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Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press’

The Activists: “Ralph Nader on Organizing”

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Part of a larger segment on not voting for 3rd and 4th party candidates sometimes but in this segment Nader is quite wonderful.


The Clinton Foundation: The Final Annual Meeting, 2016

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Well right now in mid town Manhattan the Clinton Global Initiative is meeting. Allegedly the last meeting in a while, at least if Hillary Clinton becomes President. At a time when Trump’s foundation is being discussed as a Slush Fund, this meeting on Global Prosperity, is worth looking at. The Clinton Foundation has a 4 star charity rating by Charity Watch. Here is what the meeting is all about this year:

“Global prosperity requires both equity and opportunity for all. In 2016, through the theme ‘Partnering for Global Prosperity,” CGI challenges its members to consider how they are building and maintaining global prosperity through creative cooperation. Throughout the year and at the Annual Meeting, CGI members will explore how to partner in new and unique ways to secure flourishing livelihoods for all, enable communities to thrive, and promote and increase environmental sustainability everywhere.”

Here is the conference livestream:


A comparison of the two foundation (Trump Clinton)  we at TFN think is definitely in order. Here, without the networking sessions, lunches and awards, that seem all passionate discussions and deeply informative, are substantive issue based discussions that just went down at CGI this week:


Beyond Equality: Harnessing the Power of Girls & Women for Sustainable Development

Partnering for Global Prosperity

Succeeding in the World’s Toughest Places

What We Know Now: Applying Lessons Learned to Advance Haiti’s Future

Girl, Uninterrupted: Increasing Opportunity During Adolescence

Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality?

Elephants Action Network: Impact through Collaborative Conservation

Imagine All the People: A speech by Bill Clinton

We’ll be providing some video from the meeting as we get it.


The Mediators: Principles of Mediation

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016


The mediators 340

Mediation is usually a term applied in conflict that is local….ie a divorce. Obviously it is also applied in larger conflicts…let’s say like party squalor in the US House of Representatives….or international conflict. In our series “Principles of Mediation” we intend to show the basic Principles of Mediation (duh) and then see how they can apply to larger issues on the national and international scene. Each principle will be sourced so as to give you greater idea of landscape of mediation (which is quite large) and also, we’d like to relate these principles to dynamic realties….so that you can see them in action, and maybe one day (maybe today) put them into action yourself, maybe in a friendship, in parenting, or maybe on a wider, more public scale.

Principles of Conduct for Mediators

Mediation Defined



Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party (the mediator) facilitates the resolution of a dispute(s) between two or more parties by promoting the parties’ voluntary agreement (or self-determination) of the dispute(s).

The mediator facilitates communications, promotes understanding, focuses the parties on their interests and seeks creative solutions to problems that enable the parties to reach their own agreements.


What happened to the $6Million Trump Raised For Veterans

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Foundation road thumbnail

This is an investigative piece from The Washington Past that ran yesterday, March 3 2016. We’re interested in it partially because it discusses transparency in foundations and NGOS, and in particular, a major political candidate’s handling of donated funds, always a huge issue,  and we hope that journalists get to the bottom of this story reasonably quickly, before the Trump University case gets settled 6 years from now,  but we’re also interested because it discusses the landscape of Veteran NGOS, which we think is very important to understand and simplify and be a part of. It’s known to not be the sanest and easiest landscape, and it does not have to be that way. Looking into that landscape to us is really very essential.

Trump Chack

At a town hall in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., present a big $100,000 check to Partners for Patriots, an organization dedicated to providing service dogs to disabled veterans. (Reuters)

In recent days, after the campaign initially did not provide details of where the money had gone, The Post had undertaken its own accounting. After contacting each of the 24 charities that Trump had previously listed as his beneficiaries, The Post had accounted for less than half of the $6 million.

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, said Trump still intended to give the rest of the money away to veterans groups. She also criticized the news media for repeated inquiries into what became of the funds.

“If the media spent half as much time highlighting the work of these groups and how our veterans have been so mistreated, rather than trying to disparage Mr. Trump’s generosity for a totally unsolicited gesture for which he had no obligation, we would all be better for it,” Hicks wrote in an email.

