Tag: Money

If You Think Solyndra Was A Waste Of Money…

If You Think Solyndra Was A Waste Of Money… – Investors Business Daily

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Energy: There’s no shortage of points to pick apart in the president’s final State of the Union, as we’ve done above. But one deserves close scrutiny: Obama’s claim that he “reinvented our energy sector.”

In the middle of a lengthy section of a speech spent patting himself on the back, Obama talked about how successful his energy policies have been.

“Listen,” he said, “seven years ago we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.” Then he went on to list “the results”:

Wind power is cheaper, solar panels are a fixture on more rooftops, oil imports dropped by almost 60% and “we cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.” And then he added, to self-satisfied chuckles on the Democratic side of the aisle: “Gas under 2 bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”

But up until very recently, Obama was telling the country that low gas prices were an impossibility. “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” was his mantra for years. He was emphatic about it.

“Anyone who says we can drill our way out of this problem does not know what they are talking about, or does not know the truth,” he said at a 2012 event in New Hampshire.

The reason, he said, was that we use 25% of the world’s energy but have just 3% of the oil reserves. So the only solution was mandatory conservation and spending billions on the “energy of the future.”

Turns out it was Obama who didn’t know what he was talking about. We did, in fact, “drill our way” to lower gas prices. Thanks to fracking, oil companies are now able to produce vast amounts of previously unrecoverable oil.

In the past seven years, domestic oil production shot up a stunning 77%, according to the Energy Information Administration, making the U.S. the biggest oil producer in the world.

That’s why gas prices are low today. And why oil imports have dropped so sharply. And none of it had anything to do with Obama, who tried to hamper oil production whenever he could – blocking Keystone, restrictions on federal lands, EPA attempts to hinder fracking.

Indeed, moments after bragging about low energy prices, Obama said he’d push to raise them, “to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

Fracking is also why we’ve cut carbon emissions, because it sharply lowered the price of natural gas, which in turn let power plants switch from carbon-heavy coal to low-carbon gas.

Yes, Obama did pour billions of dollars into wind and solar subsidies, and various state governments added still more to sweeten the pot. And what did the country get for all that money?

Solar and wind still account for just 24% of renewable energy supplies and a tiny 2% of total energy production, government data show.

And, incredibly, more than half of the gains in solar and wind under Obama were offset by declines in hydroelectric power — a clean, renewable energy source that environmentalists happen to detest.

So after spending billions subsidizing solar and wind, the share of our energy that comes from renewables is the same as it was when Obama took office.

Exactly the same.

The U.S. has a bright energy future despite Obama, not because of him.

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Feel The Bern: Commie Candidate And Wife Steered Campaign, Nonprofit Money To Their Family And Friends

Sanders And Wife Steered Campaign, Nonprofit Money To Family And Friends – Washington Free Beacon

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Bernie Sanders and his wife have on numerous occasions steered money from organizations under their control to friends and family members, public records show.

The payments benefitted the wife of the Democratic presidential candidate, his stepdaughter, and the son of a former colleague in city government whom Sanders has described as a close friend.

Sanders, a self-described socialist, is now running for the presidency on an anti-corruption platform, decrying public officials’ attempts to use their positions for personal financial gain.

Following 16 years as a member of the House, Sanders was elected to the Senate in 2006. His political campaigns were an early vehicle for payments to his family members.

According to Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, Sanders’ House campaigns paid her more than $90,000 for consulting and ad placement services from 2002 to 2004. She pocketed about $30,000 of that money.

Her daughter Carina Driscoll, Sanders’ stepdaughter, also drew a salary from the campaign. She was paid more than $65,000 between 2000 and 2004, according to her mother.

After working for the campaign, the senator’s wife would come under scrutiny for expenditures at Burlington College, where she was hired as president in 2004. While she led the school, it paid six-figure sums to her daughter and the son of a family friend.

Burlington College offered its students a study abroad program in the Caribbean, according to tax filings. It reported spending about $47,000 on that program in the tax year beginning in mid-2008.

Around that time, the son of Jonathan Leopold, a Burlington College board member, purchased a small resort in the Bahamas called Andro’s Beach Club and an accompanying hotel, Nathan’s Lodge.

Leopold served with Sanders in the Burlington city government – as mayor, Sanders appointed Leopold city treasurer – before becoming embroiled in scandal involving millions of dollars in payments to a Burlington telecommunications company.

Sen. Sanders has described Leopold as so close a friend as to be considered “family.” He reportedly discouraged Sanders’ socialist impulses early in their careers. Efforts to reach Leopold were unsuccessful.

Shortly after Leopold’s son, also named Jonathan, purchased the resort, Burlington College began writing it large checks for all-inclusive stays for its study abroad students.

The younger Leopold later said during a deposition related to a lawsuit filed by a student who was injured at the rest that he conducted boat tours and snorkeling trips “on behalf of Burlington College.”

From 2009 through 2011, when O’Meara Sanders stepped down as president of the school, it paid the resort about $68,000, according to annual tax filings. The payments stopped the year after she left the position.

Her departure was a source of controversy. She reportedly overstated pledged contributions to the school in order to secure a loan from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. The diocese lost between $1.5 million and $2 million on the deal, according to local reports.

By that time, the school had paid huge sums to the Vermont Woodworking School, which is run by Driscoll. The college eventually paid the school more than $500,000 for classes at its Fairfax, Vt., campus, about 30 miles from Burlington.

Burlington College even established a Master of Fine Arts program in woodworking with leased space at the school as its major facility.

Tax filings show that the college continued paying the woodworking school in the year after O’Meara Sanders left, but stopped doing so the year after that.

The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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Harvard Law Students OUTRAGED That School Was Built With Slaveowner’s Money… Just Not Enough To Quit Harvard

Harvard Law School Was Built Using A ‘Brutal’ Slaveowner’s Money, And Students Are Starting To Protest – Business Insider

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Slave owner Isaac Royall Jr.’s gift to Harvard college upon his death in 1781 allowed the formation of Harvard Law School.

Now, students at the law school are calling for the removal of the law school’s seal, which is the Royall family’s coat of arms, The Harvard Crimson reported.

The movement is being called “Royall Must Fall” and formally began on campus at the end of October with a rally of about 25 people.

“These symbols set the tone for the rest of the school and the fact that we hold up the Harvard crest as something to be proud of when it represents something so ugly is a profound disappointment and should be a source of shame for the whole school,” Alexander J. Clayborne, one of the law students involved, told The Crimson.

More largely, the students aims seem to draw attention to and correct the legacy of slave-owning on Harvard’s campus.

“We demand the removal of the Harvard family crest as the crest of the law school and we demand that the Royall Chair of Law be renamed as well,” Students for Inclusion, a student group on campus, wrote on its Tumblr page.

“We also demand that systemic oppression be recognized as pervasive and endemic to the law school and we demand that it be addressed by the faculty and by the student body at large.”

However, there are dissenting opinions on whether the school should change its seal.

Visiting law school professor, Daniel R. Coquillette, recently published a book called “The Saga of Harvard Law School,” which details the relationship between the Royall family and Harvard.

While he calls Royall “a coward, and a brutal slaveholder,” he doesn’t believe Harvard should change its seal.

“As a historian… you just deal with the fact that this guy founded the school and tell the truth about it,” he said. “To change things is to act like [they] didn’t happen, and that’s a mistake.”

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EPA Pisses Away Another $1.2M In Taxpayer Money On “Environmental Justice” Grants

EPA Doles Out $1.2 Million In Environmental Justice Grants To Prepare Poor Neighborhoods For Climate Change – CNS

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the recipients of nearly $1.2 million in grants to non-profit and tribal organizations “to address environmental justice issues nationwide.”

