US Anti-Fracking Groups Being Funded by Russian Oil Tycoon

Via The Washington Free Beacon:

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd. No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy.

With oil prices plunging as a result of a fracking-induced oil glut in the United States, experts say the links between Russian oil interests, secretive foreign political donors, and high-profile American environmentalists suggest Russia may be backing anti-fracking efforts in the United States.

The interest of Russian oil companies and American environmentalist financiers intersect at a Bermuda-based law firm called Wakefield Quin. The firm acts as a corporate registered agent, providing office space for clients, and, for some, “managing the day to day affairs,” according to its website.

As many as 20 companies and investment funds with ties to the Russian government are Wakefield Quin clients. Many list the firm’s address on official documentation.

Klein Ltd. also shares that address. Documents filed with Bermuda’s registrar of companies list just two individuals associated with the company: Hoskins, Wakefield Quin senior counsel and managing director, and Marlies Smith, a corporate administrator at the firm.

According to documents filed with Bermuda’s registrar of companies, Klein Ltd. was incorporated in March 2011 “exclusively for philanthropic purposes,” meaning “no part of the net earnings … inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.”

“The company does not propose to carry on business in Bermuda,” the documents stated.

The only publicly available documentation of any business conducted by Klein Ltd. were two Internal Revenue Service filings by the California-based Sea Change Foundation, which showed that Klein had contributed $23 million to the group in 2010 and 2011. Klein Ltd. was responsible for more than 40 percent of contributions to Sea Change during those years.

The foundation passed those millions along to some of the nation’s most prominent and politically active environmentalist groups. The Sierra Club, the Natural Resource Defense Council, Food and Water Watch, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Center for American Progress were among the recipients of Sea Change’s $100 million in grants in 2010 and 2011.

Neither Wakefield Quin nor Sea Change responded to multiple requests for more information about their relationships with Klein Ltd.

“None of this foreign corporation’s funding is disclosed in any way,” the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote of the company in a report last year. “This is clearly a deceitful way to hide the source of millions of dollars that are active in our system, attempting to effect political change.”

The Sierra Club, which received nearly $8.5 million from Sea Change in 2010 and 2011, launched its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign the following year. The effort has become one of the largest and best-funded environmentalist campaigns combating fracking and the extraction of natural gas in general.

Sea Change’s “skeletal staff quietly shovels tens of millions of dollars out the door annually to combat climate change. And that’s pretty much all it does,” noted Inside Philanthropy, which awarded the foundation its “sharpest laser focus in grantmaking” award last year.

Nathaniel Simons and his wife run the foundation and are, except for Klein Ltd., its only donors. Simons, a hedge fund millionaire who commutes to work across San Francisco Bay aboard a 50-foot yacht, also runs a venture capital firm that invests in companies that benefit from environmental and energy policies that Sea Change grantees promote.

Simons himself has ties to Klein Ltd. Several Wakefield Quin attorneys are listed as directors of hedge funds that his firm manages, and in which Sea Change has assets.

Senior counsel Rod Forrest was listed on documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a director of two investment funds, Medallion International Ltd. and Meritage Holdings Ltd., in which Sea Change had tens of millions invested while it received money from Klein Ltd.

Simons’ company runs the Meritage Fund. The Medallion Fund is run by Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund management firm run by his father, billionaire and Democratic mega-donor Jim Simons. Both funds listed Wakefield Quin’s Hamilton, Bermuda, address on SEC filings.

Wakefield Quin’s Hoskins and Smith, as well as a number of other employees of Wakefield Quin, have worked in some capacity for companies or investment funds owned by or tied to Russian state-owned corporations and high-level officials in the country.

Hoskins, Forrest, and another Wakefield employee named Penny Cornell were all listed as executives of Spectrum Partners Ltd., a fund with offices in Moscow, Cypress, and Bermuda, Cornell at the address of Wakefield Quin’s offices.

According to a performance report for one of Spectrum Partners’ funds, its portfolio consisted of “Russian and CIS [former Soviet state] securities and securities outside of Russia or CIS but having significant economic or business involvement with Russia and/or CIS.”

As of 2008, more than half of the fund’s holdings were in the oil and gas sectors.

Numerous executives at Wakefield Quin have ties to Russian oil and gas companies, including Rosneft, which is majority-owned by the Russian government and in 2013 became the largest oil company in the world.

Hoskins is the vice president of a London-based company called Marcuard Services Limited, and a member of the firm’s board, according to its website.

The company’s president, and the chairman of its parent company, Bermuda-based Marcuard Holding Limited, is Hans-Joerg Rudloff. Rudloff is also a former vice-chairman of the Rosneft’s board.

Hoskins is also a director at a Bermuda-based subsidiary of Russian investment bank Troika Dialog. That firm organized an initial public offering for Timan Oil & Gas, which is run by Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev.

The Environmental Policy Alliance, which provided the Washington Free Beacon with a copy of an upcoming report on Klein Ltd.’s Kremlin ties, said Wakefield Quin’s ties to environmental financiers and Russian oil barons merit closer scrutiny.

