How will the Robo cop / soldiers know you are a friendly? Yep. You have the chip.
Government wants ‘health’ benefits from nanosensors
The U.S. military wants to plant nanosensors in soldiers to monitor health on future battlefields and immediately respond to needs, but a privacy expert warns the step is just one more down the road to computer chips for all.
“It’s never going to happen that the government at gunpoint says, ‘You’re going to have a tracking chip,’” said Katherine Albrecht, who with Liz McIntyre authored “Spychips,” a book that warns of the threat to privacy posed by Radio Frequency Identification.
“It’s always in incremental steps. If you can put a microchip in someone that doesn’t track them … everybody looks and says, ‘Come on,’” she said. “It’ll be interesting seeing where we go.”
According to a report at Mobiledia, the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has confirmed plans to create nanosensors to monitor the health of soldiers on battlefields.
The devices also would report data to doctors. But privacy analysts have expressed concern that the implants could be used not just to monitor health but to keep track of and possibly control people.
DARPA describes the technology on which it is working as “a truly disruptive innovation,” which would diagnose, monitor vital states and “even deliver medicine into the bloodstream.”
According to LiveScience.com, “Solving the problem of sickness could have a huge impact on the number of soldiers ready to fight, because far more have historically died due to illness rather than combat.”
The report suggested that for special forces, “the practical realization of implantable nanosensors capable of monitoring multiple indicators of physiological state could be a truly disruptive innovation.”
Already being researched is the concept of nanosensors diagnosing disease.
DARPA expects to launch a second effort focused on treatment later this year.
Albrecht said the move is another step in the trip down the road of having every person implanted with a chip that might very well monitor health but also other areas of life.
Microchipping, she said, already is “par for the course” for pets in many parts of the nation, and that acceptance will make it easier to require it for people.
She said it was expected that captive audiences, such as prisoners and troops, would be the first subjected to the requirement, which would make it easier for the general populace to accept it as well.
“It’s interesting,” she said. “I’m stunned how this younger generation is OK. They don’t see the problem. … ‘Why wouldn’t everyone want to be tracked?’”
But she said Americans will have to decide to say no to incremental advances, or by the time officials finally roll out the idea of chips for all, whether they want them or not, it will be too late to decide.
“The analogy that I draw is [that of a train], and if I’m in California and I do not want to wind up in New City, every stop brings me closer,” she said. “At some point I have to get off the train.”
Albrecht also has helped develop and launch a new project called StartPage, which now is handling some 2 million search requests per day.
The benefit of the page is its privacy. The site explains that every time a person uses a typical search program such as Google, “your search data is recorded.”
“Then they store that information in a giant database,” she explains.
As a result, corporate America and the government have access to “a shocking amount of personal information about you, such as your interests, family circumstances, political leanings, medical conditions and more
WND reported previously that owners of pets have reported cancer in their animals after microchipping. The report documented how a dog developed a highly aggressive cancer right at the point where a chip was embedded.
Albrecht told the story of another dog, a 5-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Scotty that was diagnosed with cancer in Memphis, Tenn. Scotty developed a tumor between his shoulder blades, in the same location where the microchip had been implanted. The tumor the size of a small balloon – described as malignant lymphoma – was removed. Scotty’s microchip was embedded inside the tumor.
Verichip, a major manufacturer of the microchip implants, touts the technology’s capability to identify a lost pet and enable its return home, while dismissing potential health risks.
“Over the last 15 years,” stated the VeriChip website, “millions of dogs and cats have safely received an implantable microchip with limited or no reports of adverse health reactions from this life-saving product, which was recently endorsed by the USDA. These chips are a well-accepted and well-respected means of global identification for pets in the veterinary community.”
WND also reported there were warnings about a radio chip plan that would allow identification of individuals by government agents simply by walking through an assembly.
The proposal, which was supported by Janet Napolitano, the chief of the Department of Homeland Security, would embed radio chips in driver’s licenses, or “enhanced driver’s licenses.”
