The Call for Global Government
Soros's desire for a worldwide welfare structure is consistent with his general preference for some form of global government. In 1998 he wrote that “insofar as there are collective interests that transcend state boundaries, the sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions.” “The greatest opposition to this idea,” he added somberly, “is coming from the United States.”
Soros has continued to espouse this perspective ever since. At a 2003 event, a questioner asked Soros whether he and his foundations could “help to bring more foreign influence into the United States instead of relying on what is essentially a balance between Democrats and conservative Republicans, which hasn't worked and is not about to start working.” Soros replied:
“I think you put your finger on a very important flaw in the current world order. And that is that only Americans have a vote in Congress. And yet it is the United States that basically determines policy for the world. That is a flaw in the current setup. I don't think you can correct it by giving the Chinese government a vote in Congress. But it is a flaw, and I think this is where American leadership is needed, to take into account and respect the interests of others as well, in order to retain the dominant position we currently enjoy.”
This call for increased “foreign influence” in American political life is congruent with President Obama's position on the matter. In March 2009, for instance, Obama appointed Harold Koh, the dean of Yale Law School, as legal advisor to the U.S. State Department. Koh is an advocate of transnationalism, a concept arguing in favor of “global governance” as opposed to the constitutional sovereignty of independent nation-states. This perspective holds that the world's most challenging problems are too complex and deep-rooted for any single country to address effectively on its own. The solution, says Koh, is for all members of the international community to recognize a set of supranational laws and institutions whose authority overrides those of any particular government.26
In March 2007, Koh chastised the U.S. for having “unwisely disengaged from various institutions that promote fundamental human rights, chief among them the International Criminal Court [which would subordinate American criminal-justice procedures in certain cases to those of an international tribunal] and the newly established Human Rights Council” of the United Nations¯a Council whose membership includes a number of nations known for their unrestrained anti-Semitism and human-rights abuses.27 President Obama ultimately announced, in 2009, that the U.S. would join the Council for the first time.28 In November 2010, this Council made headlines when it harshly berated America for its alleged discrimination against Muslims, its barbaric police practices, its use of torture against enemies abroad, and its religious intolerance.29
Another Obama official¯Eric P. Schwartz, the administration's assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration¯formerly served as director of the U.S. Connect Fund, a Soros-financed organization that promotes global governance.
Just a few days after Barack Obama was elected President, George Soros stated: “I think we need a large stimulus package which will provide funds for state and local government to maintain their budgets¯because they are not allowed by the constitution to run a deficit. For such a program to be successful, the federal government would need to provide hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, another infrastructure program is necessary. In total, the cost would be in the 300 to 600 billion-dollar range....”31
Soon thereafter, as one of the first priorities of his presidency, Obama pressured Congress to pass a monumental $787 billion economic-stimulus bill whose text was 1,071 pages long¯and which few, if any, legislators read before voting on it. Obama stressed the urgency of passing this bill at the earliest possible moment, so as to forestall any further harm to the U.S. economy. Notably, the legislation repealed numerous essentials of the 1996 welfare-reform bill against which George Soros had so strongly rebelled.32 According to a Heritage Foundation report, 32 percent of the new stimulus bill—or an average of $6,700 in “new means-tested welfare spending” for every poor person in the U.S.—was earmarked for social-welfare programs.33 Such unprecedented levels of spending did not at all trouble Soros, who said: “At times of recession, running a budget deficit is highly desirable.”34 In December 2009, Obama concurred again—outlining a set of new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals while explaining that America must continue to “spend our way out of this recession.”35
In a 2008 interview with Bill Moyers, George Soros derided wealthy Americans who wished to have their tax burden lightened. According to Soros, such people were selfishly eager to “enjo[y] the fruits” of their affluence even as they viewed the act of “paying taxes” as “an absolute no-no”—indeed something veritably “unpatriotic.”36
By Soros's telling, taxes are inherently desirable in good times and bad alike. In 2010, for instance, he stated that although the U.S. economy was in the midst of a prolonged downturn, it would be imprudent for lawmakers to extend the Bush-era tax cuts which were due to expire on January 1, 2011; such a course of action, he warned, would be “the wrong policy” and would cause the recession to deepen further.37 Soros proposed, instead, that the existing tax rates be permitted to return to their previous, higher levels, and that whatever extra revenue those elevated rates might generate should be used to finance yet another federal “stimulus” program.38 This suggestion was consistent with the funding priorities Soros has long pursued through his Open Society Institute. A substantial percentage of the organizations bankrolled by OSI favor high taxes to fill the coffers of an ever-expanding, government-run welfare state.
