Donald Trump’s Union Appeal

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However unexpected, Donald Drumpf’s appeal to working-class Americans is undeniable—especially among union households.

A new report from Working America—the AFL-CIO’s grassroots affiliate—found that Drumpf held a sizable lead among union members who had already made up their minds about the candidates. He received support from 18 percent of them, ahead of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined (16 percent).

A substantial minority of union households—about 40 percent—typically vote Republican in any given election cycle, but Drumpf’s popularity suggests that unions’ generally reliable Democratic voting bloc isn’t a lock in 2016. “The working class constituents with whom we talk every night are fearful about their economic circumstances and prospects, angry about politicians who fail to address their concerns, and skeptical of the role of government,” the Working America report stated. Most of Drumpf’s backers are “fed-up voters” who support him because “he says what he thinks.”

It could pose a serious problem for the Democratic Party—which is already seeing an exodus of sorts. Leading up to Massachusetts’ primary, for example, almost 20,000 Bay State Democrats became either independents or registered Republicans. Many of them voted for Drumpf. In Illinois, 10 percent of Chicago primary voters chose Republican ballots—up from 6 percent in 2008. Leo Martin, a New Hampshire machinist, sums it up best: “The Republican Party has never done anything for the working man like me, even though we’ve voted Republican for years. This election is the first in my life where we can change what it means to be a Republican.”

Whatever that means now, it has the Left reeling.

For more on the rapidly shifting electorate, you can read the April edition of “Labor Watch” here.

This blog post was adapted from the April edition of Capital Research Center’s “Labor Watch,” by Steven J. Allen.

Beware the Maroon Hole!

The last Saturday evening each April, they hold the White House Correspondents’ Dinner at the Hinckley Hilton, which is about six blocks from my apartment in DC and eight blocks from our offices at the Capital Research Center. This year’s dinner, set for tomorrow night, could bring about the end of the world.

The dinner—known familiarly as “the annual violation of journalistic ethics that stupid people call the ‘nerd prom’”—brings together not just the dumbest people in Washington, but many of the world’s dumbest. On the Kelvin scale, their average IQ approaches zero.

My concern relates to the phenomenon known as a “moron hole,” or, as it was dubbed by the esteemed Mel Blanc, a “maroon hole.”

A maroon hole is a region in the collective consciousness of the universe so lacking in intelligence that it creates an irresistible pull on any intelligence around it. No thought or other evidence of sentience can escape a maroon hole.

The region from which no escape is possible has a boundary that experts call the MSNBC-Weeknights-at-9 Horizon. At that boundary and within, no brainpower gets out.

A maroon hole emits no light of inspiration, so its existence must be inferred. Because it sucks all the intellect out of the area around itself, it can be observed indirectly through, for example, the existence of the bottled water industry and the history of the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

According to the clear consensus of the world’s metaphysicians, the correspondents’ dinner represents a threat because the presence of so many stupid people at the same time in the same place could reach the critical level of doltishness necessary to form a maroon hole. And a maroon hole of sufficient power and notoriety, sucking intelligence from the surrounding area, gaining airheadedness inexorably, might absorb all the smarts in existence. The universe would enter a Diane Sawyer-like state from which it might never emerge.

Indeed, such a catastrophe was narrowly averted last year. When President Obama cited the latest drought in California as proof of “climate change,” dimwittedness in the Hilton ballroom hit such a level that it began to siphon intellectual capacity from outside the room. Waiters elsewhere in the hotel began forgetting to pick up their tips.

Fortunately, it was at that moment that three celebrities returned from bathroom breaks, instantly raising the average intelligence and averting disaster. The formation of a maroon hole was staved off, and the universe may have been saved, by the presence of Crystal the Capuchin monkey, star of The Hangover: Part II, who was the guest of The Washington Times, and prominent Washington cockroaches Klxchrpppt and Shikkakkx, who crashed the event to promote their new reality show.

Could a catastrophe occur Saturday night?

Have you seen the list of attendees??