“Enhanced driver’s licenses give confidence that the person holding the card is the person who is supposed to be holding the card, and it’s less elaborate than REAL ID,” Napolitano said in a Washington Times report.
REAL ID was a plan for a federal identification system standardized across the nation that so alarmed governors many states have adopted formal plans to oppose it. However, a privacy advocate today told WND that the EDLs are many times worse.
WND also previously has reported on such chips when hospitals used them to identify newborns, a company desired to embed immigrants with the electronic devices, a government health event showcased them and when Wal-Mart used microchips to track customers.
Or we could just vote him out….
Hollywood producer heard Bill Clinton say Obama ineligible
Insider in Hillary’s 2008 campaign points to ‘original birthers’
A successful Hollywood producer who had an insider’s view of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign claims she heard Bill Clinton say that Barack Obama is not eligible to be president.
Bettina Viviano – who started her own film production company in 1990 after serving as vice president of production for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment – told WND that it was common knowledge among delegates committed to Hillary that the Clintons believed Obama was constitutionally ineligible and that Bill Clinton would eventually disclose his belief to the public.
The Clintons were the original “birthers,” Viviano told WND in an interview in Los Angeles.
“Everybody who has called this a conspiracy from the Republicans or the tea party, they need to know who started it – the Democrats,” she said.
“It was Hillary and Bill, and it percolated up from there,” said Viviano, who had access to the campaign through a documentary she produced on the claims of delegates that Obama and the Democratic National Committee were stealing the nomination from Hillary.
As WND reported, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his team investigating Obama’s eligibility believe there is probable cause that the documents released by the White House as Obama’s long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration form are forgeries.
Viviano said that she was on a conference phone call during the primary season in the spring of 2008 in which she heard Bill Clinton refer to Obama as ineligible for the presidency.
In the course of the phone conversation with Hillary delegates, she recalled, Bill Clinton spoke of Obama as “the non-citizen.”
“In the world we were in, with [Hillary's] super-delegates and delegates, it just was, ‘He’s not legit – that’s the end of it, period, end of story.’ It wasn’t up for discussion,” Viviano said.
Michele Thomas, a Hillary campaigner from Los Angeles, confirmed to WND that she learned from “many people who were close to Hillary” that Obama “was not eligible to be president.”
Thomas led a nationwide petition drive among delegates to force a vote on Hillary’s nomination at the convention after then-DNC Chairman Howard Dean announced her name would not be put into nomination and Obama would be declared the winner by unanimous acclamation.
Viviano said that it was understood that Bill Clinton would eventually go public with his contention that Obama was ineligible for the presidency.
“He, I believe, was frothing at the mouth to tell the truth about Obama,” she said.
In the meantime, she recalled, the former president would make ironic references in public in which he “teetered” on revealing he position.
“He would go on camera,” Viviano said, “and jokingly make comments about, you know, ‘Is Obama qualified to be president? Well, if he’s 35 and a wink, wink, United States citizen, I guess he’s qualified.’”
She claimed, however, that Bill Clinton’s intention to unequivocally state to the public that Obama was ineligible was stopped in its tracks by the murder of a close friend of the Clintons, Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney, just two weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Gwatney was killed Aug. 13, 2008, when a 50-year-old man entered Democratic Party headquarters in Little Rock and shot him three times. Police killed the murderer after a chase, and investigators found no motive.
The Clintons said in a statement that they were “stunned and shaken” by the killing of their “cherished friend and confidante.”
Viviano said a campaign staffer who was close to Hillary, whose name she requested be withheld for security reasons, told her Gwatney’s murder was a message to Bill Clinton.
“I was told by this person that that was ‘Shutupsville, or you’re next,’” she said.
The campaign adviser, according to Viviano, said that despite the intimidation and threats, Bill Clinton was prepared to speak out about Obama’s eligibility
“And then,” Viviano said, paraphrasing the staffer, “they went in and said, ‘OK, it’s your daughter, now, we’ll go after.’