Likewise, Barack Obama's long track record in support of high income taxes, capital gains taxes, and estate taxes for “the wealthy” is well documented.39 Thus it was not surprising that Obama, through most of his early presidency, adamantly opposed any extension of the Bush tax cuts beyond their scheduled expiration date. But as the economy foundered and the President's popularity waned—to say nothing of the historic losses suffered by congressional Democrats in the midterm elections—Obama began to restrict his calls for a tax hike only to those in the highest income brackets.40 In the end, the President, recognizing that the electorate fiercely opposed higher taxes for anyone, pragmatically agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts for two more years—a move that displeased George Soros greatly.41
Soros's public stance in favor of higher tax rates for the wealthy is nothing short of remarkable, in light of the fact that he himself has taken some noteworthy measures to avoid paying taxes of his own. Consider, for instance, that his multi-billion-dollar Quantum Fund is actually incorporated on the tiny island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, located in the Caribbean. As such, Soros avoids paying U.S. taxes on it. Americans who invest in his Fund likewise escape the tax man entirely. Their interest, dividends, and capital-gains earnings are taxed only if they are brought into the United States.42 And these investors are precisely the types of high earners who, according to Soros, should be willing to do their “patriotic” duty and pay the taxes that they can well afford; the minimum investment for the Quantum Fund is $100,000.43
By no means has the Quantum Fund been Soros's only foray into tax-avoiding, offshore business enterprises. Indeed, Soros's real-estate company, Mapeley Steps, is headquartered in yet another tax haven, Bermuda. In 2001 this firm purchased more than 600 buildings from Inland Revenue (Britain's equivalent of the IRS) and then leased them to the British government for a princely sum—but paid no taxes, thanks to the Bermuda address.44
Just as Soros has spoken out against calls to reduce income taxes, so has he consistently sided against proposals to lower or eliminate the estate tax (a.k.a. “death tax”), calling it “a valuable taxation” because it “does not interfere with wealth creation” and it “increases social equality.”45 In 2003, Soros and some fellow billionaires went so far as to sign a public letter stating that a repeal of the estate tax “would enrich the heirs of America's millionaires and billionaires while hurting families who struggle to make ends meet.”46 Yet Soros has creatively found a way for his own heirs to avoid paying any estate taxes, as he once explained:
“A charitable trust is a very interesting tax gimmick. The idea is that you commit your assets to a trust and you put a certain amount of money into charity every year. And then after you have given the money for however many years, the principal that remains can be left [to one's heirs] without estate or gift tax. So this is the way I set up the trust for my children.”47
Environmental and Energy Policy
George Soros is an avid proponent of cap-and-trade,48 a tax-based policy proposal designed to reduce Americans' consumption of fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—and to speed up the nation's transition to alternate forms of energy such as wind and solar power. The idea of cap-and-trade is founded on the planted axiom that the carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by human industrial activity create a greenhouse effect that is causing the earth's climate to grow dangerously warm. Under cap-and-trade regulations, companies would be subject to taxes or fees if they exceed their government-imposed limit for CO2 emissions. Economists predict that such legislation, if enacted, would impose colossal costs on businesses¯costs that would be passed on to consumers, who in turn would pay anywhere from several hundred to several thousand extra dollars each year in energy costs.49 But to Soros, such a policy is well worth the price. “Dealing with global warming will require a lot of investment” and thus “will be painful,” he acknowledges, but “at least” it will enable humankind to “survive and not cook.” When asked in 2008 whether he was proposing energy policies that would “create a whole new paradigm for the economic model of the country, of the world,” Soros replied succinctly, “Yes.”50 By Soros's reckoning, America today has “a great opportunity,” through cap-and-trade, “to finally deal with global warming and energy dependence.”51
In 2009, Soros announced that he intended to spend $10 million over a ten-year period to fund the formation of a new Climate Policy Initiative, designed to address global warming by “help[ing] nations achieve low-carbon development” in “the new energy economy.”52 In remarks he made at a January 2010 Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations, Soros impugned the U.S. as “the laggard” that, by not endorsing the initiatives which that been proposed a month earlier at an international climate-change conference in Copenhagen, had failed to provide adequate leadership with regard to environmental policy.53
Barack Obama, like Soros, is an unwavering backer of cap-and-trade. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said: “[U]nder my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations.”54
The principal motive underlying the cap-and-trade policies that Obama and Soros support has been articulated by Obama's “regulation czar,” Cass Sunstein, a longtime proponent of “distributive justice” whereby America would transfer much of its own wealth to poorer nations as compensation for the harm that U.S. environmental transgressions have allegedly caused in those countries. Sunstein speculates that “desirable redistribution” can be “accomplished more effectively through climate policy than through direct foreign aid.”55
Transforming America Through Immigration
In the spring of 2006 and again a year later, television viewers were treated to innumerable images of massive throngs of demonstrators flooding the streets of cities all across the United States, as they protested America's allegedly unjust and punitive immigration policies. The participants in these rallies demanded such things as amnesty for illegals, paths to citizenship, expanded guest-worker programs, loosened border controls, an end to workplace immigration raids, and a generalized expansion of rights and privileges for illegal immigrants in the United States. These grievance-filled spectacles generated considerable public anxiety; in their size, scope, and execution, they were reminiscent of the “velvet revolution” demonstrations that Soros had bankrolled in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The following groups -- all heavily funded by, or otherwise affiliated with, George Soros and his Open Society Institute -- were among the key organizers of the “immigrant-rights” demonstrations: ACORN, the American Friends Service Committee, the Center for Community Change, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Council of La Raza, and the Gamaliel Foundation.56
