Philanthropy Notes: April 2016

The Obama administration gave $270,000 in taxpayer funds to the terrorist-linked U.K.-based Islamic Relief Worldwide for its health-related efforts in Kenya. The grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is designated for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s program advancing what the CDC calls “global health security as an international priority.” Israel and the United Arab Emirates banned IRW “alleging that the group supports and funds Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s military arm in Palestine,” the Daily Caller reports.

Now 10 years old, the microblogging platform Twitter, which has carried billions of messages stretching a maximum of 140 keystrokes, has become “a distinct vein of social action, activism, and philanthropy” and “the beating, real-time pulse of the nonprofit world,” left-wing philanthropy writer Tom Watson gushes in his Chronicle of Philanthropy column. Twitter is “vital to the idea of democratic philanthropy, the notion that individual citizens can play as important a role in the public causes of our time as do moneyed philanthropists.” Of course, Bill Gates “will always have more followers than you do. But on Twitter, you’re in the conversation.” After gushing over left-wing causes like Black Lives Matter that became popular largely because of Twitter users, Watson quotes his beloved Baltimore race riot leader DeRay Mckesson pontificating on the power of the medium: “Twitter was where the links were shared. It was where the images were shared. Literally, when people were told what was happening, it galvanized the nation.”

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Briefly Noted: April 2016

The riot planned and executed by the Left at the canceled Donald Trump campaign rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago on March 11 was just the latest in a long series of mob disturbances manufactured by radicals to advance their political agendas. “The meticulously orchestrated #Chicago assault on our free election process is as unAmerican as it gets,” tweeted actor James Woods. “It is a dangerous precedent.” This so-called protest and the disruptions at subsequent Trump events were carried out by activists associated with MoveOn, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy Wall Street, all groups that have been enthusiastically embraced by Democrats and funded by radical speculator George Soros.

MoveOn, incidentally, has now officially jumped the shark, launching an over-the-top campaign that treats Trump like an American version of Hitler. In a mass email begging for money the group announced that its members voted 71 to 29 percent “to launch a major campaign to show that our country rejects Donald Trump’s hate-baiting, racism, misogyny, and violence.”

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Clinton Foundation Donor Ensnared in Kickbacks Probe

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The revelations of corruption surrounding the international-cash-for-future-presidential-favors clearinghouse known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation never seem to end.

The great Alana Goodman of Washington Free Beacon reports that the Abraaj Group, a Middle Eastern investment fund that gave between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clintons’ philanthropy and that has received loans from the U.S. government, has been linked to a corruption investigation in Pakistan. The fund has not been charged in the case but its name is popping up in Pakistani media reports.

Goodman continues:

Authorities in Sindh province have accused a prominent government official of providing illegal favors to K-Electric, a power company owned and managed by the Abraaj Group since 2009.

Former Pakistani oil minister Dr. Asim Hussain [pictured in this blog post] was arrested last year amid allegations that he helped harbor terrorists in a string of hospitals he owned and doled out illegal contracts to companies, including K-Electric. Both Hussain and K-Electric have denied the allegations.

The investigation has not impacted the U.S. government’s ongoing partnership with the Abraaj Group, which dates back to at least 2012. That year, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation—a federal agency that dispenses corporate loans under the guidance of the U.S. State Department—selected the Abraaj Group to manage its $150 million Middle East investment fund.

Two weeks later, the Abraaj Group co-sponsored the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. […]

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Philanthropy Notes: March 2016

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Former conservative journalist David Brock has built an empire of activist groups since he went over to the Left years ago. Once an avowed enemy of the Clintons, he’s now their best buddy, wielding influence by churning out a constant stream of pro-Hillary Clinton propaganda. He’s created a bunch of groups that play a big role in politics, including Media Matters for America and the Correct the Record super PAC, and he’s steered money to leftist causes through George Soros’s Democracy Alliance. Some call this network the “Brocktopus.” But Brock’s scorched-earth offensive against insurgent Democrat contender Bernie Sanders is giving Democrat insiders heartburn, according to The Hill newspaper. Clinton donors, fundraisers, and operatives are concerned “about Brock’s comments, particularly some of his attacks on Bernie Sanders.” Key players worry Brock could be damaging her image and hurting her presidential chances. Brock planned to raise questions about 74-year-old Sanders’s health until Center for American Progress founder and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told him on Twitter to “Chill out. We’re fighting on who would make a better President, not on who has a better Physical Fitness Test.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg scolded employees for replacing “Black Lives Matter” slogans with “All Lives Matter” on walls at corporate headquarters in San Francisco, Breitbart News reports. Zuckerberg told workers what they did was “malicious” and “disrespectful,” reminding them that there are “specific issues affecting the black community in the United States.” He added, “This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community, and we are now investigating the current incidents.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is also a Black Lives Matter supporter.