“And then Bill never said anything.”
Others in the campaign who believe Gwatney’s murder was a message to the Clintons think it had to do with the fact that Gwatney was resisting an effort by the Obama campaign and the party to intimidate Hillary delegates into voting for Obama.
But Viviano argues that California delegates also were rebelling, and she says her source told her the same story two years later.
Since the 2008 campaign, Clinton has insisted publicly that Obama is eligible for the White House.
He weighed in on the issue in an April 2011 interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” when Donald Trump was urging Obama to release his long-form birth certificate to the public.
“If I were them, I’d be really careful riding that birther horse too much,” Clinton said. “Everyone knows it’s ludicrous.”
‘I had never voted in my life’
When Viviano headed production for Spielberg, her credits included the second and third “Back to the Future” films, “Cape Fear,” “Land Before Time,” “Schindler’s List,” “Always,” “Roger Rabbit” and the third “Indiana Jones” film.
She launched her own production and management company, Viviano Entertainment, in 1990. Her movies include “Three to Tango” and “Jack and Jill,” starring Adam Sandler.
Viviano was plunged into the world of campaign politics in 2008 as an admitted neophyte when Hollywood screenwriter and director Gigi Gaston asked her to produce a documentary called “We Will Not Be Silenced” on allegations of voter fraud against Hillary Clinton by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
“I had never voted in my life. I wasn’t a Democrat, I wasn’t a Republican. I wasn’t anything,” Viviano said. “I didn’t know anything about any of this.”
Viviano said that when she and her co-workers informed Hillary campaigners that they were making a film about voter fraud, “the floodgates opened.”
“I mean, everybody had a story to tell about death threats, threats, intimidation, document falsifying, vandalism, property theft,” she said. “It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Viviano said that in research for the film, allegations and evidence that Obama was not eligible “came up immediately.”
“We were getting hit with so many things about Obama,” she said. “This is when (Bill) Ayers and (Rashid) Khalidi were in the news, and then, all of a sudden, ‘Oh, and he’s not eligible to be president.’”
Viviano insisted to WND that her reason for speaking out now was not related to the fact that Obama beat Hillary.
“It’s not about Hillary,” she said. “It’s about No. 1, I’m American, I live in a country where there is a Constitution and a set of laws. I also have somebody in the White House who has lied, obfuscated, provided what we all know to be forged documents about who he is.”
She acknowledges that she could jeopardize her Hollywood career.
“What can you do?” she said. “It’s my country. My dad fought for this country in World War II in the 82nd Airborne.”
Her late father, she noted, was shot down twice during the war and was awarded two Purple Hearts.
“I think, would he rather have me sitting in the corner cowering, and afraid of people, or would he rather have me tell the truth and what I saw?”
Read the preliminary findings of Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigation after six months investigating Obama’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president in “A Question of Eligibility,” co-authored by Jerome Corsi and Mike Zullo.
Previous stories: HERE
Declares president’s use of military without approval ‘high crime, misdemeanor’
Let the president be duly warned.
Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., has introduced a resolution declaring that should the president use offensive military force without authorization of an act of Congress, “it is the sense of Congress” that such an act would be “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.”
Specifically, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution reserves for Congress alone the power to declare war, a restriction that has been sorely tested in recent years, including Obama’s authorization of military force in Libya.
In an exclusive WND column, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo claims that Jones introduced his House Concurrent Resolution 107 in response to startling recent comments from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
“This week it was Secretary of Defense Panetta’s declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he and President Obama look not to the Congress for authorization to bomb Syria but to NATO and the United Nations,” Tancredo writes. “This led to Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., introducing an official resolution calling for impeachment should Obama take offensive action based on Panetta’s policy statement, because it would violate the Constitution.”