“The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution,” the Oct. 8 press release stated.

“EPA’s environmental justice grants help communities across the country understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks at the local level,” Matthew Tejada, director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, said in the press release.”

“Addressing the impacts of climate change is a priority for EPA and the projects supported by this year’s grants will help communities prepare for and build resilience to localized climate impacts,” Tejada said.

“Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” thedocument announcing the recipients of the grant funding stated.

“Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal state, local, and tribal programs and policies,” the documents stated.

One of the recipients is the Green Jobs Corps in New Haven Connecticut for “Creating a New Generation of New Haven Environmental Justice Leaders.”

The Greater Northeast Development Corporation in Virginia will use a “community-based participatory approach for southeast community resilience and adaptation to address lung health impacts exacerbated by climate change.”

In certain neighborhoods in Baltimore, Md., the grant funding will “mitigate the impacts of climate change on these communities by increasing the area of ‘green’ spaces…”

The Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago will help make the Chatham neighborhood “rain ready” to prepare for an increase of “rain events” from climate change.

Some other projects being funded include:

• A program will install solar panels in the homes of low-income residents in Colorado.

• Teaching Washington state residents about producing “locally grown food with a low-carbon footprint.”

• Educate residents of the Chickaloon Native Village in Alaska about “the connection between coal surface strip mining, transporting, exporting, and consumption in relation to climate impacts, how climate impacts are being experienced locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. “

• Ground Water New Orleans will be “teaching students to design, build, and install solar powered charging benches on or near bus stops in underserved communities.”

This grant funding dates back to 1994, according to the recipient document.

“In 1994, the Office of Environmental Justice established the Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants Program whose purpose is to assist communitybased/grassroots organizations and tribal governments that are working on local solutions to local environmental problems. Funding specifically supports affected local communitybased efforts to examine issues related to a community’s exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks.”

The document stated that the funds are divided equally between organizations in 10 regions across the country designated by EPA.

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The Donald Accidentally Raises Almost As Much Money As Marco Rubio; Spends Nothing On Ads

Donald Trump Accidentally Raised Almost As Much As Rubio – Big Government

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Donald Trump’s campaign collected $4 million in the third quarter, roughly the same as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). The real difference, though, is that Trump’s campaign hasn’t conducted any fundraising efforts.

Almost all of that $4 million total is from “unsolicited” donations. People simply sent his campaign money without being asked for it.

Few stats better explain the topsy-turvy nature of this political season than that fact. Trump has repeatedly said that he wouldn’t be actively seeking donations from supporters to fuel his campaign. He has often implied that he is willing to spend money from his considerable personal fortune, but, to date, hasn’t had to open his checkbook very wide.

Donald Trump contributed $100,000 to the campaign in the third quarter. The more interesting fact, though, is that almost 75,000 people also sent his campaign money, with an average contribution of $50, without any fundraising outreach, solicitation, or even obvious ways to do so.

The result is that Trump, without trying, raised far more than Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY and was largely in-line with major challengers Rubio and businesswomen Carly Fiorina.

Trump has obviously altered the political landscape by maintaining a strong polling lead for over three months with very little campaign spending. He has not spent any money on advertising while others, especially Jeb Bush, have spent millions.

He also doesn’t seem to have spent a great deal on building a campaign organization, although that is likely to change in the coming weeks as voting gets near.

All other candidates for the GOP nomination have large campaign infrastructures. According to the most recent FEC filing, Jeb Bush’s campaign was spending more than $3.5 million each month during the Summer.

Donald Trump has spent the least amount of any of the major candidates. Through the entire campaign so far, Trump has spent just over $5 million total. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who lead some polls in the spring, spent over $7 million in his aborted 71-day campaign.

“While our original budget was substantially higher than the amount spent, good business practices and even better ideas and policy have made it unnecessary to have spent a larger sum,” Trump said in a release.

“To be number one in every poll, both state and national, and to have spent the least amount of dollars of any serious candidate is a testament to what I can do for America,” Trump continued. “This is what our country’s leaders should do for the United States – spend money wisely and win!”

How a candidate conducts their campaign, and spends their resources, says far more about them then statements on the stump.

Walker’s campaign arrogantly got far ahead of its actual support. Jeb has relied on family connections to fuel a very large and expensive organization. Rubio’s impressive turns on the debate stage has so far failed to ignite enthusiasm with voters. Cruz has stuck to a steady, consistent path that has turned in impressive fundraising numbers.

Whatever happens in the nomination fight, Trump has broken new ground in this political campaign. His support, though, may be even deeper and more enthusiastic than the polls suggest. If his campaign can raise $4 million without asking anyone for money, the mind reels to consider what he would raise if he did.

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Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International Arrested For Faking Leukemia In Order To Swindle Supporters Out Of Money

Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, Pennsylvania Beauty Queen, Arrested After Allegedly Faking Cancer – NBC

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A Pennsylvania beauty queen is facing felony charges for allegedly raising thousands of dollars from donors whom she tricked into believing she was battling cancer, police say.

Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, a 23-year-old reigning Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International, was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property, NBC affiliate WJAC reported. Her bond was set at $150,000, and she remains jailed at the Centre County Correctional Facility.

Pennsylvania State Police said they began looking into the case after receiving an anonymous letter.

“When confronted with what the investigation revealed, the accused advised that she did not want to incriminate herself and invoked her right to an attorney,” police said in a statement.

Weaver-Gates allegedly carried out her “elaborate scheme” over the course of two years – going as far as shaving her head and having family members drive her to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to get treatment.

She also held fundraisers in attempt to swindle money, police said. Police said one event in April – called “Bingo for Brandi” – apparently raised $14,000.

“It speaks to how great our community is,” Weaver-Gates later told The Centre County Gazette. “They wanted to come and support someone who is going through a hard time in their life.”

Weaver-Gates claimed she was first diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in March 2013, according to the Centre Daily Times.

“I didn’t know how to tell my family and even though they were there through it all, it still feels like (you’re) battling it alone because they don’t understand,” she told the newspaper in an interview last year.

Upon her arrest on Tuesday, Butler’s Beauties, which coordinates Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International, said in a statement that she has been stripped of her title. The pageant’s organizers said that they, too, believe they were duped.

“Butler’s Beauties believes that with a crown and sash you can accomplish many great things as a role model, spokesmodel and community leader as a beauty pageant queen,” the statement said. “When you deceive the public and take people’s money that is under the pretense of fraud, we will not tolerate those actions.”

They added that she must return her sash and crown upon being released from jail.

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Lesbian Couple Burned Down Their Own House For Insurance Money; Claimed It Was A Hate Crime

Hate Hoax: Lesbians Burn Down Their Own House – Moonbattery

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Yet another hate hoax for the files. From Vonore, Tennessee:

The community rallied behind a same-sex couple after their home burned to the ground, but in a twist, a jury found the couple intentionally set fire to their house.

After five days, a jury found Carol Anne and Laura Stutte deliberately set fire to their home, blaming the fire on their neighbor. On May 13, 2011, the Stutte’s insurance company filed the lawsuit in federal court saying they found evidence the couple deliberately set fire to their property and claimed the insurance money.

It was not just insurance fraud, but ideological fraud:

In September of 2010, the Stuttes said the fire was a hate crime after the word “queer” was spray painted on their garage. They filed a lawsuit claiming their neighbor, Janice Millsaps, harassed them and even used the same derogatory word in the months leading up to the fire. They say they felt like they were targeted because they were lesbians. Millsaps filed a counter lawsuit against the couple, denying she harassed the couple or set the fire.

