**Written by Doug Powers
Hillary Clinton this year called for a “mass movement” to act on climate change.
Hillary more or less launched another bid for the Dem nomination in 2016 at the Harkin Steak Fry in Iowa. The meat is actually grilled, not fried, and per one of Hillary’s contract riders the steaks this year were cooked over select torched Benghazi documents and four more copies of Leaves of Grass found in Bill’s duffel bag.
The Clintons got Hillary’s climate change “mass movement” going… with 12 environment-saving vehicles in their convoy:
A dozen cars — or as Al Gore would say, “where are the rest?”
Need definitive proof Hillary’s running? Try not to laugh:
Someone asks Bill Clinton how he is doing. His response: "As long as I am still married to her, I am doing good," he says of HRC.
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) September 14, 2014
I hope Bill enjoys wearing that remote-controlled electro-shock genital cuff for the next couple of years.
**Written by Doug Powers
The Obama administration seemingly has no problem with tens of thousands of illegal alien children crossing the border and letting them stay. They have no problem with the millions of
Rochester Adams High
School unless he changed
out of his army uniform. They reportedly told him special
education students might "go crazy" if they saw someone in uniform.
Rochester Community Schools Superintendent Robert Shafer later
apologized to Baker and denied the school has any policy banning
men and women in uniform.
My latest Townhall column is called, The Real Sickness At The Heart Of American Culture. Here’s an excerpt from the column. People don’t like to talk about America’s culture for
Clients of a high-powered Washington consulting firm appear to have benefited from the outfit’s ties to the Export-Import Bank and the Obama administration, which wants to save the embattled federal agency.
Critics long have faulted the Export-Import Bank for helping politically connected companies secure taxpayer-backed financing.
And the consultants at Albright Stonebridge Group, which is headed by a former U.S. secretary of state and bills itself as the “premier strategic advisory and commercial diplomacy firm,” pride themselves on making worldwide connections.
The firm’s chairman and one of its namesakes is Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of state during the Clinton administration.
Among other roles, Albright Stonebridge Group helps clients with government relations and crafts messaging plans for businesses. It is not, however, a registered lobbying firm, according to records at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that tracks how money and lobbying affect politics.
Still, many of ASG’s top officials share a history with the Export-Import Bank and worked with the government agency in a variety of capacities.
The close ties with the Ex-Im Bank paid off for three clients that, collectively, benefited from more than $6.3 billion in financing from the bank between 2009 and 2013: Siemens AG, First Solar and Dow Chemical Co.
During that same period, Albright’s daughter, Alice Albright, was Ex-Im’s chief operating officer and executive vice president.
The 80-year-old government bank provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign countries and companies to purchase U.S. exports.
“Ex-Im replaces the judgments of the private sector with the judgments of bureaucrats and politicians,” Tim Carney, a Washington Examiner columnist and prominent voice on the bank’s future, told The Daily Signal. “When you do this, you’re tilting the playing field in favor of the politically connected.”
“Ex-Im replaces the judgments of the private sector with the judgments of bureaucrats and politicians,” says @TPCarney
A History of Links to Ex-Im
ASG boasts former and current Ex-Im officials within its ranks, many of whom maintain close ties to the Obama administration. Several ASG officials were tapped for the Obama-Biden transition team after the 2008 election and helped map the incoming administration’s agenda and priorities.
Among those connected to the bank:
- H.P. Goldfield, vice chairman of ASG, served on Ex-Im’s board of directors during the 1980s, when he was assistant secretary of commerce for trade development. Loans are approved by board members, who are appointed by the bank’s president and confirmed by the Senate, according to Ex-Im’s charter and bylaws.
- Michael Warren, managing principal at ASG, served in the Obama-Biden transition. At the time, Warren was with Stonebridge International; it later merged with the Albright Group to form ASG. In his capacity as the transition’s “team lead” on Economics and International Trade, Warren’s portfolio of agencies included Ex-Im. The bank’s current chairman, Fred Hochberg, served alongside Warren and oversaw the Small Business Administration.
- Alan Fleischmann, a former principal at ASG, serves on an Ex-Im advisory committee for fiscal year 2014. Fleischmann joined Warren and Hochberg as an Economics and International Trade team lead during the Obama-Biden transition, working with the Inter-American Development Bank. The committee on which Fleischmann sits “advises Ex-Im Bank on its policies and programs, in particular on the extent to which the bank helps U.S. exporters compete,” the agency states. The bank’s board appoints 16 members to the panel.