The immigration-related agendas of Barack Obama fit hand-in-glove with those of the foregoing Soros-affiliated activist groups. Indeed, the President has repeatedly called for “comprehensive immigration reform” -- a euphemism for incremental amnesty. This is but an extension of the voting record that Obama compiled in the U.S. Senate, where he opposed workplace immigration raids; favored a “path to citizenship” so as to “bring people out of the shadows”; advocated laws that would permit illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses; supported the DREAM Act, which would allow illegals to attend college at the reduced tuition rates normally reserved for in-state legal residents; and opposed a Senate amendment calling for the withdrawal of federal assistance to “sanctuary cities” that flout federal immigration laws.57
In 2007 and 2008, Obama was a featured speaker at the annual conventions of the National Council of La Raza, which lobbies for racial preferences, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens. He lauded those in attendance for having worked so hard to “strengthe[n] America together.” “It's been the work of this organization for four decades,” Obama said, “lifting up families and transforming communities across America. And for that, I honor you, I congratulate you, I thank you, and I wish you another forty years as extraordinary as your last.”58
While generally adorned with carefully crafted rhetoric of human rights and “family reunification,” there is in fact a more politically sinister motive underlying Obama's and Soros's support for groups that would not only transform illegals into U.S. citizens, but would also open the floodgates to further mass immigration from impoverished countries below America's southern border. Obama and Soros alike are well aware that the vast majority of first-generation Hispanic immigrants, once naturalized, tend heavily to vote Democrat. Thus there is a great imperative to import, naturalize, and register as many of these voters as possible in the most expedient practicable manner.59 The ultimate, long-term objective is to establish a permanent Democratic voting bloc in the U.S. for generations to come.
A “Living” Constitution
With fidelity to his “open society” tenet that truth is an ever-evolving and ever-elusive concept, George Soros firmly rejects the notion that the U.S. Constitution is a document of unique or unrivaled merit¯or, by logical extension, that its original intent must be permanently revered and adhered to, rather than deconstructed or reinterpreted as the changing needs and preferences of the times may dictate. In April 2005, Soros's Open Society Institute was a leading financial sponsor of a Yale Law School conference called “The Constitution in 2020,” promoted as an effort to produce “a progressive vision of what the Constitution ought to be.” Other major sponsors of the event included the American Constitution Society and the Center for American Progress¯both major recipients of Soros funding.60 Speakers at the conference repeatedly stressed the “evolutionary character of constitutional law”¯a premise crucial to the work of anyone who, like Soros, seeks to fundamentally transform a society.61
Barack Obama, who himself has openly vowed to “fundamentally transform” the United States, shares precisely this same view of the Constitution. In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote that the Constitution “is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.” Moreover, he asserted that, if elected to the White House, he would not appoint a strict constructionist -- one who seeks to apply the Constitution's text as it is written and without further inference -- to the Supreme Court.62 True to his word, President Obama has thus far appointed two Supreme Court Justices -- Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan -- both of whom reject strict constructionism.
Sotomayor, for her part, is an advocate of legal realism, which the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) describes as a judicial philosophy that is “diametrically opposed to the concept of strict construction/originalism as advocated by conservative legal thinkers and judges.” TVC adds that according to legal realism: “[J]udges should do more than interpret the law or look to the original intent of the writers of the law or the Constitution. Judges should bring in outside influences from social sciences, psychology and politics, plus their own views, to craft the law….” Suggesting that the public wrongly expects “the law to be static and predictable,” Sotomayor contends that courts and lawyers are “constantly overhauling the laws and adapting it [sic] to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial and political conditions.”63 Meanwhile, Elena Kagan has approvingly cited former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's assertion that the Constitution, “as originally drafted and conceived,” was “defective.”64
Promoting Socialized Medicine in the United States
As noted earlier, George Soros has long favored a greater role for government in the American healthcare system. During the political debate over “Obamacare” in 2009 and 2010, one of the most influential pro-reform coalitions was Health Care for America Now (HCAN), a vast network of organizations supporting, ideally, a “single-payer” model where the federal government would be in charge of financing and administering the entire U.S. healthcare system.65 HCAN’s strategy was to try to achieve such a system incrementally, first by implementing a “public option”—i.e., a government insurance agency to “compete” with private insurers, so that Americans would be “no longer at the mercy of the private insurance industry.”66 Because such an agency would not need to show a profit in order to remain in business, and because it could tax and regulate its private competitors in whatever fashion it pleased, this “public option” would inevitably force private insurers out of the industry.
In August 2009, Soros pledged to give HCAN $5 million to promote its campaign for reform.67 HCAN's organizational members include a host of Soros-affiliated organizations, among which are such stalwarts as the ACLU, ACORN, the AFL-CIO, the AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Center for Community Change, the Gamaliel Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the National Abortion Federation, the National Council of La Raza, the National Education Association, Planned Parenthood, the Progressive States Network, and USAction.68 Many of these member groups regularly receive large amounts of Soros funding directly from the Open Society Institute. Some of that money was undoubtedly used to bankroll the healthcare reform crusade, thus we can say with certainty that Soros's real contributions to the cause far exceeded the $5 million he gave to HCAN.
