Who Are The Factcheckers?

On Friday, Judicial Watch posted the following under its Corruption Chronicles section:

The recently appointed Facebook oversight board that will decide which posts get blocked from the world’s most popular social networking website is stacked with leftists, including a close friend of leftwing billionaire George Soros who served on the board of directors of his Open Society Foundations (OSF). Judicial Watch conducted a deep dive into the new panel that will make content rulings for the technology company that was slammed last year with a $5 billion fine for privacy violations. The information uncovered by Judicial Watch shows that the group of 20 is overwhelmingly leftist and likely to restrict conservative views. More than half of the members have ties to Soros, the philanthropist who dedicates huge sums to spreading a radical left agenda that includes targeting conservative politicians. Other Facebook oversight board members have publicly expressed their disdain for President Donald Trump or made political contributions to top Democrats such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. As one New York newspaper editorial determined this month, the new Facebook board is a “recipe for left-wing censorship.”

Among the standouts is András Sajó, the founding Dean of Legal Studies at Soros’ Central European University. Sajó was a judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for nearly a decade. He also served on the board of directors of OSF’s Justice Initiative. Sajó was one of the ECHR judges in an Italian case (Latusi v. Italy) that ruled unanimously that the display of a crucifix in public schools in Italy violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision was subsequently overturned. Sajó’s deep ties to Soros are also concerning. Through his OSF Soros funds a multitude of projects worldwide aimed at spreading a leftist agenda by, among other things, destabilizing legitimate governments, erasing national borders and identities, financing civil unrest and orchestrating refugee crises for political gain.  Incredibly, there is a financial and staffing nexus between the U.S. government and Soros’ OSF. Read about it in a Judicial Watch special report documenting how Soros advances his leftist agenda at U.S. taxpayer expense.

At least 10 other members of the Facebook oversight board are connected to leftist groups tied to Soros that have benefitted from his generous donations, according to Judicial Watch’s research. Alan Rusbridger, a former British newspaper editor and principal at Oxford University, serves on the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which received $750,000 from OSF in 2018. Rusbridger also served as a governor at a global thinktank, Ditchley Foundation, that co-hosted a conference with OSF on change in the Middle East and North Africa as well as understanding political Islam. Afia Asantewaa Sariyev, a human rights attorney, is the program manager at Soros’ Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Her research includes critical race feminism and socio-economic rights of the poor. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, an Indian lawyer and civil society activist, runs a progressive nonprofit called Centre for Law and Policy Research that focuses on transgender rights, gender equality and public health. The group is a grantee of a justice foundation that received $1.4 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018. Krishnaswamy’s Centre also received money from a radical pro-abortion group, Center for Reproductive Rights, generously funded by the OSF.

The list of Facebook judges connected to Soros and the organized left continues. Julie Owono is the executive director of a Paris-based nonprofit, Internet Sans Frontieres, that advocates for privacy and freedom of expression online. In 2018, Internet Sans Frontieres became a member of the Global Network Initiative, an internet oversight and policy consortium handsomely funded by Soros. Nighat Dad is a Pakistani attorney and the founder of the Digital Rights Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Pakistan that has received $114,000 in grants from OSF. Dad’s group also gets funding from Facebook Ireland. Ronaldo Lemos, a Brazilian law professor, served on the board of directors of the Mozilla Foundation, which collected $350,000 from OSF in 2016 and was also a board member at another group, Access Now, that also got thousands of dollars from Soros. Tawakkol Karman, a journalist and civil rights activist, sits on the advisory board of Transparency International, which gets significant funding from Soros’ OSF.

Rounding out the Soros-affiliated field on the new Facebook censorship board are Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Catalina Botero-Marino and Maina Kiai. Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark’s former prime minister, sits on the board of the European Council of Foreign Relations, which took in more $3.6 million from OSF in 2016 and 2017. She is also a trustee at the International Crisis Group which has collected over $8.2 million from OSF and includes George and Alexander Soros on its board. The former Danish prime minister is also a member of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board, which received approximately $325,000 from OSF in the last few years and the European Advisory Board of the Center for Global Development, which got north of half a million dollars from OSF in 2018. Botero-Marino is the dean of a Colombian law school called Universidad de Los Andes that obtained more than $1.3 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018, the records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Botero-Marino also sits on the panel of experts at Columbia University’s Global Freedom Expression Project, which gets funding from OSF, and she was a board member at Article 19, a group that got about $1.7 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018. Kiai is the director of the Global Alliances and Partnerships at Human Rights Watch, which accepted $275,000 from OSF in 2018. He is also a member of OSF’s Human Rights Initiative advisory board and was the founding executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which got $615,000 from Soros in the last two years.

