Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Clinton shell corporation “WJC, LLC” allowed non-disclosure of speaking fee revenue amounts

Hillary Clinton: secretive, entitled, hypocritical

Hillary Clinton: secretive, entitled, hypocritical

This is from James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal.

First, about the “pass-through” / “shell” corporation:

If the Clintons had any wit, they’d have called it Everyday Americans LLC. The Associated Press reports that last week’s financial disclosures by inevitable Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “omit a company with no apparent employees or assets that the former president [the candidate’s husband] has legally used to provide consulting and other services, but which demonstrates the complexity of the family’s finances.”

The company is known as WJC LLC. The first set of initials stand for William Jefferson Clinton, the second for limited liability company. As the Small Business Administration website explains, an LLC “is a hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.” An LLC doesn’t pay corporate income tax but rather passes profits along to its “members” (owners) as personal income.

There’s no evidence the Clintons failed to comply with the applicable laws in this matter. “Under federal ethics disclosure rules, declared candidates do not have to report assets worth less than $1,000,” the AP reports. Since WJC LLC is a “shell” or “pass-through,” which holds no assets, it falls short of that threshold by roughly a grand. The rules require Mrs. Clinton only “to identify the source of her spouse’s income and confirm that he received more than $1,000,” which she did in at least one case that “surfaced in emails from Bill Clinton’s aides to the [State] department’s ethics officials.”

But because there is no obligation to disclose how much money the spouse earned, “the precise amounts of Bill Clinton’s earned income from consulting have not been disclosed, and it’s not known how much was routed through WJC, LLC.” More is known about the Clintons’ extravagant speaking fees—“as much as $50 million” for him during her tenure as secretary of state—which went directly to them or the Clinton Foundation.

But that’s not all! When Hillary was Secretary of State, her department approved arms deals (SALE OF WEAPONS) to parties who made donations to her Clinton Foundation.

Amazing:

Graver for the Clintons is a report yesterday from David Sirota and Andrew Perez of the International Business Times. (Sirota is the left-wing author who enjoyed a dubious 15 minutes of fame in 2013 when he penned a piece for Salon titled “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American.”)

Sirota and Perez report that they found “dozens of arms sales,” worth $165 billion, that were “approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department” and “placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire.” In some cases, the sellers of the armaments were also Clinton Foundation donors. The report opens with this example:

Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East.

Israeli officials were agitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region’s fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department’s documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.

But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At a press conference in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for [Mrs.] Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”

These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing—the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15—contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

Sirota and Perez also cite fishy-looking speaking fees to Mr. Clinton, such as $175,000 from the Kuwait America Foundation “paid in the same time frame as a series of deals Hillary Clinton’s State Department was approving between the Kuwaiti government and Boeing.”

And now, there are connections between the Clinton Foundation and the FIFA scandal that’s now in the news.

The radically leftist Daily Beast:

Both Bill Clinton and his family’s charity have been tied to soccer’s governing body, as well as Qatar’s disastrous World Cup bid.

And just like that, another Clinton Foundation donor is in the news.

The Clinton global charity has received between $50,000 and $100,000 from soccer’s governing body and has partnered with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on several occasions, according to donor listings on the foundation’s website.

Several top FIFA executives were arrested Wednesday in Zurich and face corruption charges stretching back two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Involvement with the embattled body extends beyond the foundation to Bill Clinton himself. The former president was an honorary chairman of the bid committee put together to promote the United States as a possible host nation for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

When the U.S. lost the 2022 bid to Qatar, Clinton was rumored to be so upset he shattered a mirror.

But apparently Qatar tried to make it up to him.

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, partnering with the State of Qatar, “committed to utilizing its research and development for sustainable infrastructure at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to improve food security in Qatar, the Middle East, and other arid and water-stressed regions throughout the world,” according to the Clinton Foundation website.

The cost of the two-year project is not listed on the Clinton Foundation website, but the Qatar 2022 committee gave the foundation between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2014 and the State of Qatar gave between $1 million and $5 million in previous, unspecified years.