Nothing can protect you from a maroon hole of sufficient size, but it’s possible to survive a small one if you’re lucky and protect yourself, even if, like me, you’re just a few blocks away when they gather at the Hilton for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

If you ever wondered why I wear a tinfoil helmet on the last Saturday evening of April—well, the reason is: “Just in case.”

 

Labor Watch April 2016: Unions Fear the Trump Threat: A billionaire businessman shows how working-class voters might be pulled away from the Left

Unions Fear the Trump Threat
A billionaire businessman shows how working-class voters might be pulled away from the Left
by Steven J. Allen [PDF here]

Summary: Whether or not Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination, the reaction to his candidacy among working-class Americans shows that voters in union households are no longer a “safe” constituency for Democrats. A Republican presidential nominee who makes a sincere, savvy appeal to workers—whether that nominee is Trump or someone else—may be able to create a profound shift in the American political landscape.

For decades, Republicans have failed to make significant cracks in the united Democratic front presented by the nation’s unions. At least 30 percent of union members usually vote for GOP candidates, and Mitt Romney in 2012 received 40 percent of the vote cast by union households, but the unions themselves—with their wealthy and otherwise political formidable machines—support Democrats almost exclusively.

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president this year—or if the nominee is someone who, like Trump, is seen by many voters as a champion of the working class—there may be a major change in voting patterns of union members and their families. Could such a shift be so profound that it would threaten unions’ alliance with the Left? This is a prospect that puts fear into the hearts of union leaders who, since the 1990s, have moved their focus away from improving their members’ wages, benefits, and working conditions, in order to promote instead an agenda rooted in left-wing Political Correctness.

Republicans face danger mixed with political opportunity: the possibility that, even as blue-collar workers and “Trump Democrats” gravitate toward the GOP—perhaps putting states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota into play in the Electoral College—other voters will be repelled by Trump himself or by a Trump-type message.
Unions aren’t taking any chances. They’re already moving to counter the Trump threat.
Worry in San Diego
On the last weekend in February, union leaders gathered in San Diego to discuss a report analyzing the reasons that “white” members of the working class were turning to Trump. The report, Fighting Right-Wing Populism, was prepared by Working America, the AFL-CIO’s affiliate that reaches out to politically likeminded people who can’t or won’t join unions.

Founded in 2003, Working America is headed by Karen Nussbaum. According to the watchdog website Discover the Networks, Nussbaum in the late 1960s was a member of a support group for the violent, racist Black Panther Party. In 1970, she participated in a “Venceremos Brigade,” a group of young people who traveled to Cuba in support of the government of that country’s murderous dictator, Fidel Castro. She described [For the rest of the article, click HERE.]

 

Today’s Rockefeller Foundation Betrays John Rockefeller’s “Donor Intent”

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Based on the Rockefeller Foundation’s left-wing leanings, one would assume that John D. Rockefeller—the oil magnate who founded the foundation—was a bleeding-heart liberal. Not quite. Rockefeller was actually a devout Close Communion Baptist whose philanthropy was guided by “religious conviction and the old-fashioned concept of stewardship.” He was wary of giving money to professors “drifting, in cases, toward socialism and some forms of Bolshevism.”

Alas, the Rockefeller Foundation is now a prominent donor to the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings—a consulting firm run by Bill Clinton’s long-time assistant. The foundation has donated at least $1.8 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2007, while Teneo received $18.5 million between 2011 and 2013 alone.

Its president, Judith Rodin, is a close friend of the Clinton family and has steered the foundation ever closer to the Left. It is now primarily focused on so-called “resilience,” the primary goal of which is to make urban centers around the world more resilient to civil unrest, environmental disasters, and health problems. To carry out this mission, the foundation has pledged to pay 100 cities $1 million each to create a position called “chief resilience officer.”

And a major component of “resilience” is a renewed focus on “planetary health,” which includes punitive increases in taxes on “alcohol, tobacco, refined sugars, and ultra-processed foods.” Rodin’s Rockefeller now believes all of these products—even sugar and alcohol—harm the planet and its people, justifying massive tax increases to curb consumption.

