Monthly Archives: December 2014

A look back, as a New Year begins

As 2008 drew to a close just six years ago, it would have been difficult for Americans to believe the precipitous drop in the nation’s condition that would occur within the following six years. Within that short span of time, the U.S. economy, its national security, and relations between citizens would deteriorate at a worrisome and unexpected rate.

The Economy

In 2008, the national debt was $11, 039,737,790,000, compared to the approximately $18,028, 000,000,000 that will greet the new year.  All that extra spending, including the stimulus spending program, produced no noticeable results.

Despite the presence of an extremely severe recession (much of it due to the bad economics of misguided subprime mortgage legislation that began under the Carter Administration and was expanded during the Clinton presidency) there was little doubt that the nation would soon recover.

The labor force participation rate was 65.8%, compared to the current 62.8%. While some statistics indicate that the unemployment rate has improved, the reality is far different. As noted in Forbes,   “Despite the significant decrease in the official U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment rate, the real unemployment rate is over double that at 12.6%. This number reflects the government’s “U-6” report, which accounts for the full unemployment picture including those ‘marginally attached to the labor force,’ plus those ‘employed part time for economic reasons.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) stands at 2.8 million accounting for an extremely troublesome 30.7 percent of the unemployed. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), stands at 6.9 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

 

Furthering the distress of many Americans, the Center for Immigration Studies,  reports that all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).

 National Defense

In 2008, America was unquestionably the world’s supreme military power. Today, following substantial cuts to the defense budget, the unilateral withdrawal of American tanks from Europe, the financial inability of the Navy to sustain an adequate carrier fleet, the dismissal of large numbers of vitally needed military personnel, the alienation of key allies such as the United Kingdom, Poland, Israel and others, the lack of modernization for nuclear weapons, and the decision to not proceed with an adequate missile defense program, the U.S. is seen as a declining force in the world.

Washington’s increasingly obsolete nuclear deterrent is a major concern. Alone among the world’s nuclear powers, the U.S. has not updated its aged atomic weapons. Along with the “New START” nuclear arms treaty, the rise of China as a major nuclear power, and the growing threat from North Korea, this has essentially ended American nuclear superiority.

In addition to harmful strategic implications, New START allowed Moscow to maintain a vast advantage in tactical nuclear weapons, which it has deployed along its European border on board its new Iskander short range nuclear weapons. NATO has no equivalent weapons in place.

New START was part of the failed “reset” with Russia.  As the U.S. cut defense spending and reduced its leadership role in international affairs, Moscow dramatically strengthened its armed forces, returned to cold war bases, sold nuclear technology to Iran, moved nuclear weapons to its European border, enhanced military ties with Latin America, invaded the Ukraine, and engaged in joint war games with China aimed at the U.S.

North Korea’s army will be larger than its American counterpart by the end of 2015 if scheduled cuts occur.  China’s navy, combined with its potent land-based anti-naval missile force, will soon displace the U.S. as the predominate sea power in East Asia. Russia has spent vast sums modernizing both its nuclear and conventional forces. Moscow has resumed cold war era nuclear patrols around both the continental U.S. as well as our bases overseas.

In 2008, Iraq was slowly, unsteadily, but certainly returning to democracy. Today, ISIS, due to the premature withdrawal of American forces, now ravages that land, committing atrocities on a terrible scale.

Six years ago, terrorism, while continuing to fester, was not ascendant. Today, terrorist forces control more geography than ever in the Middle East, the Taliban is poised to gain substantial power in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda is growing exponentially in Africa. Further, Iran’s Hezbollah, along with Russia and China, has made significant inroads with several South American governments.  Iran itself is poised to become a nuclear power.

The Final Frontier, Lost?

America’s space shuttle program was the envy of the world, and the U.S. had bold, concrete plans to explore and exploit the final frontier.  Obama allowed the Shuttle program to die and scrubbed its immediate replacement, the Constellation program.  Today, NASA can’t even put a man in space, is dependent on Russia to access the space station that was constructed by the space shuttle, and its plans for the future, are, bluntly, unfunded rhetoric, despite the ongoing development of the Orion space capsule, which itself is essentially only a modernized version of the 1960-era Apollo craft.

Racial Tensions

The most unforeseen, and indeed, unforeseeable decline in America’s condition was in the area of race relations.  The election of the first black president was envisioned as an epic turning of the page, a major step that precipitated a new era of harmonious relations between the races in America. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Rather than engage his historic role to finally bring closure to the history of racial animosity, President Obama, along with his Attorney General Eric Holder employed racial tensions to motivate their base core of supporters for political goals. The result has been a dramatic resurgence of tensions.