“The American public deserves to know whether environmentalists are attacking US energy companies at the behest of a Russian government that would like nothing more than to see their international competition weakened,” Will Coggin, a senior research analyst at the EPA, said in an emailed statement.

“In the face of mounting evidence, environmental groups are going to have to start answering hard questions about their international funding sources,” Coggin said.

The overlap between executives at firms with ties to Russian oil interests and a multi-million-dollar donor to U.S. environmentalist groups has some experts worried that Russians may be replicating anti-fracking tactics used in Europe to attack the practice in the United States.

“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, formerly NATO’s secretary general, said last year.

It is unlikely that the Kremlin is directly involved in doing so in the United States, according to Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

“If anybody in Russia is behind all the secretive Bermuda investment house and law firm action, it’s most likely some oligarch bidding against U.S. competition,” he said in an email.

Arnold, the author of Undue Influence: Wealthy Foundations, Grant Driven Environmental Groups, and Zealous Bureaucrats That Control Your Future, said that the opacity of Klein Ltd.’s involvement with the Sea Change Foundation exemplifies attempts to shield the source of donations to such groups.

“In my experience of trying to penetrate offshore money funnels for U.S. leftist foundations and green groups, I have found that Liechtenstein, Panama and Bermuda are the Big Three green equivalents of the Cayman Islands for hedge fund managers—totally opaque and impervious to my specially designed research tools,” Arnold said.

 

Measles Outbreak Linked to Illegal Alien Surge

Via Gateway Pundit:

With the Disneyland measles outbreak expected to grow, California hospitals and doctors’ offices are preparing for new cases and a flood of questions from patients worried about getting the disease. So far 68 cases of measles have been reported in California this year, the bulk of them in people who visited — or had contact with someone who visited — two Disney theme parks in Anaheim. The outbreak could get much worse.

In 2011, there were 222 confirmed Measles cases in the United States, 200 were linked with importations, including 72 that were linked with importations from other countries.

So is this latest outbreak linked to the influx of illegal immigrant children welcomed to America by the Obama administration?
Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet warned about this possibility at The Monitor back in June 2014

[…]

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Poll: 1 in 8 American Muslims Believe Blasphemy Should be Punishable by Death

Via WND:

Nearly half of 600 Muslim-American citizens polled who plan to vote in the 2012 presidential election believe parodies of Muhammad should be prosecuted criminally in the U.S., and one in eight say the offense is so serious violators should face the death penalty.

The results came in a groundbreaking scientific poll for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. It was taken Oct. 22-26 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percentage points.

The poll also found 40 percent of Muslims in America believe they should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution, but by Shariah standards.

[…]

Majority of Supposed Job Growth Due to Expired Unemployment Claims

Via The Washington Examiner:

Sixty percent of job creation in 2014 was caused by the expiration of unemployment benefits, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In late 2013, a standoff between Republicans and Democrats led to the abrupt expiration of long-term unemployment benefits. Democrats warned that the expiration would have disastrous ramifications, but Republicans had long argued that allowing Americans to collect unemployment benefits for an indefinite period of time provided a disincentive for them to work.

The new new working paper found that the expiration of benefits was responsible for the creation of over 1.8 million jobs. Nearly 1 million of those jobs were created by workers who would have otherwise stayed out of the labor force if unemployment benefits had been extended. Overall, almost 3 million jobs were created in 2014.

“The negative effects of unemployment benefit extensions on employment far outweighs the potential stimulative effects often ascribed to this policy,” the study said.

It found that “the dominant impact of the benefit cut on employment was not driven by a contraction in the labor force —unemployed dropping out of the labor force because they were no longer entitled to benefits — but instead by those previously not participating in the labor market deciding to enter the labor force.”

The study was coauthored by Marcus Hagedorn of the University of Oslo, Iourii Manovskii of the University of Pennsylvania and Kurt Mitman of Stockholm University.

The authors found that employment grew fastest in states that had high unemployment benefits before benefit extensions expired. This suggests that high unemployment benefits had been holding back job creation in these states, causing them to catch up quickly once benefits fell closer to those in low-benefit states.

The average duration of unemployment insurance fell suddenly from 53 weeks to 25 weeks in late December 2013. The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program had been extending the typical duration of unemployment benefits during the Great Recession.

The study gives ammo to conservatives who argue that welfare benefits for able-bodied adults encourage people to live off government handouts instead of seeking work. Only 62.7 percent of civilians are members of the labor force, the lowest rate since 1978. Participation was even lower prior to women joining the labor force at accelerated rates in the 1970s.

Labor force participation is down three percentage points since President Obama took office in 2009. It has fallen only 0.1 percentage points since unemployment benefits were cut in December 2013.

 

Obama Regime Releases Convicted Terrorist from Prison

Via the National Review:

Long War Journal reports that the Obama administration has released Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri from a U.S. prison – not from Gitmo, but from a civilian jail after a federal terrorism conviction.