Terrorism As a Criminal Matter, Rather Than an Act of War
Ever since the al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, George Soros has emphasized that it is “more appropriate” for the U.S. government to treat such events as “crimes against humanity” rather than acts of war, and that a proper response thus involves “police work, not military action.”69 Numerous Soros-funded organizations espouse this view as well, as evidenced by their efforts to ensure that suspected terrorists are tried in civilian courts rather than in military tribunals.70 The latter venues, where military officers serve as the judges and jurors, are designed specifically to deal with offenses committed in the context of warfare. Significantly, they permit prosecutors to use secret evidence that may have been obtained by means of enhanced interrogation methods, whereas civilian courts forbid the admittance of such evidence. Among the Soros-funded groups that look with strong disfavor upon military tribunals are the American Constitution Society,71 the Center for Constitutional Rights,72 the American Civil Liberties Union,73 and Human Rights Watch.74
Their perspective is very much in line with that of Barack Obama. Immediately following his inauguration, in fact, Obama's first act as U.S. President was to order the suspension of all military tribunals that had been established to adjudicate the cases of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which continued to house more than 200 al Qaeda and Taliban combatants captured by the American military during its post-9/11 wars in the Mideast.75 Obama, like Soros, favors a criminal-justice-oriented approach to terrorism and thus would prefer to try the perpetrators in civilian court¯where they would enjoy the enhanced rights and protections that such courts afford to all defendants.
This approach to terrorism has set the tone for every member of the Obama administration. In March 2009, for instance, Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano broke with her agency's traditional practice of warning the American public about potential “terrorist” threats, and instead began referring to acts of terrorism as “man-caused disasters.”76 Two months later the Obama Justice Department¯again demonstrating its preference for treating terrorism as a law-enforcement issue rather than as a military matter¯ordered the FBI to read Miranda warnings to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan.77 In November, the Obama administration announced that it planned to try five Guantanamo detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 conspiracy in a civilian court.78
Then, on Christmas Day of 2009, a Nigerian al Qaeda operative boarded a Northwest Airlines flight (from Amsterdam to Detroit) and attempted, without success, to blow up the plane in midair with a powerful chemical bomb. In public remarks soon after the incident, President Obama referred to the man as an “isolated extremist” rather than as a terrorist or a jihadist. In subsequent days the administration announced that it would offer the perpetrator a plea agreement to persuade him to reveal what he knew about al Qaeda operations in Yemen; if such an arrangement could not be worked out, the government planned to try him in federal civilian court.79
In November 2010, al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani¯responsible for the deaths of 224 people in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania¯became the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in civilian court and was acquitted on all but one of the charges against him.80
The "Responsibility to Protect"
In March 2011, President Obama, without consulting Congress, authorized the involvement of the U.S. military in imposing a "no-fly zone" over Libya, to prevent President Moammar Qaddafi's forces from bombing rebels who were challenging his regime. On March 21, the White House announced the initiation of "a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster."
According to reports, Samantha Power, Obama's National Security Council special adviser on human rights, was instrumental in persuading Obama to take this action against Libya. Power is a longtime advocate of the doctrine known as the "Responsibility to Protect," which encourages the international community to intervene in a particular country's internal affairs -- with military force if necessary -- in order to thwart genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, which is the world's leading advocate of this doctrine, is funded by the Open Society Institute. In a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article, George Soros himself discussed the fundamentals of the Responsibility to Protect, writing:
"If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified. By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states' borders to protect the rights of citizens."
Organizations Where the Soros and Obama Agendas Intersect
By way of the many hundreds of pro-Obama groups that George Soros funds on a regular basis, there are literally thousands of political and financial ties that exist between Soros and the President. A comprehensive discussion of these connections could more than fill the pages of a large book. Nevertheless, a few key entities that serve as vital contact points in the Obama-Soros relationship are well worth noting here.
Center for American Progress
The Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) may well have more influence on the Obama presidency than any other organization in existence. This left-wing think tank formulates policy for the administration and supplies the White House with a steady stream of talking points designed to make that policy palatable to the public. In fact, as of December 2008, before then-President-elect Obama had even taken his oath of office, he had already pledged his intent to fulfill some of CAP's chief policy recommendations. These included the Center's call for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq coupled with a buildup of forces in Afghanistan, a plan to implement universal health coverage, and a plan to create “green jobs” designed to combat “global warming.”81 According to Bloomberg.com, CAP “has become ... an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the ... Obama administration.”82
Emblematic of this was the synergy that Obama and CAP displayed in dealing with the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010.83 In May and June of that year, when the crisis was at its height,84 Obama took his cue from the Center on a number of important occasions. For example:
On May 4, CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, advised Obama to create an independent commission to examine the causes of the crisis; eighteen days later, the President did exactly that.
On May 21, CAP president John Podesta privately exhorted White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the oil-spill response. A week later, the Obama administration announced that Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen would fill that role.