Washington’s “Thaw” with Cuba doesn’t soften Havana

The recent alleged “thaw” in relations with Cuba, when seen in the light of history, appears to be a bad idea.

Most do not realize that the U.S. originally supported Castro’s 1959 overthrow of President Batista. However, in 1960, Fidel Castro nationalized private companies and private land, as well as taxing U.S. products so heavily they became impractical for purchase. In essence, Castro imposed an embargo on himself through these actions, and President Eisenhower responded by restricting all trade except for food and medical supplies. Rather than seek a compromise, Castro substituted trade with Russia for trade with the U.S., leading to Washington’s severing of all diplomatic relations with Havana.

The U.S. subsequently attempted to undue its original support for Castro through unsuccessful support for counter-revolutionaries (the botched “Bay of Pigs” incident) and incompetent attempts to destroy or humiliate Castro.

In 1962, the Soviet built missile bases on Cuba, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.  The potential catastrophe was averted by a deal in which the Cuban-based missiles were withdrawn in return for American missiles being removed from Turkey.

Relations and trade between the two countries never recovered, but an agreement following Hurricane Michelle in 2001 saw the U.S. agree to sell food. It has remained in place, and today the U.S. is the island nation’s main supplier of food.

Despite that humanitarian gesture, and those, including the most recent, the Castro regime has never softened its vehement hatred towards the U.S. Rather than greet President Obama’s recent softening of Washington’s stance, President Raul Castro declared a “victory” for the Cuban revolution, stating that “We won the war” and promised to continue on the path of “prosperous and sustainable Communism.”

To make matters worse, almost immediately after Mr. Obama’s announcement, Russia’s deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin, who has significant responsibility for Moscow’s weapons programs, visited the island, which sent a fairly hostile message to the U.S.

This places the U.S. back to square one in its dealings with Cuba. Washington’s original  support for the Castro revolution was betrayed, and the nation eventually became a forward military base for Moscow, after which relations were severed. Now, following a substantial softening of Washington’s stance, Havana has again opened itself up to being a forward military base for America’s international adversary.

Why Union Leadership Supports Amnesty

With so many native-born Americans still out of work, why are union leaders continuing to support President Obama’s plans to legalize large numbers of illegals who compete with U.S. citizens for jobs?

For workers born in the USA, the last several years have been little short of disastrous. According to the Center for Immigration Studies , (CIS) . in 2014, 1.5 million fewer native born workers had jobs than they did at the start of the 2007 recession.

CIS notes: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that all of the net gain in employment since 2007 has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal),…Native employment has still not returned to pre-recession levels, while immigrant employment already exceeds pre-recession levels. Furthermore, even with recent job growth, the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to increase.

“Additional findings:

  • “The BLS reports that 23.1 million adult (16-plus) immigrants (legal and illegal) were working in November 2007 and 25.1 million were working in November of this year — a two million increase. For natives, 124.01 million were working in November 2007 compared to 122.56 million in November 2014 — a 1.46 million decrease.
  • “Although all of the employment growth has gone to immigrants, natives accounted for 69 percent of the growth in the 16 and older population from 2007 to 2014.
  • “The number of immigrants working returned to pre-recession levels by the middle of 2012, and has continued to climb. But the number of natives working remains almost 1.5 million below the November 2007 level.
  • “More recently, natives have done somewhat better. However, even with job growth in the last two years (November 2012 to November 2014), 45 percent of employment growth has gone to immigrants, though they comprise only 17 percent of the labor force.
  • “The number of officially unemployed (looking for work in the prior four weeks) adult natives has declined in recent years. But the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to grow.
  • “The number of adult natives 16-plus not in the labor force actually increased by 693,000 over the last year, November 2013 to November of 2014.
  • “Compared to November 2007, the number of adult natives not in the labor force is 11.1 million larger in November of this year.
  • “In total, there were 79.1 million adult natives and 13.5 million adult immigrants not in the labor force in November 2014. There were an additional 8.6 million immigrant and native adults officially unemployed.
  • “The percentage of adult natives in the labor force (the participation rate) did not improve at all in the last year.
  • “All of the information in BLS Table A-7 indicates there is no labor shortage in the United States, even as many members of Congress and the president continue to support efforts to increase the level of immigration, such as S.744 , which passed in the Senate last year. That bill would have roughly doubled the number of immigrants allowed into the country from one million annually to two million.2
  • “It will take many years of sustained job growth just to absorb the enormous number of people, primarily native-born, who are currently not working and return the country to the labor force participation rate of 2007. If we continue to allow in new immigration at the current pace or choose to increase the immigration level, it will be even more difficult for the native-born to make back the ground they have lost in the labor market.”