Others on the Facebook board have slandered President Trump in social media posts and donated money to high-profile Democrats. Taiwanese communications professor Katherine Chen’s Twitter account includes retweets of numerous anti-Trump and pro-Obama posts and articles. Nicolas Suzor, a law professor in Australia, retweeted a column implicitly comparing Trump to Hitler and Columbia University law professor Jamal Greene has made campaign contributions to Obama, Hillary Clinton and Warren. Pro-Trump impeachment Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, who took a cheap shot at President Trump’s teenage son during the Brett Kavanaugh impeachment hearings, has also contributed money to Obama, Hillary Clinton and Warren. The new board has only a few token conservatives such as Stanford law professor Michael McConnell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. The overwhelming majority of those making Facebook’s “final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed,” are leftists. They represent a new model of content moderation that will uphold “freedom of expression within the framework of international norms of human rights.” Facebook’s economic, political or reputational interests will not interfere in the process, the company writes in its introduction to the new board. Eventually the board, which will begin hearing cases later this year, will double in size. “The cases we choose to hear may be contentious, and we will not please everyone with our decisions,” Facebook warns.

Make no mistake–this is about influencing the November elections. Millennials get their news from social media. If they vote (they have a very spotty voting record) based on what they see on social media, then social media becomes very influential. If social media is censoring the news, controlling the narrative, the decisions made by voters who depend on it will not be based on facts.

Good News About Life Expectancy In America

CBS News posted an article today stating that the average life expectancy in the United States has increased for the first time in four years.

The article reports:

Life expectancy in the United States is up for the first time in four years.

The increase is small — just a month — but marks at least a temporary halt to a downward trend. The rise is due to lower death rates for cancer and drug overdoses.

“Let’s just hope it continues,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The article notes:

Cancer is the nation’s No. 2 killer, blamed for about 600,000 deaths a year, so even slight changes in the cancer death rate can have a big impact. The rate fell more than 2%, matching the drop in 2017.

“I’m a little surprised that rapid pace is continuing,” said Rebecca Siegel, a researcher for the American Cancer Society.

Most of the improvement is in lung cancer because of fewer smokers and better treatments, she said.

Also striking was the drop in drug overdose deaths that had skyrocketed through 2017. The death rate fell 4% in 2018 and the number of deaths dropped to about 67,400.

Deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers went down. However, deaths from other drugs — fentanyl, cocaine and meth — continued to go up. And preliminary data for the first half of 2019 suggest the overall decline in overdose deaths is already slowing down.

It’s still a crisis, said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University researcher. “But the fact that we have seen the first year where there’s not an additional increase is encouraging.”

The article concludes:

Nationally, for all causes of death, more than 2.8 million Americans died in 2018. That’s about 26,000 more than the year before, the CDC report found. The number went up even as the death rate went down, because the population is growing and a large group consists of retirement age baby boomers.

Hopefully we can find a way to stem the plague of illegal drugs in America.

A Relevant Political Strategy?

Every Friday I have a brief conversation with Lockwood Phillips that airs on 107.1 WTKF some time between 6 and 7 pm. This week we talked about the Cloward-Piven political strategy. This strategy was developed by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven at Columbia University in May 1966. A description of the strategy was posted in the magazine “The Nation” with the title, “The weight of the poor: A strategy to end poverty.” I think ending poverty is a wonderful idea, although I don’t think it is possible. Deuteronomy 15:11 says, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” If you believe the Bible, we will always have poor people; it is our responsibility to treat them kindly and help them–not enable them to stay in poverty.

So what is the Cloward-Piven strategy to end poverty? It is a political plan to overload the U.S. public welfare system so that it collapses and then replace it with a system that provides a guaranteed annual income for everyone. Theoretically this will end poverty. Some of the people who have espoused this strategy are Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshall Davis, and George Soros. Many of these people were very instrumental in the political career of former President Barack Obama.

So let’s look at where our welfare system is now (the figures below are from 2015):

  • Roughly $1 trillion annually is given to more than 107 million Americans who receive some type of government benefits–not including Social Security, Medicare or unemployment
  • Before President Obama took office there were 26 million recipients of food stamps. In 2015, there were 47 million. The number peaked in 2013, at 47.6 million. In July 2017, the number was 42.6. Economic policies make a difference.

In 2012, Forbes posted the following about President Obama’s welfare society:

  • An increase of 18 million people, to 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps;
  • A 122 percent increase in food-stamp spending to an estimated $89 billion this year from $40 billion in 2008;
  • An increase of 3.6 million people receiving Social Security disability payments;
  • A 10 million person increase in the number of individuals receiving welfare, to 107 million, or more than one-third of the U.S. population;
  •  A 34 percent, $683 billion reduction in the adjusted gross income of the top 1 percent to $1.3 trillion in 2009 (latest data) from its 2007 peak.

