Lost causes

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

I was a child in Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. One day in 1961, a bus carrying Freedom Riders (people attempting to break the system of segregation in bus travel) was attacked and burned in an incident that started four blocks from my home; I discovered recently that the attack was planned in a meeting hall across the street from my home. The bus burning was so significant that its 50th anniversary was noted with programs on HBO and PBS and a show hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

I remember the day in 1963 on which four little girls were killed Continue reading →

Labor Watch June 2015: Scott Walker vs. The Unions: Part 1: Wisconsin reforms lead to protests, recalls, and battering rams in the night

Labor Watch June 2015

Scott Walker vs. The Unions

Part 1: Wisconsin reforms lead to protests, recalls, and battering rams in the night [PDF here]

Summary: In politics, it’s said, you’re known by the enemies you make. Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) is best known nationally for his battles with unions—from his reforms that brought 100,000 protesters to the state capitol, to the efforts by the unions to throw him out of office, to the passage of a Right to Work law. Now Walker is expected to run for president. This is part 1 of his story.

The invitation-only ceremony was held March 9 at Badger Meter, a manufacturing company near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As he prepared to sign landmark Right to Work legislation, Governor Scott Walker (R) sat with rolled-up sleeves at a table with a “Freedom to Work” sign emblazoned across the front. In front of a group that included Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Walker said the legislation he was about to sign would send “a powerful message across the country and around the world.”

Only months earlier, Walker had seemed cool on Right to Work, calling it a “distraction.” Now, with the stroke of Walker’s pen, Wisconsin became the nation’s 25th Right to Work state—the 25th state to give workers the freedom not to join a union or pay union dues.

During the event, Rich Meeusen, chief executive and chairman of Badger Meter, said that even before this legislation was signed into law, it had had an effect: It had swayed Badger Meter management to expand in Wisconsin instead of Mexico, immediately creating 12 jobs, leading to 30 to 50 new jobs later on. (Mike Brown of the left-wing group One Wisconsin Now described Meeusen’s remarks as those of “a millionaire campaign contributor who threatened to send the jobs of hardworking skilled Wisconsin workers to another country unless the system was tilted further in his favor.”)

The signing of Right to Work was the latest blow delivered by Walker to labor unions in his state. It was Walker’s latest victory in a battle with unions that has run throughout his governorship, that made him, in the words of the publication Politico, “Public Enemy No. 1 for organized labor nationwide.” In this protracted struggle, unions have attempted to paint the governor as a rabid union-hating right-winger, and in the process they have helped catapult Walker to the top tier of candidates, declared and undeclared, for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

The road to the governorship
Scott Kevin Walker was born Continue reading →

What heroes are made of

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

When the writer Lillian Hellman was buried, America’s elite turned out for her funeral.

Katherine Graham, chairman of the board of the Washington Post, was there, as was MIT president-emeritus Jerome Wiesner, who had been President Kennedy’s science advisor. Also present were Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes,” New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, journalist Carl Bernstein, movie directors Warren Beatty and Mike Nichols, playwright/cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and novelists William Styron and Norman Mailer. And the executors of the $4 million Hellman estate–Kingman Brewster, the former president of Yale and former ambassador to Britain, and novelist John Hersey.

It was a star-studded sendoff that summer day 31 years ago. “Lillian Hellman was remembered as a courageous woman who stuck to her principles,” reported United Press International. Said MIT’s Wiesner*, “I have been able to see young people’s faces light up when they hear her name. To them, she is one of the heroine of our time.”

The Reuters news service eulogized Hellman as “a heroine to United States liberals.” The New Republic called her “a model for independent women everywhere,” while the Washington Post said she was “a woman of wit and charm, a gracious hostess and a great fisherman.” An Omni magazine survey released shortly after her death named her as one of the 13 best role models for young girls, right after leftist feminist Gloria Steinem.

And she was a Communist.

One of the highest-paid writers in Hollywood during the late ’30s and the ’40s, her income reached $150,000 a year ($2.6 million Continue reading →

Janet Yellen speaks at Soros Fest

George Soros, International Man of Mayhem

 

There’s an article in today’s Los Angeles Times about Fed head Janet Yellen speaking about interest rates and the dismal economic outlook America has thanks to her policies and those of President Obama.

That’s all old news.