It represents not only the drift toward socialism which John Rockefeller so greatly feared, but also the schism between “donor intent” and the foundation’s current objectives. What Rockefeller began as a nonpartisan philanthropic force has now become another conduit of a left-wing agenda.

You can read more about the Rockefeller Foundation in the April edition of “Foundation Watch.”

This blog post was adapted from the April edition of Capital Research Center’s “Foundation Watch,” by Martin Morse Wooster.

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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The Rockefeller Foundation’s Strong Ties to the Clintons

clintons

At the end of 2014, the Rockefeller Foundation reported having assets of $4.2 billion, making it the 14th largest foundation in the United States.

For those in the Clinton orbit, Rockefeller’s immense wealth has been a boon for years. The foundation’s president, Judith Rodin, is a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton—prompting her to write some hefty checks. The Rockefeller Foundation has donated at least $1.8 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2007. Another big recipient is Teneo Holdings, a shadowy consulting firm run by Doug Band, a long-time assistant to Bill Clinton. It received $5.7 million from the foundation in 2012 to “assess the Foundation’s strategic and operational communications needs and to staff the communications office on an interim basis.”

For perspective, the Rockefeller Foundation paid Teneo $18.5 million between 2011 and 2013 (including $7.4 million in 2013 alone). The next four contractors to the foundation—all of which were banks or investment firms—received a combined total of $11.5 million during the same period.

An even closer look reveals Rodin sought to use her relationship with the Clintons—and the foundation’s financial clout—to be appointed to the President’s Global Development Council, an unpaid but highly regarded position. Rockefeller’s president coordinated with Huma Abedin and other Clinton associates, who then reached out to the White House on her behalf. Coincidentally, Abedin’s role in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is now under intense scrutiny from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It begs the question: Did Rodin use the Rockefeller Foundation’s generous donations for her personal benefit? The intersection of Rockefeller, Teneo, and the Clintons remains murky.

One thing is clear: The Clintons have a valuable ally in the philanthropy world.

You can read more about the Rockefeller Foundation in the April edition of “Foundation Watch.”

This blog post was adapted from the April edition of Capital Research Center’s “Foundation Watch,” by Martin Morse Wooster.

Rockefeller’s Dubious “Resilience” Push

Rodin

Rockefeller’s Dubious “Resilience” Push
A large old foundation tries to stay sexy but can’t even persuade its White House pals to dance with it
By Martin Morse Wooster, Foundation Watch, April 2016, (PDF here)

Summary: The Rockefeller Foundation is trying not to show its age by wrapping itself in the wisps of “new ideas” it hopes will cover up its failure to achieve much in recent years, to say nothing of its failure to respect the donor intent of its sternly religious, entrepreneurial founder. Not long ago, president Judith Rodin embarrassed herself by trying to parlay her friendship with the Clintons into a plum governmental appointment, but she couldn’t quite manage it.

The Rockefeller Foundation celebrated its centennial in 2013. Its mission has been redefined several times since its creation. But what it stands for today is vague notions about “resilience” and spending an inordinate amount of its budget on publicists.

Like most great philanthropists of his era, John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (1839-1937) practiced charity from a very early age. A devout Close Communion Baptist, he believed that helping the less fortunate was a necessary part of life. As Rockefeller’s biographers, John Ensor Harr and Peter J. Johnson note, “there was no question that Rockefeller’s exclusive motivation for giving was his religious conviction and the old-fashioned concept of stewardship, not the expiation of guilt or the buying of public favor.”

Rockefeller made his fortune as an oil refiner. The company he founded, Standard Oil, was one of America’s great companies until the Supreme Court ordered it broken up in 1911. (The largest pieces became ExxonMobil, Chevron, and a portion of BP.)
In the 1890s, Rockefeller’s fortune grew exponentially, particularly after gasoline was transformed from a non-essential product of oil refining into an indispensable motor fuel. Biographer Ron Chernow estimates that Rockefeller’s fortune increased tenfold after his retirement from Standard Oil in 1897, making him the first billionaire in America and arguably the world.

