Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Ted Turner, are conspicuously absent from the just released, Philanthropy 50, a list of the fifty most generous Americans published by Philanthropy.com. However, the aforementioned billionaires did not exhibit totally scrooge-like behavior in 2011.
Some of America’s biggest charitable donors don’t appear on the current Philanthropy 50 even though they were still writing big checks to charity. The list doesn’t include people who are paying off pledges made in previous years, and in 2011 several of the nation’s big donors were busy making payments, not new commitments. Among those philanthropists are Warren E. Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ted Turner.
Buffett honored a prior pledge (2006) to donate shares of his Berkshire Hathaway to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The value of the shares that Buffett donated in 2011 was nearly $1.5 billion.
In 2004 Bill and Melinda Gates pledged $3.3 billion to their foundation. In 2011 they contributed $67.9 million. According to Philanthropy.com “The couple has paid a total of more than $2.8-billion toward their 2004 commitment and have about $500-million remaining to pay on that pledge.”
Philanthropy.com also reported that Ted Turner continues to make good on his previous pledge.
Another big donor, Mr. Turner, gave $50-million to the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund in 2011. Mr. Turner made the donation through his Turner Global Foundation, which was established in 2004. The grant was payment toward a $1-billion pledge the philanthropist made in 1997 to establish the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund.
To date, the media mogul has paid slightly more than $900-million toward the pledge.
The late Margaret A. Cargill topped the list with a contribution valued at close to $6 billion. Click here to read how the Cargill Corp.’s sale of its huge position in Fertilizer giant Mosaic Corp. resulted in a windfall for Ms. Cargill’s charities.
The late William S. Dietrich II was “runner-up” on Philanthropy.com’s list. Dietrich, who died in October of 2011, donated about a $500 million to various causes, the largest of which was Carnegie Mellon University.
Among the living, Microsoft co-founder and Seattle sports franchise owner, Paul Allen, was the most generous American. Allen reached into his deep pockets for $372.6 million in new donations. Most of his charitable giving went to The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which supports arts and culture.
George Soros took the fourth slot. Some would argue that the $335 million Soros donatated to the Open Society Foundations is anything but a charitable contribution. Open Society describes itself as follows
The Open Society Institute works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, OSI seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSI builds alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. OSI places a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
However, Ron Arnold who is Executive Vice-President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, views Open Society somewhat differently. He publishes a blog called Undueinfluence.com. Arnold wrote this about Soros’s Open Society
A global network of dozens of Soros entities that have paid millions to overthrow governments in the Soviet Union, Serbia, Georgia, and the United States. The American agenda of Soros foundations has little system and is more a hodge-podge of Soros’ personal interests, which tend to be leftist provocations more than steady programs. His personal attitudes about America are very negative and he regards capitalism to be the major threat to the world, as he once regarded communism to be. Soros makes no secret of his beliefs: he has written several books including “The Bubble of American Supremacy” and “Reforming Global Capitalism.” The man who made it big because of America and capitalism now hates both and seeks to destroy them.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg rounds out the list of the five most generous Americans. As might be expected of a successful politician,
Hizzoner’s gifts were considerably less controversial than Mr. Soros’s. According to Philanthropy.com
Mr. Bloomberg, 69, gave a total of nearly $311.3-million to 1,185 nonprofits that support the arts, human services, public affairs, and other causes.
The famous, or infamous (depending on your point of view) Koch Brothers, Charles and David, failed to make this year’s Philanthropy 50. Their less famous (and much less wealthy) brother William was ranked #23. Charles and David Koch are ranked by Forbes as the 4th and 5th richest Americans, with each having a net worth of $25 billion. Black sheep William Koch is only worth $4 billion. Philanthrophy.com also notes that David Koch (William’s twin brother) has made their list four times since 2006.
The Walmart Waltons, Christy, Jim and Alice, who are ranked 6th, 9th and 10th on The Forbes List, with a combined net worth of $66 billion; also failed to make The Philanthropy 50.
“Delicious irony” is how Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank described the current state of affairs within the Republican Party. GOP leaders were ecstatic in 2010, when The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United vs The Federal Election Commission (FEC). Now having gotten what they wished for, some might be thinking that they should have wished for something else.