What is interesting is that Yellen delivered her remarks at the truly awful Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).  Nazi collaborator George Soros provided $50 million in seed money to create this far-left think tank that wages war on free markets every day.  Attacking civil society and augmenting government power is always the solution to every problem.

That Yellen takes INET seriously enough to grace it with her presence is scary in itself.

Right now the INET website features items representative of Soros’s schizophrenic worldview.

One is a video called “How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt our Finances, Freedom, and Security.”  Funny.  That title describes Soros.  He is, after all, an elite power broker who corrupts everything he touches.

Soros founded INET not long after making some characteristically disturbing remarks.

“The system we have now has actually broken down, only we haven’t quite recognized it and so you need to create a new one and this is the time to do it,” he said.  In a separate interview he said European-style socialism “is exactly what we need now. I am against market fundamentalism. I think this propaganda that government involvement is always bad has been very successful — but also very harmful to our society.”

Soros, like so many other radicals, adores setting up straw men.  Nobody, except for a few anarchists and libertarians, argues that government involvement is “always” bad.  But that’s what Soros and his ilk do in an effort to de-legitimize their adversaries.

INET’s “about us” page lists a whole bunch of radicals and leftists associated with the organization.

Among them are socialist economist Joseph Stiglitz, Earth Institute director Jeffrey D. Sachs, Harvard professor Amartya Sen, developer and Democracy Alliance member Albert J. Dwoskin.

You’re what you say you are, except when you aren’t

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

 

“I was born a poor black child.”

 

The ideology of so-called Progressives  is full of contradictions.

It’s almost comical to watch them tie themselves in knots over the case of Rachel Dolezal. The Spokane, Washington NAACP leader (who resigned from her position yesterday) appears to be a pathological liar—claiming falsely to have been raised in a teepee and to have hunted her own food, to have been mistreated by her parents for being too dark-skinned, to have been the victim of a series of hate crimes that appear to have been faked. But none of that mattered until she got caught pretending to be “black.”

Actually, we are told by her estranged parents, she is “Caucasian,” although they add that she is one-quarter American Indian through two of her eight great-grandparents. The category “Caucasian,” by the way, was popularized by a scientist named Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who divided the human race into Caucasians (white), Mongolians (yellow), Malayans (brown), Ethiopians (black), and Americans (American Indians, red). His categories were absurd, of course—there is no scientific basis for the division of humans into so-called “races”—but Blumenbach’s work became the basis for the “scientific consensus” that blacks were inferior. I do not need to point out the harm that has been done by this piece of pseudoscience.

Today, many of our nation’s leaders are obsessed with putting people into imaginary categories (now defined by so-called Progressives  and their enablers as “white,” “black,” “Asian,” and “Hispanic” or “Latino”). Rather than build a society in which a person is judged by his or her talent, experience, hard work, and values, the Progressives seek to divide us all into “identities” based upon which we are to distribute jobs and government contracts, college Continue reading →

The McKay Foundation

The McKay Foundation:  A son takes his parents’ fortune and turns his back on their views in order to strengthen the Left

By Kevin Mooney, Foundation Watch, June 2015 (PDF here)

Summary:  The Rodney King riots in Los Angeles back in 1992 initially gave the McKay Foundation purpose and direction.  Since then, it has become a significant player in the left-wing network of philanthropies.

Before the late ACORN network perfected voter fraud techniques that were brought to light after Barack Obama was elected president, a billionaire in California sought to create a little mischief of his own at the ballot box. In 2002 the son of a conservative Orange County businessman led the charge for Proposition 52, which would have made it possible for people to cast votes on Election Day without presenting any form of identification.

Had the law passed, swarms of unregistered, unidentified wannabe voters would only need sworn, written statements from willing accomplices to vouch for them in the presence of poll workers. There would be no way for local and state officials to verify the legal status of individuals who took advantage of same-day voter registration. Anyone who places a premium on the sanctity and integrity of the ballot box will understand what this campaign was seeking.

With an eye toward the disputed 2000 presidential election and its many Florida recounts, then-California Secretary of State Bill Jones understandably expressed concern that his state’s already overburdened poll workers would be overwhelmed by the additional challenges of verification that Prop 52 would bring about.