Clients from a high-powered DC consulting firm appear to have benefited from its ties to the Export-Import Bank.
- Carol Browner works as a senior counselor at ASG and previously served as a senior principal there. A member of the Obama-Biden transition’s advisory board, Browner was appointed to Ex-Im’s advisory committee for fiscal 2013. She was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration and, under President Obama, directed the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy from 2009 to 2011.
- Donald Gips, a senior counselor with ASG, currently is a member of Ex-Im’s Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee. The group advises the bank on policies and programs designed to “support the expansion of [the bank’s] financial commitments” in what is a “priority region” for the agency. Gips worked alongside Browner on the Obama-Biden transition’s advisory board and was a co-chairman of an agency review team.
[Article continues after the chart below.]
Ex-Im Beneficiaries and Albright Stonebridge Group
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have put Ex-Im under the microscope in recent months as they debate whether to reauthorize the agency. The bank’s charter expires Sept. 30, and its uncertain future has created unlikely allies in Republicans and Democrats on either side of the debate.
Proponents, including President Obama and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., say Ex-Im helps small businesses compete in the global market and creates jobs in the United States. In June, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined forces with the National Association of Manufacturers to launch a campaign to bolster support for the bank.
Tom Donohue, president of the chamber, is listed as a member of ASG’s Board of Advisors.
The Daily Signal’s repeated requests for comment went unanswered by the chamber.
Ex-Im opponents — led by the conservative chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb Hensarling from Texas — argue that the bank furthers corporate welfare and cronyism. Outside groups such as Heritage Action for America (the advocacy arm of The Heritage Foundation) and Americans for Prosperity join Hensarling and self-described progressives such as Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., in standing against the bank.
Opponents also say Ex-Im benefits a relatively small number of politically connected corporations — among them Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric.
During a committee hearing on Ex-Im this summer, Hensarling criticized the bank’s dealings:
[If] you’re a politically connected bank or something that benefits from Ex-Im, no doubt you would like it to continue. After all, it’s a sweetheart deal for you. Taxpayers shoulder the risk, and you get the reward.
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina, agreed with Hensarling’s concerns about the bank in a July op-ed, writing:
It’s all about the politically connected big businesses getting bigger with help from Uncle Sam. It’s not fair, not necessary, and shouldn’t be a hard decision for Congress.
”If you’re a politically connected bank or something that benefits from Ex-Im, no doubt you would like it to continue,” says @RepHensarling
Under a proposed measure to fund the government after Sept. 30, however, Ex-Im would be reauthorized for nine months.
Three ASG clients in particular — Siemens AG, First Solar and Dow Chemical — benefited from decisions made by the Export-Import Bank.
The Bank and Siemens AG
Siemens, an engineering and electronics company headquartered in Germany, hired ASG’s chairwoman, Albright, and its senior strategic counselor, Joschka Fischer, as consultants in 2009. Fischer’s own Berlin-based global strategy firm, Joschka Fischer & Co., maintains a partnership with ASG.
According to a press release from Siemens, the duo was hired to consult on “related social and geopolitical issues and the changing balance in the economy.”
Siemens retained Joschka Fischer & Co.’s services through at least 2011, according to a disclosure form filed by a former ASG vice chairwoman, Wendy Sherman. That year, Sherman was appointed by Obama to serve as the State Department’s under secretary of political affairs.
Sherman’s disclosure form, submitted upon getting the presidential appointment, showed she received at least $5,000 in compensation from Joschka Fischer & Co. for its work with Siemens.
After ASG hired Albright and Fischer, Ex-Im financed loans and loan guarantees that benefited Siemens. In July 2010, the bank backed a $134.2 million loan guarantee for the sale of the company’s gas and steam turbine-generators to Korea.
“The investment in our Charlotte manufacturing operation creates more than 1,000 jobs, increases our business with a local diverse, smaller supplier, and significantly expands our export capabilities,” Randy Zwirn, chief executive officer of Siemens Energy Service, said of the transaction.
Zwirn also served on Ex-Im’s advisory committee for 2011 and 2012.
In January 2012, the bank approved a $638 million loan to finance the sale of Siemens’ gas and steam turbines. The turbines were to be installed in Saudi Arabia.
Last month, the bank supported a pair of loans totaling $65 million for the export of wind turbines manufactured by Siemens.
Siemens, however, has run into trouble with the U.S. government. In 2008, the German company agreed to pay $350 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission and $450 million to the Justice Department as part of a settlement on charges of “paying bribes to foreign government officials to obtain business.”