Trump’s fundraiser highlighted the billionaire presidential candidate’s remarkable ability to draw people, attention and money to any cause he chooses. Trump enticed enormous gifts from wealthy friends, including Stewart Rahr, a colorful New York philanthropist who calls himself “Stewie Rah Rah, the Number One King of All Fun.” Their money became life-altering gifts for some small charities, which received $50,000 or $100,000 each.

But the aftermath of that event showed another side of Trump’s campaign: its tendency to focus on front-end spectacle over back-end details. The rollout of contributions has raised questions about how long Trump would keep donated funds within the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a personal charity whose gifts can boost his political brand.

“Where’s the rest of the money going?” said Keith David at the Task Force Dagger Foundation, which offers support to Special Operations personnel and their families.

David’s group typifies the confusion over Trump’s money. It was listed by Trump as a group that would benefit from his fundraising. And soon after the Iowa fundraising event, the group got a check for $50,000. It came from Rahr’s foundation, with a note that mentioned Trump.

But was that it? The group’s board — noting the huge amount of money that Trump raised and the lesser amount of money Trump seemed to have given out — decided it could not be.

“There’s a large chunk missing. I’m just kind of curious as to where that money went,” David said. “I’d like to see some of it come to us, because we are on the list.”
The list, as given out by Trump’s campaign Thursday, does not show any more donations going for David’s group.

Trump’s veterans fundraiser was, if nothing else, a smart bit of political theater.

It allowed Trump, who was feuding with Fox News Channel at the time, to boycott a GOP debate that Fox was hosting — and, at the same time, claim both the moral high ground and a prime-time TV spotlight for himself that competed directly with the debate he was skipping.

“We set up the website. I called some friends. And the sign was just given: We just cracked $6 million,” Trump said, savoring the moment at the end. He announced that the money would be divided among more than 20 veterans’ groups: “They’re going to get a lot of money. Everybody is going to get a lot of money,” he said.

Some of that money was raised from small donors online, at the website donaldtrumpforvets.
com. That site now says it has raised $1.67 million.

But the bulk of the $6 milllion was raised from a small group of Trump’s very wealthy friends.

Not all of them gave in the same way.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn gave $500,000 and sent it directly to two groups: a charity to help Army Green Berets and another for Navy SEALs. Another $1 million came from Rahr.

Trump offered Rahr a menu of veterans’ charities, Rahr associate Steve Burns said in an email. Rahr chose 11, based on a review of “missions and financials. We felt they were the best ones in helping the vets,” Burns said.

The $1.5 million in donations from Icahn and Rahr, which bypassed the Trump Foundation, are easy to track. Associates of the two men said they have given the money directly to the charities, and multiple charities said they had received it.

But other benefactors gave their money to the Trump Foundation, so Trump could divvy it up himself. One was Phil Ruffin, a Las Vegas casino mogul, who gave $1 million. “He trusts Mr. Trump to make that decision,” a spokeswoman said.

In all, Trump’s campaign said the Trump Foundation had given out about $1.1 million so far. Hicks, Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, did not immediately respond to a question about how much of the money raised for veterans remains in the accounts of the Trump Foundation.

In the days that followed the Iowa fundraiser, the donations — ostensibly, apolitical gifts to needy veterans — became a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign rallies. He would frequently call the leaders of local charities up onstage and hand them a huge check in front of the cameras and the crowds.

“I thought I was going to faint, because we had no idea — until that check came up on the stage — we had no idea what we were getting,” said Cindy Brodie of Partners for Patriots, which trains service dogs to help veterans with disabilities.

At the time of Trump’s fundraiser, Brodie and her husband had been struggling to keep themselves and the charity afloat. But then a veteran whom they had helped met Trump at a campaign event elsewhere in Iowa.

And then Brodie was being called up onstage by the billionaire and handed an oversized $100,000 check.

But — after the campaign moved on from Iowa — Trump’s donations seemed to lag behind his promises. In early February, the Wall Street Journal reported that many groups began to get their checks only after the Journal asked the Trump campaign why they had not.

Trump’s figures show the biggest beneficiary was the Navy SEAL Foundation, a Virginia-based group that helps Navy Special Operations forces and their families. It received $450,000, according to Trump’s campaign. The Green Beret Foundation, which helps Army Special Forces soldiers and their families, got $350,000. Two other groups got $200,000. Fourteen charities got $100,000 each. Six got $50,000 each, and two others got less.