But don’t tell that to Rob McKay, the politically active, left-leaning, San Francisco-based heir to the Taco Bell fortune who bankrolled the proposition with $1.5 million of his own money. California had ranked near the bottom six of the 50 states in voter participation during most recent presidential cycles before the 2002 election. McKay blamed this sad statistic on the fact that California required voters to be registered 15 days before an election.

“It’s just not acceptable in a democracy to have this unhealthy a level of voter participation,” he was quoted as saying at the time. “If you vote, you are a heck of a lot more likely to go to your kid’s school board meeting.”

The answer, he insisted, in another media interview before the 2002 election, was to “lower the barriers to voting as much as we can, to return some health and enthusiasm to our democracy.” The very distinct possibility of fraudulent votes canceling out the legitimate votes of average citizens whom McKay claims to champion didn’t seem to register.

John Fund, author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, cut to the heart of the matter. “It’s about time that someone stepped forward and admitted that the root cause of low turnout isn’t restrictive voting laws, but voter apathy,” he wrote. “People are fed up with mediocre candidates, gerrymandered districts and uncompetitive (and possibility illegitimate) elections.”

Continue reading →

Philanthropy Notes: June 2015

John M. Templeton Jr., RIP: As we go to press, the sad news has arrived of the death at age 75 of John M. Templeton Jr., a former pediatric surgeon who was president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation of Pennsylvania. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family. Dr. Templeton not only presided over the giving done by his father’s foundation but was also a very generous donor personally. Foundation Watch will feature a fuller tribute to his philanthropy in our next issue.

ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was forced to admit that he failed to disclose a major conflict of interest—$75,000 in donations to the embattled Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation—to viewers while covering Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Just two weeks before on the “Daily Show,” he said, “Everybody knows that when donors give that money, what you get is access and the influence that comes with that access.” The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove mocked the former Clinton White House aide’s mea culpa as “a passive-aggressive non-apology.” Stephanopoulos said the gifts “were a matter of public record … [but] in hindsight, “I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation.  I apologize.”

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Redefining bigotry / Don’t mention badminton!

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

People with Asian ancestry have to be careful when they fill out their college applications. As noted by the Boston Globe, they are advised by experts to downplay their Asianness: no badminton, because too many Asian-American students play racquet sports; no Asian Club; no essay “about your family coming from Vietnam with $2 in a rickety boat and swimming away from sharks,” as one admissions consultant put it. Don’t mention your interest in medicine or biology.

Colleges discriminate in all sorts of ways, of course. Kids get into an elite school because, like President Obama and the Bushes and the Kennedys, they’re “legacies,” i.e., a parent or both parents went to that school. “Development admits” get in because daddy gave lots of money to the school. Kids from top prep schools—“feeder schools”—get in because they’re presumed to be inherently superior, I suppose. You can also get an advantage if your folks can afford to send you to some poor country to do charity work, or if you’re an activist for a fashionable left-wing cause such as promoting ignorance about Global Warming. (Meanwhile, if you mention in your application that you’re a leader in the 4-H program or Future Farmers of America or ROTC, it reduces your chance of gaining admission to some elite schools by two-thirds.)

Asian-Americans are among the biggest victims. It’s reported that 20 or 21 percent of Harvard students are of Asian descent. That’s less than half as many as would be admitted without racial discrimination. A 2009 Princeton study of seven top colleges indicated that an applicant with an Asian background needed 140 more SAT points than “whites,” 270 points more than Hispanics, and 450 points more than African-Americans to get the same chance of admission.

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One of the most effective techniques in political deception is redefinition—changing the meaning of terms and concepts. Redefinition allows you to achieve policy goals without the necessity of going through the democratic process or abiding by the Constitution that is supposed to limit the power of politicians, bureaucrats, and judges.

Want to funnel money to alcoholics and drug addicts? Redefine addiction Continue reading →

The Center for Responsible Lending: Who Really Benefits?

The Center for Responsible Lending: Who Really Benefits?

By Neil Maghami, Organization Trends, June 2015 (PDF here)

Summary: The Center for Responsible Lending is an outspoken “advocacy” nonprofit that claims to defend poor borrowers. Yet its biggest Sugar Daddy is one of the worst offenders in the mortgage meltdown, and much of the group’s work involves attacking the business competitors of its nominally “nonprofit” sister organizations that operate as credit unions. The full story about this network of nonprofits reveals how public “advocacy” can lead to private profit.

