P.J. O'Rourke, a Member of the Board of Advisors for the Independent Institute, is Americas leading political humorist and the best-selling author of over twenty books. He spoke at an event held on February 13, 2014 at the Independent institute in Oakland, CA.
Full Video of The Independent Institutes 2011 25th Anniversary Gala for Liberty held November 15, 2011. Part 1: Introductory Remarks and Tribute to Robert Higgs Part 2: Tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa Part 3: History of The Independent Institute and Fund for the Future Part 4: Tribute to Lech Walesa Part 5: Special Tributes, Sponsors, and Credits
When pioneering television journalist John Stossel joined ABC-TV's "20/20" in 1981, his peers and an admiring public hailed him as a crusading consumer reporter. His hard-hitting, in-your-face exposes of con artists and corporate liars and crooks won him 19 Emmys and an avid following. But, could the use of government power and the Nanny State be the biggest scam of all?
In his new book, Give Me a Break, Stossel takes on a herd of sacred cows and examines how in the name of the "public interest," ambitious politicians and bureaucrats, intellectually lazy and opportunistic reporters, scaremongers, and predatory lawyers make life worse, especially for those most disadvantaged.
In this event John Stossel explained how his investigations of government waste, fraud and abuse; welfare for the rich; victimless crimes; self-serving interest groups; and sensationalist-media hyping (while ignoring real risks) reveal the crucial need to protect the civil and economic liberties of all people.
John Stossel, author of Give Me a Break. is co-anchor of ABC's "20/20." He also hosts ABC's "John Stossel Specials" for ABC television and radio, and ABCNews.com. In addition to having received 19 Emmy Awards, he has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.
David J. Theroux is Founder and President of the Independent Institute.
Although comedian George Carlin's infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," has become outdated, today many ideas are considered too 'politically incorrect' to discuss in polite society. According to popular Los Angeles talk-radio host Larry Elder, many sacred cows- about racism and sexism, health care, welfare, education, the family, drug laws, the media, crime, gun control, and more- are soft-headed distortions that have worsened America's social problems. If "the truth shall make you free," then, says Elder, these myths need a serious reality check- before we forget what truth and freedom look like. Larry Elder discussed what's really wrong with America and how a free people, rather than an intrusive government, can fix it.
The great question of Pearl Harbor: what did U.S. government officials know and when did they know it? Ithas been argued for years. After decades of Freedom of Information Act requests, Robert Stinnett was finally able to examine the long-hidden evidence, shattering every shibboleth of Pearl Harbor. He finds that not only was the attack expected, it was deliberately provoked through an eight-step program devised by the Navy for President Franklin Roosevelt. Could Pearl Harbor have neither been an "accident" nor a mere "failure" of U.S. intelligence nor a "brilliant" Japanese military coup? Could the tragedy at Pearl Harbor have been a carefully orchestrated design, initiated at the highest government levels in order to galvanize a peace-loving American public to go to war? Robert Stinnett will discuss this startling issue in detail.
Robert B. Stinnett
Former Journalist, Oakland Tribune and BBC.
Author of the books, George Bush: His World War II Years and Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor.
In 1989, during a large peaceful student demonstration in Beijings Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government deployed its military to massacre hundreds of unarmed students and other civilians in order to stop a growing movement for democratization and individual freedom. Since then, tens of thousands who have spoken out have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, and the government has refused to even admit that such atrocities have occurred. This special Independent Policy Forum will feature three outstanding experts, including two of the leaders of the original Chinese student movement. They will discuss the events then and since, the current movement in china for freedom, and the implications of current Chinese government policies for Americans.
Has Hollywood the American dream factory become Hollywood the American nightmare factory? Is most of Hollywood just self-destructive as it ridicules censorship of TV violence, and in survey after survey, large majorities are registering a distaste for the entertainment industry's torrent of nihilistic, violent, and degrading work. Voting with their money, the public has largely turned such projects into financial ruin, while those films, TV, and other programs that embody values of individual achievement and humaneness are increasingly proving to be the real economic success stories.
For example, of the 1,100 films released since 1983, the average rating of the most financially successful film was PG, despite the predominance of R-rated films. In a recent Parents magazine pool, 72% rated TV as fair, poor, or terrible , and according to Gallup, only 3% of Americans believe TV conveys positive values, whereas 58% say they are often offended.
Employing meticulous research in American popular culture, Michael Medved, will draw upon his best-selling book, Hollywood vs. America, to present a comprehensive and devastating critique of why movies, popular music, and television have become dominated by brutality and a hatred for civility. Combining a passionate concern for the intellectual precision, Michael Medved will discuss how an industry can ignore the message of the market and lose touch with its audiences and the values of a free society.
In his talk, he will describe the Three Big Lies of Hollywood that have created this situation. Is Hollywood's self-destructive conduct rooted in a "political correctness" that scorns conventional America? Has an artistic disdain for "mere" commercial considerations blinded an industry into becoming prey to every peer pressure, arrogance, and emotional insecurity, and crackpot crusade to purge society?
Michael Medved and Hollywood vs. America are transforming the debate over popular culture, calling the bluff of a cynical media. Rejecting censorship as a dangerous offshoot of the assault on values, Medved demonstrates how public pressures can instead produce powerful results in bringing Hollywood into a business and cultural arena where beauty is not ridiculed; men, women, and children are not brutalize, and cruelty is not exalted.