The position of union leadership appears counterintuitive. With unemployment still such a significant factor, it would seem that the obvious position would be to oppose vast new numbers of people who would compete for jobs.

The answer may have more to do with union politics than the interests of union members. The Mackinac Institute reported that in 2012, union membership hit its lowest percentage since 1916. Without the dues and campaign volunteers members provide, unions would lose their ability to lobby and influence elections.

A recent Fox News report found that unions are seeking to regain their momentum by launching recruiting drives aimed at the approximately four million illegal immigrants that could benefit from Mr. Obama’s actions.  Major unions, including the ASL-CIO and SEIU are heavily involved in the drive to use illegals to replace the 1.2 million drop in membership since 2003.

The sharp divide between the interests of union members and their leaders continues to grow.

Undue Influence at the EPA

Among the most important stories not covered by the major media in 2014 was the scathing report by the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public works Minority Staff Report concerning undue influence within the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The executive summary of the report is reproduced here:

In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama famously chided the Supreme

Court for its recent campaign finance decision by proclaiming, “With all due deference to the

separation of powers, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for

special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections.”

 

In another speech he further lamented, “There aren’t a lot of functioning democracies around the

world that work this way where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling

whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. What it means is ordinary

Americans are shut out of the process.”

 

These statements are remarkable for their blatant hypocrisy and obfuscation of the fact

that the President and his cadre of wealthy liberal allies and donors embrace the very tactics he

publically scorned. In reality, an elite group of left wing millionaires and billionaires, which this

report refers to as the “Billionaire’s Club,” who directs and controls the far-left environmental

movement, which in turn controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Even more unsettling, a dominant organization in this

movement is Sea Change Foundation, a private California foundation, which relies on funding

from a foreign company with undisclosed donors. In turn, Sea Change funnels tens of millions

of dollars to other large but discreet foundations and prominent environmental activists who

strive to control both policy and politics.

 

This report examines in detail the mechanisms and methods of a far-left environmental

machine that has been erected around a small group of powerful and active millionaires and

billionaires who exert tremendous sway over a colossal effort. Although startling in its findings,

the report covers only a small fraction of the amount of money that is being secreted and moved

around. It would be virtually impossible to examine this system completely given the enormity

of this carefully coordinated effort and the lack of transparency surrounding it.

 

The failure to openly acknowledge this force and the silence of the media with whom

they coordinate further emphasize the fact that until today, the Billionaire’s Club operated in

relative obscurity hidden under the guise of “philanthropy.” The scheme to keep their efforts

hidden and far removed from the political stage is deliberate, meticulous, and intended to

mislead the public. While it is uncertain why they operate in the shadows and what they are

hiding, what is clear is that these individuals and foundations go to tremendous lengths to avoid

public association with the far-left environmental movement they so generously fund.

The report attempts to decipher the patterns of “charitable giving.” Often the wealthiest

foundations donate large sums to intermediaries – sometimes a pass through and sometimes a

fiscal sponsor. The intermediary then funnels the money to other 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)

organizations that the original foundation might also directly support. The report offers theories

that could explain this bizarre behavior, but at its core, the Billionaire’s Club is not, and

seemingly does not, want to be transparent about the groups they fund and how much they are

supporting them.

In advancing their cause, these wealthy liberals fully exploit the benefits of a generous

tax code meant to promote genuine philanthropy and charitable acts, amazingly with little

apparent Internal Revenue Service scrutiny. Instead of furthering a noble purpose, their tax

deductible contributions secretly flow to a select group of left wing activists who are complicit

and eager to participate in the fee-for-service arrangement to promote shared political goals.

Moreover, the financial arrangement provides significant insulation to these wealthy elite from

the incidental damage they do to the U.S. economy and average Americans.

Through these arrangements, the Billionaire’s Club gains access to a close knit network

of likeminded funders, environmental activists, and government bureaucrats who specialize in

manufacturing phony “grassroots” movements and in promoting bogus propaganda disguised as

science and news to spread an anti-fossil energy message to the unknowing public. Not only is

the system incredibly sophisticated, but the Club’s attorneys and accountants have mastered the

loopholes and gray areas in the tax code, which enable them to obtain a full tax benefit, even

when the recipient of the grant is not recognized as a public charity, and even if the money

indirectly and impermissibly funds political activities.