FIFA, which has never been a bastion of ethics, was heavily criticized for awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar, respectively, in part because of their abysmal human-rights records.

The Guardian reported in 2013 about “appalling labor abuses,” including possible forced labor and worker death on Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure projects. It is also considered to be too hot to play soccer in Qatar in the summer.

Seriously, is Hillary Clinton the kind of person we want to sent to the White House?

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New study: voucher program improved odds of poor students graduating by 21 percent

The Daily Signal reports on the study.

Excerpt:

Private school choice initiatives have become increasingly common across the United States. Far from being rare and untested, private school choice policies are an integral part of the fabric of American education policy.

In the United States today, 56 different school choice policies exist in 28 states plus the District of Columbia, and the number of choice policies has approximately doubled every four years from 2000 to 2012.

The District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program remains the nation’s only federally sponsored private school choice initiative. It provides scholarships worth up to $8,000 in grades K-8 and $12,000 in high school to low-income children in D.C. to attend any of more than 50 participating private schools.

When the Opportunity Scholarship Program was launched in 2004, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences selected me to lead the initial government evaluation of this pilot program in parental school choice. Demand for scholarships exceeded supply, so most applicants faced a lottery to determine if they would receive an Opportunity Scholarship, permitting us to use a “gold standard” experimental research design to determine what impact the program had on participants.

Students in our pioneering study graduated from high school at a rate 21 percentage points higher than they otherwise would have as a result of using an Opportunity Scholarship. In scientific terms, we are more than 99 percent confident that access to school choice through the Opportunity Scholarship Program was the reason students in the program graduated at these much higher rates.

But that’s just one program, how about some others?

My research team similarly found the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program significantly increased the rates of high school graduation, college enrollment and persistence in college for the low-income students participating in our nation’s oldest urban private school choice program.

Researchers at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution determined that a privately funded K-12 scholarship program in New York City significantly increased the rate at which black and immigrant students enrolled in college. Increasingly and consistently, researchers are finding that private school choice programs like the Opportunity Scholarship Program enable students to go farther in school.

It is so good for the poor, minority children if we let their parents get money for school tuition directly. We should let parents make the choice about which school is best for their child. But, Democrats oppose school choice, because they want their allies in the teacher unions to be insulated from competition from better-performing private schools.

Look how the Democrats have fought to kill the D.C. voucher program. They talk about helping poor kids, but they don’t really mean it. And note, that article is written by ultra-leftist Democrat Juan Williams, but even he cares more about poor, minority kids getting an education than the Obama administration does.

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Clinton-appointed judge rules that pro-life license plates are “patently offensive”

New York pro-life license plate

New York pro-life license plate

Here’s an interesting story from The Daily Caller. (H/T Mary from Marin)

It says:

A new decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals holds that New York’s state government has the right to ban “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that such a statement is “patently offensive.”

The dispute stems from a now-suspended program offered by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which allowed private organizations to create custom license plates. If drivers purchased the plates, the purchasing price was split between the DMV and the non-profit.

The Children First Foundation (CFF), an organization promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion, submitted a design for a “Choose Life” license plate, which featured a drawing of two children’s faces in front of a yellow sun.

The proposed plate was rejected, with the DMV citing a policy that allows it to ban “patently offensive” plates in order to prevent incidents of road rage. The “patently offensive” category in U.S. speech is typically related to public obscenity laws, and allows for limitations on things like the public display of pornography or other materials that blatantly violate community standards.

Judge Rosemary Pooler, a Clinton appointee, agreed with New York’s position in her majority opinion. She took this view even though she also ruled that license plates are private speech subject to First Amendment protections. Despite these protections, however, she said that so many New Yorkers could find a plate advocating an anti-abortion position “patently offensive” that the DMV was justified in suppressing the speech.

I want to focus in on the life of the judge who made the decision.