Apparently Carol Anne and Laura were not ideal neighbors. But they should get along well enough with the rest of the characters on the Hate Hoax List.

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Crazed Socialist Martin O’Malley Pushed For Publicly Funded Hotel That Has Been Hemorrhaging Money

O’Malley Pushed For Publicly Funded Hotel That Has Been Hemorrhaging Money – Daily Caller

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In 2008, construction was completed on the 757-room Baltimore Hilton, a $305 million publicly-funded hotel spearheaded by Baltimore’s mayor at the time, Martin O’Malley. The hotel, in seven years of operation, has never turned a profit. The best year of operation saw a $2.9 million loss.

“It’s the biggest boondoggle ever. It’s hemorrhaging money every year and has less-than-stellar performance,” Democratic Maryland state Sen. James Brochin told The Daily Caller.

Originally intended to draw revenue from a supposed untapped convention market in Baltimore, the Hilton Hotel project slowly began losing money when conventions passed on Baltimore for other locations such as Austin, Texas and nearby Washington, D.C.

In July 2005, more than three years after the plan was finalized, it was still facing opposition in the city council. Of the 15 council members, only three said they believed the hotel would actually help the city.

“In my district, I can’t get funding to fix vacant houses,” Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told The Baltimore Sun in 2005. “I’m worried about the financing and the kind of precedent this is setting.”

After O’Malley pushed the hotel vote to pass with the council, The Sun reported that this, the “costliest public project in Baltimore history” may see the fate of other cities’ failed publicly funded hotel ventures, such as St. Louis, Omaha, and Overland Park, Kan., “all cities that used public money to build hotels. Failing hotels.”

“The government shouldn’t be in the business of owning businesses. It was a catastrophic economical mistake by O’Malley, and the whole thing is ridiculous,” said Brochin.

O’Malley’s hotel, which he claimed in 2005 to be “risk-free,” is now entering its seventh year of public losses, the Sun reported earlier this year.

Even in times of great profit for the city, the hotel has weighed it down. In 2014, 2.4 million fans were drawn to Camden Yards when the Orioles took home the AL East pennant and, even though the hotel is situated directly adjacent to the stadium, it reported losses of $5.6 million.

Jan Freitag, a vice president with the Tennessee-based firm Smith Travel Research, told the Sun 2014 was a banner year for hotels across the country, including Baltimore, which saw a 7.9 percent growth in hotel revenue. Yet the Hilton’s losses persisted.

In a 2008 sports column in The Washington Post, Thomas Boswell used the Hilton Hotel’s burgeoning construction to illustrate the sadness of the Orioles as a whole. He described the sadness of their opening day loss as “begin[ning] their season as expected – in the utter misery of a complete rebuilding program,” referring to the ball club and the city of Baltimore.

Boswell continues: “The Hilton Convention Center Hotel next door, when finished, may merely be ugly. However, in its current state, with huge random splotches of yellow, white and blue, it’s like a cruel cubist joke. Forever, it will dominate the horizon and block views of the… adored Bromo Seltzer Tower… lording [its] eyesore [self] over previously perfect Camden Yards.”

A request for comment to the O’Malley campaign went unreturned.

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Assurant Health Insurance Company Fined For Charging Healthy Customers Less Money

Health Insurance Company Fined For Charging Less For Healthy Customers – Weasel Zippers

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No fines for charging smokers a higher premium. Single payer here we come.

Via Helena Independent Record

A health insurance company will refund roughly $1.7 million to Montana customers who have been forced to pay what the state calls unfairly high prices.

Wisconsin-based Assurant Health finalized a settlement with the state this week agreeing to pay the restitution and a $25,000 fine.

An investigation by Montana’s Insurance Commissioner found Assurant charged lower prices for healthy customers and higher prices for about 1,600 sicker customers with the same coverage.

State law prohibits health insurance companies from imposing higher prices based on any factor other than age.

“Our allegation is that they discriminated against people who were in poor health,” said Jesse Laslovich, deputy state auditor.

The commissioner’s office found Assurant subsidiaries John Alden Life Insurance Co. and Time Insurance Co. offered a “healthy discount” of 10 percent off premiums to Montana policyholders who claimed less than $500 the previous year and completed a questionnaire.

“That $1.7 million, that represents the amount that the other people who didn’t get the discounts should have gotten,” Laslovich said. “These folks don’t know they’re getting a check in the mail, so that’s something we’re excited about.”[..]

The company announced in April that it will be leaving the national health insurance market amid declining revenue. Montana customers were notified last month.

Assurant Health’s profit began dropping when the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2010. The company attributed its projected first-quarter losses of $80 million to $90 million to higher customer claims under the ACA and a reduction in what Assurant could recover through the health law’s risk mitigation programs.

Keep reading

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Impeachable Offenses Update: Obama Using Taxpayer Money To Fly Central American Minors To U.S.

Obama Escalates Cultural Genocide – Moonbattery

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It isn’t enough to invite illegal aliens to invade the USA in their numberless hordes and then quickly distribute them along with their exotic diseases throughout the country. Obama is now using your money to fly them directly from Central America, so as to save them the bother of traveling through Mexico:

To facilitate the often treacherous process of entering the United States illegally through the southern border, the Obama administration is offering free transportation from three Central American countries and a special refugee/parole program with “resettlement assistance” and permanent residency…

The new arrivals will be officially known as Central American Minors (CAM) and they will be eligible for a special refugee/parole that offers a free one-way flight to the U.S. from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. The project is a joint venture between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department.

Readers will recall that DHS was originally set up to defend the homeland. Under the Orwellian Obama Regime, it is in charge of orchestrating an invasion of the homeland.

After Pearl Harbor, some feared a Japanese invasion. It would have been preferable to what is happening to us now. If the Imperial Japanese had successfully invaded, they would have ruled for a time, but eventually would have been kicked out. The current invaders aren’t going anywhere, and they reproduce much faster than Americans.

Plus the Japanese never expected us to pay them to invade us:

The candidates will then be granted a special refugee parole, which includes many taxpayer-funded perks and benefits. Among them is a free education, food stamps, medical care and living expenses…

A State Department official promoted CAM as a “family reunification” program that will be completely funded by American taxpayers, though the official claimed to have no idea what the cost will be.

Who can put a price on the future?

The fig leaf of “refugees” being allowed into the country ahead of immigrants likely to make a positive contribution because their lives are supposedly in danger has been dropped.

The State Department official assured that applicants need not express or document a credible fear to qualify under CAM because “we want to make sure this program is open to as many people as possible.”

Consider this as part of the bigger picture of what is being done to America, and it goes beyond treason. It is cultural genocide.

Our rulers know exactly what they are doing. From the official federal propaganda outfit Voice of America:

America’s demographics are changing like never before. In less than 30 years, whites will no longer be the racial majority in the United States.

On the large scale, race and culture are inseparable. Americans are effectively becoming a minority within our own country. Our own democracy will be used against us to relegate us to a permanent second class status (as South Africa demonstrates, whites being a minority hardly spares them from Affirmative Action).

Working and middle class whites are becoming a slave class that toils to provide benefits to the Third Worlders imported to empower the ruling class of elitist liberals. Eventually intermarriage will breed the last of our kind out of existence, as VOA happily implies:

In 1960, multiracial marriages accounted for only 0.4 percent of all marriages in the United States. By 2010, that figure rose to 8.4 percent, with interracial couples accounting for 15 percent of all new marriages – a trend that experts say will only continue.