In response to questions from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., over who determines the proper and legal use of the U.S. military, Panetta said, “Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would … come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress – I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”
“Well, I’m almost breathless about that,” Sessions responded, “because what I heard you say is, ‘We’re going to seek international approval, and then we’ll come and tell the Congress what we might do, and we might seek congressional approval.’ And I just want to say to you that’s a big [deal].”
Asked again what was the legal basis for U.S. military force, Panetta suggested a NATO coalition or U.N. resolution.
Sessions was dumbfounded by the answer.
“Well, I’m all for having international support, but I’m really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat,” Sessions said. “They can provide no legal authority. The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the United States military is of the Congress and the president and the law and the Constitution.”
The exchange itself can be seen below:
The full wording of H. Con. Res. 107, which is currently referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, is as follows:
Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
By Aaron Klein
A coalition of U.S. radical groups, including the Occupy Movement, are preparing protests to start in September, including the targeting of the Democratic National Convention that takes place that month in Charlotte, N.C.
The Occupy movement is likely to escalate months before the Sept. 3-6 event. A slew of extremist organizations, some tied to Obama, are preparing protests to coincide with major NATO and G-8 summits slated for Chicago in May.
Foreshadowing possible violent confrontations, some of the same radical trainers behind the infamous 1999 Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization have been mobilizing new protest efforts geared toward world summits.
The plans for the Democratic convention are posted on a central website, ProtestDNC.org. More than three dozen organizations, including labor, anti-war and so-called civil rights and immigrants rights groups are joining together to initiate a coalition.
The group calls for:
- Good jobs for all! Economic justice now – Make the banks and corporations pay for their crisis!
- Money for education, health care, housing and all human needs, not for war and incarceration!
- Justice for immigrants and all oppressed peoples! Stop the raids and deportations!
The protest coalition is complaining that the city of Charlotte has already denied their requests for permits to march. The city told the coalition that the DNC itself has reserved major parks in Charlotte during the convention.
The protest website warns the radical groups will take to the streets regardless of whether permits are issued.
“Organizations including Occupy movements across the country are already planning to mobilize to be in the streets of Charlotte during the DNC,” it states.
Along with Occupy, other groups endorsing the scheduled DNC protests include the Revolutionary Students Union, the Students for a Democratic Society and Workers World Party.
One endorsing group, which calls itself the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, is also a main organizer of the protests being scheduled for Chicago’s NATO and G-8 summits in May.
The anti-FBI Committee is led by Tom Burke. It has been seeking to lead activism against the FBI’s reported ongoing terror probes of Chicago and Minnesota anti-war groups.
Burke, a former school custodian-turned-stay-at-home-father, belongs to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a group mentioned in subpoenas and search warrants issued in the same FBI terror probe.
WND previously reported Obama has ties to the Chicago anti-war activists and groups being probed by the FBI, including Hatem Abudayyeh, the executive director of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN.
While serving as a paid director of the nonprofit Chicago Woods Fund, Obama provided two grants to the AAAN.
Obama served at the Woods Fund alongside Weather Underground terrorist-group founder Bill Ayers.
AAAN was founded by a longtime Obama associate, Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi. Khalidi’s wife, Mona, is president of the Arab American Action Network.
Meanwhile, Occupy itself has zeroed in on the upcoming NATO and G8 summits. The anti-Wall Street movement reportedly even opened a headquarters in Chicago within walking distance of the locations at which the summits are scheduled to take place.
Chicago will be the first American city other than Washington to host a NATO gathering.
It will be the first time since 1977, in London, that both NATO and the G8 will hold meetings in the same city at the same time.
Such meetings have drawn mass protests that turned violent.
The 1999 WTO event in Seattle devolved into widespread rioting in which more than 40,000 protesters, some using violent tactics, descended on the city, prompting police to use tear gas and rubber bullets. The clash became known as “The Battle of Seattle.”
The G-8 summit has similarly drawn violent protests.
A 2001 riot at a G-8 meeting in Genoa, Italy, left one person dead and hundreds injured. Also, in the run-up to a G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, police reportedly fired pepper spray at marchers who threw rocks and garbage.