In just over a decade, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has evolved from a small nonprofit to a mighty engine of influence over federal and state financial policy. CRL, which coordinates actions among like-minded groups in 50 states, has long positioned itself as a simple grassroots advocacy group—and all of its public statements are intended to give that impression. But if one takes a top-down view of the organization and its history, a much different picture emerges. CRL’s powerful media relations program and its lobbying and coalition-building efforts put it in a league of its own. As one observer put it, behind the “Norman Rockwell” self-portrait that CRL presents in public is a tax-exempt group firmly fixed on increasing the power and influence of the larger tax-exempt family to which it belongs.

The Self-Help Family
CRL is part of what is called the family of “community development organizations” organized under the brand name of “Self Help.” The Self-Help structure’s mission is “creating and protecting ownership and economic opportunity for all,” which it carries out by providing “financing, technical support, consumer financial services and advocacy for those left out of the economic mainstream” through various nonprofit groups.

The oldest member of the brand is the tax-exempt Center for Community Self-Help, founded in 1980 in Durham, North Carolina, by husband and wife team Martin Eakes and Barbara Wright.

The Center for Community Self-Help disclosed $6.5 million in contributions in 2013 and ended the year with net assets of $19 million. It describes its main activities as: “community development lending,” which is carried out primarily through its Self-Help Ventures Fund affiliate (also organized as a 501(c)(3) group); next is “educational and technical assistance,” on which it works with its approximately $700 million Ventures Fund and the Self-Help Community Development Corporation to provide programs serving low-income people; and finally is its “community development real estate projects,” which include providing “rental opportunities to [tax] exempt organizations” and developing “commercial property in blighted areas.”

There is also the Self-Help Credit Union, based in North Carolina and founded in 1984; and the Self-Help Federal Credit Union, operating since 2008 and focused on building up a presence in California. Together, the two credit unions claim 90,000 members and 35 branches in North Carolina, California, and Chicago. Credit unions are exempt from federal income taxes, but they pay property taxes and sales taxes.

The manner in which this network of co-branded, tax-exempt groups is organized is so complex that there is even a separate tax-exempt organization that provides centralized salary administration for parts of the collective enterprise. That entity is known as the “Self Help Services Corporation.” According to its 2013 disclosures, it provided “personnel services and technical assistance” to the Center for Community Self-Help, Self-Help Ventures Fund, the Self-Help Community Development Corporation, Self-Help Credit Union, the Self-Help Federal Credit Union—and the Center for Responsible Lending.

The overall structure’s payroll is not small. In 2013, Self Help Services Corp. reported “program service revenue” of about $20.9 million and paid about the same in “salaries, other compensation, employee benefits” to other Self-Help affiliates.

For some readers this arrangement of having a single salary-administrative nerve center for a larger family of nonprofits may bring back memories of a similar structure that connected the many appendages of the ACORN community-organizing octopus. As described by CRC editor Matthew Vadum in his 2011 book Subversion Inc., ACORN’s Citizens Consulting Incorporated helped ACORN’s vast legions of affiliates centralize their complicated financial affairs and also helped veil money flows.

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Briefly Noted: June 2015

At least four board members of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a public charity, have either been charged with or convicted of serious crimes, including bribery and fraud, according to Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer. They are tech magnate Vinod Gupta, hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, billionaire Victor Dahdaleh, and energy tycoon Rolando Gonzalez Bunster, Breitbart News reported. Gupta paid out millions of dollars after he settled civil charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which had accused him of vigorously padding his expense account. Chatwal was convicted last year of illegal campaign financing and fined $1 million. The British government failed to win a bribery conviction against Dahdaleh when “a key witness … pleaded guilty to conspiracy to corrupt but refused to testify.” The Dominican Republic accuses Bunster of charging it “ballooned” fees.

Meanwhile, Internet and Nexis searches suggest that two of Gupta’s projects in India that were to be named after Hillary Clinton failed to materialize. Registered as a charity in 1997 in India, the Vinod Gupta Charitable Foundation pledged $6 million in 2007 to create the “Hillary Clinton School of Journalism,” according to the Clinton Foundation’s website. The school does not appear to have been built. Gupta’s foundation’s website boasts of a “Hillary Rodham Clinton Nursing School,” to be established in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The link on the website to the school’s website leads to a placeholder page of an Internet domain name broker.

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