The VOA piece was given the Orwellian title, “Experts: Coming Demographic Shift Will Strengthen US Culture.” What they mean by this is that the deliberately engineered demographic shift will erase US culture, so that it can be replaced by a multicultural utopia preconceived by cultural Marxists.

It used to be genocide meant herding unwanted demographic sectors into gas chambers. But that was crude and inefficient. Simply diluting us out of existence can be done without mess – and incredibly, without resistance.

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Senator Vitter Asks Why AG Nominee Didn’t Prosecute Bank Employees Who Laundered Money For Terrorists (Video)

Senator To Loretta Lynch: Why Did No One Go to Jail For Laundering Money To Terrorists? – Daily Signal

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Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, is facing questions about why she let multiple bank employees who funneled millions of dollars to the Iranian government, Middle Eastern terrorists and Mexican drug cartels walk away without criminal prosecution.

Sen. David Vitter, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today launched an investigation into the matter. He cited the concern as a reason to delay Senate confirmation of Lynch, who was nominated to replace Eric Holder as the chief law enforcement officer in the United States.

“If Loretta Lynch and [the Justice Department] swept under the rug a serious money laundering scheme involving Mexican drug cartels and terrorist organizations, we need to know a heck of a lot more about it,” Vitter told The Daily Signal.

“This is especially true since American citizens may be completely unaware that their identities – including names and Social Security numbers – were compromised in this fraud.”

While serving as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch, along with the Justice Department, oversaw a massive lawsuit against British banking giant HSBC. Bank officials and other employees faced accusations of laundering more than $200 million through its U.S. bank. The employees allegedly opened fake accounts using customers’ private information.

Federal prosecutors accused HSBC of “illegally conducting transactions on behalf of customers in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma – all countries that were subject to sanctions enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the time of the transactions.”

Instead of criminally prosecuting those individuals responsible, Lynch helped negotiate a $1.92 billion dollar settlement with HSBC in December 2012.

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During her confirmation hearing for attorney general last month, Lynch said she has been “very aggressive” in pursuing white-collar crime.

“At the outset, no individual is ‘too big to jail.’ And no one is above the law,” she told Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

But in the case of HSBC – one of the most high-profile white-collar crimes to date – no one ever went to jail.

The Daily Signal has reached out to the Justice Department for comment on the lawsuit.

Some, like Vitter, perceive the settlement as nothing more than a “slap on the wrist.” He said: “A simple monetary fine is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, and would cast serious doubt on Ms. Lynch’s capacity to serve as our top law enforcement official.”

After being tipped off by a WND reporter who has closely followed the case since its onset, Vitter and his staff yesterday spoke with whistleblower John Cruz, a former HSBC manager who took more than 1,000 pages of bank account records and recordings related to the money laundering before being fired.

Following that conversation, Vitter became suspicious about the settlement. For that reason, he plans to delay Lynch’s confirmation process until he has answers.

“There is a very credible whistleblower… who said folks at HSBC knew what was going on, actively were helping use fake bank accounts to help this happen on behalf of drug cartels and terrorists,” Vitter told the Judiciary Committee earlier today.

“That’s pretty serious to end up having a resolution with a pure money fine.”

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Obama “Dreamers” To Get Retroactive IRS Refunds For Money They Earned While Working Illegally

IRS Offers Extra Tax Refunds To Illegal Immigrants Granted Amnesty By Obama – Washington Times

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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen confirmed Tuesday that illegal immigrants granted amnesty from deportation under President Obama’s new policies would be able to get extra refunds from the IRS for money they earned while working illegally, as long as they filed returns during those years.

Illegal immigrants who are granted the amnesty will be given official Social Security numbers, which means they can go back and amend up to three years of previous tax forms to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, potentially claiming billions of dollars in additional payments they were ineligible for before the amnesty.

Mr. Koskinen said they will have to have already filed returns for those back-years, and there’s a statute of limitations that governs how far they can go back, but said the agency’s current interpretation of laws would allow them to claim the EITC credit retroactively.

“This is the problem you get into,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican who demanded a solution to the loophole. “The IRS’s interpretation of the EITC eligibility requirements undermines congressional policy for not rewarding those working illegally in the United States.”

The loophole stems from the way the IRS handles illegal immigrants. While the immigrants are not authorized to work in the U.S. legally, the IRS still wants to be paid taxes on the earnings of those who do work, and so it has issued millions of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, or ITINs, to illegal immigrants, enabling them to pay up.

Some tax credits are only eligible to those with a valid Social Security number. Those who get valid numbers, however, can go back and claim them.

The IRS website says taxpayers have until April 15 this year to file back to 2011 claiming tax credits they didn’t ask for in their previous returns, and have until April 15, 2016, to claim tax credits from 2012.

Mr. Grassley asked Mr. Koskinen to go back and revisit his agency’s interpretation of the laws.

The Obama administration says up to 4 million illegal immigrants could earn “deferred action,” or a stay of deportation and work permits that would accompany it. It’s uncertain how many of those were paying taxes using ITINs, and thus could be eligible to claim the EITC.

The EITC isn’t the only tax credit to be ensnared in the immigration debate. The IRS already pays out billions of dollars a year to illegal immigrants under a program known as the additional child tax credit.

The IRS says the law is vague on who is eligible for the child credit, so to be on the safe side they pay it out to illegal immigrants.

Backers argue that the children claimed for the child tax credit are likely U.S. citizens, even if their parents are here illegally, and so it would be unfair to strip the money.

In 2010, the government paid out $4.2 billion to illegal immigrants who claimed the child tax credit, the IRS’s inspector general found.

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Issa Subpoenas Obama Lackey Over Claims Staffers Are Doing Campaign Work With Taxpayer Money

GOP House Committee Chairman Subpoenas White House Political Chief Over Claims Obama Staffers Are Doing Campaign Work With Taxpayer Funds – Daily Mail

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa sent his latest subpoena to the Obama administration on Friday, demanding testimony from the director of a controversial White House office reportedly tasked with political work on taxpayers’ dime.

David Simas, the director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, has refused to testify voluntarily but will be required to answer questions in a July 16 hearing on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama closed the White House Office of Political Affairs in 2011, just days before an Office of Special Counsel report warned that it risked ‘transforming from an official government office into a partisan political operation.’

But the president reopened the office six months ago under a new name as Democrats began to gear up for a contentious midterm election fight.

The New York Times reported then that the White House was ‘serious about defending Democratic control of the Senate and taking back the House from Republicans.’

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‘White House officials,’ according to the Times, ‘said it makes more sense to have a political office during a congressional election year to focus attention on candidate needs, including fund-raising.’

Issa, a hard-charging California Republican who has pressed the administration on alleged IRS abuses, said Friday that the White House’s reboot of its Office of Political Affairs was an ‘effort to appease its political allies’ by ‘assist[ing] in partisan election efforts and fundraising.’

Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius Issa said, ‘were faulted by the Office of Special Counsel for inappropriately using their offices in violation of the Hatch Act.

That federal law prohibits most executive branch employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, or at any time in their workplaces. It also prohibits them from soliciting or receiving political contributions, according to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

In 2012 Sebelius slipped a political message into a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. The Office of Special Counsel later accused her of violating the Hatch Act.

She later said she had made a ‘technical’ error, and pledged not to repeat it.

The initial move to shutter the White House’s political office was spearheaded by California Rep. Henry Waxman in 2007, when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and Waxman chaired the committee now run by Issa.

At the time it was seen as a partisan move to prohibit the George W. Bush White House from using the president’s bully pulpit to affect the 2008 presidential election.