According to the two federal agencies, a subsidiary of Siemens in Venezuela paid public officials $16.7 million in bribes related to construction of transit lines in the South American country. The construction projects were, in part, backed by Ex-Im funding, since the bank approved two loan guarantees totaling $57 million to “support the export by Siemens Transportation Systems Inc.”
The Daily Signal’s requests for comment from Siemens went unanswered.
The Bank and First Solar
First Solar, a second ASG client, also won hundreds of millions of dollars in Ex-Im financing.
The Tempe, Ariz.-based manufacturer of solar modules received at least $573 million in financing from Ex-Im in 2011, when Alice Albright was the bank’s chief operating officer.
During that time, Sherman – the former ASG vice chairwoman — also served as a consultant to the manufacturing company, her disclosure form shows.
According to the bank’s records, Ex-Im supported several loans for the purchase of First Solar exports in 2011, including a $16 million loan to New Delhi in July. In September 2011, the agency backed two transactions totaling $455.7 million for the sale of First Solar exports to Canada. And in November 2011, Ex-Im approved $84.3 million in export financing for India’s purchase of thin-film solar panels from the Arizona manufacturer.
First Solar Chief Executive Officer James Hughes currently serves on Ex-Im’s Advisory Committee with Fleischmann, a former principal at ASG.
First Solar did not return The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
The Bank and Dow Chemical
A third client of ASG, Dow Chemical, made headlines for record-breaking financing supported by Ex-Im.
The Michigan-based company bills itself as a “leader in speciality chemicals” that serves the electronics, water and energy sectors, among others.
According to Sherman’s disclosure form, Dow Chemical was an ASG client of hers in 2011.
The following year, Ex-Im supported a record $4.97 billion in financing to the Sadara Chemical Co. for the export of American products to Saudi Arabia. Dow Chemical was one of the exporters supported by the financing through a joint venture with Sadara.
The multibillion-dollar transaction was the largest in Ex-Im’s history and the federal agency later named it the 2013 “Deal of the Year.”
Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, stood near Obama when the president signed Ex-Im’s 2012 reauthorization.
Tony Fratto, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush and vocal proponent of the bank, refused to comment on the political connectedness of companies that receive financing through Ex-Im.
Hans von Spakovsky, a member of the Federal Elections Commission during the Bush administration, was more forthcoming.
“It’s one of the unfortunate aspects of Washington, and the kind of crony capitalism that has developed in this city,” Spakovsky, now a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal, adding:
It makes me wonder whether the firm’s clients got their business because of those ties, as opposed to the fact that their clients were the most qualified applicants who met the objective criteria of the bank.
Repeated requests for comment from Ex-Im officials went unanswered.
Ben Chang, spokesman for ASG, reiterated the firm’s services in a statement to The Daily Signal, underlining that they do not include lobbying.
“The Albright Stonebridge Group has had no engagements to approach the Export-Import Bank for any clients at any time,” Chang said. “Albright Stonebridge does not lobby the U.S. government. ASG provides strategic advice and assistance around the globe.”
Siemens AG, First Solar and Dow Chemical benefited from Ex-Im financing while Alice Albright, Madeleine Albright’s daughter, was COO at the bank.
The White House and ASG
In addition to Ex-Im, top employees at Albright Stoneridge Group maintain ties with the Obama administration. They have attended state dinners and private meetings with the president and his top advisers. They have donated substantial amounts of money to the president’s political campaigns.
>>> Commentary: 5 Facts About the Export-Import Bank for Obama to Remember
During the 2012 campaign, ASG founder Madeleine Albright bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for the president’s re-election effort. Similarly, Sandy Berger, chairman of ASG, bundled the same amount for the president.
Berger was national security adviser to President Clinton from 1997 to 2001. He gained notoriety for illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives by stuffing them in his pants and socks.
Berger, along with other foreign policy experts, attended a private dinner with President Obama last week on how to confront the Islamic State, the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq also known as ISIS and ISIL.
According to the Public Accountability Initiative, a government watchdog group, employees of ASG donated more than $101,000 to Obama and his campaigns between 2006 and 2012.
Today, Sherman is undersecretary of state for political affairs, an Obama appointee.
Before joining ASG, Browner directed the White House Office of Energy and Climate ChangePolicy in the first three years of the Obama administration..
After serving on the Obama transition team, Gips headed the Office of Presidential Personnel, overseeing political appointments for the administration.