Citizens United, as they describe themselves on their website are:
an organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizens’ control. Through a combination of education, advocacy, and grass roots organization, Citizens United seeks to reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security.
Citizens United had challenged provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which has come be known as the Mcain-Feingold Act. Its sponsors were Republican Senator John McCain and former Democratic Senator, Russell Feingold. The effect of the ruling is that corporations and labor unions are no longer prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to fund advertisements in congressional or presidential elections. On January 22, 2010 the Washington Post wrote
The decision shakes the foundation of corporate limitations on federal and state elections that stretch back a century, and prompted sharp partisan reaction. Republican leaders, still celebrating Tuesday’s Senate upset in Massachusetts, cheered the ruling as a victory for free speech and predicted a surge in corporate support forGOP candidates in November’s midterm elections.
President Obama sharply criticized the ruling, however, calling it “a green light to a new stampede of special interest money,” and vowed to “develop a forceful response” with congressional leaders from both parties. The court’s decision was handed down on the same morning that Obama riled Wall Street by proposing tough new restrictions on the nation’s largest banks.
In a subsequent ruling on March 26, 2010, a three-judge U.S. District Court panel in Washington, ruled in favor of SpeechNow.org vs. FEC. That decision opened the floodgates for wealthy individuals to contribute enormous sums of money to their favorite SuperPacs. Wheras Citizens United made it easier for SuperPacs to spend money, Speechnow.org made it easier for them to collect money. Or to put it another way, it made it much easier for wealthy individuals to donate money.
Fast forward from Washington, DC, March 2010; to South Carolina, January 2012. Jon Huntsman Jr. marches on, parlaying his 3rd place (16.9%) performance in New Hampshire, into a quixotic attempt to siphon votes away from front runner Mitt Romney. There are reports that Huntsman is struggling to raise funds. Of course his campaign would have collapsed a long time ago, were it not for the backing it has received from Jon Huntsman Sr. The Wall Street Journal wrote today
One important supporter is Mr. Huntsman’s father, Jon Huntsman Sr., chairman of chemical giant Huntsman Corp. and a backer of Our Destiny PAC, a “Super PAC” boosting the Huntsman candidacy. The political action committee has made $2.4 million in expenditures so far, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group tracking such spending.
Huntsman Sr.’s Huntsman Container Corp. is credited with creating
the Big Mac “clamshell” container. Huntsman Sr.has also (according to Forbes) donated $1.2 billion to charity, over the course of his lifetime. There had been reports about a Huntsman family “drama” over whether Huntsman Sr. would tap into his vast resources to provide the kind of funding that Jr. will need if he going to mount a serious challenge, this year. (2016 anybody?)
Huntsman Sr. was one of the three billionaires that Polico.com was referring to in a piece that ran this week titled, “3 Billionaires Who’ll Drag Out The Race”.
Billionaire number two is Foster Friess. Politico reports that
Friess, a Wyoming mutual fund master, acknowledged to POLITICO that he is a major financial backer of a super PAC supporting Rick Santorum called the Red, White and Blue Fund and is preparing to give more, but declined to say how much he has given or plans to give.
While nobody is denying that Friess is extremely wealthy, his name is nowhere to be found on the Forbes List of Billionaires.
On the other hand, Newt Gingrich’s sugar daddy, sorry; political benefactor, Sheldon Adelson; is number 8 on The Forbes 400. He is only $.5 billion “poorer” than George Soros, and he’s $.6 billion richer than Jim Walton (Walmart).
On January 7, The Wahsington Post reported
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has given $5 million to an independent committee supporting GOP presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich, the first of what is expected to be many millions the Las Vegas billionaire plans to spend this election year.
The check from Adelson is the latest in an avalanche of campaign cash flooding the presidential season to independent groups known as Super PACs The check was cut on Friday to Winning Our Future, a group run by former Gingrich associates, according to two people close to the donor.
Thanks to Adelson’s generosity, South Carolinians are being treated to a barrage of anti Romney campaign ads that attempt to portray Romney and Bain Capital as corporate raiders. Winning our Future has also produced a 28-minute film about Romney called “King of Bain”.
