And there’s more where that came from

The Washington Post reports, à propos of the lavish compensation Bill Clinton received as “honorary” chancellor of Laureate International Universities while his wife was coincidentally United States Secretary of State, that:

“In addition to his well-established career as a paid speaker, which began soon after he left the Oval Office, Bill Clinton took on new consulting work starting in 2009, at the same time Hillary Clinton assumed her post at the State Department. Laureate was the highest-paying client, but Bill Clinton signed contracts worth millions with GEMS Education, a secondary-education chain based in Dubai, as well as Shangri-La Industries and Wasserman Investment, two companies run by longtime Democratic donors. All told, with his consulting, writing and speaking fees, Bill Clinton was paid $65.4 million during Hillary Clinton’s four years as secretary of state.”

The Post further notes that “The Laureate arrangement illustrates the extent to which the Clintons mixed their charitable work with their private and political lives.”

Yeah. That’s one way of putting it.

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Clinton got how much?

Here’s the kind of story that inspires a mixture of rage and bewilderment. NBC reports that while Hillary Clinton has been lambasting “for-profit schools” including Trump University, “Over five years, former president Bill Clinton earned $17.6 million from the world’s largest for-profit education company, Laureate Education, Inc. In his role as “honorary chancellor,” Clinton has traveled the world on Laureate’s behalf, extolling the virtues of the school.” And doing very well indeed. We should be so, uh, lucky.

Now look. I know a lot of people like Bill Clinton, focusing more on the charming than the rogue in his makeup. I am not among them. But a lot of people do.

I also realize that Bill Clinton is a champion schmoozer and makes good connections. He pulls in huge sums for the Clinton Foundation and by no means all of them were people hoping for favours from one H. Clinton when she was Secretary of State. But $17.6 million over five years is over $3.5 million a year. That’s over $9,600 a day, even in a leap year. And it wasn’t the only thing he was doing nor, indeed, the only thing he was doing that brought in vast sums. (For instance The Washington Post says he made $104.9 million giving 542 speeches between 2001 and 2013, an average of $193,542.44 per. And that he was paid $3.13 million in “consulting fees” in 2009 and 2010 by an investment firm whose boss’s charity has given the Clinton Foundation millions more and who did at least try to contact Hillary Clinton for a favor when she was Secretary of State.)

What can anyone do for you on a part-time basis that’s worth nearly $10,000 a day? Per customer? And what has he got to say that’s worth 200 grand a pop, 45 times a year, for over a decade? I mean, we’re out there asking people to support our documentaries and commentaries and other work like the “Ask the Professor” feature with, say, $5 a month, which is about 17 cents a day. That’s less than one fifty-six-thousandth of Clinton’s haul from Laureate Education alone. I’d need 3,226 people to answer that call to make as much in a year as Clinton does for an average speech of the sort he was giving nearly once a week.

I’m not saying I’m in the wrong business. But I am saying if this news bugs you as much as it bugs me, and if you think it’s important to keep the voices that matter to you audible, please do try to find that 17 cents a day for us, and for other groups like Ezra Levant’s The Rebel, Dave Reesor’s Let’s Do It Ourselves, Danny Hozack’s Economic Education Association of Alberta (and yes, I’m professionally involved with two of them) and other similar outfits like the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Constitution Foundation and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (who helped us enormously with our Fix the Constitution documentary project).

Unlike the Clintons, we’re never going to get rich doing what we do. But that’s kind of the point.

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Can you kick in?

MamaKata2

Hi folks,

With 10 days to go, Brigitte and I are asking for your help to get her “Not Just for Kicks” project across the finish line. I know a lot of you have supported our bigger projects, for which we’re very grateful. And we’ll have another one in the spring that I hope you’ll think is worthwhile. And a number of you are supporting us with monthly donations that are also much appreciated.

So now I’m asking people who enjoy our work but haven’t yet backed it to put something into Brigitte’s project. She’s over 2/3 of the way to her $1,500 target to help her make a book and video about her and our daughter’s journey to the WKC world karate championships in Dublin, Ireland, about the hard work, the sense of achievement and the victories over fatigue and fear. But we still need $400.

Can 80 people kick in $5 each in the next week and a half and make it happen?

Thanks.

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College students interested in liberty can win money!

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, our fundraising partner on the True North and Free documentary project on fixing our Constitution, has just announced the 2016 version of its Essay Contest for Canadian college and university students.

Their website gives the full terms and conditions. But basically if you were a college or university student in Canada last year or will be one this year, you’re invited to write 2,500 words or less on:

Should the government and government bodies, through law and policy, force voluntary associations (charitable, political, cultural, ethnic, religious, social, recreational, educational, etc.) to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone?

Why or why not?

There are cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

 

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Essentials of Freedom, 2016

Later this month Brigitte and I will be in Edmonton to take part in the “Essentials of Freedom” conference organized by our friend Danny Hozack. You can find more information about the event, and the other fine speakers, here.

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Economics in one volume

If only life’s problems had simple solutions, we sigh. But often they do. Not easy ones, but simple ones, as Ronald Reagan liked to say. And nowhere is it more true than in economics, where we really do know what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. 

There’s even a simple way to get on top of it that actually is easy: Read Henry Hazlitt’s classic, plain-language, common sense Economics in One Lesson. It’s 70 years old now but still absolutely timely because we keep making the same simple mistakes. 

Not to worry, if we give up that bad habit we’ll still have plenty to bicker about in foreign and social policy. But in economics, there are simple solutions. Read Hazlitt and you’ll know what they are.

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It’s not a daycare?

Here’s one university administrator willing to stand up to political correctness, and to keep standing up when challenged.

I’m pleased to say he seems to be getting some pretty favourable coverage for it too.

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A road to nowhere

My latest National Post column takes aim at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for buying into a false historical account that undermines its otherwise commendable effort to get from truth to reconciliation.

My criticisms of unrealism in aboriginal policy have opened me to predictable accusations of bigotry. But the reverse is true. Nowhere is frank talk more desperately needed because nowhere in Canada is policy a worse mess and it is aboriginals who suffer most even from well-meaning nonsense.

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