“Our budget is, like, $40,000 a year,” said Sarah Petersen, the founder of Support Siouxland Soldiers, which provides emergency relief to homeless or near-homeless veterans in Iowa. Trump gave the group $100,000. “Our largest donation was $10,000. So this is a pretty big deal for us.”

Hicks, the spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, declined to give details about how the rest of the money would be handed out.

“We will continue to allocate contributions to groups that have been announced,” Hicks said, “as well as additional groups that are being considered.”

What additional groups?

Hicks could only name one: a Queens-based nonprofit called Veterans-in-Command, which provides housing, food and job counseling to veterans. In that case, the Trump Foundation dipped into its veterans funds to present a donation.

Which happened to solve a political headache for Trump himself.

At the time of the donation, the New York media was mocking Trump for mishandling a past request the group had made for a donation. Instead of money, the Trump campaign had sent them Trump bumper stickers.

“He called us, and he apologized, and he did the right thing by us,” said Larry Robertson, the Queens group’s president. Trump paid off some old debts and paid for one year’s rent on a new office, a total gift worth about $26,200.

That was 0.4 percent of the money Trump said he’d raised for veterans. The Queens group is hoping it is the beginning, not the end, of a relationship.

“We’re going to have a grand opening. Hopefully he’s going to be here,” Robertson said in a telephone interview. “It’s going to be about another week. He’ll be here.”


The Third Way: A Record of Impact

Friday, January 29th, 2016

The Third Way

The Third Way is not just an idea-that it’s not about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about what works–it’s also an organization in Washington, and it is perhaps the most effective moderate organization in that city. Here is their essential record of achievement entitled a record of Impact. Sometimes people get offended by third wayers, or anyone they see as moderate. “Andrew Cuomo in New York, for instance,  has taken money from the Koch Brothers,” they will say.  Things like this.  I think what may offend people most about Cuomo are the strong armed tactics and a real keen interest in looking good though large public achievements, some of which may not be incredibly efficiently funded, and some that may or may not get done. The Third Way really should boil down to: The most effective use of public funds to “Supercharge” the economy…so that it works for everyone. As noted below, it works as a way to find common ground in many fields. But supercharging the economy so that it works really well for everyone is a HUGE plus, and I think best achieved by a moderate Third Way approach. The Clintons argue they are the best at this. I continue to hold the view that the most successful Third Wayer in History is on the Campaign trail right now: William Jefferson Clinton.

–Milon Henry Levine


Clean Energy

Third Way developed a new centrist approach to the climate debate.

Third Way has rejected the ideological rigidity of the climate change debate, which pits climate deniers against those who believe renewables are the only answer. We have developed a campaign to ensure the U.S. leverages all of our energy resources as part of a climate solution, with a focus on commercializing advanced nuclear energy, cutting the carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and moving freight off American roads and onto our rails and waterways. Over a dozen of our proposals have been introduced as legislation or executive orders, and three have become law.

Deficit Reduction

Third Way helped enact over $3 trillion in deficit reduction.

Third Way led the effort on the Democratic side to enact a series of bipartisan deals that reduced the ten-year deficit by $3.3 trillion. Our three-year education and advocacy campaign built support for deficit reduction that included both budget cuts and new revenue. Though these deals were far from perfect, they have eliminated the near-term deficit problem.

Entitlement Reform

Third Way has spearheaded a long-term campaign to fix the safety net.

After the 2008 election, we launched a long-term campaign to make the progressive case for fixing the broken entitlements system. In those five years, we prepared and got introduced a bill that would create a Social Security Commission, created the narrative around an impending “collision course” between entitlements and investment spending, became the leading center-left venue for entitlement reformers, and directly influenced the language and policies of top Democratic officials.


Third Way was the principal Democratic group behind three free trade agreements.

Third Way played the leading role among Democratic organizations in passing trade deals with Columbia and Panama, and we hosted the kick-off and helped shepherd through Congress the deal with Korea, the largest trade accord since NAFTA. The White House adopted Third Way’s pro-trade messages to make their case for the FTAs, and our policy papers were cited throughout the Congressional debates.