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Waxman’s staffers interviewed 20 political appointees and pored over nearly 70,000 documents. They issued a report one month before Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, declaring that ‘American taxpayers should not pay the salaries of White House officials when they are engaged in helping members of the president’s political party.’

The Obama White House did not respond to a request for comment.

But newly minted White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston wrote to Issa in June to insist that the new incarnation of the political office operates without violating the Hatch Act.

Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, however, wrote in March that the Obama administration reopened the office without consulting ith her to determine if it was legal.

Lerner will testify in the June 16 hearing, along with Simas and Scott Coffina, a former Associate Counsel to the President during the Bush Administration.

In March, Issa asked the White House to provide copies of all its documents related to the 2014 reopening. To date, it has provided none.

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22 Progressive Groups That Are More Evil Than The Koch Brothers If Money In Politics Is ‘Evil’ (Kyle Becker)

22 Progressive Groups That Are More Evil Than The Koch Brothers If Money In Politics Is ‘Evil’ – Kyle Becker

Below is a list from Open Secrets of the campaign contributions of various groups. Try to find the infamous “Koch Brothers”:

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If you noticed there are no less than 22 groups that donated more to the Democratic Party than the Koch Brothers donated to the Republican Party – congratulations! You have basic math, reading and comprehension skills.

For extra credit, take note that DNC “Uber Donors” gave $485,652,385 more to the Democrat Party for their progressive causes than all RNC “Uber donors” combined.

After the Supreme Court struck down an elections law on campaign funding caps, progressives took to the media to vent their supposed frustrations.

“Now we know corporations are people and money is people too,” CNN anchor Caroline Costello lamented (apparently not noticing that “CNN is people” and it has freedom of the press rights). One wonders if Democrats also object as vehemently to the notion that “progressive groups are people” or “colleges are people” or “unions are people.”

According to Open Secrets, in 2012, “Obama’s campaign spent about $737.9 million, compared to the combined Republican total of $624.8 million.” The grand total for all elections tilted Republicans’ way, but by the margins of 9% and 10% in the House and Senate, respectively. While PACs leaned GOP, the Democrats dominated the 527s. The point is that the media’s outrage at spending in politics is entirely selective.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Related article:

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Reid Attacks Koch For Offenses Committed By Reid Donors – Washington Free Beacon

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) on Wednesday criticized a Koch Industries subsidiary for allegedly circumventing sanctions on Iran even though Reid has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from companies that have done exactly that.

Reid also claimed that the Kochs support the recently introduced House Republican budget proposal. Neither the company nor its owners has taken a position on the legislation.

Reid’s claims were part of an ongoing offensive against libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch. Reid has accused them of being “un-American” for donating to groups that oppose the Democratic Party’s agenda.

A page on Reid’s Senate website is devoted entirely to attacking the Kochs. It initially cited former White House economist Austan Goolsbee, who falsely claimed in 2010 that Koch Industries does not pay any corporate taxes.

That claim remains on the website, with its text crossed out. Below is an “update” that claims the Kochs “have supported the Ryan budget, which provides tax cuts for the wealthy and protects taxpayer subsidies for big businesses and oil companies.”

The page links to a website from a left-wing nonprofit on the budget introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) this week, on which the Kochs have not taken a position.

Reid’s website goes on to quote from a heavily criticized Bloomberg article that accused Koch Industries of “sidestep[ping]” economic sanctions against Iran.

“The Kochs made improper payments to win contracts in Africa, India and the Middle East,” Reid claims. “And they sold millions of dollars of equipment to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.”

After evidence of the said improper payments came to light, Koch Industries commissioned an internal investigation and fired the responsible employees, according to Bloomberg.

Reid has accepted campaign contributions from companies that engage in even more widespread corruption abroad.

According to the Washington Examiner, Reid has accepted more than half a million dollars in contributions since 2009 from employees and political action committees of companies under investigation for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Reid has also taken tens of thousands of dollars from companies that, like Koch, have done business in Iran through foreign subsidiaries, including General Electric ($25,500 in PAC contributions), Hewlett-Packard ($14,500 in PAC contributions), and Sony ($14,500 in PAC contributions).

Reid has also taken $26,000 from Boeing’s PAC. The company is currently trying to reestablish its presence in Iran even though the country remains on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Enough! Patriot Lawsuit Demands Money From IRS

Enough! Patriot Lawsuit Demands Money From IRS – WorldNetDaily

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Just imagine sending to the Internal Revenue Service a bill for:

Actual damages for violating the Privacy Act.

The costs of complying with additional demands for information about an application.

Loss of donors.

Loss of membership fees.

Damages for the violation of constitutional rights.

Damages for loss of the benefit of tax-exempt status.

Damages for impairment of constitutionally protected rights.

Punitive damages.

Litigation costs.

Attorneys’ fees.

And more.

A case of that kind has been filed, with a request to make it class action. A key proponent explained Friday to WND that the ultimate goal is to uncover what former IRS official Lois Lerner wanted to do and did.

It also seeks to uncover what other “responsible parties” were up to regarding the IRS attacks on tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt. Evidence has been presented that the discrimination was coordinated to hinder the effectiveness of the groups when Barack Obama was pursuing re-election in 2012.

The legal action was filed in Ohio by an organization called Sue the IRS, which was established under the direction of Mark Meckler.

Meckler formerly was with Tea Party Patriots but now is with Citizens for Self-Governance. Its mission is to restore self-governance to America by connecting “warriors in order to take power away from big government and the big money that influences it… and return the power to its rightful owners, the people.”

That will happen, the group says, through shared values, incumbent accountability, dispersed power and engaged citizens.

“The grassroots must be in the town hall, the public square, or the village green to gather Americans who hunger to regain control of their government and their lives,” the group explains.

Meckler said the government has been trying to get rid of the case.

“The interesting thing to me is the federal government… making allegations that Americans have no right of recourse when government targets them and tries to prevent them from speaking,” he said.

That, he said, is absolutely fundamental to what American is about.

The case is pending on behalf of the Norcal Tea Party Patriots, Faith and Freedom Coalition of Ohio, Simi Valley Moorpark Tea Party, Tampa 9-12 project, South Dakota Citizens for Liberty, Texas Patriots Tea Party, Americans Against Oppressive Laws, San Angelo Tea Party, Prescott Tea Party, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and others.

It wasted no time getting to the point. In paragraph two, it states: “Elements within the executive branch of the federal government, including defendants, brought the vast powers, incomprehensible complexity, and crushing bureaucracy of the IRS to bear on groups of citizens whose only wrongdoing was their presumed dissent from the policies or ideology of the administration.

“In other words, these citizens were targeted based upon their political viewpoints.”

Specifically, the IRS and individuals involved “employed an array of tactics, including extra scrutiny, intimidation, harassment, invasion of privacy, discriminatory audits, disclosure of private information,and years of delay.”

The result was predictable: “A chilling and muzzling of free speech and association.”

The case seeks damages for violations of the federal law, damages against individuals, and injunctive and declaratory relief against the IRS and Treasury Department. Named individually are ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Chief IRS Counsel William Wilkins, Sarah Hall Ingram of the Tax-Exempt Unit and others.

The case is in the discovery phase in which evidence is being obtained and reviewed.

Some of the facts of the IRS targeting are well known: the agency’s identification of organizations likely to oppose Obama’s policies and the years of delays for the paperwork to be processed. There also were invasive questions, such as the content of prayers.

“The IRS’s knowledge that this discrimination was illegal is evidenced by their scheme to keep the people’s duly elected representatives in the dark about it. When members of Congress asked IRS officials… whether the IRS was targeting certain groups for different treatment, the IRS officials provided misleading and deceptive responses,” the case notes.