In order to understand how the Billionaire’s Club colludes with the far-left

environmental activists and government officials, the report articulates the fundamental

framework that governs these relationships. Essentially, the far-left environmental machine is

comprised of hundreds of nonprofit organizations. Each entity is set up according to its

designated purpose and is either a private foundation or a public charity, depending on where the

cog fits in this well-designed wheel.

The facilitators – both organizations and individuals who bring together the private

foundations and the activists – are a key component of the movement’s success. The report

identifies three organizations that serve prominent roles as facilitators: the Environmental

Grantmakers Association, the Democracy Alliance, and the Divest/Invest movement. There is

also a narrow set of individuals whose careers are part of the fabric of the far-left environmental

movement and who serve as coordinators and intermediaries between the Billionaire’s Club and

the activist groups.

The ultimate recipients of donations from the Billionaire’s Club work in tandem with

wealthy donors to maximize the value of their tax deductible donations and leverage their

combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes. Often, they lobby on behalf of

the EPA and advance policy positions important to the agency, which is statutorily prohibited

from lobbying on its own behalf. But most importantly, they serve as the face of the

environmental movement and present themselves as non-partisan benevolent charities to a public

not aware of the secretive backroom deals and transfers.

The Billionaire’s Club achieves many of its successes through the “capture” of key

employees at EPA. These “successes” are often at the expense of farmers, miners, roughnecks,

small businesses, and families. This report proves that the Obama EPA has been deliberately

staffed at the highest levels with far-left environmental activists who have worked hand-in-glove

with their former colleagues. The green-revolving door at EPA has become a valuable asset for

the far-left and their wealthy donors. In addition to providing insider access to important policy

decisions, it appears activists now at EPA also funnel government money through grants to their

former employers and colleagues. The report tracks the amount of government aid doled out to

activist groups and details a troubling disregard for ethics by certain high powered officials.

The report further describes what the Billionaire’s Club is purchasing with their fortunes.

It reveals that activists are skilled at creating and pushing out propaganda disguised as science

and news. For example, both the Park Foundation and the Schmidt Family Foundation have

financed questionable scientists to produce anti-fracking research, which the Huffington Post,

Mother Jones, and Climate Desk – all grant recipients themselves – eagerly report on.

The Billionaire’s Club has also perfected the craft of assembling and funding fake

grassroots movements to assist in ballot measures and other state initiatives. The efforts in New

York and Colorado to ban fracking are prime examples. The report explains how these faux

grassroots efforts are actually funded by foundations outside the states they seek to influence.

All these groups are similarly utilizing their platform to attack jobs, economic development, and

infrastructure projects across the country.

The Energy Foundation is a quintessential example of a pass through frequently

employed by the Billionaire’s Club. Energy Foundation receives money from several key

foundations and redirects it to activists. In doing so, they are providing two services: distance

between the donor and the activist, and enhancing the clout of the donors as their individual

influence is maximized by pooling resources. One of the major funders of the Energy

Foundation is Sea Change, which has gone to great lengths to hide the source of its money. This

is especially concerning in light of recent revelations that environmental activists do not appear

to be morally conflicted over where their money comes from – so long as it supports their goals.

The Billionaire’s Club is also adept at converting charitable donations into political

outcomes by taking advantage of loopholes in the tax code. Numerous examples raise questions

as to whether the charitable donations are indirectly supporting political activity. For example,

in many cases they fund a 501(c)(3), like the Energy Foundation or the League of Conservation

Voters, which then transfers large sums to an affiliated 501(c)(4), which can engage in political

activity. The affiliated groups often share office space, staff, and even board members. In the

case of the 501(c)(4) Green Tech Action Fund, which received donations from the Energy

Foundation, and in turn, donated funds to 501(c)(4) far-left environmental activist organizations.

The evidence provided in this report highlights the lengths the far-left environmental

movement goes to hide sources of funding and to disguise their actions – bought and paid for by

millionaires and billionaires – as charitable acts in service of their fellow man. This report

outlines a sampling of the individuals, foundations, and practices that are active in our political

system today, shedding light on just a fraction of the activities of the far-left environmental

machine that undermines American free enterprise and resource security.

FINDINGS:

  • The “Billionaire’s Club,” an exclusive group of wealthy individuals, directs the far-left

environmental movement. The members of this elite liberal club funnel their fortunes

through private foundations to execute their personal political agenda, which is centered

around restricting the use of fossil fuels in the United States.