And let’s not forget new entitlements like Obamacare, which will result in government expansion and expenditures by 2022 to the tune of:

  • Federal expenditures on Obamacare will total $2.3 trillion, a $1.4 trillion increase from the program’s initial estimates;
  • The combination of budget cuts and sequestration will reduce defense spending by $1 trillion, while total government spending will increase by $1.1 trillion;
  • Taxes will be increased by $1.8 trillion;
  • Yet, the national debt will increase by another $11 trillion.

The Heritage Foundation summarized well: “In 1964, programs for the poor consumed 1.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Today, spending on welfare programs is 13 times greater than it was in 1964 and consumes over 5 percent of GDP. Spending per poor person in 2008 amounted to around $16,800 in programmatic benefits.”

How will illegal immigration impact these numbers? What is the current financial situation of California? Do we want the financial situation in California to become the financial situation of America?

There are people in our government working behind the scenes to implement the Cloward-Piven strategy. The honestly believe that taking money from the people who earn it and giving it to the people who did not will end poverty. Most of the people working toward this goal are quite well off and somehow figure that their wealth will not be impacted. I guess if they succeed and are in control, it is possible that their wealth will not be impacted. Good luck to the rest of us.

 

Overloading The System

This post is one I don’t like writing. It reminds me of the phrase, “Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that someone isn’t out to get you.” I hate conspiracy theories. My brain isn’t complicated enough to put all the pieces together, but after a while it becomes difficult to ignore a recurring pattern.

The following is from a 2005 article posted at Discover the Networks. It explains the Cloward Piven approach to bringing about social change.

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the Cloward-Piven Strategy seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue an African American man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-PivenStrategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.

So how is this relevant to what is happening today? At some point when you examine the Obama Administration, you have to decide whether the failed policies are simply the result of a political ideology that doesn’t work, poor administration skills, or if they are by design. I am coming to the conclusion that they are by design.

Yesterday Human Events posted a story about the crisis of unaccompanied children pouring into America through our porous southern border.

The article reports:

There have been anecdotal reports of a message being spread throughout Central American countries, by everything from word-of-mouth gossip to news media: “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.”  (It will come as no surprise to learn that the Mexican government is not doing much to halt the train of amnesty-seekers headed for American soil.  On the contrary, corrupt Mexican officials are trying to get a cut of the profits from the refugee-smuggling trade.)

Two of the state hit hardest by this are Texas and Arizona–payback for being thorns in the side of the Obama Administration. But the point here is that this wave of children is going to overwhelm the federal government’s ‘safety net.’

Let’s look at some recent events and their impact on the morale of our military. Certainly the VA scandal does not make our military feel loved. What about the federal government’s effort to disarm returning veterans? (rightwinggranny.com) What about sending five high-ranking enemy combatants back to war while are troops are still in the battlefield? (Yes, I know they are in Qatar, but you can bet they are on the internet and in communication with their former comrades in arms.)

Let’s look at the impact of the Obama Administration on medicine and medical insurance in America. Premiums are skyrocketing while it is becoming more difficult to obtain care in a timely manner. It is very possible that ObamaCare will put medical insurance companies out of business and the insurance industry will not be able to be rebuilt after the disaster that is coming. The medical system will be overloaded with people who are not able to obtain care.

I don’t know if America will recover from the Obama Administration. If we do recover, it will be a long and difficult road back to prosperity. President Reagan was able to walk that road after one term of Jimmy Carter, but Jimmy Carter did not do the structural damage to America that President Obama is doing. Electing Republicans in November may lessen the damage, but when you consider President Obama’s lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution, his leaving office in January 2017 and being replaced by someone who does not share his political philosophy is really the only hope left for America.

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Taxpayer-Funded Inflation

Yesterday Smartmoney.com posted an article explaining how government student loans and grants have caused an increase in college tuition. The article points out that federal aid for college students has increased 164% over the past decade, but many potential students still find the cost of a college education unaffordable

The article points out:

Lesley Turner, a PhD candidate at Columbia University, looked at data on aid from 1996 to 2008 and calculated that, on average, schools increased Pell Grant recipients’ prices by $17 in response to every $100 of Pell Grant aid. More selective nonprofit schools’ response was largest and these schools raised prices by $66 for every $100 of Pell Grant aid.

The article further states:

After adjusting for differences among schools, the authors find that Title IV-eligible schools charge tuition that is 75% higher than the others. That’s roughly equal to the amount of the aid received by students at these schools.

Studies like these suggest that if one goal of government is to make college affordable, aid should become more thoughtful instead of merely more plentiful. And the total cost of federal spending on college isn’t fully known. That’s because spending on loans dwarfs that on grants. Student loans recently eclipsed credit card debt.

The article reminds us that with high unemployment and the unavailability of the high paying jobs that graduates need to pay off their college loans, the taxpayers could wind up paying the bill for a lot of college tuition loans.

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