Talk:Independent Institute

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==Needs ADDITIONAL material and rewrite

Relocate unsourced material from article page. The Donor's Bill or Rights really doesn't mean much and at best it better at the end of the funding section which sets out the specifics of sources of funds rather than the lead being a general unsourced statement. --Bob Burton 08:03, 30 Aug 2006 (EDT)

The Independent Institute subscribes to the Donor's Bill of Rights[1] and is supported by hundreds of foundations, businesses, civic organizations, and individuals through its membership program and through the sale of publications. As such, the Institute accepts no government nor any form of contract funding.
Jim I have protected the page from further edits until you respond to my earlier post to your talk page. I would make one additional point re my latest revert: the Donors Bill or Rights does not require secrecy of corporate donors and foundations so to cite that as the reason why the Institute isn't transparent is being disingenuous.--Bob Burton 16:33, 31 Aug 2006 (EDT)


A reader pointed out that that Microsoft section had be rewritten to be be an TII booster piece. I agree so am starting a rewrite.

  • I have deleted the following as it doesn't belong in the section. a dsescription of TIIs positioning may need to be included up the top of the profile but I'll retuirn to that later. "As with its opposition through its Center on Peace & Liberty[2] to the Bush administration's pre-emptive wars, national security statism and the trampling on civil liberties, another example of how TII has taken on tough issues is the following:
  • I deleted the difficult to understand section on the ad and have substiuted a direct quote.

Sections removed pending a reqrite are posted below. --Bob Burton 00:46, 15 November 2006 (EST)

Rewrite explanation

I see little value in salvaging much out of this section.

  • "In his article, Brinkley alleged that TII's position on this issue was the direct result of support it received from Microsoft, which he claimed had been a "secret" donor."
wrong on both counts; a) the article was about the lack of disclosure of the ads and the overall magnitude of Microsoft's contribution; b) he didn't claim Microsoft was a 'secret funder at all; in fact he explicitly acknowedged that Microsoft had been acknowledged as a minor funder.
  • In reply, Theroux noted that TII's research and publications on this matter began many years before (with numerous studies by TII research fellows and the first TII book on the subject, Antitrust and Monopoly[3], published ten years earlier), prior to the "browser wars", the Microsoft case, the Internet itself, and any support from Microsoft for TII.
this is irrelevant as the point of the article was over the secrecy over the funding of the ads (which don't disclose the source of the funds) and the magnitude of the funding in that year based on the documents Brinkley was given;
  • He further noted that when the ads were released, 3 1/2 months prior to the Times article, he publicly anounced at a June 2nd Washington press conference that Microsoft was then providing 7-8% of TII's total donations, far less than the 20% claimed by the Times article.
Maybe he did disclose Microsoft was a funder at the media conference, but this wasn't disclosed on the ads themselves; nor were the signatories to the ads told; TII doesn't dispute the figure of $203,217; Brinkley's article stated that this was "the most from any outside individual or organization and about 20 percent of the total outside contributions for the period. (Not counted in that tally was $304,725 that Theroux contributed to his own foundation.)". In response TII refers to "total donations" and appears not to be comparing like with like. Exclude the $304k from Theroux and confine the analysis to external donations and there is no reason to dispute the 20% figure.
  • Theroux further noted that Microsoft was never TII's largest supporter, a fact proven to be the case[4].
that link doesn't 'prove' anything; it is an assertion by TII; see above;
  • As Jacob Sullum, an opponent of all victimless crime economic and social laws, noted in a syndicated column, the Times story was published the exact Sunday before the day of the closing arguments in the Microsoft case [5]. Sullum stated that, "The story, which appeared just as closing arguments were being made in the Microsoft case, was based on purloined documents provided by 'a Microsoft adversary associated with the computer industry.'"
the timing of the story and how they were obtained are worth mentioning; however, that does not negate the accuracy of what Brinkley wrote.
  • Moreover, even David Callahan admitted in an attack article in the Washington Monthly that, "Given their world view, Theroux and his colleagues at the Independent Institute would probably be bashing the government prosecutors after Microsoft regardless of who gave them money." [6]
this may well be true; but that doesn't justify the lack of disclosure in the ads;
  • In response, Sullum then noted that, "This is no small concession, since Callahan’s argument hinges on the idea that corporate funding influences the conclusions that think tanks reach."
actually, Callahan's argument is more qualifed than that; he states the "direct quid pro quo that accompanies private sector giving to provate think tanks can be hard to document" and of TII specifically that it "appears to be somewhat more autonomous" and"how beholden it is to a single one [funder] is hard to say". And the point is not what TII think, but that large dollops of shareholders funds facilitate them doing things they otherwise wouldn't - $200k from Microsoft after all facilitates a lot of activity and allows Microsoft to amplify what might otherwise be a marginal voice;
  • Inded, as Theroux noted, "Our restriction on all funding is that it is non-contractual, meaning that the funding sources have no say in the research and how the funding is spent. All of the Institute’s work is based on one and only one criterion, peer-reviewed science." He further stated that, "There is absolutely no evidence that any aspect of the Institute’s research has ever been affected one way or the other by whether Microsoft or anyone was or was not a supporter of The Independent Institute. Furthermore, there is no evidence that any of the Institute’s findings are incorrect."
this is puffery
  • Theroux pursued the matter further, insisting that the Times piece's admission that another computer firm was behind the story was indeed the case. Nine months later, front-page articles appeared in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times confirming Theroux's claim, reporting that when finally cornered, Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison had admitted to launching a clandestine campaign to try to discredit TII’s work[7]. Oracle had hired Terry Lenzner's CIA-connected Investigative Group International (IGI), fronting as "Upstream Technologies," to as Theroux noted, "employ back-alley tactics, subterfuge, and disinformation in order to achieve its aims. For an organization that uses IGI, 'Upstream Technologies', and others to front its operations, we fail to see how Oracle has a leg to stand on. And, since Oracle grew out of a contract with the CIA and is proudly named after that CIA project, what does this say about the corporate culture at Oracle? We challenge Oracle’s executives--and renew our invitation to Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein--to publicly debate the central economic, legal, and social issues of antitrust, competition, and high technology." Theroux further noted that six months prior to the Times article and threee months prior to the ads, he had sent Ellison a copy of the manuscript for the then forthcoming TII book, Winners, Losers & Microsoft[8], asking for comments. When published in that late spring, the book, which was based on TII's research from years earlier, critiqued "network externality" theory and received universal, glowing reviews in The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Upside, Financial Times, and elsewhere. Theroux added that clearly Ellison's response was that since he could not refute TII's analysis and well knew that TII could not be bought by anyone, his choice was to try to kick up enough dust to cloud the issue and prevent any real public discussion when the case was reaching its climax. (Theroux also noted that at no time during the antitrust case did Microsoft use any of TII's analysis.) However, despite the confusion that resulted from Oracle's campaign, TII's work remains unrefuted today.
it is worth making the point about how Oracle obtained the documents but I'll do it in a much more condensed way than this as the page is a profile on TII not Oracle; all the references to Oracle's activities are included in the links section.

I think that's all --Bob Burton 22:49, 15 November 2006 (EST)