Al-Marri is an al-Qaeda operative who was planted as a “sleeper” in the United States by Khalid Sheikh Mohamed to await instructions on carrying out a second wave of attacks after the 9/11 atrocities – against water reservoirs, the New York Stock Exchange, U.S. military academies, and other targets. The Justice Department quietly sprung him on Friday so he could return to his native Qatar, a country the administration regards as a crucial counterterrorism ally . . . and a country that is notorious for providing material support to jihadists.

While appalling, this news was inevitable. The al-Marri case was a cause célèbre for the Bush-deranged Left because he was detained as an enemy combatant, rather than arrested and charged in court as a criminal defendant, despite being apprehended in the United States. Upon taking office, Obama ordered him transferred from military detention under the law of war to the civilian criminal-justice system. Once there, he was given a bargain-basement plea deal by Attorney General Eric Holder and his minions.

[…]

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Pennsylvania Gave Millions in Welfare to Ineligible Immigrants

Via The Blaze:

The commonwealth of Pennsylvania has agreed to pay a $48.8 million settlement after claims that it improperly handed out food stamp and welfare benefits to ineligible immigrants for several years, using federal funds.

The Department of Justice claimed that Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) incorrectly used federal funds from 2004 to 2010 to dispense Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, also known as welfare.

[…]

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Obama Amnesty will Give Millions of Illegal Aliens Tax Breaks, Benefits

Via the Washington Times:

More than 2 million illegal immigrants will be approved for President Obama’s deportation amnesty over the next few years, and they will be eligible to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as claim a special tax break for low-income families, the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis Thursday.

Mr. Obama predicted that up to 5 million illegal immigrants could be eligible for his amnesties, but the CBO numbers predict only 2.25 million will have signed up and been approved by 2017.

The estimate was released as the administration defended the law in a federal court in Texas on Thursday, asking a judge to reject a request by Texas and two dozen other states to halt the program even before it gets started.

[…]

Inconvenient Fact: U.S. STEM Worker Shortage is a Myth

Via Breitbart:

Finally, the mainstream media is realizing that the notion that there is a shortage of American high-tech workers is a myth.

After the Census Bureau reported on Thursday that “74% of those with a bachelor’s degree in these subjects don’t work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs,” CBS News concluded that the new data suggest that notion “is largely a myth.”

Census sociologist Christin Landivar noted that though “STEM graduates have relatively low unemployment,” they are “not employed in STEM occupations.”

The high-tech industry, like Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us, has received largely a free pass on the issue in pushing for drastic increases in the number of guest-worker visas in amnesty legislation. That has puzzled some of the top scholars, especially in light of reports from liberal, nonpartisan, and conservative organizations that have all shown that the country has a surplus–and not a shortage–of American high-tech workers.

As Breitbart News has reported, a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report found that, from 2007-2012, “the number of new immigrants with STEM degrees admitted each year [was] by itself higher than the total growth in STEM employment.” That report was “consistent with research from Georgetown University, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the Rand Corporation, the Urban Institute, and the National Research Council, which have also found no evidence that America has a shortage of high-tech workers.”

In addition, four nonpartisan scholars have also debunked the notion that there is a shortage of STEM workers. Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, “said there are 50% more graduates than job openings in the STEM fields.” He has also repeatedly emphasized that the IT sector has been “an area of social mobility,” and increasing the number of visas without questions takes jobs away from American workers and lowers the wages of those who do find STEM jobs.

“You’ve got people who come from working-class backgrounds who go into these sectors,” Hira recently said. “It’s a way of getting into the middle class and the professional class, and that’s being cut off.”

Study: US Weather Stations Exaggerated Temperatures by Hundreds of Percent

Via The Daily Caller:

The world may be warming, but not as much as some U.S. weather stations have shown. A new University of Montana study found that western U.S. weather stations have been showing more warming in the temperature record than has actually been observed.

The Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) station network, the country’s main mountain climate station network, has shown that high elevations are seeing temperatures rise more quickly than lower elevations, harming snowpack and water resources. But Montana Climate Office researcher Jared Oyler found that western mountain temperatures were inflated between 217 and 562 percent.

 Oyler’s analysis of SNOTEL weather stations says the “extreme warming observed at higher elevations is the result of systematic artifacts and not climatic conditions.” When these “artifacts” are removed, SNOTEL data shows there is no accelerated warming in western U.S. mountains.

“With artifacts removed, the network’s 1991–2012 minimum temperature trend… is statistically indistinguishable from lower elevation trends,” writes Oyler. “Moreover, longer-term widely used gridded climate products propagate the spurious temperature trend, thereby amplifying 1981–2012 western US elevation-dependent warming by +217 to +562%.”

“In the context of a warming climate, this artificial amplification of mountain climate trends has likely compromised our ability to accurately attribute climate change impacts across the mountainous western US,” Oyler writes in his study.

[…]

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NAACP Bombing is a Hoax – ‘Blast Marks’ Visible on Google Maps Since at least September 2014

The image below shows the northwest corner of the building where the Coloado Springs NAACP office is located, where a supposed explosive device detonated on January 6, 2014:

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The image below is of the same corner, taken from Google Street View; the image is time-stamped September 2014. The same distinctive blackening can be seen on the building, in the exact same location the supposed “explosive device” is said to have detonated.

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