Conversely, “there is no evidence that liberal or ‘progressive’ political groups or groups supporting the re-election of President Barack Obama or the election of Democrats were targeted for similar delay.”

Even the IRS referred to the process for “tea party cases,” the lawsuit alleges.

The invasive questions included, in the case of the NorCal Tea Party, details about the board of directors and its activities, copies of all corporate minutes, titles, duties, work hours, names of board members or officers who might run for public office.

The IRS repeatedly demanded information, threatening frequently that if there was no response, “we will assume you no longer want us to consider your application.”

“This conduct has caused irreparable harm to plaintiffs, and there is no other adequate remedy at law. This court may grant declaratory and injunctive relief against the IRS and Treasury Department, …declaring that the defendants’ discriminatory conduct is unlawful and enjoining them from using tax exemption applicants’ political viewpoints to target them.”

Among the questions posed: How did the scheme originate? Who ordered it? Who was involved?

The leadership of Sue the IRS said they intend to “bring those involved in this government overreach and abuse… to light.”

Also in the plan is to recover damages for organizations that were harmed.

And the campaign plans to shine light on the wrongdoing to “deter the IRS and other government agencies from engaging in illegal behavior without the fear of being caught, exposed and brought to justice.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Trey Gowdy: Democrats Want You To Believe You’re Better Off Writing Poetry Than Working For Money (Video)

Trey Gowdy: Democrats Want You To Believe You’re Better Off Writing Poetry Than Working & Making Money (Video) – Gateway Pundit

Once again, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) hit it out of the park today on FOX News. Gowdy blasted Democrats for their new rallying cry urging Americans to avoid the work trap.

“Well, how would you like to run for reelection if you were in the House and the Senate based on Obamacare with its rising premiums, worse coverage and now we’re trying to convince you that you’re better off writing poetry than you working and getting money? I certainly wouldn’t want to defend that in a midterm election… If you need any more evidence, or “smidgen” of evidence to use his word, how disastrous this health care law is, the architect doesn’t even want to implement it!“

Ouch!

Via Breitbart and Politomix:

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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It’s An Obama World… City To Little Girl: You Can’t Sell Mistletoe In Park, But You Can Beg For Money

City Shuts Down 11-Year-Old Selling Mistletoe To Fund Braces – Breitbart

An 11-year-old Oregon girl who wanted to help her father pay for her braces by selling mistletoe over the holidays, found herself embroiled in city bureaucracy. On Saturday, Madison Root went to the downtown market to sell fresh mistletoe she cut and wrapped herself from her uncle’s farm in Oregon.

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She told KATU News, “I felt like I could help my dad with the money.”

However, a private security guard hired by Portland Saturday Market blocked her path to a straighter smile by telling her to stop selling the mistletoe, citing city rules that ban conducting business or soliciting at a park without proper approval and documentation.

Specifically, Chapter 10.12 of the Portland city code states that soliciting or conducting business includes the display of ”goods, or descriptions or depictions of goods or services, with the intent to engage any member of the public in a transaction for the sale of any good or service.”

The guard reportedly told Madison she could set up shop outside the boundaries of the park… or she could simply ask for donations. Her father, Ashton, told ABC.com, “The guard told her she can beg if she wanted but she can’t sell the mistletoe.” He went on to say that his daughter “does not want to encourage begging and wants people to earn their living… She is so keen on high work ethic.”

Madison confirmed this, “I don’t want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg. I wouldn’t think I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place.”

The young entrepreneur also seemed confused that vendors could openly sell pot while her mistletoe business was shut down: “There are people next to me that have big signs that say ‘Got Pot?’ They’re raising money for pot.”

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Pot or no pot, officials say vendors pay to rent vending booths and are screened before qualifying for the Portland Saturday Market. One vendor, Viki Ciesiul, explained the process to ABCNews.com saying “Applying for a booth is a juried process. I had to show samples of my jewelry to a panel of jurists… We have to pay to maintain our spot at the market.”

Ciesiul expressed mixed feelings about Madison’s plight: “We [vendors] are trying to avoid too many types of street vendors who might bring the place down,” she said. “There are many ways she can participate and rules are there for a reason.”

Mark Ross, a spokesman for the Portland Parks Bureau, which manages the city park said asking for donations is “a form of free speech, protected under the First Amendment,” but declined to comment about Madison’s story. He did note, however, that the Saturday Market administration designates and enforces its rules once the space has been leased to them.

Since the story broke Sunday evening, Madison’s father said “mistletoe orders mushroomed… even McKinzei Farms, one of the biggest selling Christmas tree farms in the area, made a $1,000 donation to Madison’s braces.”

The 11-year-old got her first set of braces on Monday.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Obama Crimes Update: DOJ Unit Used Taxpayer Money To Organize And Support Zimmerman Protests In Florida

Documents: Little-Known Justice Department Unit Provided ‘Support For Protest Deployment In Florida’ During Initial Trayvon Martin Unrest – Daily Mail

Documents published online Wednesday by a conservative watchdog group show that the Community Relations Service, an arm of the U.S. Justice Department, spent taxpayer dollars to help organize and implement plans for the initial string of rallies in Sanford, Florida following the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

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Rev. Al Sharpton (C) spoke at a ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rally along with Tracy Martin (R) and Sybrina Fulton (2nd L), parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, on March 22, 2012. It appears the U.S. Justice Department provided support for similar rallies

The protests were openly hostile to George Zimmerman, the volunteer neighborhood watch organizer who killed Martin, 17, after a struggle. Zimmerman is currently on trial in a Florida courtroom, charged with second-degree murder.

The DOJ’s Community Relations Service first entered the Trayvon Martin controversy March 25-27, 2012 when, according to the documents, its personnel were ‘deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.’

Days later, from March 30 through April 1, the agency reported that it ‘provide[d] support for protest deployment in Florida.’

Judicial Watch obtained the Justice Department documents in April 2012 and March 2013 through a Freedom of Information Act request, but released them Wednesday. A Judicial Watch official told MailOnline that a shortage of personnel to analyze thousands of pages of documents obtained under FOIA – not a desire for trial-related publicity – was responsible for the delay.

The DOJ describes its Community Relations Service as ‘the Department’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin.’

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George Zimmerman, shown in an evidence photo with injuries he sustained during the confrontation that ended Trayvon Martin’s life, is charged with second-degree murder

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Thousands of posters were printed demanding Zimmerman’s arrest for killing Martin. These signs were funded by the Service Employees International Union local 1199, a health care workers union

Its mandate includes ‘assist[ing] State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.’

Some of the Trayvon Martin protests, however, stoked racial animosity, with Black Panther Party members and the Rev. Al Sharpton suggesting that Zimmerman, a Latino man, was an example of white-on-black violence.

‘These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,’ said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

‘My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.’

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Judicial Watch’s document indicate that the DOJ spent at least $5,320 in hard costs to support the rallies, an amount that does not include the salaries of personnel tasked to intervene.

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Trayvon Martin supporters marched before a town hall meeting about the shooting on March 26, 2012. Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and NAACP president Benjamin Jealous all spoke at the event

The agency’s Florida activities did include providing ‘technical assistance’ to law enforcement and city managers in Sanford. But its apparent work to assist demonstrators indicates that it functioned less as a government entity and more as a partner to the protest organizers.

Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of an April 19, 2012 community meeting held at the Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

‘The meeting, which opens with a gospel hymn and organ music, is reported to have led to the official ouster of Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee,’ the group said in a press release.

‘A week earlier, a group calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” had barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding he be fired for failing to file murder charges against Zimmerman. The church meeting produced a nine-point plan, the main demand being the firing of Chief Lee.’