I found her biography on Wikipedia. Look at how successful she was:

Rosemary Pooler was born in New York City. She earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1959, an M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Following graduation from law school, Pooler entered private law practice in Syracuse, New York. In 1972, she was appointed as Director of the Consumer Affairs Unit in the Syracuse Corporation Counsel’s Office, serving in that post for a year. From 1974 to 1975, she served on the Syracuse City Council. In 1975, she was appointed as Chairman of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, serving until 1980. The following year, she was appointed to the state Public Service Commission. In 1987, she served as a committee staff member for the New York State Assembly. Following a stint on the law faculty at Syracuse University College of Law, she served for a year as Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Atlantic States Legal Foundation.

In 1986, Rosemary Pooler decided to run for the United States House of Representatives. She challenged conservative Republican incumbent George C. Wortley, who was seeking a fourth term. She campaigned aggressively and came within less than 1,000 votes of winning.

In 1990, she was elected as a Justice for the Fifth Judicial District of the Supreme Court of New York. Four years later, she was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton, serving from 1994 to 1998, as federal district judge in the Northern District of New York. She received her current appointment as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998.

So, this license plate case, along with many of the other issues that I blog about, is the problem. What is the solution to all these problems? The solution is for us as Christians to get serious about our education, our work experience, our earning and saving, and our marriages and parenting in order to have an influence. We need to be the judges who make these decisions about whether pro-life license plates are legal or illegal. Failing that, our children need to be the judges. And that means that when it comes to education and career, instead of doing what makes us feel happy we have to work hard at having an influence. And when it comes to marriage, we should look at it less as something that is feelings-directed and happiness-focused, and more about making it serve God by raising influential, effective children.

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After a tough fight to take Ramadi, Obama hands it back to Islamic State

Control of Iraq (click for larger image)

Control of Iraq (click for larger image)

(Source: Political Geography Now)

First, let’s start with and article from Breitbart News about Obama’s retreat from Iraq:

There is no commitment to America’s fighting men and women that President Barack Obama has not broken. When he ran for office in 2008, he promised to leave a residual force in Iraq to secure that country against external meddling and internal collapse. When he took office, President George W. Bush handed over a relatively stable and secure Iraq, thanks to the “surge” Obama opposed, and thanks to the sacrifices made by thousands of Americans, killed and wounded in battle.

Yet in 2011, Obama withdrew all combat troops–which is likely what he intended to do all along–and left Iraq before the job was done, allowing terrorists to regroup and sectarian rivalries to re-emerge. By pulling out troops, he also removed the only remaining strategic threat to the Iranian regime. Today, ISIS is running rampant across the region, and he and his sycophants assure the American people that they are winning the war against the “junior varsity” terrorist caliphate.

[…]“I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama says. That is because he has won, politically. But our troops paid the price.

Now an article from famous war journalist Michael Fumento, in Investors Business Daily.

He writes:

Ramadi is a city of vast importance, both strategic and symbolic. It’s the city that al-Qaida in Iraq chose as its headquarters, and it became the most fiercely contested area in the country. It’s why SEAL Team 3 of “American Sniper” fame was stationed there and became the most decorated SEAL unit since Vietnam.

Many experts consider the Battle of Ramadi and the “Anbar Awakening,” engineered by Capt. Travis Patriquin, the actual turning point of the war. Patriquin — who a few months after briefing me on his brilliant plan was killed in Ramadi — got the Sunni chieftains to join the Americans and Iraqi security forces to defeat al-Qaida.

Yet, bizarrely, the Obama administration wrote off Ramadi last month, declaring that defense of an oil refinery took precedence — as if we couldn’t do both. (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey claimed, “It has no symbolic meaning.” Now Dempsey says Islamic State “gains in Ramadi are a serious setback for its long-suffering inhabitants.”)

In any event, within days the refinery was out of danger. Yet, the administration still refused to defend Ramadi.

[…]…[O]n no day previously did the U.S. launch more than a handful of sorties in defense of Ramadi, and on many days it flew none.

Yet, area assets include hundreds of strike aircraft, most of which can fly several sorties a day. These comprise F-16s, F-15s, F-22s, A-10s, B-1 heavy bombers, helicopters, and Reaper and Predator drones among U.S. forces, plus aircraft of 11 other coalition nations.

