theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Thursday, August 31, 2017

President Trump Will Donate $1 Million Of His Own Money To Texas Relief

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told the White House press corps that President Donald Trump will be donating $1 million of his own personal wealth to the disaster relief effort in Texas.
Texas was hit with the destructive Hurricane Harvey on Saturday and experienced unprecedented flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey. Thus far, there have been a reported 31 fatalities, a number expected to dramatically increase once the flood waters subside.
President Trump and First Lady Melania visited South Texas on Tuesday, offering a needed morale boost to the people of Texas and making it clear that Trump's administration, and America, stand with them.
Vice President Mike Pence, too, has helped with the relief effort, personally removing tree branches surrounding homes in Rockport.
The Trump Administration has been applauded by Texas officials for the handling of the disaster, and leftists, with little left to criticize, have turned to whining about Trump's tweets and Melania's "Hurricane Stilettos."

Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities

Left-wing nonprofit pays lucrative six-figure salaries to top management

The SPLC's chief trial counsel Morris Dees / Getty Images

Joe Schoffstall

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal, Alabama-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that has gained prominence on the left for its "hate group" designations, pushes millions of dollars to offshore entities as part of its business dealings, records show.

Additionally, the nonprofit pays lucrative six-figure salaries to its top directors and key employees while spending little on legal services despite its stated intent of "fighting hate and bigotry" using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is perhaps best known for its "hate map," a collection of organizations the nonprofit deems "domestic hate groups" that lists mainstream conservative organizations alongside racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and is often referenced in the media. A gunman opened fire at the Washington, D.C., offices of the conservative Family Research Council in 2012 after seeing it listed as an "anti-gay" group on SPLC's website.

The SPLC has turned into a fundraising powerhouse, recording more than $50 million in contributions and $328 million in net assets on its 2015 Form 990, the most recently available tax form from the nonprofit. SPLC's Form 990-T, its business income tax return, from the same year shows that they have "financial interests" in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. No information is available beyond the acknowledgment of the interests at the bottom of the form.

However, the Washington Free Beacon discovered forms from 2014 that shed light on some of the Southern Poverty Law Center's transfers to foreign entities.

The SPLC's Form 8865, a Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships, from 2014 shows that the nonprofit transferred hundreds of thousands to an account located in the Cayman Islands.

SPLC lists Tiger Global Management LLC, a New York-based private equity financial firm, as an agent on its form. The form shows a foreign partnership between the SPLC and Tiger Global Private Investment Partners IX, L.P., a pooled investment fund in the Cayman Islands. SPLC transferred $960,000 in cash on Nov. 24, 2014 to Tiger Global Private Investment Partners IX, L.P, its records show.

The SPLC's Form 926, a Return by a U.S. Transferor of Property to a Foreign Corporation, from 2014 shows additional cash transactions that the nonprofit had sent to offshore funds.

The SPLC reported a $102,007 cash transfer on Dec. 24, 2014 to BPV-III Cayman X Limited, a foreign entity located in the Cayman Islands. The group then sent $157,574 in cash to BPV-III Cayman XI Limited on Dec. 31, 2014, an entity that lists the same PO Box address in Grand Cayman as the previous transfer.

The nonprofit pushed millions more into offshore funds at the beginning of 2015.

On March 1, 2015, SPLC sent $2,200,000 to an entity incorporated in Canana Bay, Cayman Islands, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records and run by a firm firm based in Greenwich, Ct. Another $2,200,000 cash transfer was made on the same day to another fund whose business is located at the same address as the previous fund in the Cayman Islands, according to SEC records.

No information is contained on its interests in Bermuda on the 2014 forms. SPLC's financial stakes in the British Virgin Islands were not acknowledged until its 2015 tax form.

Lucinda Chappelle, a principal at Jackson Thornton, the public accounting firm in Montgomery, Ala., that prepared the SPLC's tax forms, said she does not discuss client matters and hung up the phone when the Free Beacon contacted her in an attempt to get the most updated forms from the group in relation to its foreign business dealings.

Tax experts expressed confusion when being told of the transfer.

"I've never known a US-based nonprofit dealing in human rights or social services to have any foreign bank accounts," said Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California-based nonprofit consulting firm. "My impression based on prior interactions is that they have a small, modestly paid staff, and were regarded by most in the industry as frugal and reliable. I am stunned to learn of transfers of millions to offshore bank accounts. It is a huge red flag and would have been completely unacceptable to any wealthy, responsible, experienced board member who was committed to a charitable mission who I ever worked with."

"It is unethical for any US-based charity to invest large sums of money overseas," said Casil. "I know of no legitimate reason for any US-based nonprofit to put money in overseas, unregulated bank accounts."

"It seems extremely unusual for a ‘501(c)(3)' concentrating upon reducing poverty in the American South to have multiple bank accounts in tax haven nations," Charles Ortel, a former Wall Street analyst and financial advisor who helped uncover a 2009 financial scandal at General Electric, told the Free Beacon.

The nonprofit also pays lucrative salaries to its top leadership.