Today The Washington Post had this to say about “King of Bain”
The 29-minute video “King of Bain” is such an over-the-top assault on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney that it is hard to know where to begin. It uses evocative footage from distraught middle-class Americans who allege that Romney’s deal-making is responsible for their woes. It mixes images of closed factories and shuttered shops with video clips of Romney making him look foolish, vain or greedy. And it has a sneering voice-over that seeks to push every anti-Wall Street button possible.
On the Post’s “The Fact Checker” Page, “King of Bain” was awarded the not-so-coveted “4 Pinnochios” rating. Click here to read why “The Fact Checker” Gave “King of Bain” 4 Pinnochios
Today Gingrich said, “I am calling for the Winning Our Future super PAC supporting me to either edit its ‘King of Bain’ advertisement and movie to remove its inaccuracies, or to pull it off the air and off the Internet entirely.”
The Wall Street Journal also reported that
Mr. Gingrich said Mr. Romney should also ask super PACs backing him to remove any ads that contain inaccuracies. Mr. Romney has said that he isn’t responsible for the ads of pro-Romney super PACs, which by law can’t coordinate with the candidate.
Last night Stephen Colbert spoke with former FEC Chairman, Trevor Potter. Potter told Colbert “you cannot be a candidate and run a SuperPac. That would be coordinating with yourself.” Then Colbert brought Jon Stewart. Colbert asked Stewart if he would take over the Colbert SuperPac. Stewart expressed concern because as he put it “You and I are business” partner. Potter put their minds at rest when he explained that “being business partners does not count as co-ordination, legally.” Colbert and Stewart then signed the one page document that is required to transfer control of the SuperPac, from one person to anohter. Then Stewart noted that he was busy and he asked Potter if he could hire Colbert’s former SuperPac employees to run the now “Stewart controlled SuperPac. Answer – “Yes.”…As long as they have no knowledge of Stephen’s plans.” Colbert concluded by announcing that he was running for the Presidency of “The United States of South Carolina…God Bless Citizens United!” Click here to watch Stephen Colbert talk about non-coordination of his SuperPac
So Ron Paul’s in bed with George Soros? That’s the take away from Daniel Greenfield in a column he wrote yesterday for frontpagemag.com titled “Ron Paul’s Soros Defense Plan”. Another blog, MarkAmerica.com quoting, Daniel Greenfield’s piece, ratchets up the rhetoric a whole “nother” notch, with this headline “Ron Paul: Soros Puppet?
The basis for Greenfield’s claim is this. Paul co-authored (with Barney Frank!) a Huffington Post editorial in July of 2010, that called for reduced military spending. In the Huffington piece, Paul and Frank introduced (and provide a link to) the Sustainable Defense Task Force.
The task force recommended a $trillion in defense cuts. Greenfield takes exception to Paul and Frank’s claim that the task force consisted of “experts on military expenditures that span the ideological spectrum”. Greenfield wrote, “The experts, however, didn’t quite “span the ideological spectrum” — more like float under it.”
I’m getting to the “Soros connection, keep reading!
Greenfield goes on to describe the task force as “The panel of experts who would decide how to best gut national defense”. He points to Lawrence J. Kolb who is affiliated with the Center for American Progress, and Miriam Pemberton of the Institute for Policy Studies.
If you want to know what the Center, the Foundation and the Institute all have in common, it’s Hungarian and smells like stale cabbage and the death of nations.
We all presumably know that George Soros is Hungarian.
Greentfield cites several other task force members with connections to Soros funded groups including: Christopher Hellman of the National Priorities Project (NPP). The mission of NPP, according to its website, is to make “complex federal budget information transparent and accessible so people can prioritize and influence how their tax dollars are spent.” Miriam Pemberton is also connected to the NPP. acording to Greenfield, “The man behind the curtain at NPP? (is) none other than our favorite Hungarian James Bond villain.” (Oh that’s right, Oddjob wasn’t Hungarian.)
Greenfield connects nine other members of The Sustainable Defense Task Force to groups linked to Soros. He then offers three suggestions as to “why Ron Paul would allow George Soros that much power and influence over America’s defense policy.”
1. Paul just didn’t do his homework
2. He knew and didn’t care, “that he had no objection to being part of a left-right alliance against the American Empire”.