The Orlando Sentinel reported earlier in the same week that the DOJ’s Community Relations Service ‘helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee.’

‘They were there for us,’ Allen Chapel AME Church pastor Rev. Valarie Houston said at the time.

The Sentinel also reported that Community Relations Service employees arranged a 40-mile police escort for students calling for the police chief’s ouster who were traveling from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

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Many of the protests after Martin’s shooting were racially charged events, and some reportedly included the participation of New Black Panther Party members

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Corruption: Exposing Barack Obama’s Illegal Foreign Campaign Money Loophole

Corruption: Exposing Barack Obama’s Illegal Foreign Campaign Money Loophole – Townhall

A new report obtained by Townhall from the non-partisan Government Accountability Institute [GAI] shows the Obama campaign has potentially violated federal election law by failing to prevent the use of fraudulent or foreign credit card transactions on the official Obama for America [OFA] donation webpage.

For the past eight months, GAI has been investigating the potential influence of foreign online campaign donations in House, Senate and presidential elections. The report was conducted using spidering software and found thousands of foreign sites linking to campaign donation pages. The investigation was conducted with the guidance of a former U.S. attorney. GAI is led by Peter Schweizer, who recently exposed congressional insider trading in his book Throw Them All Out.

“As FBI surveillance tapes have previously shown, foreign governments understand and are eager to exploit the weaknesses of American campaigns,” the report says. “This, combined with the Internet’s ability to disintermediate campaign contributions on a mass scale, as well as outmoded and lax Federal Election Commission rules, make U.S. elections vulnerable to foreign influence.”

OFA seems to be taking advantage of a “foreign donor loophole” by not using CVV on their campaign donation page. When you donate online to the Obama campaign using a credit card, the contribution webpage does not require donors to enter a secure CVV number (also known as CSC, CVV2 or CVN), the three-digit securing code on the back of credit cards. This code, although not 100 percent effective, is used to ensure a person making a purchase physically possesses the card. According to the report, 90 percent of e-commerce and 19 of the 20 largest charities in the United States use a CVV code, making its use standard industry practice in order to prevent fraud. Another anti-fraud security measure includes software, better known as an Address Verification System, to verify a donor’s address matches the address on file with the credit card company. The investigation could not determine whether OFA is using this type of software to prevent fraudulent or illegal donations.

Because of the lack of a CVV code requirement, the door is opened for OFA to accept robo-donations, or in other words, large numbers of small and automatic donations made online to evade FEC reporting requirements. Although it isn’t illegal to decline the use of a secure CVV credit card code for campaign donations, it is illegal to accept campaign donations from foreign sources. Campaigns are required under criminal code not to solicit, accept or receive foreign donations in any amount. The Federal Elections Commission doesn’t require campaigns to disclose the names of donors making contributions of less than $200 unless audited. In addition, FEC rules don’t require campaigns to keep records of those giving less than $50. These rules combined with the lack of a CVV numbers make it easy for campaigns to get away with taking foreign donations.

According to GAI, it is the duty of the campaign to “ensure compliance with the law. Indeed, they risk criminal prosecution for the conscious failure to do so. This means that whether or not the FEC requires it to be reported, campaigns have an independent duty under the law to discover and protect against criminal campaign contributions.” Protecting against criminal campaign contributions is easily accomplished by requiring a CVV code on the campaign donation page.

OFA has specifically touted its “grassroots” success by showcasing the majority of its donations coming from those giving less than $200. It appears the campaign also solicits funds for less than $200 in order to avoid having to report the name of the person making a donation under FEC rules. The GAI documents included the following email from Barack Obama to campaign supporters:

IT ALL ADDS UP

A large part of the Team Obama operation is outsourced. More than 200 domain names with the word “Obama” in the web address have been purchased. The most significant of these websites may be Obama.com, which is owned by an Obama bundler in Shanghai, China with “questionable business ties to state-run Chinese enterprises,” according to the report.

Obama.com was purchased in 2008, and, although Obama.com is owned by a third party, not the campaign itself, the site redirects its foreign traffic, a whopping 68 percent, directly to the official Obama for America campaign donation page. The Obama campaign’s official and main website, BarackObama.com, sees 43 percent of its traffic coming from foreign IP addresses, according to web metrics firm Markosweb and noted in the report.

According to industry leading web analytics site Markosweb, an anonymously registered redirect site (Obama.com) features 68 % foreign traffic. Starting in December 2011, the site was linked to a specific donation page on the official BarackObama.com campaign website for ten months. The page loaded a tracking number, 634930, into a space on the website labeled “who encouraged you to make this donation.” That tracking number is embedded in the source code for Obama.com and is associated with the Obama Victory Fund. In early September 2012, the page began redirecting to the standard Obama Victory Fund donation page. Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, using common spamming techniques, may have been undertaken by unknown third-parties, generating foreign traffic to Obama.com.

China has a long history of trying to illegally influence American elections. Their efforts were most prominent in the 1990s.

In the past, foreign governments have relied on middlemen to transfer illegal campaign contributions. With the explosion of Internet campaign fundraising, the prospect of foreign powers, criminal gangs, foreign individuals, or domestic fraudsters making direct campaign contributions to American elections becomes far more likely. Put simply, campaign fundraising crimes are now just a click away. Rather than risking detection or relying on a middleman, donations can be anonymously donated through campaign websites. The state of Internet security of many political campaigns’ websites leaves American elections vulnerable to fraud or foreign influence.

AN HONEST MISTAKE, OR SOMETHING MORE?

Is the non-use of CVV code verification simply an oversight or mistake made by Obama for America? Most likely, no. The Obama campaign is willing to pay millions in fees in order to accept unsecured contributions on their donation page without the CVV code. Attorney Kenneth Sukhia analyzed the GAI’s findings and this revelation in the following way in a separate report.

“As GAI points out, if a campaign is truly seeking to do all it can to prevent illicit contributions, there is no reason not to employ these basic fraud prevention tools. First, these tools are easily installed, and once set up, operate with a minimum of administrative oversight by the vendor. They are fully automated, but can be easily re-calibrated as called for.”

“Under these circumstances, a campaign’s decision to turn off either of these systems despite the increased fees raises legitimate questions as to a campaign’s knowing failure to use its best efforts to comply with the laws prohibiting foreign contributions. Indeed, it’s reasonable to ask why any campaign would ever opt to pay card issuers more for less information and less security. More importantly, why pay card issuers more when doing so lessens a campaign’s ability to comply with the law? It’s hard to imagine any campaign would pay extra for less security and marketing intelligence, unless it stood to benefit in some way from doing so.”

“Because a campaign’s decision to opt out of the standard security measures and to pay more to receive less information about their contributors defies all conventional campaign logic, and because it is difficult to identify a more plausible motive, there is reason to suspect that such decisions may be motivated by the belief that more money could be raised through foreign contributions than lost in added fees by declining security tools designed to stop them.”

OFA isn’t run by amateurs and has a highly sophisticated online presence. OFA is known as the “gold standard” in online technology with a Facebook co=founder, veteran YouTube videographer and an award-winning CNN producer keeping everything running smoothly.

Not to mention, the campaign obviously sees the benefits in using a CVV code to prevent fraud. After all, OFA uses a CVV security code for merchandise purchases. To purchase a sweatshirt or other item in the OFA store, a CVV code must be entered at check out, but the donation page does not require a credit card security code to be used. In addition, the chief technology officer of the Obama campaign, Harper Reed, is a former chief technology officer of the T-shirt company Threadless. Threadless requires a CVV code for online purchases. They clearly know how CVV codes work.