  • The Billionaire’s Club has established a dozen prominent private foundations with huge

sums of money at their disposal to spend on environmental causes.

  • Members of the Billionaire’s Club also donate directly to 501(c)(3) public charities.

Generally, the public charity is considered the preferred status under the tax code, based

on the greater tax benefits and protections on donor disclosures.

  • Public charities attempt to provide the maximum amount of control to their donors

through fiscal sponsorships, which are a legally suspect innovation unique to the left,

whereby the charity actually sells its nonprofit status to a group for a fee.

  • Nearly all of the public charities discussed in this report have an affiliated 501(c)(4) that

engages in activities designed to influence elections and have no restrictions on their

lobbying efforts. The funding of a 501(c)(4) by a 501(c)(3) affiliates is provocative in

light of the legal restrictions on public charities from participating in political

campaigning, either directly or indirectly, while permitting a 501(c)(4) to significantly

engage in campaign activities.

  • Members of the Billionaire’s Club put a premium on access to the complex

environmental infrastructure that has evolved to leverage substantial assets towards

achieving defined policy outcomes.

  • Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) is a place where wealthy donors meet

and coordinate the distribution of grants to advance the environmental movement. EGA

encourages the use of prescriptive grantmaking. It is a secretive organization, refusing to

disclose their membership list to Congress.

  • Democracy Alliance (DA), a facilitator for wealthy donors seeking to advance a broader

far-left agenda, does not disclose the details of any transaction it facilitates, and its

members and donor-recipients cannot speak publically about the organization. (Pg. 18)

  • Environmental activist groups are well aligned with the greater far-left agenda. One of

DA’s acclaimed successes in the last year includes President Obama’s executive actions

on climate change. (Pg. 20)

  • Many far-left environmental foundations and groups have pledged to divest in fossil fuels

and invest in renewable projects as well as “philanthropy.” (Pg. 22)

iv• There is a narrow set of individuals whose careers are part of the fabric of the far-left

environmental movement. These individuals exercise outsized influence regarding the

distribution of funds. (Pg. 23)

  • Public charity activist groups propagate the false notion that they are independent,

citizen-funded groups working altruistically. In reality, they work in tandem with

wealthy donors to maximize the value of the donors’ tax deductible donations and

leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes, with a

focus on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Far-left environmental activists, while benefiting from nonprofit status, essentially sell a

product to wealthy foundations who are seeking to drive policy and political outcomes.

  • The Obama Administration has installed an audacious green-revolving door among

senior officials at EPA, which has become a valuable asset for the environmental

movement and its wealthy donors.

  • In one example, senior EPA officials planned to use Michelle DePass’s position on the

Board of Directors of EGA, her eminent employment at EPA, and her relationship with

former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, to enhance her influence with EGA.

  • Former far-left environmentalists working at EPA funnel government money through

grants to their former employers and colleagues, often contributing to the bottom line of

environmental activist groups.

  • Under President Obama, EPA has given more than $27 million in taxpayer-funded grants

to major environmental groups. Notably, the Natural Resources Defense Council and

Environmental Defense Fund – two key activists groups with significant ties to senior

EPA officials – have collected more than $1 million in funding each.

  • EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck appears to be inappropriately and personally

involved in the allocation of EPA grants to favored groups. Enck is also the subject of an

inquiry led by the EPA Office of Inspector General.

  • EPA also gives grants to lesser-known extreme groups. For example, the Louisiana

Bucket Brigade received hundreds of thousands of grants under former Administrator

Lisa Jackson despite challenges by state regulators over the use of such grants.

  • Some of the most valued services activists provide the Billionaire’s Club includes

promulgation of propaganda, which creates an artificial echo chamber; appearance of a

faux grassroots movement; access to nimble and transient groups under fiscal

sponsorship arrangements; distance/anonymity between donations made by well-known

donors and activities of risky activist groups; and above all – the ability to leverage tens

of millions of dollars in questionable foreign funding.

  • Foundations finance research to justify desired predetermined policy outcome. The

research is then reported on by a news outlet, oftentimes one that is also supported by the

same foundation, in an effort to increase visibility. In one example, a story reporting on a

Park Foundation-supported anti-fracking study was reproduced by a Park-funded news

organization through a Park-funded media collaboration where it was then further

disseminated on Twitter by the maker of Park-backed anti-fracking movies.

