally, drilling for oil and natural gas should take place on relatively large tracts of rural land, well away from residences and public places.  But here’s the poorly understood irony facing Denton voters on November 4: That’s the only kind of drilling that will be stopped if the proposed ban passes.

That’s right: It’s only out-of-the-way, inoffensive drilling on large tracts that will be affected under the ban.

Here’s why: While Denton had a weak drilling ordinance and issued some unwise drilling permits, that ordinance has now been significantly strengthened. Indeed, today’s Denton drilling ordinance has stricter requirements and larger setbacks than that of many other cities in north Texas. Anyone obtaining permits and drilling new wells today has to operate under the newly strengthened ordinance, including 1,200 foot setbacks. Fort Worth’s setback, for example, is only 600 feet.

Only wells on relatively large tracts of land and well away from property lines meet the test of the new ordinance and are thus even candidates to be banned.

Proponents of the ban are still seething over wells that were drilled close to residences and property lines under the old ordinance, or indeed that were drilled on unincorporated land. But the city’s hands are tied over those previously drilled wells. Read More >>

Early Voting Boom Amid Denton Fracking Fight

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | October 28, 2014

Legal, Economic & Property Rights Arguments Against the Proposed Ban on Fracking in Denton (video)

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | October 23, 2014

More Misleading Hype about the IP Chapter of the TPP: Forbes' Katheryn Thayer

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | October 23, 2014

I’m cataloging some of the misleading, distorting, uninformed and just plain awful reactions to the latest Wikileaked IP chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty in a series of blog posts, in order to keep my response down to manageably sized bites.

My general reaction to this pattern of distortion can be found in my response to the previously leaked chapter, here. Frankly, not much has substantively changed since then, except for the ever greater heights of distortion from the IP skeptic crowd.

Perhaps the worst reaction was from Katheryn Thayer at Forbes, and I want to stress that Katheryn identifies herself as “staff” at Forbes, and not just as one of their many authorized bloggers. Katheryn uncritically accepts and then further inflates the inaccurate and policy-sloppy arguments of the IP skeptic activist groups, and her article is much more of an opinion piece. Most problematic, she works from the assumption that the TPP is “the latest threat to digital innovation and free speech online.” That’s just totally unjustified. You don’t get to throw around a charge of threatening free speech without backing it up. But she doesn't. Read More >>

 

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