THE NUMBERS

As of September 26, 2012, the Obama campaign has raised $271,327,755 in contributions under $200 for the 2012 cycle. In 2008, it was $335,139,233. The Romney campaign has raised just $58,456,968 in contributions under $200 and has all CVV and online security measures in place. In total, the Obama campaign raised $500 million online in 2008 with $335 million in contributions–more than half–falling under the $200 reporting requirement. Obama has raised more online funds than any campaign in history.

As reported over the weekend, the Obama campaign raised $181 million in September alone – only 2 percent of those donations are required to be reported to the FEC.

The campaign said that just over 1.8 million people made donations to the campaign last month. According to the campaign, over 500k of these were brand-new donors, having neither given in 2008 nor 2012. 98% of contributions were under the reporting threshold of $250. Of these, the average contribution was $53. [It’s] really a tale of two worlds. 35k people gave an average of $2,600, while just over 1.7 million people gave an average of $53. Half the campaign’s haul came from people giving around the maximum amount and half from people who don’t have to be disclosed. Seems a bit odd. The average of $53 from small donors is particularly noteworthy. Contributions under $200 don’t have to be disclosed, but the campaign still has to keep track of the donor’s name, in case subsequent donations push their contribution over the reporting threshold. For contributions under $50, however, the campaign doesn’t even have to keep track of the donor’s name. It is effectively considered a “petty cash” donation. A person could theoretically make 10 $49 donations and never be reported, even though their total contributions are above the FEC’s reporting threshold. With an average donation of $53 from small donors, Obama has A LOT of donors who will never be disclosed and whose names aren’t even known to the campaign. Tens of millions of dollars worth.

HOW LIABLE?

As previously mentioned, the GAI report mentions campaigns have an obligation to protect against illegal campaign contributions. The law under U.S. Code makes it illegal for campaigns or political committees to accept direct or indirect contributions of money from foreign nationals. It is also illegal for a campaign or committee to “solicit, accept, or receive a contribution from a foreign national.” Penalties for violations are stiff, according to the report.

While no person can be held accountable under the law for violations he or she is powerless to prevent or for violations of which a person had no knowledge, the law recognizes that to permit meaningful enforcement a person cannot escape responsibility for a crime by deliberately ignoring facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that a crime is most likely being committed. Moreover, the FEC regulations make it clear that a campaign official cannot avoid criminal culpability by ignoring facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether foreign nationals are contributing funds to the campaign.

DIRECT SOLICITATIONS FROM OFA TO FOREIGN NATIONALS AND THE ONLINE PAPER TRAIL

The internet for the Obama campaign has proved to be a cash cow, but it’s also provided a digital paper trail of potential illegal activity for investigators. When foreign bloggers received donation solicitations from the Obama campaign, they wrote about it online. GAI found their sites and documented their experiences. Social media accomplished the same thing – an online trail of Obama campaign solicitations to foreign nationals.

1. In July and August, a Chinese blogger reposts letters he has received from the Obama campaign, each of which contains a solicitation for $3 or $5 (note that these smaller donations don’t require the campaign to keep any record of them).118 Markosweb states that 87.8% of the traffic flowing to the site comes from China while only 4.5% is from the United States. The website contains hyperlinks that lead to the campaign’s donation page. The website also contains graphics showing the disparity between Romney’s and the President’s fundraising and a countdown clock to the date of the election. Other than the campaign solicitation letters, the website is in Chinese characters.

2. On August 9th, 2012 the Obama campaign sent a solicitation letter to “Hikemt Hadjy-Zadh,” an Azerbaijani citizen. His email address is on an Azerbaijani domain and he posts numerous solicitation letters he has received from the Obama campaign. Mr. Hadjy-Zadh reposts the complete letters on a discussion forum, including numerous hyperlinks that go directly to the campaign’s donation page.

3. A writer in Vietnam writes on a website for the Vietnam Institute for Development Studies (a government-backed think tank) and posts emails he has received from my.barackobama.com with more than 24 total links to the campaign’s donate page embedded in the emails. The website is in the Vietnamese language, hosted on a Vietnamese server, and uses a Vietnamese domain address. In one instance, a letter from Mitch Stewart, Director of the Obama campaign’s “Organizing for America,” asks for donations. Ironically, Stewart laments that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly taking money from foreign sources. The reader is then prompted to give his name and email address and thereafter begins receiving solicitation letters for donations.

4. A Dutch blogger writing in Dutch on a Dutch website reprints an email from March 22, 2010 in which President Obama thanks his supporters for their help. “You’re welcome, Mr. President,” he writes back.

5. The Dutch blog “His Dirk” received a donation request from the campaign. Aware of the U.S. law, the blogger decided not to contribute. The blogger observed, “I imagine many non-Americans have money transferred to the Obama campaign. It’s just too easy.”

6. A member of the Italian Radical Socialist movement and an administrator of their website reposts solicitations from the Obama campaign which he reports receiving regularly for three years. “And because we are three years in his mailing list… But frankly after 3 years his letters excite me much less…”

7. A Japanese blogger named Isogaya posts a link to the Obama campaign’s donation page. When posting the link, Isogaya notes that an option in giving would be to give a gift card.

8. A Norwegian blogger posts a solicitation from the Obama campaign, including the link to the donate page. When another blogger opines that non-U.S. citizens cannot contribute because of American law, the blogger responds in Norwegian,”I have in practice given money to Obama, I had done it.”

9. A blogger in Egypt who serves on the board of the Union of Arab Bloggers posts the solicitation letters he reports to regularly receive from the Obama campaign.127 “We as Arabs and Muslims” support the “Democratic party, compared to the Republican Party,” but notes his objection to the President’s stand on gay marriage.

WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION

Although GAI’s findings were most prominent with Obama for America, the “CCV loophole” is a problem across the political spectrum. The report found nearly half of Congress is at least vulnerable to fraud and foreign donations.

Of the 446 House and Senate members who have an online donation page, 47.3% do not require the three or four digit credit card security number (officially called the Card Verification Value, or the CVV) for Internet contributions.

During his run for U.S. Senate, then Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s campaign donation website didn’t have CVV protection. The protection was put in place in May 2012 after the campaign was over. The report alleges the connection to foreign websites could be a violation of the Federal Election Commission solicitation laws and at minimum put Rubio at risk for fraud in his campaign.

The Government Accountability Institute found considerable international interest in the Rubio campaign, including significant foreign traffic going to the website marcorubioforussenate.com. Links on foreign websites often took the form of videos that featured links to “donate” to the Rubio campaign.

Sukhia also mentioned the Rubio campaign in his anaylsis of the report.

“The Government Accountability Institute found considerable international interest in the Rubio campaign, including significant foreign traffic going to the website marcorubioforussenate.com.”

“GAI found numerous video links on foreign websites that featured running ads to “donate” to the Rubio campaign.”

Although campaigns may have CVV in place, organizations they take money from often times do not. For example, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has accepted more than $5.7 million from ActBlue, a fundraising organization that does not require U.S. citizenship verification or a CVV code when accepting contributions.

Because the problems of potential fraud due to a lack of CVV use are so widespread, GAI created a 50-state interactive map to show which members of Congress lack standard secure campaign donation websites.

SOLUTION FOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN

In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities.”

In this situation, the foreign donation problem coming from online sources can be solved and President Obama’s promise of transparency can be kept in one click by enabling all security protections and releasing the names and records on all transactions under $200 to verify Obama for America is a clean campaign operating within FEC law.

Overall, major reforms are needed to ensure foreign contributions are not interfering with or influencing elections in the United States.

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