  • Another service provided to the Billionaire’s Club is the manufacturing of an artificial

grassroots movement where it is not the citizen’s interest that drives the movement;

rather, it is part of a well-funded national strategy.

  • In New York and Colorado, a pseudo grassroots effort to attack hydraulic fracturing has

germinated from massive amounts of funding by the NY-based Park Foundation, as well

as CA-based Schmidt Family Foundation and Tides Foundation

  • The same California and New York-based foundations behind the New York antifracking

efforts have shifted to Colorado through two coalitions – Local Control

Colorado and Frack Free Colorado.

  • Bold Nebraska is another example of faux grassroots where a purportedly local

organization is, in fact, an arm of the Billionaire’s Club. It is nothing more than a shield

for wealthy and distant non-Nebraskan interests who seek to advance a political agenda

without drawing attention to the fact that they, too, are outsiders with little connection to

the state.

  • The Energy Foundation is a pass through public charity utilized by the most powerful

EGA members to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support, to shield

them from accountability, and to leverage limited resources by hiring dedicated

energy/environment staff to handle strategic giving.

  • The Energy Foundation is the largest recipient of grants from the foreign-funded Sea

Change Foundation; yet, it appears the Energy Foundation attempts to hide donations

from Sea Change, as it is not listed as one of Energy Foundation’s partners.

  • The circumstances surrounding the flow of money from 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) groups,

and the likelihood of lax oversight, raises questions as to whether 501(c)(3) nonprofit

foundations and charities are indirectly funding political activities.

  • 501(c)(4) Green Tech Action Fund receives millions of dollars from green 501(c)(3)

organizations, then distributes the funds to other 501(c)(4) groups that donate to political

campaigns.

  • Many of the large environmental organizations form both 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)

nonprofits that are publically advertised as separate and independent entities. In reality,

they are closely associated groups that transfer money from the Billionaire’s Club to

nonprofits, and eventually into political campaigns.

vi• Between 2010 and 2012, Tides Foundation gave over $10 million to Tides Center, and

Tides Center gave over $39 million to Tides Foundation. It is unclear what purpose the

transfer of funds between these two organizations serves, other than obscuring the money

trail.

  • Tides Center is a fiscal sponsor to over 200 groups, which are subject to Tides Center’s

oversight and direction in important aspects that include forming a governing board,

managing payroll, and monitoring risk.

  • The New York-based Sustainable Markets Foundation is also a significant fiscal sponsor

and receives vast sums from the Billionaire’s Club. It only exists on paper and has zero

public presence – no website, no Facebook page, no Twitter account, nothing.

  • The Billionaire’s Club knowingly collaborates with questionable offshore funders to

maximize support for the far-left environmental movement.

  • The little information available on Sea Change is limited to a review of its IRS Form-990

for 2010 and 2011 as its 2012 form is not public, and a sparsely worded website – listing

solely the logo and a three-sentence mission statement.

  • Klein Ltd., an overseas company contributing tens of millions to organizations dedicated

to abolishing the use of affordable fossil fuels through a U.S. private foundation is highly

problematic. This is only compounded by the fact that it is deliberately and completely

lacking in transparency – having no website and withholding its funders.

A Vision for National Defense


By Congressman Randy Forbes

It was March, 1968. That month alone, 156 U.S. planes fell from the skies of Southeast Asia.  Over 250 American airmen and even more soldiers lost their lives.  That year, men like newlywed James Crew of Windber, Pennsylvania, an honors graduate of the Air Force Academy; and Major William Cordero of Santa Barbara, California, who had just found out he was going to have an infant son, would lose their lives.

In those days, U.S. aircraft relied on sheer numbers of bombs dropped because each bomb was “dumb” – it couldn’t precisely target something on the ground. To drop such huge numbers of munitions, the U.S. military had to fly innumerable missions over heavily defended enemy territory, incurring many more casualties.

Vietnam showed the consequences of an America unable to control the skies and achieve air dominance. By the conclusion of the war, over 3,200 U.S. aircraft were downed.  Over 58,000 Americans lost their lives in that conflict.

Fast-forward 20 years.

In the hot summer of 1990, the Iraqi Army – then the world’s fourth largest army – launched an invasion of Kuwait with a bombing campaign of its capital city.  Within twelve hours, most Kuwaiti resistance ceased, and Iraq held control of the strategically valuable nation.  Alarmed, surrounding Arab powers called on the United Nations, the United States, and other Western nations to intervene. Months of sanctions and negotiations ensued, yet ultimately Iraq defied the demands of the world.