On May 26, Daniel Weiss advised the White House to demand that BP immediately set up a multi-billion-dollar escrow account to pay damage claims to Gulf-state residents harmed by the spill. Some three weeks later, Obama issued precisely that demand.85
On virtually every policy matter—health-care reform, fiscal policy, civil rights, immigration, housing, labor, national security, foreign policy, media, energy, or the environment—CAP's recommendations fit hand-in-glove with the Obama administration's values and agendas. In many cases, as in the examples cited above, the administration actually follows CAP's instructions. In a very real sense, George Soros dictates his policy recommendations to the Obama White House through the Center for American Progress.
International Crisis Group
One of the more significant beneficiaries of George Soros's funding is the International Crisis Group (ICG), a nonprofit organization that makes policy recommendations ostensibly designed to foster goodwill among nations.86 In 2008, the Open Society Institute gave a whopping $5 million to this entity,87 on whose executive committee Soros himself sits.88 One of ICG's leading figures is its Mideast director, Robert Malley, a Harvard-trained lawyer who in 2007 was named as a foreign-policy advisor to the Obama presidential campaign.
Obama has long held Malley, who formerly served in the Clinton administration, in high regard as a policy analyst. Over the years, Malley has penned numerous articles and op-eds condemning Israel, exonerating Palestinians, urging the U.S. to disengage from Israel to some degree, and recommending that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies such as Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas.89 These views are of a piece with George Soros's “open society” ideal, whose moral relativism leads inescapably to the conclusion that one man's terrorist is indeed another man's freedom fighter¯and, by logical extension, that no nation should be so proud as to be unwilling to conduct diplomacy with its foes. In mid-2008, however, the Obama campaign severed its ties with Malley after the Times of London revealed that the ICG official had quietly been in regular contact with Hamas leaders as part of his work for ICG.90
Teamsters endorse Clinton
Hillary Clinton cemented her union support Friday, picking up a major endorsement from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.The Teamsters unanimously voted to endorse Clinton in a blow to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has campaigned for the union vote.“We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States,” Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa said in a statement. “She is the right candidate for the middle class and working men and women across the country.”
“The Oval Office needs to be occupied by a serious candidate who understands what it means to govern responsibly,” Hoffa added.“Donald Trump supports national right-to-work laws that are proven to weaken the middle class and has a long track record of shipping jobs out of the country as a businessman. He is no friend to working Americans.”The Teamsters were slow to endorse Clinton, even as many other unions rallied around her. She has already received endorsements from groups including the National Education Association, Service Employees International Union, and more recently, the AFL-CIO.But when the Teamsters declined to make an endorsement last fall, reports emerged that the group was trying to set up a meeting with Trump.Trump has continued to lobby for the support of the Teamsters and other unions.In addition, Hoffa appeared at a pension rally with Bernie Sanders last year, stoking speculation that the Teamsters were considering endorsing him over Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries.And reports last year said the Teamsters were interested in backing Vice President Biden if he entered the race. He eventually decided not to run.The Teamsters’ support of the Keystone XL pipeline could be a wedge between the group and Clinton. The union has said the pipeline would create high-paying union jobs. Clinton came out against the controversial oil pipeline last fall.The Teamsters are also opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that has drawn criticism from Clinton, Sanders and Trump. Trump has stoked speculation that Clinton secretly supports the trade deal and would enact it as president, which she has denied.
Terry McAuliffe's TPP comments do Clinton no favors
With friends like these …
Hillary Clinton’s longtime friend Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia and a prolific fundraiser for Democrats, just made her difficult job of pulling the Democratic Party together even tougher.
As Clinton assures restive Bernie Sanders voters that they can trust her to fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the massive trade deal that Sanders helped galvanize a large share of the electorate against, McAuliffe just gave them good reason to doubt her.
Asked by Politico whether Clinton will ultimately work to approve the trade deal once in office, McAuliffe said, “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”
Before Clinton came out against the deal during the primary, she had praised it. Her running mate, Tim Kaine, was also a big fan of an agreement until only recently.
Obama To Americans: You Don't Deserve To Be Free
Dec 31, 2013 @ 03:29 PM 1,004,772 views
I defend laissez-faire capitalism, using Ayn Rand's Objectivism.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
President Obama’s Kansas speech is a remarkable document. In calling for more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, he has two paragraphs that give the show away. Take a look at them.
there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.
Though not in Washington, I’m in that “certain crowd” that has been saying for decades that the market will take care of everything. It’s not really a crowd, it’s a tiny group of radicals–radicals for capitalism, in Ayn Rand’s well-turned phrase.
The only thing that the market doesn’t take care of is anti-market acts: acts that initiate physical force. That’s why we need government: to wield retaliatory force to defend individual rights.
Radicals for capitalism would, as the Declaration of Independence says, use government only “to secure these rights”–the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. (Yes, I added “property” in there–property rights are inseparable from the other three.)
That’s the political philosophy on which Obama is trying to hang the blame for the recent financial crisis and every other social ill. But ask yourself, are we few radical capitalists in charge? Have radical capitalists been in charge at any time in the last, oh, say 100 years?