Richard Cohen, president and chief executive officer of the SPLC, was given $346,218 in base compensation in 2015, its tax forms show. Cohen received $20,000 more in other reportable compensation and non-taxable benefits. Morris Dees, SPLC's chief trial counsel, received a salary of $329,560 with $42,000 in additional reportable compensation and non-taxable benefits.

The minimum amount paid to an officer, director, trustee, or key employee in 2015 was $140,000 in base salary, not including other compensation. The group spent $20 million on salaries throughout the year.

The SPLC, which claims to boast a staff of 75 lawyers who practice in the area of children's rights, economic justice, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform, reported spending only $61,000 on legal services in 2015.

Following recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., the group raised a great deal of money.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told his employees that the company is donating $1 million to the SPLC and would match employee contributions two to one. Cook also placed an SPLC donation button in its iTunes store. The company is additionally providing a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League.

J.P Morgan Chase vowed to add a $500,000 donation for the group's "work in tracking, exposing, and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations."

The Washington Times reported that CNN ran a wire story following the Charlottesville events originally titled, "Here are all the active hate groups where you live" using SPLC's list of 917 groups.

Brad Dacus, the president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a Sacramento-based group that defends "religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties without charge," was listed on the "hate groups" list.

"Why is the Southern Poverty Law Center doing this? It's simple. They want to vilify and isolate anyone that doesn't agree with their very extremist leftist policy and ideology," Dacus told the Times. "This isn't about defending civil rights; this is about attacking civil rights."

"I am shocked that CNN would publish such a false report on the heels of the Charlottesville tragedy," added Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, a Christian nonprofit that provides pro bono assistance and representation, which is also featured on SPLC's list. "To lump peaceful Christian organizations, which condemn violence and racism, in with the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists is offensive. This is the epitome of fake news and is why people no longer trust the media."

CNN later changed its headline to, "The Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups."

"The SPLC is an anti-conservative, anti-Christian hate group that the media have given pretend legitimacy to. One glance at their 990 tax forms is a reminder just what a fund-raising super-power it is," Dan Gainor, vice president of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center, told the Free Beacon. "Its assets are over $328 million in 2015 and went up $13 million in just one year. It doesn't need new liberal money. It could operate for at least six years and never raise a penny. It's like a perpetual motion machine for fundraisers."

The SPLC has also been hit with a number of lawsuits over "hate" defamation claims in recent days.

The Southern Poverty Law Center did not return a request for comment on its foreign financial dealings by press time.


Comey Drafted Announcement Closing Hillary Clinton Probe Before Key Witnesses Interviewed: Senators

‘Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation’

Now we know there was Collusion to let Hillary Slide. It's why the Democrats are accusing everyone that breaths of Collusion. Offense is the best Defense!

FILE - In this Thursday, June 8, 2017, file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Comey has a book deal. Flatiron Books told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Aug. 2, that Comey will write about everything from allegations of ties between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign to the bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Andrea Noble

Two Republican senators say they’ve reviewed evidence that indicates former FBI Director James Comey began drafting a statement to announce the closure of the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server before key witnesses, including Mrs. Clinton, were interviewed.
Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray asking for information related to Mr. Comey’s announcement, saying they’ve reviewed partially redacted interview transcripts that indicate Mr. Comey was drafting a statement on the closure of the case months before the July 5, 2016 announcement.
The interview transcripts are from an investigation the Office of Special Counsel was conducting that looked into whether Mr. Comey’s actions were a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using their positions to influence an election. The investigation was closed after President Trump fired Mr. Comey in May.
But partially redacted transcripts of interviews with James Rybicki, Mr. Comey’s chief of staff, and Trisha Anderson, the FBI’s principal deputy general counsel of national security and cyberlaw, were turned over to to Mr. Grassley after he requested the information.
Last July, Mr. Comey announced the closure of the Clinton probe and publicly described why the FBI opted not to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton or any of her State Department aides. The FBI director testified earlier this year before he was fired that he took the unusual step because he believed that a June 2016 airport tarmac meeting between Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, had undermined the Justice Department’s credibility to independently investigate the case.
The transcripts cited by the Republican lawmakers indicates that a draft statement about the conclusion of the investigation was being circulated among a select group of FBI officials as early as April 2016.
The senators said that was before 17 key witnesses, including Mrs. Clinton, were interviewed by the FBI.
“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” the senators wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Mr. Wray.

Neo-Nazis And Antifa Epitomize The Greek Titan Prometheus, And Won’t Like Why

Those who believe freedom is something to be claimed and grasped have embraced an errant conception of the human condition.

Neo-Nazis And Antifa Epitomize The Greek Titan Prometheus, And Won’t Like Why

Michael Morris

Recent political movements in America have taken on a Promethean character. Prometheus, the reader will recall (if literate in Greek Mythology), is the Titan who stole fire from the gods to give to humanity. For his theft of fire from Mount Olympus, Prometheus secured the contempt and harsh punishment of Zeus.
The myth of Prometheus show us what is at stake in our most recent violent demonstrations. The myth has much to tell us regarding the thinking at play between the Blood and Soil white nationalists of Richard Spencer, and Antifa in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was here that we witnessed two sides of the same fascist coin fight for, as Robert Tracinski notes, what type of totalitarianism will define our body politic.