On January 17, 1991 the Persian Gulf War began with a massive U.S.-led air offensive known as Operation Desert Storm.  The risks were high and Americans knew it.  35,000 body bags had been ordered.

Yet, after only 42 days of relentless attacks by the allied coalition in the air and on the ground, Iraqi forces turned back. Only 23 aircraft fell. 147 Americans lost their lives. And 34,853 body bags would never be used.

What happened in those two decades between Vietnam and the Gulf that led to such drastically different outcomes? The answer gives us some clarity for today.

In those two decades, we developed a stealth airplane. We built precision-guided munitions that revolutionized warfare. We generated a new level of military jointness where, for the first time in history, we could bring all the services together to act as one unified force. We made considerable progress in our defense capabilities and were able to establish air dominance.

These ideas weren’t without opposition. They were challenged, lamented, and discredited by loud voices at the Pentagon and elsewhere. Too much money, many scoffed. We don’t have the resources, nor do we know if we’ll need them, others argued. Still others fought, relentlessly, but Congress insisted on the reforms and innovations we needed. One of the major differences between establishing air dominance, and failing: 34,853 empty body bags.

Today, we face serious vacuums in our national defense: a lack of strategy, repeated budget cuts, sequestration, and miscalculated defense decisions. The National Defense Panel has warned that unless we change course from the failures of recent years, our military is at a high risk of not being able to fully guarantee our national security. The effects would be felt in sectors that touch Americans on a daily basis. Communication systems. Financial transactions. Energy supply, to name a few.

When we consider this reality in the context of other turbulence in the world today, one can imagine the scenario in which we might find ourselves in the future – whether a Gulf-level of preparedness or a Vietnam-level of preparedness.

We simply cannot afford the latter. Congress has an opportunity, an obligation, to reverse our current course.

It starts by reframing our approach. First, the question we must ask is not, “How much do we want to spend on national defense?” The question we must ask is, “What do we want to accomplish with our defense?” From there, our defense strategy should drive our defense budget.

Second, we need to look beyond the Pentagon for answers.  In the 1950s in the face of a strained budget and the threat of Soviet aggression, President Eisenhower made a bold move.  He launched a senior-level planning exercise named Project Solarium to devise a new strategy to deter the Soviets while sustaining America’s economic strength. The innovative project, which consisted of multiple teams competing against each other to develop the best strategy, succeeded. President Eisenhower called it the “New Look.” Over the next decade the strategy succeeded in keeping the Soviets at bay while keeping the growth of the defense budget in check.

We can achieve something similar again, with today’s threats and with today’s unique challenges in mind. Constitutionally, Congress is tasked with providing for the common defense. Elected representatives have an obligation to push and pursue new defense technologies and innovations to ensure military power today, the same way that we pursued stealth and munitions to ensure victory in the Gulf. Elected representatives also have an opportunity to look beyond traditional approaches and devise new strategies, like President Eisenhower did. We need the creative genius that comes with collaboration between private and public sectors and allied nations to create a future-focused defense structure. Congress has the power to create that framework. That said, Congress is not, and should not try to be, the Department of Defense. Instead, it should be a Department of Ideas – generating new ideas and strategies that will not only protect us in the future, but also protect the men and women risking their lives every day to defend our freedom.

My fight for a strong national defense is relentless. I won’t give up. Because a strong defense means a strong America.

Why some are threatened by Christmas

The usual battles about public school Christmas pageants and town park nativity scenes took place as usual this holiday season, all part of the misinterpretation of the First Amendment, which does not prohibit such practices.  That key part of our Bill of Rights only forbids the favoring of one religion over another. Therefore, those wonderful childhood plays and manger displays are fine, as long as requests for, say, Chanukah lights or Buddhist celebrations are, if requested, given equal rights.

There is more at stake here than just holiday observances, however.  Those opposing, with such vehemence, innocent seasonal recognitions may have a wholly hidden agenda.

In his new book, “Inventing the Individual,” author Larry Siedentop describes how Christianity shaped the western world’s emphasis on the value of the individual. The Judeo-Christian ethic profoundly influences the west’s belief that each human being has rights not as part of a group, but as an independent person.  This, of course, is anathema to those who adhere to the collectivist mentality which dominates Marxist and socialist philosophies .

That’s why the sides line up as they do, with generally conservative citizens welcoming the religious displays, and disciples of the hard left opposing them.

There is a further issue, as well.  Proponents of the strong central governments required to implement Marxist or social progressive ideals cannot tolerate influences which rival government for the hearts and minds of the people, which religion does.