Preparing for such outbreaks, the Chicago Sun-Times last July quoted Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy saying he was training 13,000 officers under his command for mass arrests of protesters.
“We have to train for mass arrests,” McCarthy said. “We have to train 13,000 police officers in arrest procedures and containment procedures. At the same time, we will not stop patrolling the city.”
In response, radical groups held a press conference last August in downtown Chicago demanding permits to march during the world summits in May.
Joe Iosbaker of the United National Antiwar Committee, one of the groups planning protests, warned, “The wars and economic policies of the NATO and G8 nations are not just and will be met by protest.”
Iosbaker is a University of Illinois-Chicago office worker and a union steward for his SEIU local whose home was raided by the FBI last September reportedly as part of the same terror probe investigating material support for jihadist groups by Chicago groups.
Obama is also tied to Iosobaker.
WND reported Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, worked as leaders of the Chicago New Party, a controversial 1990s political party that sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new party with a socialist agenda.
Obama actively sought and received the New Party’s endorsement while running for the Illinois state Senate in 1996 as a Democrat. The New Party’s own newsletters listed Obama as a member.
Another group planning to protest at the May summits is Code Pink, which also helped to lead the 1999 WTO riots. Code Pink’s co-founder, Jodie Evans, was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Media finally paying attention to Obama eligibility? Sheriff Joe’s Cold Case Posse ready to reveal the evidence
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Poll after poll in recent months has indicated that Americans have a high level of concern over Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president, with one poll showing fully half of the nation wants Congress to investigate the question.
But reporters for the traditional media – networks, major newspapers, major news corporations and conglomerates – mostly have giggled when talk turns to the serious question of just what the U.S. Constitution requires of presidents.
The event is tomorrow at 1 p.m. Mountain Standard Time in Phoenix, 3 p.m. Eastern, and will be live-streamed by WND.
The topic of discussion will be an investigation by Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse into concerns about Obama’s eligibility. It’s the first time an official law enforcement report has addressed many of the allegations about the presumptive 2012 Democratic nominee for president.
The issues include Obama’s eligibility under the U.S. Constitution’s requirements, questions about his use of a Connecticut Social Security number and the image of his purported birth certificate from Hawaii.
In addition to the live-streaming, WND will make available to the public, the same day by email, the official report distributed to media by Arpaio’s investigators. Those interested in receiving the report can sign up for the free service.
Top national media organizations have indicated their plans to attend, and bookings for radio and television reports are in the works. Expected are reporters from the Associated Press, Reuters, Univision, the Washington Times and NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates, as well statewide radio networks, among many others.
Because of the circumstances, a decision was made to hold the press conference at the sheriff’s training center on the outskirts of Phoenix, rather than at the downtown office.
The event is expected to draw protesters who object to the sheriff’s office review of allegations that Obama may attempt to use a fraudulent document to have his name placed on the 2012 presidential election ballot in Arizona.
Without releasing any details, Arpaio has said the findings “could be a shock.”
He constituted a special five-member law enforcement posse last year to investigate allegations brought by members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party that the Obama birth certificate released to the public by the White House on April 27 might be a forgery.
The posse is made up of three former law enforcement officers and two retired attorneys with law enforcement experience. Members have been examining evidence since September concerning Obama’s eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, which requires a president to be a natural-born citizen.
Among other issues, there also have been allegations of Obama’s use of a Social Security number that corresponds to a Connecticut address, even though the president apparently had no links there.
WND earlier reported a private investigation found that the Social Security number being used by Obama does not pass a check with E-Verify, the electronic system the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created to verify whether or not someone is authorized to work legally in the country.
Arpaio’s investigation is the first official law enforcement look at the allegations surrounding Obama’s eligibility. Many of the private investigators who have examined it contend there are too many questionable circumstances to believe that everything regarding Obama is above-board.
Arpaio previously told WND that when he launched his Cold Case Posse it was with the possibility that he would clear Obama.