Laissez-faire hasn’t existed since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That was the first of a plethora of government crimes against the free market.
Radical capitalists are just beginning to have a slight effect on the Right wing. The overwhelming majority on the Right are eclectic. Which is a nice way of saying inconsistent.
The typical Republican would never, ever say “the market will take care of everything.” He’d say, “the market will take care of most things, and for the other things, we need the regulatory-welfare state.”
They are for individualism–except when they are against it. They are against free markets and individualism not only when they agree with the Left that we must have antitrust laws and the Federal Reserve, but also when they demand immigration controls, government schools, regulatory agencies, Medicare, laws prohibiting abortion, Social Security, “public works” projects, the “social safety net,” laws against insider trading, banking regulation, and the whole system of fiat money.
Obama blames economic woes, some real some manufactured (“inequality”) on a philosophy and policy that was abandoned a century ago. What doesn’t exist is what he says didn’t work.
Obama absurdly suggests that timid, half-hearted, compromisers, like George W. Bush, installed laissez-faire capitalism–on the grounds that they tinkered with one or two regulations (Glass-Steagall) and marginal tax rates–while blanking out the fact that under the Bush administration, government spending ballooned, growing much faster than under Clinton, and 50,000 new regulations were added to the Federal Register.
The philosophy of individualism and the politics of laissez-faire would mean government spending of about one-tenth its present level. It would also mean an end to all regulatory agencies: no SEC, FDA, NLRB, FAA, OSHA, EPA, FTC, ATF, CFTC, FHA, FCC–to name just some of the better known of the 430 agencies listed in the federal register.
Dozens of Hillary Clinton Emails About Benghazi Found in 15,000 Messages She Kept from FBI
Soros’ Catholic useful idiots - Faith-based groups stray when accepting progressive cash
A most remarkable set of documents was coughed up recently by WikiLeaks. George Soros‘ Open Society Policy Center, it turns out, made donations to two faith-based organizations to the tune of $650,000. Initially, this might cause one to think that perhaps Mr. Soros has finally gotten religion. But, no. Digging deeper, one discovers the motivation for the philanthropy (if you want to call it that), is far more banal: politics.
Nonetheless, there was a rather interesting dimension to the donations to these groups — PICO and Faith in Public Life (FPL) — which, in addition to being “faith-based,” run activist “grass-roots” networks. Mr. Soros was contributing to the effort to recruit 10,000 volunteers while training 3,500 others for mobilization in order to influence the Catholic Church during Pope Francis’ 2015 U.S. visit.
On their surface, the donations seem benign. As the president of a less-activist and nonpartisan group, I understand that it takes money to disseminate an organization’s ideas to people of faith. What’s disconcerting is the crass political intention to manipulate church leaders that is evident from the leaked documents. One gets the impression that Mr. Soros and his fellow travelers view the leadership of the religious community generally and the Catholic Church in particular as mere useful idiots to be manipulated to further their own political and, frankly, secularist agenda.
Despite this, the social justice warriors at Faith in Public Life and PICO apparently harbor no moral qualms about receiving money from sources that, judging by Mr. Soros‘ various charitable enterprises, see the Catholic Church and other traditional religious groups as a great part of the social problem they seek to eradicate. According to the leaked documents, a portion of the Soros gift was spent promoting John Gehring, a former assistant media director at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as a commentator to media national media outlets.
George Soros money tried to exploit Pope’s US visit to influence 2016 elections
Billionaire’s Open Society Foundations ‘placed as bet’: report
Billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations sought to use Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. to influence the 2016 elections and cultivate influence within the Catholic Church, according to leaked documents attributed to the major grant makers.
The documents said $650,000 in funds were committed for the foundations’ grantees PICO Network and Faith in Public Life to respond to the papal visit. The foundations said they “placed a bet” in early 2015 that the grantees would “be able to make the most of his trip.”
“In order to seize this moment, we will support PICO’s organizing activities to engage the Pope on economic and racial justice issues,” said the documents.
The documents, published on the site DCLeaks.com, appear to be May 2015 and October 2015 board meeting books of the foundations’ U.S. Programs division and a February 9, 2016 memo on the U.S. Programs’ Opportunities Fund.
“By harnessing the Papal visit to lift up the Pope’s searing critique of what he calls ‘an economy of exclusion and inequality’ and his dismissal of ‘trickle down’ theories, PICO and FPL will work to build a bridge to a larger conversation about bread-and-butter economic concerns and shift national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign,” said the May 2015 document.
The October 2015 document said the Pope’s visit was an opportunity for the two grantees to focus on refugees, migrants, over-incarceration, and immigrant rights “while also bringing new energy into the 2016 presidential conversation.” The February 2016 memo said the funding allowed organizations to maximize the impact of the Pope’s visit to emphasize “the humanity of prisoners, immigrants and the poor.”
The texts suggested this activity would include using the influence of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and sending a delegation to the Vatican to allow the Pope to “hear directly from low-income Catholics in America.” Cardinal Maradiaga, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, co-ordinates the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis.