The post Politically Connected: Ties Link Embattled Government Bank, Well-Heeled Consultants appeared first on Daily Signal.
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual report on poverty. This report is noteworthy because this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. Liberals claim that the War on Poverty has failed because we didn’t spend enough money. Their answer is just to spend more. But the facts show otherwise.
Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution.
One third of the U.S. population received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013.
The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. These programs provide cash, food, housing and medical care to low-income Americans. Federal and state spending on these programs last year was $943 billion. (These figures do not include Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Insurance.)
Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.
But today the Census will almost certainly proclaim that around 14 percent of Americans are still poor. The present poverty rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 1967 a few years after the War on Poverty started. Census data actually shows that poverty has gotten worse over the last 40 years.
How is this possible? How can the taxpayers spend $22 trillion on welfare while poverty gets worse?
The typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in its home.
The answer is it isn’t possible. Census counts a family as poor if its income falls below specified thresholds. But in counting family “income,” Census ignores nearly the entire $943 billion welfare state.
For most Americans, the word “poverty” means significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter and clothing. But only a small portion of the more than 40 million people labelled as poor by Census fit that description.
The media frequently associate the idea of poverty with being homeless. But less than two percent of the poor are homeless. Only one in ten live in mobile homes. The typical house or apartment of the poor is in good repair and uncrowded; it is actually larger than the average dwelling of non-poor French, Germans or English.
According to government surveys, the typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in his home. Forty percent have a wide screen HDTV and another 40 percent have internet access. Three quarters of the poor own a car and roughly a third have two or more cars. (These numbers are not the result of the current bad economy pushing middle class families into poverty; instead, they reflect a steady improvement in living conditions among the poor for many decades.)
The intake of protein, vitamins and minerals by poor children is virtually identical with upper middle class kids. According to surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the overwhelming majority of poor people report they were not hungry even for a single day during the prior year.
We can be grateful that the living standards of all Americans, including the poor, have risen in the past half century, but the War on Poverty has not succeeded according to Johnson’s original goal. Johnson’s aim was not to prop up living standards by making more and more people dependent on an ever larger welfare state. Instead, Johnson sought to increase self-sufficiency, the ability of a family to support itself out of poverty without dependence on welfare aid. Johnson asserted that the War on Poverty would actually shrink the welfare rolls and transform the poor from “taxeaters” into “taxpayers.”
Judged by that standard, the War on Poverty has been a colossal flop. The welfare state has undermined self-sufficiency by discouraging work and penalizing marriage. When the War on Poverty began seven percent of children were born outside marriage. Today, 42 percent of children are. By eroding marriage, the welfare state has made many Americans less capable of self-support than they were when the War on Poverty began.
President Obama plans to spend $13 trillion dollars on means-tested welfare over the next decade. Most of this spending will flow through traditional welfare programs that discourage the keys to self-sufficiency: work and marriage.
Rather than doubling down on the mistakes of the past, we should restructure the welfare state around Johnson’s original goal: increasing Americans capacity for self-support. Welfare should no longer be a one way hand out; able-bodied recipients of cash, food and housing should be required to work or prepare for work as condition of receiving aid. Welfare’s penalties against marriage should be reduced. By returning to the original vision of aiding the poor to aid themselves, we can begin, in Johnson’s words, to “replace their despair with opportunity.”
Over Labor Day weekend, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol ran a no-refusal DUI checkpoint in Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi. In a no-refusal checkpoint, a driver who refuses a sobriety test — either a breath test or a standard field sobriety test — could be compelled to undergo a blood test.
A judge is either on site or on call to rule on probable cause and can issue a warrant for the test. A certified phlebotomist is at the ready, and blood is drawn at the checkpoint.
According to state law, drivers in Mississippi give their “implied consent” to a blood or breath sample if an officer lawfully requests it. A search warrant becomes necessary if a driver refuses, and a first-time refusal results in a 90-day license suspension.
Is this constitutional? The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol did not return repeated requests for comment.
But Ronald Wright, a law professor and the associate dean for academic affairs at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said the tactic is not in keeping with the spirit of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and its prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures.
“State statutes might give the police certain authority in a traffic setting that they wouldn’t have in other settings,” Wright said. “One thing that worries me is typically a warrant is based on probable cause. Probable cause, in normal doctrine, cannot be based on refusal to cooperate. We’re allowed to be uncooperative, and police are not supposed to draw any inferences from that.