Federal Pensions

Third Way reformed federal pensions for all new employees.

In 2011, Third Way proposed a series of changes to bring federal pensions in line with the private sector. In 2012-13, Congress passed legislation that included our central idea, permanently raising the rate of federal employee retirement contribution from 0.8% to 4.4% for all new federal employees, which will save tens of billions over the next decade.

Gun Safety

Third Way fundamentally altered the gun debate.

As The Atlantic has noted, “The story of the way the gun debate changed is largely the story of Americans for Gun Safety. AGS ceased to exist in 2005… absorbed by…Third Way. But its success endures.” We helped shift the focus for gun safety advocates to the centrist notion of “rights and responsibilities.” We passed ballot initiatives in Colorado and Oregon to close the gun show loophole and a bill in Congress to improve the background check system. Every major Democratic presidential candidate of the last decade has turned to us for guidance on gun policy and messaging.

Health Care

Third Way helped shape and pass the Affordable Care Act.

Third Way fought successfully for a market-based approach to cost control in the ACA. We also developed a messaging framework built upon a series of reforms that would provide “stability and security” to the insured, and President Obama took our framework and used those exact words repeatedly, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in September 2009. In a moment when the bill was failing, his shift to our message tipped the balance and helped pass the ACA.

Immigration Reform

Third Way won the support of moderate Senators for immigration reform.

When the initial push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 had lost the support of Democratic moderates, Third Way entered the debate to help shape policy arguments about a pathway to citizenship and making the U.S. a magnet for global talent. We combined that with groundbreaking public opinion research that led to a centrist framework for immigration reform—“tough, fair, and practical”—and helped persuade a number of wavering Senators to support reform. By the time another comprehensive reform bill was up for a vote on the Senate floor in 2013, every moderate Democratic senator supported using this centrist narrative it, including five who had opposed even the narrower D.R.E.A.M. Act in 2010.

Marriage for Gay Couples

Third Way’s narrative reversed decades of losses on marriage for gay couples.

By 2008, advocates of marriage for gay couples had a record of 0 for 30 at the ballot box. We conducted deep public opinion research to understand why, which revealed a serious strategic flaw: the focus on the rights and benefits of marriage was driving away Americans in the middle. To sway these critical voters, we advised advocates to emphasize instead the common value that all couples share around marriage: lifetime commitment. Our approach was widely adopted, and as a result, in part, the tide has turned. Marriage went 4 for 4 with voters in 2012, and political leaders from President Obama on down have used this “commitment” message to announce their support for allowing gay couples to marry.

Middle Class Success

Third Way developed a middle-class success agenda and turned it into legislation.

Our policy ideas on helping the middle class get ahead—including getting to and through college, managing care for an aging parent, preparing for a successful retirement, and starting a small business—have been introduced as thirty-three pieces of legislation in Congress. A number of these were also included in the agenda of the Vice President’s Middle Class Task Force.

Military Readiness

Third Way led the effort to increase the size of the wartime Army.

In 2005, the U.S. Army was nearing a breaking point. Third Way revealed the extent of the strain on the Army in a groundbreaking report, which led to legislation that Third Way initiated co-sponsored by then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). That bill, which increased the size of the Army by 100,000 troops, became law in 2006. Though Third Way opposed the Iraq War, the Army end-strength increase was required to save the force from catastrophe (as happened after Vietnam). We now are pushing to modernize the military for a new era.

Use of Force

Third Way changed the debate in Congress on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.


The Sunlight Foundation’s Annual Transparency Camp

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Every year in September in Washington, Dc. the Sunlight Foundation holds a Transparency Camp. This film is about Transparency Camp.


Foundation Road: The Sunlight Foundation

Thursday, January 28th, 2016


As Zephyr Teachout fires up her congressional campaign in Upstate New York, a window into The Sunlight Foundation, one of the places where she was a top contributor for a number of years.


The Sunlight Foundation‘s policy team is helping to create a more open, transparent government.

Our policy work joins issue expertise with an open, innovative approach to advocacy, bringing technology to analysis and lobbying, and adding substantive detail to our vision for digitally empowered governance and citizenship.