Deeply influential, the Open Society Foundations are involved in many domestic and overseas activities.
Their funding for the papal visit efforts supported the work of Faith in Public Life in media framing and public opinion activities, including a poll on Catholic voters, Pope Francis and income inequality. The efforts aimed to secure media coverage for the message that fighting inequality is “pro-family.”
The Open Society Foundations planned to host a November 2015 “Francis effect” briefing for funders including the Ford Foundation that would feature its two grantees, labor unions, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
The February 2016 memo said the funded activity aimed to secure “buy-in of individual bishops to more publicly voice support of economic and racial justice messages” with the aim that this would begin to create, in the memo’s understanding, “a critical mass of bishops who are aligned with the Pope.”
“PICO and FPL have been able to use their engagement in the opportunity of the Pope’s visit to seed their position in the long-term project of shifting the priorities of the U.S. Catholic Church to focus on issues of injustice and oppression,” the memo said.
According to the memo, the Pope invited PICO to help plan the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements.
“Resistance to this inside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been stark, and grantees are engaged in a live fight with a faction of the Church that seeks to curb the Pope’s influence on social justice issues,” the memo claimed.
The documents are not always accurate. The memo erroneously indicated the World Meeting of Popular Movements would take place in 2016, rather than 2017.
It added that Faith in Public Life and PICO can strengthen the foundations’ program goals if they can “shift the U.S. Catholic Church to be a voice on behalf of the poor and communities of color.” The memo said this is a long-term process that is “now underway.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declined to comment on the story.
An Open Society Foundations spokesperson responded to CNA Aug. 30, saying, “The Pope has personally championed many of the social justice issues we work on at the foundations. We saw his visit as an opportunity to further discussion and policy debate on those issues.”
The foundations characterized the document leak, which some have attributed to Russian intelligence, as “a symptom of an aggressive assault on civil society and human rights activists that is taking place globally.”
The PICO Network told CNA that the Open Society Foundations was “one of many individuals and foundations” that supported its work on income inequality, immigration reform and criminal justice “highlighted by Pope Francis and championed by the U.S. Catholic Church for many decades.”
“We are pleased that our efforts in conjunction with the Pope’s historic visit to the U.S. helped to share and advance his mission and message about the importance of the Catholic Church and people from all faiths standing with the poor and the powerless,” PICO said.
The network said it continues to work with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the U.S. bishops to advance Catholic Social Teaching. This includes a planned convening of the World Meeting of Popular Movements in the U.S. in 2017.
PICO did not answer questions about the alleged conflict within the U.S. bishops. It said Cardinal Maradiaga has supported its work with Central American faith communities for 10 years and spoke at a PICO launch event for its “Year of Encounter with Pope Francis” in early 2015.
PICO, founded in 1972 by Father John Bauman, S.J., describes itself as a nationwide network of faith-based organizations. It claims 1,000 member institutions in 17 U.S. states and claims success in increasing access to health care while improving public schools, affordable housing and neighborhood safety.
The other grantee involved, Faith in Public Life, has at times undermined the U.S. bishops.
When the bishops launched their first religious freedom event, Fortnight for Freedom, in 2012 to protest Obama administration mandates violating Catholics’ religious freedom, Faith in Public Life Catholic program director John Gehring spread talking points against the bishops.
Other Open Society Foundations documents discuss its backing for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, whose first contact with the foundations was in 2006.
It also backed the petition site Faithful America in order to mobilize “progressive faith voices.” The site has sometimes targeted Catholic bishops and organizations that stand by Catholic teaching.
Other leaked documents appear to show the Open Society Foundations contributed $1.5 million to support Planned Parenthood’s $7 million to $8 million lobbying response to videos allegedly proving the abortion provider was engaged in the illegal sale of fetal body parts. The foundations are also funding pro-abortion rights groups to target Ireland’s pro-life law as a potential model to end abortion restrictions in other Catholic countries like Poland.
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network is among the foundations’ many grantees.
Leaked Memo: Soros Foundation Eyed Stronger Internet Regulation in TPP Negotiations
Soros’s organization does not appear to support the TPP outright, but expressed interest in influencing the sweeping internationalist treaty, including the treaty’s positions on Internet regulation.
Clinton’s Christian faith, once a political weapon, all but absent from campaign
Hillary Clinton’s Christianity, which she wielded as a political weapon in her 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign, largely has been missing in this year’s election.
She hasn’t hidden her Methodist upbringing, but scholars say it’s not front and center. And where in the past she used it as a window into her character, this year she’s deployed it as a debate tactic to push criminal justice reform and other policy goals.
Leaked Soros Memo:
How to Advance Obama’s Use of Executive Action
by AARON KLEIN
7 Sep 2016
NEW YORK – Just prior to the November 2014 midterm elections, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations held a board meeting at which the organization discussed how it could further the use of President Obama’s executive action authority to bypass Congress during Obama’s final two years in office.
Notably, the event featured a lunch session with Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
The details were contained in a 67-page hacked file detailing the September 29-30, 2014 Open Society U.S. Programs board meeting in New York. The file was reviewed in full by Breitbart News.