3. Paul “put his (Soros’s) experts in charge of America’s defense policy”, because Soros (through a web of front organizations of course) paid for an ad during the 2008 primaries, which praised Paul’s opposition to the Iraq War.
Greenfield concludes with this
I’m not one to dabble in conspiracy theories, (Oh really?!) but when Soros pays for an ad praising you during the Republican primaries and then you put his experts in charge of America’s defense policy, then maybe some questions should be asked.
Greenfield’s report might not be as viral as The Dancing Baby, but considering the subject matter, it’s getting pretty good play. Most of it is supportive of Greenfield’s anti Paul, anti Soros views.
A post went up today on Ulsterman Report titled “Ron Paul Endorsed by George Soros “Blue Republican” Organization”. Here’s how the Blue Republicans identify themselves on their website
We are people who have never before thought of joining the Republican party, but are going to do so for one year to ensure that Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination for President in 2012.
Most of us identify as Democrats or Independents and/or supported Obama in 2008. We believe that on issues that matter most – war vs. peace (Iraq, Yemen etc.), civil liberties (Patriot Act etc.), and crony corporatism (bailouts etc.) – Obama has pursued a course similar to George Bush.
So how do we know that the Blue Republicans are another Soros front? Ulsterman.com explains
The term Blue Republican was coined by leftist Robin Koerner, who runs an organization called WatchingAmerica.com. The current cover story on the front page of that website is an article detailing how Barack Obama’s victory in 2012 is essential to saving the “American model” and draws heavily from a George Soros-sponsored Center forAmerican Progress study as proof. A WatchingAmerica linked article SAID THE FOLLOWING regarding Mr. Soros:
Hedge fund financier George Soros is actively advocating for freedom of the press and thespread of democracy through the Open Society Foundations.
Advertisers on the website include MSNBC and the Al Waref Institute – a pro-Muslim anti-Israel think tank based in Washington D.C. whose founder, Marah Bukai takes meetings with such figures as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It seems interesting then that an organization that appears quite hopeful to see Barack Obama re-elected in 2012, and is clearly linked to progressive anti-American globalist George Soros is simultaneously calling for Democrats to register as Republicans and support Ron Paul in the Republican primaries does it not?
Did you follow that? Robin Koerner runs an organization called WatchingAmerica.com. Watchingamerica.com posts a pro Obama piece that quotes a George Soros-sponsored Center forAmerican Progress study. (That’s true.) Therefore, Soros has endorsed Ron Paul, via “his” Blue Republican Organization.
It’s got to be true. I read it on the internet. And you know what else? If Ron Paul gets the nomination, Soros is going to be his running mate.
On November 21, The Financial Times published another call by George Soros, for the ECB to “Save the Eurozone”. Soros wrote
It is imperative that the ECB should not fail that test. The central bank must stop the bond run at all costs because it is endangering the stability of the single currency. The best way to do it in the near term is to impose a ceiling onthe yield of sovereign bonds issued by governments that follow responsible fiscal policies and are not subject to adjustment programmes. The ceiling could be initially fixed, at say 5 per cent, and lowered gradually as conditions permit. By standing ready to buy unlimited amounts the ECB would effectively turn the interest rate ceiling into a floor from which bond prices would gradually rise without the ECB actually having to buy unlimited amounts. That is what the Swiss government did successfully when it tied the franc to the euro at 120.
Raoul Ruparel, a researcher for the think tank “Open Europe”, wrote a comment in which he expressed his opposition to the Soros plan.
Ruparel’s view is that “Greater intervention by the ECB raises more problems than it solves.” Ruparel said:
Without a clear mechanism for winding down the ECB bond purchases, it becomes impossible to imagine a situation where the ECB could end its bond buying programme without causing huge market distortions.
Ruparel argues that
German fears over hyperinflation cannot be seen as an anomaly – it is a political reality that goes to the heart of the German post-world war settlement. The day the ECB is turned into a politicised lender of last resort, may also be the day when the Germans start to seriously question whether they wish to be a part of the single currency.
Previously, Soros said, European leaders “held a bazooka in their
hands” which they could use to shoot down the debt crisis.
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