He said it wasn’t an issue he could ignore, after 250 members of the tea party organization “came to me and asked their sheriff to investigate Obama and the birth certificate.”
The WND TV live-streaming coverage of the news conference Thursday is possible through the support of the Western Center for Journalism.
The decisions in dozens of court cases over the last few years questioning Obama’s eligibility were typified by a recent decision in Georgia in which several individuals filed challenges to Obama’s name on the 2012 ballot and provided evidence to a hearing officer.
Even though Obama and his lawyer deliberately snubbed the case – the lawyer wrote the judge a letter in advance telling him Obama would not attend – the judge threw out the evidence presented by several attorneys and ruled in favor of Obama.
Similar ballot challenges are being filed in a long list of other states already.
The Arpaio investigators were given the case following a meeting held in the sheriff’s office Aug. 17, 2011, with tea party representatives from Surprise, Ariz., who presented a petition signed by more than 250 Maricopa County residents. The petitioners expressed concern that their voting rights could be irreparably compromised if Obama uses a forged birth certificate to be placed on the 2012 presidential ballot in Arizona or otherwise is found to be ineligible.
The tea party letter formally stated the following charge: “The Surprise Tea Party is concerned that no law enforcement agency or other duly constituted government agency has conducted an investigation into the Obama birth certificate to determine if it is in fact an authentic copy of 1961 birth records on file for Barack Obama at the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu, or whether it, or they are forgeries.”
The posse was constituted as a 501(c)3 organization, designed to cost the people of Maricopa County nothing, while enabling people from around the country to contribute to its mission.
Those wishing to send a tax-deductible contribution directly to the Cold Case Posse may do so by mailing a check or money order to: MCSO Cold Case Posse, P.O. Box 74374, Phoenix, AZ 85087.
WND has reported that dozens of experts with varying ranges of competency who have looked at the situation believe the birth documentation image released by Obama last year is not genuine.
A flying-banner and billboard campaign to let people know about the questions regarding eligibility that was started by WND CEO and Editor Joseph Farah also has raised the public’s awareness of the situation.
Farah wrote recently that the underlying question to be determined is whether the U.S. Constitution remains the law of the land, or whether it has become “an archaic old document that needs to be amended.”
“At its core, it’s really quite simple: Does Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution dealing with who can serve as president of the United States simply mean that any citizen age 35 or older is eligible? If so, why did the founders use a different term altogether – ‘natural born citizen’? What is a ‘natural born citizen’? Is it anyone born in the United States? If so, why have candidates born outside the United States been deemed eligible? Do we owe it to America’s future to go back in history to determine what that term actually means?
“Until now, as hard as it may be to believe, no official vetting of Obama’s credentials has been done – not by the 50 secretaries of state who oversee elections, not by the Federal Elections Commission that administers the nation’s elections laws, not by the Electoral College, not by any judge in America, not by Congress, not by anyone,” he continued.
Even before the results become public, Farah said he’s confident there will be a significant impact.
“I strongly believe it could be a game-changer,” he said.
Good Luck with that Neut.
Hiring part of broader bid to target GOP critics, shore up Dem support
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich helped broker a “special arrangement” between Congress and Freddie Mac in which the semi-private mortgage giant continued to enjoy subsidies as long as it made housing more “affordable” for low-income and minority borrowers, according to Freddie Mac insiders who spoke to WND on condition of anonymity.
In fact, Gingrich championed the “affordable-housing” policies he now criticizes for helping inflate the housing bubble that burst painfully in 2008. The one-time Freddie consultant joined Democrats in shielding the agency from reforms that would have reined in its risky mortgage underwriting.
As Freddie fed the subprime mortgage bubble last decade, Gingrich helped its chief lobbyist fend off efforts by fellow Republicans to dismantle, or at least better regulate, the now-failed agency. They devised a two-pronged strategy: buy off Republican critics of its subsidies and affordable-housing mission with donations and fundraising events, while currying favor with Democrats, who sought to protect such government benefits in return for easier financial credit for their constituents.