The vastness of his wealth was almost unimaginable.

“By the time Rockefeller died in 1937, his assets equaled 1.5% of America’s total economic output,” writes Carl O’Connell. “To control an equivalent share today would require a net worth of about $340 billion dollars, more than four times that of Bill Gates, currently the world’s richest man” (Forbes.com, July 11, 2014)

Rockefeller was business-like and methodical in his philanthropic endeavors. “I investigated and worked myself almost to a nervous breakdown in groping my way, without sufficient guide or chart, through the ever-widening field of philanthropic endeavor. It was forced upon me to organize and plan this department upon as distinct lines of progress as our other business affairs.

“I have always indulged the hope that during my life I should be able to establish efficiency in giving, so that wealth may be of greater use to the present and future generations. If the people can be educated to help themselves, we strike at the root of many of the evils of the world.”

He also contributed heavily to education, founding the University of Chicago and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research that eventually became Rockefeller University. Like many rich donors, Rockefeller was surrounded by mendicants wanting a piece of his giant fortune. His chief philanthropic adviser, the Rev. Frederick T. Gates, urged him to practice “wholesale” instead of “retail” philanthropy, giving large grants to a smaller number of organizations rather than a large number of small grants.

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The Great Green Fleet, chicken fat, and Hillary Rodham

Unicorn_boat

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

 

Remember when Dylan sang at Clinton’s first inaugural [in 1993] in front of the Lincoln Memorial as fighter jets flew overhead in battle formation? Actor-activist Ron Silver saw those jets roar across the sky, and, recalling the ’60s days of rage in that same place, he was troubled. But (after all, he was invited) it soon passed. A sudden realization reconciled him to the scene: “Those are our planes now,” he thought.

– Thomas de Zengotita in Harper’s magazine

When the Left is put in charge of the military, don’t be surprised when the military starts to reflect leftwing values.

Many ideas for saving energy or for getting energy from alternative sources may have merit. It may be a good idea, say, to use roll-up solar blankets to power Marines’ GPS devices in Afghanistan, or to coat the hulls of ships with “anti-fouling” coatings to reduce drag from barnacles. But when the armed forces are required to carry out an agenda based on ideology, rather than science and logistics and the needs of the military, how can we be sure that any given policy is in furtherance of national security rather than politics?

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) once noted the trade-offs involved in “imposing a green agenda on the Department of defense”: “Which would you rather have? Would you rather spend $4 billion on Air Force Base solar panels, or would you rather have 28 new F-22s or 30 F-25s or modernized C-130s? Would you rather have $64.8 billion spent on pointless global warming efforts or would you rather have more funds put towards modernizing our fleet of ships, aircrafts and ground vehicles to improve the safety of our troops and help defend our nation against the legitimate threats that we face?”

The Obama administration has its priorities straight, unfortunately—using the armed forces to promote environmentalist projects like the Great Green Fleet.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi and ambassador to Saudi Arabia, declared in 2009 that one of his goals was the creation of the GGF, a carrier strike group that would run on “sustainable” forms of energy—actually, a combination of nuclear power and biofuel/standard fuel blends. (The term “sustainable energy,” which is ill-defined and inaccurate, generally refers to forms of energy not based on carbon.)

By the standard definition, a carrier strike group includes an aircraft carrier and the ships and planes that travel with it: at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron of at least two destroyers and/or frigates, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft. It may also include submarines, attached logistics ships, and a supply ship. There are currently 11 carriers—accordingly, 11 such groups—in the U.S. Navy.

The carrier strike group was dubbed the Great Green Fleet in reference to President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, which included 16 battleships and circled the world in 1907-09 to demonstrate that the United States had become a major power on the world’s seas.