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Briefly Noted: March 2016

After the terrorist front group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) complained, the FBI caved and removed references to Islam and Islamic terrorism on a new browser-based video game aimed at countering recruitment propaganda from terrorist groups, Breitbart News reports. The release of the game, Don’t Be A Puppet, was delayed from November because CAIR whined that it would lead to the “stigmatization” and “bullying” of young Muslims. “The new version of the game does not mention Islam, Muslims, or any particulars of Islamist ideology or targets at all, aside from the usual disclaimers that ISIS does not represent mainstream Islam,” Independent Journal Review reports. CAIR argues the game should focus on right-wing extremists, which it claims are a greater threat to Americans.

California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) sociology professor Robert Donald Weide, became so unhinged by a campus speech by conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro that he smeared the author’s supporters as racist and challenged them to a wrestling match. Weide was incensed when he learned that his school’s chapter of the student group Young America’s Foundation planned to sponsor a Feb. 25 lecture titled, “When Diversity Becomes a Problem.” The speech was billed as an examination by Shapiro of the threat to free speech posed by the Black Lives Matter movement, trigger warnings, and the paranoid fear of so-called micro-aggressions. “I see a strong correlation between Young Americans for Liberty [sic] defending the right to intimidate POC [i.e., people of color] on campus and French flag overlays on [Facebook] pictures,” he wrote on social media. Weide vowed to beat up Shapiro supporters. He wrote: “FYI tough guy provocateurs, we have open mat on campus in the gym in the USU building at 1pm Friday and Noon on Saturday if you want to show us your white supremacy. Heads up though, bro I lift …”

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NY Attorney General Targets Drug Companies

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A crusading leftist attorney general in New York is going after health insurers for allegedly refusing to cover expensive hepatitis C drugs that are likely to prove cost-saving in the long run.

The push by the Left and some market participants to impose price controls on drugs, especially hepatitis C medications, was examined by Dr. David Hogberg in last month’s issue of Organization Trends. (Hogberg is also author of Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians.)

Previously dubbed “Inspector Gotcha” by one critic, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a progressive Democrat, has reportedly issued subpoenas to insurance companies in hopes of unearthing proof that they are skimping on care in order to fatten their bottom lines.

Next stop? Probably a demand for price controls.

So-called health care reform organizations view expensive drugs as a growing threat to government-provided health care, regardless of the potential benefits the drugs may bestow on patients.

“Some of the drugs have been the subject of consumer lawsuits, a continuing inquiry by the Massachusetts attorney general and a warning by federal officials that state Medicaid programs may be violating federal law by denying patients the medication,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Pharmaceutical companies say the drugs are worth the cost because they result in long-term savings in care.”

Activist groups in Washington State are suing insurers Group Health Cooperative and BridgeSpan for allegedly restricting access to hep-C medicines except for the “most severely ill” people based on “financial concerns.” Groups in California filed similar lawsuits last year against Anthem Blue Cross.

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Philanthropy Notes: February 2016

For donors interested in education reform, the Philanthropy Roundtable has a new “Wise Giver’s Guide” that focuses on how donors of all religions and none can best support Catholic schools. Those schools, especially in the inner city, often serve mostly poor, non-Catholic students, and they help make the case for school choice: the idea that all students and parents should have the freedom to choose the best schools for their situation, and therefore that all schools should be forced to compete for private and government funds. This guidebook, available at PhilanthropyRoundtable.org, has lots of practical advice for donors who want to join in the innovative progress that has been achieved in recent years by cutting-edge funders like equity-capital pioneer Russ Carson of Partnership for Inner-city Education and Rob Birdsell, B.J. Cassin, and John Eriksen of the Drexel Fund. As the book’s editor Karl Zinsmeister observes, a sector of schooling that not long ago looked in danger of going extinct has been saved by “entrepreneurs who know that competition is the best route to success,” and “donors who are willing to share their wealth with schools that improve lives.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) bid for the Democrats’ presidential nomination has boosted interest in the Marxist group known as Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose full name is Democratic Socialists of America Fund Inc. The Wall Street Journal reports that around 10,000 people visited the group’s website the day of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas in October—which is more than six times the normal level of visitors. Since Sanders jumped into the fray in May, new membership applications have jumped by 100 to 200 percent on a monthly basis. “This is a gift from the socialist gods,” said Joseph Schwartz, a DSA vice chairman and Temple University professor. Around 120 people attended DSA’s biennial meeting in Pennsylvania in November, a third more than the previous meeting.

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Fanatic David Brock’s hardball tactics frighten his comrades

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Former conservative journalist David Brock has built an empire of activist groups since he went over to the left years ago. Once an avowed enemy of the Clintons, he’s now their best buddy, wielding influence by churning out a constant stream of pro-Hillary propaganda.

He’s created a bunch of groups that play a big role in politics, including Media Matters for America, the Correct the Record super PAC, and steered money to leftist causes through George Soros’s Democracy Alliance. Some call this network the “Brocktopus.”

But Brock’s desperate scorched-earth slime offensive against insurgent Democrat contender Bernie Sanders is giving Democrat insiders heartburn.

According to The Hill:

Key Democratic players are worried that Hillary Clinton ally David Brock could be hurting her image and hampering her chances of winning the presidency.