“To the extent that a judge is issuing a normal warrant and then they’re using the fact someone says no as evidence, I think that’s contrary to traditional Fourth Amendment practice.”
John Bowman, communications director for the National Motorists Association, said the 30 states that perform these checkpoints, are violating drivers’ rights.
“Backers of no-refusal point out that the police secure warrants before the invasive testing, but often the justification for the warrant is flimsy at best,” Bowman said. “And remember, we’re not talking about breath tests here. We’re talking about taking a person’s blood, sometimes against their will. This has the potential to become a gross violation of personal privacy.”
Originally appeared on Watchdog.org.
The post Blood Testing Could Be in Store for Mississippi Drivers at DUI Checkpoints appeared first on Daily Signal.
A school board in Virginia got an earful from one of its students last week over its ban on lip balm.
Last winter, Grace Karaffa, a student in Augusta County, was told by her teachers she was not allowed to bring lip balm to school or to wear it while in the building because of concerns some students might be allergic.
“I was told I couldn’t use it. Then later that day they (lips) started to bleed, so I asked for Chapstick again and I was told that it was against the school policy for elementary kids to have Chapstick,” Grace, 11, told school board officials at a meeting on Monday,according to the Lynchburg News and Advance newspaper.
Grace has gathered more than 230 signatures on a petition that challenges the school’s ban on lip products. She presented the petition to the school board and called the ban “inappropriate.”
Fox News reported that a member of the school board told Grace that the use of Chapstick in school could be a distraction for students. Grace responded by pointing out that a student with bleeding lips probably is a worse distraction.
In a statement provided to Fox News, the Augusta County Schools superintendent’s office said the Chapstick rule was based on input from local health experts who feared students sharing lip balm could may have contributed to an infectious disease outbreak.
Originally appeared on Watchdog.org.
The Onion Router, more commonly known as just Tor, is a cryptographic network of computers that seeks to provide anonymity to its users. Users connect to a Tor “entry node,” and tell it what Internet sites they want to access. That request is then passed through a series of encrypted links, bouncing around unpredictably, until it finds an “exit node,” and then that server (likely nowhere near the user) then makes the request, and the results are sent back through the network.
While Tor users are not as anonymous as they’d like, criminals use it to great effect, and that’s why Comcast would be reasonable to watch Tor use carefully.
Now, it turns out that the rumors were a lie that Comcast was targeting Tor users. Tor server owners, if they were pumping insane amounts of data, particularly Child Pornography, it wouldn’t surprise me if Comcast were shutting down. But ordinary Tor users? Nah.
Note that though. Tor, with its anonymity and encryption, is a favorite service of child pornographers and drug dealers. In fact these criminals use sites that are hosted within the Tor network, so called ‘hidden services’, to run entire rings of these activities. Silk Road was the most famous of those before the feds nabbed its owner and collected his ill-gotten Bitcoin gains. Others exist that don’t get the headlines.
Note that the original hidden Service software, Tor2web, was written by the late Aaron Swartz, who killed himself after being indicted for his own criminal activity online, and facing a hefty prison term when convicted.
So Tor nodes are carrying a lot of illegal activity, and if a user is running a Tor node on the Comcast network, then that user is using the Comcast network to facilitate criminal activity. If that user is also making lots of connections and burning a lot of bandwidth, then we’re faced with a situation similar to when Comcast targeted people running illegal Bittorrent seed farms to commit mass copyright infringement.
Abusing the network to break the law, making every other Comcast user’s Internet access worse in order to commit crimes, is not something Comcast should ever have to tolerate.
This is amusing: new scam Bitcoin clones are trying to take advantage of some of the less-educated pornography stars, though the more educated ones are on to the scheme.
How low are the Democrats? They don’t like what network the Dodgers are putting their games on, so they’re asking government to pick winners and losers.
Obama, you may not care about anything but your agenda, but the rest of America is greatly concerned about Sgt, Andrew Tahmooressi and the fact that YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING
This is the wake up call, America. ISIS is here, and has COMFIRMED CAMPS ON US SOIL! THE ENEMY IS HERE AND AMONG US! From our friends at
I wasn’t raised in privilege, and I didn’t attend private school. Even if my parents could have afforded it, they would have probably sent me to public school, anyway, because
Anyone who knows what anxiety, and sometimes anguish, parents go through when they have a child who is still not talking at age two, three or even four, can appreciate
The CIA reported this past Thursday that the number of Islamic State fighters is actually three times what previous government estimates were, according to Fox News. A spokesperson for the