The Myth of Prometheus

Prometheus has become a sort of saint among anti-theist crowds. Karl Marx viewed him with the same sort of affection he had for Lucifer. Prometheus’ speech to Zeus—“Know well I would never be willing to exchange my misfortune for that bondage of yours. For better do I deem it to be bound to this rock than to spend my life as Father Zeus’ faithful messenger”—was a prefix to Marx’s doctoral dissertation. This idea of smaller gods overthrowing the established order of greater gods in a revolutionary manner has been food for political thought for much of modernity. These anti-heroes, in Marx’s thought as well as in the thinking of other post-enlightenment thinkers, represent man’s highest act of freedom by stealing his inheritance from God.

With white nationalists and “anti-fascists,” both of whom carry the torch of Marx’s sociopolitical thought, the rules of engagement have been defined and agreed upon. Words and violence are interchangeable. Race wars are inevitable. The debate is not one of socialism or capitalism (and to what degree), but rather what strain of socialism. Rights must be stolen from the greater gods of government. And both maintain their marquee hostility toward Christian thought. Richard Spencer, with his Nietzschean subset of beliefs, sees Christian philosophy as a development for the fetishization of weakness. Antifa, relying on insufficient imagination (not to mention historical knowledge), sees Christianity as yet another vehicle for white supremacy. In both examples, we know there has always been a direct link in the relationship between these anti-Christian movements and fascism.
The story of postmodernism in the West is one of a conflict of values between enlightenment philosophy and Christian theology. The struggle seemed to reach a point of harmony with the culmination of the American experiment here in the United States. The framers set up the rules in a way that would reflect more heavily on Enlightenment values, but the body politic would self-govern through their Christian beliefs. A limited government for all has been the only sure method of maintaining harmony in a pluralistic society. This has successfully been achieved only when, as Rusty Reno notes, Christians are the leaven of their communities. But as time marches on, and the beliefs of our forefathers are launched into the dustbin of history, the tension between the two worldviews has begun to show signs of irreconcilability.

Thomas Merton And The West

The challenges of the modern West were not lost on the thinking of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and activist writer, who wrote extensively on the topic of Prometheus and the modern world. For Merton, understanding this myth was something akin to a Rorschach test of what freedom actually means. Its definition has been a great point of tension between Enlightenment philosophers and generations of Christian thinkers, but one point seemed conclusive to Merton—if you believe in gods in man’s image, like Zeus, then theft may be your only option.
Pagan mythology is a collection of stories that represent the human ego. It is framed on gods who are as vicious and small-minded as people are wont to be. The gods steal from mankind, exhibit the heights of depravity in their lusts, lord their good fortune over humans, and dole out punishment if for no other reason than mere pleasure. All the while, they bask in the glow of immortality.
Mankind should be jealous and vengeful towards such hostile creatures. This is where many Enlightenment philosophers, Marx included, are justified in sanctifying Prometheus. He is the proper anti-hero who marches up Mount Olympus and steals from these wicked gods the fire that is rightfully his.
They are wrong, though, in applying this myopic caricature to the God of the Christians. As Merton has written, “How sad is the figure of Prometheus and how sad are his gods: for they had to fear him in order to exist and he had to hate them in order to live.” An iconoclastic act against such small-minded gods is necessary to overthrow this balance of power and to level the playing field. Merton continues, “Without the living God, without a center, men become little helpless gods, imprisoned within the four walls of their own weakness and fear.” This is the crux of the problem of freedom in Merton’s view: should one storm the heavens and demand his inheritance, or accept in grace the freedom of which he was endowed?

Finding True Freedom

This is also the crux of the problem with ideologies that narrowly define freedom as something that must be plundered. Paradoxically, as we have seen in modern history, such views of freedom inevitably invite the worst kinds of oppression. Since they require a Promethean-like figure, in his finite limitations, to overthrow the natural order, they will always be tenuous.
In the end, and against the wishes of some of our brightest philosophers, there is only one type of freedom available—and it is achieved through Calvary. It was the will of the God of Creation to give man dominion over the fruits of His labor; in return, man attempted, in a Promethean act, to “raise himself by his own bootstraps to the level of the gods” (to borrow a phrase from the theologian Hans Urs Von Balthaser). Then in an act of Infinite Grace, God reconciled man to Himself by sending His Son to pay the penalty for man’s sin.
Through Christ’s self-emptying love for mankind, manifest on the cross, we are presented access to the only true freedom. In this act, Christ offers an image of God who wishes, through grace, to give us this flame that our finite minds cannot imagine would freely be given. Thomas Merton rightfully saw in the myth of Prometheus a struggle against the worst gods of human impulse—gods that will invariably discover the fate of Prometheus by being chained to a rock and eaten alive.
Political movements like those on display in Charlottesville must grapple with Prometheus’ fate. No matter what stripe of anti-theistic or anti-human zeal, when rights must be taken rather than endowed, then the gods of our very own image will ensure we get our just desserts. Or in the words of Prometheus himself, “Implacable is the heart of Zeus, and harsh is every king whose power is new.”