Merry Christmas!

Much History Marks Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, it is pleasant to think that all the world is safely at rest.  In Act 1, Scene 1 of Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote:

“Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes

Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,

The bird of dawning singeth all night long.

And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad.

The nights are wholesome. Then no planets strike,

No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,

So hallowed and so gracious is that time.”

Historically, though, this is a tumultuous time in American history. Consider: In 1776, the fledgling Continental Army under General George Washington was reeling from one defeat after another.  It desperately needed a victory.  On Christmas Eve, it began preparations for an assault on Hessian forces comfortably quartered there. Crossing the Delaware River, (and giving rise to Emanuel Leutze’s  iconic painting) the underfed, raggedly dressed and poorly supplied American force surprised and defeated the enemy on December 26th.

One hundred and sixty-eight years later, American forces were surrounded and facing defeat in the crucial town of Bastogne during the epic Battle of the Bulge.   Despite their desperate plight, they refused to surrender. Against all odds, General George S. Patton’s Third Army travelled a great distance, broke through the Nazi lines, and saved the day.

Twenty-four years after that, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon, Apollo 8,  reached its Lunar Goal on Christmas Eve and thrilled the world with a reading from Genesis.

I hope the only drama your family experiences this Christmas Eve is the wonderful excitement of sharing the night with family and friends.

What North Korea’s Sony attack reveals

The news that North Korea attacked Sony Pictures in retaliation for a low brow comedy mocking its leader, Kim Jong-un, and that the corporation essentially gave in, is indicative of how far America’s international credibility has descended. The fact that the movie studio surrendered speaks volumes about the utter lack of integrity of those who set the cultural climate.

The reasons arise both from Washington’s actual reduction in military strength, as well as in the diminished will to use those forces that remain. It is not a coincidence that this incident occurred in a year which saw the withdrawal of American tanks in Europe, presidential interest in a unilateral reduction in the U.S. atomic arsenal, a weakening of sanctions on Iran, a lack of any significant response to Russia’s resumption of cold war nuclear patrols off the coasts of North America, various acts of intimidation against Europe by Moscow, and the rapid increase in the prowess of the Chinese navy.

North Korea, which possesses nuclear weapons, is moving rapidly to perfect the technology to place them on ICBMs capable of striking the American mainland.

Two coming event also are relevant: this January, for the first time since the end of the Second World War, no U.S. aircraft carrier will be available for regular patrol in East Asia. Second, if scheduled cuts go into effect, Pyongyang’s army may be larger than its U.S. counterpart by the end of 2015.

The entire debate over the appropriate level of western military strength has an air of unreality to it. Those, like the President and other progressives, including (or especially) those in the entertainment industry (well known for its leftist leanings) appear to discount the need for a force sufficient to deter aggression, and they also appear to lack the fortitude to use military assets even if they were adequate.

To put in terms the White House might understand, it’s the same concept as rejecting the need for medical insurance because you don’t believe in the existence of disease.

Garner, Brown incidents abused for political goals

Both the President of the United States and the Mayor of New York City have irresponsibly used the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents to gain political goals.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who had 19 prior arrests, reportedly stated that he hated cops. The extraordinary publicity and inflammatory statements by elected officials, media elites, and others over the attempted arrests in Ferguson concerning Michael Brown and in NYC involving Eric Garner gave him the excuse to kill NYPD police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. This was the First assassination of NYC cops since 1988.

Many black American males state that they are stopped by police officers more than people of other racial groups. Police frequently respond that is because black males are statistically more likely to be both the victims and perpetrators of crimes than others. This argument, however, is irrelevant. In these two cases, both men had committed crimes, were physically imposing, and resisted arrest.

And in both cases, major elected officials, including President Obama and Mayor de Blasio attempted to turn these incidents, which did not involve racial profiling by the police but were instead reactions to the commission of crimes, into debates they could use to gain support among their core constituencies.

In the case of Mr. Obama, his immigration policy has caused great distress among blacks. Turning the August Ferguson matter into a national debate was an unsuccessful ploy to both distract from that and was also an attempt to encourage supporters to participate in the 2014 election, a strategy which failed.  Mr. de Blasio has been strongly linked to rumors that he is seeking higher office, but needs greater recognition and support among the hard-left wing of the Democrat Party to move forward.

To disregard the harmony and safety of local communities and ignore the need for a more dispassionate, honest, and intelligent conversation about race relations in order to pursue political goals is an inexcusable breach of good faith by both the President and the Mayor.