In interviews over the past month, Clinton donors, fundraisers and operatives have told The Hill that the concerns about Brock’s comments, particularly some of his attacks on Bernie Sanders, stretch all the way to the top of Clinton’s political machinery.

A leading figure in the Democracy Alliance, the liberal equivalent of the conservative Koch brothers’ donor network, said donors he associates with would like to put Brock “back in the can.”

“I have heard people express concern that what he does could be harmful generally” to the campaign, the donor said.

Longtime Clinton fundraiser Bill Brandt, an Illinois-based businessman and personal friend of Bill Clinton, said of Brock, “David is well meaning but I think perhaps like a zealot. He should keep it in check a bit. I don’t think this needs to be about tearing Bernie down. … It’s getting nasty and it doesn’t need to be.”

One Brock comment that drew backlash regarded his plans to raise questions about the 74-year-old Sanders’s health, seen by many as a low blow at the senator’s age and one that left Clinton vulnerable given attempts by conservatives to portray her as being in fragile health.

After news reports emerged that Brock was going to raise the issue of Sanders not having released his health records, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta shot off an unusual tweet on Jan. 17 to Brock: “Chill out. We’re fighting on who would make a better President, not on who has a better Physical Fitness Test.”

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Briefly Noted: February 2016

A blast email sent by Jesse Moore, Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House, urged prominent entertainers to use Twitter to promote gun control, which highlights once again the incestuous relationship between Hollywood and the Obama administration. The anti-gun propaganda email was addressed to “Family” and its subject line was, “Artists & Entertainers Unite to #StopGunViolence.” It read, FoxNews.com reports, “Below you have: short and long-term action steps, more info on POTUS’s actions, highlights from YOUR Tweets thus far (thank you!), and draft Tweets for you to build from if helpful.” Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mark Ruffalo tweeted “@POTUS is taking steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.” Singer Andrea Bocelli tweeted to his 207,000 followers, “FACT: Each year, more than 30,000 American lives are cut short by guns. It’s time to #StopGunViolence.” Dan Gainor of the Media Research Institute commented, “This seems an unprecedented abuse of White House influence to manipulate the public into believing celebrities genuinely supported the president.” Gainor added, “Hollywood is just an extension of Obama’s press office.”

Iran booster and former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering has been involved in a project using Palestinian protesters to vilify Israeli soldiers, journalist Caroline Glick reports. In an email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pickering “recommended using leftist NGOs—including Peace Now, which he mentioned by name—to destabilize the political situation on the ground in Israel … and set out a plan, which in his view would force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ask the Americans to initiate a new diplomatic process with the Palestinians.” Pickering urged that Saul Alinsky-style tactics be used against the Israeli government and be captured on film. Provocations aimed at the Israeli military “could create the kind of action which no army can easily use force to deal with.” He urged that Palestinian women demonstrate “peacefully under the eyes of the world, [because] the chances are much less force will be used against them, since that action has its own consequences.” He wrote that “there might be peaceful demonstrations against all aspects of the occupation on the Palestinian sides—roadblocks, land confiscations, new settlement activity, around military government installations and perhaps in Area C, which they do not control.” Soldiers would look mean as they stopped female demonstrators from interfering with military operations or disrupting the local economy. Pickering has ties to the pro-Iran Islamist front group known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which a federal court ruled is a tool of the brutal, totalitarian Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Stop me before I donate again

Leonard Harlan, former chairman, Castle Harlan, Fleur Harlan, board member, Manhattan Institute and Bernard Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Bls Investments, attend the Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute to Catherine Deneuve in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 2, 2012. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** TKTK

Bloomberg has an interesting piece on left-wing donor Bernard Schwartz today that highlights the absurdity of so-called campaign finance reform and the Left’s crazy ongoing assault on Citizens United.

The headline is, Top Clinton Donor Wants A Law Against $1 Million Gifts Like His.

Mickey Mouse figurines and photos of grinning politicians surrounded the 90-year-old investor Bernard Schwartz in his Manhattan office on Thursday. Four days earlier, new federal filings showed he gave $1 million to a super-PAC supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, making him one of her top backers and part of the campaign-finance system that her rival Bernie Sanders calls undemocratic and corrupt.

Schwartz, a former head of satellite maker Loral Space & Communications who’s no stranger to hefty political donations and was once a target of suspicion about the favors they buy, mostly agrees with the Vermont senator.

“PACs are a bad thing, it distorts the political process,” said Schwartz, who now manages his money as chairman of BLS Investments. “Rich people have the opportunity to get access.”

 Besides his August gift to Priorities USA Action, which supports Clinton, Schwartz has sent about $2.5 million of soft money to Democratic groups since 2010, according to Federal Election Commission filings. That year, a federal appeals court helped lift caps on what donors can give to some political action committees. Schwartz wants new limits, but he chuckled when asked how that clashed with his own generosity. He isn’t holding back, he said, as long as supporters of the rival party aren’t. […]
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