The GGF sailed in July 2012 during the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercise, the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, conducted with U.S. allies such as Australia, Canada, and Japan. The carrier, USS Nimitz, was nuclear powered. Otherwise, the group ran on a 50/50 mix of petroleum and biofuel derived from cooking oil and algae. The group is set to deploy fully this year.

Government officials openly proclaim that the GGF is intended to promote the biofuel industry. National Defense magazine reported in 2009: “Mabus is confident that if the Navy and Marine Corps create a demand for biofuels, the market will respond by increasing production and lowering costs.” Mabus said, “A lot of these fuels are already out there. But there’s no demand for them. . . . I’m hoping that by providing demand, it will incentivize industry.” That’s the standard rationale for crony capitalism, that, if the government declares winners and losers in a rigged marketplace—if it decides who gets rich and who goes broke—the benefits will eventually trickle down to the rest of society.

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On the global expansion of private schools

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On the global expansion of private schools
By Martin Morse Wooster
Senior Fellow, Capital Research Center

(originally posted at Philanthropy Daily)

Before I wrote about philanthropy, I wrote about education, the subject of my first book, Angry Classrooms, Vacant Minds. I reviewed education books for the Washington Times for 16 years, and one reason why I gave up was that I had heard all the arguments four or five times. There are always people who want more choice in schools and people who think the neighborhood school is fine for everyone. The history of public schools alternates between people who want kids free to discover their inner talents and those who want to make sure children know to read, write, and count. There are those who think tests and a national curriculum (such as Common Core) are the answer and those who think tests are some sort of plot.[1]

So when I read an article in, of all places, Wired, that says that kids ought to be able to use vouchers to go to private schools, that’s not very interesting. But when the article, by Anya Kamenetz, argues that a giant education publisher wants to be the “Big Pharma” of education through a global network of private schools serving poor people, the piece becomes considerably more interesting.

I’m pretty sure that Kamenetz’s article is not available online, but I learned from her website that she is, among other things, the chief education blogger for NPR, author of a book on testing, “and comes from a family of teachers and mystics.”

The company Kamenetz is discussing is Pearson. I used to bloat Pearson’s profits when they owned the Financial Times, but they since have sold that newspaper and the half of The Economist they own to double down on the education market. [2] They’ll happily sell you tests, test preparation courses, and expensive textbooks. The news I got from Kamenetz’s piece is that Pearson would happily go to the Third World and sell everything you need to operate a private school.

The venture Pearson is operating is the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund an educational venture capital firm that invests in Third World education chains. Pearson started the fund with $15 million in 2014 and then added an additional $50 million in 2015. The fund invests in education chains in Third World countries, usually requesting one or two seats on the board in return for their investment.

Sir Michael Barber, who was an education adviser to Tony Blair and worked for the National Union of Teachers in the 1980s, heads the fund. In 2013, anti-Common Core activist Christel Swasey declared Barber the seventh scariest person in education because he advocates global education standards.

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A moving challenge to current foreign welfare: Poverty, Inc.

please_help

A moving challenge to current foreign welfare: Poverty, Inc.
By Martin Morse Wooster
Senior Fellow, Capital Research Center

(originally posted at Philanthropy Daily)

A decade ago “60 Minutes” ran a story about poverty in Africa. The point of the segment was to explain to Americans that terrorists weren’t the only foreigners Americans should be concerned about.

So “60 Minutes” went to Ethiopia, I believe, and encountered familiar tropes—starving and hopeless Africans trying to get a minimum level of sustenance from heroic but beleaguered aid workers. As we saw the starving Africans, the reporter (who I am fairly certain was Scott Pelley) kept asking, “Why don’t Americans care?”

The producers of Poverty Inc. would argue that you’re asking the wrong question. The film, directed by Michael Matheson Miller and produced by the Acton Institute, was screened at the Cato Institute to a packed house. It’s a good film and you should see it.

The reason Poverty Inc. is effective is that as much as possible they talk to people, many of them African, who discuss the effect that aid has on their countries. The result is to quietly recommend capitalism rather than handouts as the solution to fighting poverty in the Third World.

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