States the document: “Confident that open society goals can be advanced despite the political forecast for the remainder of the president’s term, our grantees are actively involved in exploring the possibilities of executive action in areas of USP (Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs) concern, including racial profiling, the census, and voter registration.”
The board meeting’s minutes state outright that Soros’s organization was seeking ways to “further” the use of potential executive actions by Obama:
There are two years remaining in the Obama Administration, and it is projected by all that the anticipated results of the fall elections will make legislative accomplishments of significance nearly impossible. U.S. Programs (USP) grantees, and the OSF (Open Society Foundations) network more broadly, are thinking about how the administration can cement progress on key priorities through executive actions, while also minimizing problematic developments with long-term consequences.
Using three anchor grantees and a former senior administration official as discussants to detail their views of priorities and constraints, we will consider both the most promising substantive areas for executive action (in areas from transparency to criminal justice to wage and labor rules) as well how OSF might effectively further these.
Foundation grantees are “actively involved” in exploring the use of presidential executive actions, the document related:
Confident that open society goals can be advanced despite the political forecast for the remainder of the president’s term, our grantees are actively involved in exploring the possibilities of executive action in areas of USP concern, including racial profiling, the census, and voter registration.
The Foundations’ U.S. Programs had already begun to influence Obama’s executive action efforts, the document relates:
Whatever the outcome of next month’s elections, analysts expect continued gridlock in Congress, making any policy reforms that require legislation extremely unlikely. The President has telegraphed his determination to make progress on his priorities through administrative regulations and procedures; as he put it, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”
USP has begun to influence the administration’s efforts, as evidenced by our central role in launching the philanthropic partnership to the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to promote opportunity for boys and men of color, as well as our ongoing efforts to encourage broad administrative relief to some segment of the undocumented population following the elections.
The Foundations’ memo discussed areas of possible executive action that could fundamentally impact the U.S. political system.
There are some areas of executive action that have especially long-lasting consequences (e.g., nominations) and other steps which would be critical to framing issues for the 2016 election and the next president. How do we balance the relative merits of each approach?
The document notes the public pays less attention to executive decisions during a president’s final two years, believing the president’s powers are on the decline.
“Some of the most significant achievements of the Reagan, Clinton and Bush presidencies took place in their final two years. The public may pay less attention to the Executive then, and the president’s perceived power may be on the wane, but he continues to possess the same, significant constitutional authority.”
Muñoz, who served on the Foundations’ U.S. Programs board in 2008, joined the September 2014 board meeting to “discuss the Obama administration’s approach to select issues (criminal justice, immigration) and the remainder of his term,” according to a summary provided by the hacked memo.
The possible executive actions being pushed are “sophisticated in their approaches, which range from broad and large-scale proposals to ideas more likely to fly under the radar,” the hacked file states. “Our anchor partners, in particular, are thinking about how best to leverage the last two years, during which the President will have to adjust to ‘lame duck’ status.”
The Open Society, together with partner grantees, assembled a general list of potential presidential executive actions on numerous issues, such as the following:
Voter registration, including pushing online voting:
Direct Health and Human Services to ensure that the federally facilitated health-care exchanges created as part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) incorporate voter registration opportunities as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA, or “Motor Voter Act”), and direct federal agencies to find ways to increase voter participation nationwide.
Issue guidance interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to accessibility of polling places, privacy when voting, and competence requirements.
Assist states with voter registration modernization efforts, including statewide database improvements, vote by mail, online registration and voting, and same-day registration.
Direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop new data collection points that provide greater insight into county-based Election Administration and the ways in which voters interact with election systems (i.e., number of votes cast, type of voting machines used, provisional ballot statistics, etc.)
It should be noted that in January 2014, Obama’s 10-person Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its recommendations for reforming the U.S. election process, including transitioning to voting via tablet computers and other technologies.
Hillary Bankroller George Soros: ‘Implicit Bias’ A Ploy To Change Anti-Discrimination Laws
Several times over the course of her campaign and again during Monday night’s debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton blamed “implicit bias” for America’s current state of racial unrest.
Clinton only recently latched onto the term, but one of her biggest donors — left-wing financier George Soros — has for years used his non-profit organization to push into the political mainstream the idea that uncured “implicit bias” causes various societal ills.
Internal documents from Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) say the term is meant to serve as a foundation from which to overhaul anti-discrimination laws, in order to make it easier to file racial discrimination lawsuits.
A combination photo shows billionaire financier George Soros (L) addressing the audience during an economic speech in Frankfurt on April 9, 2013 and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) speaking at a campaign event in Falls Church, Virginia on October 19, 2013 respectively. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski (L) and Yuri Gripas (R) A combination photo shows billionaire financier George Soros (L) addressing the audience during an economic speech in Frankfurt on April 9, 2013 and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) speaking at a campaign event in Falls Church, Virginia on October 19, 2013 respectively. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski (L) and Yuri Gripas (R)
If elected, Clinton has promised federal funding for training local police against “implicit bias.” Such training, she says, is needed to improve relationships between minority communities and law enforcement.