A single Reaper can carry a mix of 14 bombs and missiles, meaning it’s capable of that many airstrikes. Cruise missiles are also in theater, and the U.S. can hit with heavy B-52 and B-2 bombers from anywhere in the world.

Yet with this massive armada and with assets on the ground to help identify targets, the administration seems unable to find and strike more than a handful of targets daily. A machine gun here, a truck there. By comparison, during the 1968 siege of Khe Sanh, American aircraft dropped roughly 1,300 tons of bombs daily — five tons each day for every North Vietnamese soldier besieging the base.

But it’s not just Ramadi that Obama has neglected. Fact is, the so-called air war against IS is a fraud. Rarely are more than a couple of dozen targets struck in a day throughout both Iraq and Syria.

Obama is simply keeping U.S. air power grounded.

[…]…[G]enerally, Obama seems simply clueless when it comes to prosecuting war, stuck at pre-school level. (Even grade-schoolers know that bombs are worthless unless you actually drop them.)

This is as bewildering as Obama’s trading the top five Taliban in captivity for one American deserter, as I wrote in these pages last June.

It’s time for Congress and the presidential candidates to make this an issue. Alas, for Ramadi it’s too late. IS has scored a huge coup and the slaughter of our allies already has begun.

This is why it’s important when you elect a President that you elect one who understands the value of projecting military force and the threat of military force abroad. The next time we get attacked by terrorists trained in Iraq, maybe then we will realize the cost of abandoning the crossroads of the Middle East to the enemy. You can’t just end a war by unilaterally backing out of it, because it sounds nice. That’s how you lose a war. To win a war, you have to be decisive, use overwhelming force, and stay on until the region is stabilized.

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A friend from Ireland reports on their referendum on same-sex marriage

Ireland 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

Ireland 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

I got an e-mail from a friend in Ireland about the referendum they just had where the pro-marriage side lost by a margin of 62-38.

He writes:

Hope you don’t mind the link suggestions but I’ve listed some interesting articles from the marriage referendum in Ireland. I’m from the North part of Ireland so I couldn’t vote but some of the vitriol and hatred from the so-called “tolerant” left was absolutely vile. From “all the no voters should be murdered” to “why don’t all you no voters jump into a well”, it was fairly clear to see just what the true colours were.

The slogans all around the country were “marriage equality for all”. By hijacking the term “equality”, this effectively suggested that any naysayers are just vile, intolerant bigots. It wouldn’t be like the secular left to shut down discussion now would it?

[…]What I think you may be interested in is the sheer scale of the bullying that went on here. “Vote No” posters were ripped down, eggs were thrown at no campaigners and a young child was even hurt at a demonstration. Virtually all discussion was closed and no debate was allowed with respect to the politicians. All parties were enforcing the whip and any dissenters would no doubt be expelled from the party. Then you have to throw in the huge corporations that have offices in Ireland like Google, Microsoft and Twitter. They all have policies which promote diversity and inclusion so how would any no-voters who happen to be employees of these companies feel when their employer takes a political stance?

He understands the problem with the redefinition of marriage so that it is based on “love” rather than a lifelong commitment centered around producing and raising children:

What frustrates me about this slogan is that they absolutely were not about “marriage equality for all”. They still place limits on marriage such as close relatives, young children or indeed other topologies of relationship such as polyamory.

It seems to be that marriage in Ireland from this point forward is just some genderless institution for the purposes of validating love. Perhaps the government will introduce some means-testing to ensure that the love of those involved really is valid!

Yes, that’s the problem with love, it comes and goes. And that’s why male-male and female-female relationships are so short lived. If marriage is about feelings of love and self-fulfillment, rather than the needs of the children you make to have a mom and a dad who love them and care about them, then it does not last. Period. (Aside: and that’s why you never marry a woman who rejects responsibilities, expectations, and obligations for fun and thrills!)