“As long as we focused on affordable housing,” one Freddie insider said, “our position was secure.”
The government benefits, which included a multibillion-dollar line of credit from the Treasury and exemption from both state and federal taxes, gave Freddie an edge over market competitors.
Gingrich denies lobbying for Freddie and claims he only consulted for the quasi-governmental agency as a “historian.”
While records show the longtime GOP lawmaker never registered as a lobbyist, former Freddie officials say he helped the agency’s chief lobbyist – Craig C. Thomas – defeat two key GOP-sponsored pieces of legislation designed to toughen oversight of Freddie and its twin, Fannie Mae, less than three years before the mortgage crisis.
One bill, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act, authorized the creation of a new watchdog agency to approve mortgage products underwritten by Freddie and Fannie. The other, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, limited the mortgage agencies’ portfolios and hiked their capital reserve requirements.
Coached by Gingrich, who was under a $600,000 retainer at the time, Thomas lobbied hard against the bills, neither of which made it to the floor of the Senate for final vote. Top GOP targets included Rep. Spencer Bachus of the House Financial Services Committee, who records show pocketed at least $55,000 in campaign donations from Freddie and Fannie; and Sen. Richard Shelby of the Senate Banking Committee, who also received at least $55,000.
Also opposing the measures were key Democrat leaders – including Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd – who argued tighter regulation of Freddie and Fannie would cut into their public mission to finance low-income and affordable housing.
As part of his lucrative contract, Gingrich also publicly defended what he saw as the benefits of the Freddie business model in several articles and talks. Freddie sources say he regularly circulated among members of Congress during this period.
Freddie Mac, now in government conservatorship, denied requests to furnish for examination any “deliverable” materials, including drafts of reports written by the Gingrich Group, as cited under the contract drawn up in the mid-2000s.
Did Fox News try to censor Glenn Beck before the media giant left the cable network last year?
The answer is yes, according to Beck, who made the disclosure this week on his new television program on GBTV.com.
Moyers had said Soros has “been the victim, of course, of Glenn Beck and the right-wing, the Fox News assassins.”
In response to Moyers’ comment, Beck explained that his own former network tried to get him to clam up about his constant reporting on what he felt was Soros’ fiendish agenda to harm the American way of life.
“Here’s the real reason why George Soros is worried about little old me and the assassins, because I know the truth about him,” said Beck.
“Everyone – including the assassins [at Fox News] – told me, ‘You wanna shut up about George Soros?’
“No. No I don’t. Nope. Doesn’t make my life easier. Doesn’t make me more popular. Doesn’t do anything, except I am allowed to end my days saying I told the truth. I did what somebody should have done and tell the truth. The truth has no agenda. The truth will set you free. The truth needs to be held like a sword and a shield. He should be worried. He should be worried because I’m going to continue to expose him when he finds out the role he plays in our next little book coming out this spring. He’ll be up all night on the phone with Bill Moyers crying himself to sleep.”
Beck left the Fox News Channel last year after hosting a popular, hour-long, weekday program
on the network.
His show had been the target of intense controversy including boycotts by some.
WND reported one organization that led a crusade demanding Fox News fire Beck is, in fact, backed by Soros and is tied to many of the liberal activists Beck routinely excoriated on his show.
Jewish Funds for Justice, or JFSJ, a charity that campaigns for social change, delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures to Fox News in protest of a program in which Beck specifically targeted Soros, calling the businessman the “puppet master.” JFSJ deemed the show anti-Semitic.
WND media analyst Kathy Shaidle reported on a forecast Beck made as he was leaving Fox.
“He made a provocative vow to make gloating progressives eat their celebratory words,” Shaidle wrote, “telling them on his radio show, ‘One year from now, you on the left will be crapping yourself so much, you haven’t crapped in your pants as much as you will in a year from now. … You’ll crap yourself more than when you were a baby. And you will find Jesus.’”