Here are his three links:

  1. Ireland’s ‘tolerant’ elite now demonise anyone who opposes gay marriage
  2. Ireland’s gay marriage vote was never an equal contest
  3. Asking questions about funding for referendum campaign

I had already read the first two, but not the third. I really recommend reading the first one, so you can reflect on where your money is going when you choose to patronize big corporations, and when you vote for parties on the secular left, as many Christians do.

Just briefly from the first:

The president, Michael D Higgins, and the prime minister, Enda Kenny, back gay marriage. So does virtually every politician. Indeed, the main parties are enforcing the party whip on gay marriage, meaning any Senator or TD who votes against it is likely to be expelled from his or her party. According to the Irish Independent, even politicians who harbour ‘reservations about this major legislative change’ are not speaking out, ‘for fear of disobeying the party whip’.

[…]The public sector also backs gay marriage. It’s apparently being strongarmed to do so. According to one dissenting politician — the only one — ‘agencies who receive state funding are being pressured [by officials] into supporting a Yes vote’.

Silicon Valley is fully behind Yes: Twitter, Google and eBay have all come out for gay marriage. Twitter’s Irish boss says a Yes victory will enhance ‘Ireland’s international reputation’ — another way of saying that if you vote No, you are damaging your own country. Even the police are saying Yes: the Garda Representative Association caused a stir by calling on its members to support gay marriage, leading some to wonder if it’s right for coppers to stick their truncheons into politics.

So, the armed wing, political wing and chattering wing of the Irish elite is behind Yes.

The second article mentions that U.S.-based gay activist groups bankrolled the Yes side effort:

I suppose it is possible that the vote would have been quite as conclusive – roughly 60:40 – if the debate had not been both staggeringly one-sided and the Yes campaign had not been bankrolled so overwhelmingly by US pressure groups. Certainly the youth vote would have gone that way anyway.

[…]But one of its in-house dissidents – the impression of balance is desirable – is Breda O’Brien, a Catholic commentator, who rather put the cat among the pigeons with a piece on 9 May on the funding for the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) and other lobby groups by a US organisation called Atlantic Philanthropies. The striking thing about the donations was not just their size – $4.7 million to Glen in 2005-11, nearly $475,000 to Marriage Equality; some $11.5 million to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, 2001-213 – but that they refer to years before the referendum debate got under way. I can’t wait to see the actual figures for the campaign itself. By comparison the No campaign got by, I gather, on a shoestring budget of about 200,000 euros.

So when friends of mine found that when they entered a shopping centre in Limerick by one entrance on Thursday and left from the other, they were bombarded with leaflets from the Yes campaign, there was a reason for it besides spontaneous enthusiasm. One side could afford a PR campaign; the other couldn’t, though the papers heroically made the most of the tiny-by-comparison sums that US Christians put the way of the No campaign. The motives of Google for entering the fray are probably similar to those that made it take sides on the issue in the US; the referendum was on Friday, and you couldn’t open their bloody homepage without being told it was in favour of marriage equality.

The third article he mentioned talks about how well gay activist organizations were funded. While Christians are giving away billions to feed the hungry and help the poor, our freedom to speak and practice our religion was being removed by groups with very different priorities.

My friend writes, in a second e-mail:

If I was a blogger here I’d be asking three things this morning…
  1. If marriage is now a genderless institution focused only on adult love, is the government going to propose a new institution that is solely focused on children?
  2. If marriage is now purely about a validation of love then wouldn’t it be wise of the government to consider investigating the depth and sincerity of this love before before handing out marriage licences? They surely wouldn’t want to validate a relationship where the two parties weren’t really in love. Some sort of means-test perhaps? /irony
  3. Given the slogans aiming for marriage equality for all, at which point does the government plan to remove the current limits that restrict marriage to two persons?

My question would be this: when will Christians realize that they are under attack and start redirecting funds to pro-marriage groups rather than anti-poverty groups and big government? That money could have been used to fight back in Ireland, but instead Christians just seem to have their heads in the sand on how the world really works.

And finally, I want to add one more article to his list, about a baker in Northern Ireland who was fined for refusing to bake a cake that celebrated same-sex marriage.

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