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The Nathan Cummings Foundation: Another foundation skews leftward after its benefactor’s death

The Nathan Cummings Foundation: Another foundation skews leftward after its benefactor’s death

By Jonathan Hanen, (Foundation Watch, December 2013) (PDF here)

Summary:  The Nathan Cummings Foundation is yet another philanthropy whose original donor was able to live the American dream and create great wealth through the free market.  But once he died, his foundation began to fund left-wing groups that fight for such causes as single-payer health care, a centrally planned energy economy, open-borders amnesty, and same-sex marriage. 

The Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) of New York City was created by its namesake in 1949. Nathan Cummings (1896-1985) was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. This apparently apolitical, self-made man bought the C.D. Kenny Co. of Baltimore in 1939, and over the next 30 years transformed it from a small wholesale distributor into the international giant known as the Sara Lee Corporation. He retired in 1968 and turned to art collecting and philanthropic interests, with a focus on medicine and science.

Cummings created the foundation in 1949 and “contributed to mainstream American and Jewish groups and supported the nascent nation of Israel through gifts to such organizations as United Jewish Appeal; he also made grants to various universities, medical centers, and hospitals,” according to DiscoverTheNetworks.org. The foundation only began to take on an overtly left-wing focus upon his passing in 1985, when it received most of Cummings’ $200 million estate. Like many benefactors, Cummings had stipulated vaguely that his philanthropy’s resources should be directed to pursue “charitable, eleemosynary, educational, scientific, literary, religious and artistic purposes.”

The NCF board, consisting mainly of his children, in conjunction with a lawyer and a foundation consultant, reinterpreted these directives. The new goals of the NCF were to be health care, Jewish causes, the arts, and environmentalism.

But how have even these goals been pursued by the NCF? It is next to impossible to determine the NCF’s institutional self-understanding of its history since the time of its re-focusing in 1986. The website presents its so-called history in the form of six asynchronous and impressionistic anecdotes regarding the NCF’s general approach to board-recommended grants, shareholder resolutions, the investment committee, the impact of early and late funding, and family and spouse involvement on the board.

The current self-understanding of the NCF is presented in a video and accompanying article of March 13, 2012, entitled “The Invisible Helping Hand of Government,” which attacks the conservative view that government need only get out of the way of the private sector in order for the economy to grow. The video claims that America’s prosperity only exists thanks to government efforts like the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), government funding of scientific R&D at government labs and private universities, broadband and wireless infrastructure, public job training programs, the National Weather Service, the auto bailout, public education, fuel efficiency standards, transportation infrastructure, the Clean Air Act, and Department of Defense research and purchasing that led most notably to commercial jet engines.

NCF’s CEO Simon Greer concludes, “Until we Americans truly recognize the myriad ways in which government protects the quality of life in America and provides the foundation for economic growth, we’re likely to continue to have a shallow and partisan debate about the size of government or trust in government.”

The NCF wants governments to increase spending on existing poverty relief programs, fund groups that seek to lobby the states to set up the Obamacare exchanges or to register people for the misnamed Affordable Care Act, and to implement a carbon-trading scheme or perhaps a carbon tax.

But, as we shall see by examining the groups that the NCF actually funds, its true policy goals are explicitly understood to be the establishment of universal single-payer health care, an extreme egalitarian vision of economic and social justice in the U.S. and Israel, the promotion of social justice through the arts, and financial support for radical environmentalist groups whose understanding of “sustainability” goes beyond the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, beyond carbon controls, to the destruction of the coal industry and government funding of arbitrarily chosen green tech companies, if not to full governmental control of energy markets.

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Ben Jealous out at NAACP

Fresh from five successful years of race-baiting and fomenting hatred, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous is leaving his post at the left-wing interest group.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “As NAACP’s youngest-ever leader, Mr. Jealous is credited with infusing the 104-year-old organization, once seen as graying and vulnerable, with energy, modernity—and sometimes, risky stances on issues like same-sex marriage that have rattled his board members. On his watch over the past five years, the group doubled its budget and national staff, thanks to sometimes explosive growth in fundraising. It shook off years of scandal and torpor, racked up victories in city halls and statehouses, and registered hundreds of thousands of voters.”

Self-described communist and black nationalist Van Jones praised Jealous.

“It’s inarguable that Ben Jealous has forcefully brought the NAACP into the 21st century,” says Van Jones, the 9/11 truther who was forced out as President Obama’s green jobs czar.

“For me and people of my generation—people in their 30s or 40s—you couldn’t mention the term ‘NAACP’ 10 years ago without people laughing. It had become an irrelevant relic. Ben changed all that.”

Jealous said he’s going to get into the education field, whatever that means.

“I’m going to miss the street fighting with mayors, state senators, governors—and winning,” Jealous said. “I’ve been an organizer since I was 18. It’s not just the end of my career as head of the NAACP. This is the end of my life as an organizer.”

 

 

The Structural Racism Racket: Using Anti-Racist Rhetoric To Fight Left-Wing Battles

The Structural Racism Racket: Using Anti-Racist Rhetoric To Fight Left-Wing Battles

By W. James Antle III, Foundation Watch, March 2013 (PDF here)

Summary: The Applied Research Center has a benign-sounding name, but this community organizing group is a scrappy leader among new groups that use anti-racist rhetoric to advance the Left’s agenda.

A battle raged during the last election cycle that was bigger than any of the individual races for public office, even the presidential contest. Multiple state legislatures took up bills designed to verify the identity of voters and eliminate election fraud. Seemingly uncontroversial, these laws sparked an extensive debate likely to reverberate over the next several years.

On one side were people who believe measures like voter ID laws are essential to preserve the integrity of our electoral system. On the other side were groups dedicated to the proposition that voter fraud is a fairy tale. The real motive behind voter ID laws, these organizations insisted, is voter suppression: a racist, discriminatory attempt to keep elderly, minority, and young voters—especially those likely to cast ballots for Democrats—from the polls.

The more extreme version of this narrative likened voter ID proposals to the racist caste system of the Jim Crow era, when poll taxes, discriminatory laws, and lynch mobs kept black Americans from exercising their right to vote. In this telling, private groups that monitor polling stations, no matter how peacefully, are at best engaged in acts of intimidation. At worst, they’re lynch mobs.

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SCANLON: Obama’s radical energy transformation reversal

CRC President Terrence Scanlon has an op-ed in today’s Washington Times.

Here it is:

President Obama has his second term and will never face voters again. On one of his highest priorities — energy and the environment — he’s free to be the “transformational” figure he always wanted to be.

Since the beginning, Mr. Obama’s main goal on energy and the environment has been clear to anyone listening to him and his advisers: to make energy — at least, the carbon-based energy on which contemporary civilization was built — more expensive, forcing us to use other forms of energy or do without.

During the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that under his “cap-and-trade” plan, “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” He added, “Under my plan electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

After being elected, he brought in allies to support his misguided schemes. In September 2008, Steven Chu talked about the dilemma of finding out “how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” The European price of gas was roughly $8 a gallon. Soon afterward, Mr. Chu became U.S. secretary of energy.

Van Jones, the administration’s first “green jobs czar,” saw the energy agenda as a means for radical societal transformation. He declared in February 2009, “We want to move from suicidal gray capitalism to something eco-capitalism [sic] where at least we’re not fast-tracking the destruction of the whole planet. Will that be enough? No, it won’t be enough. We want to go beyond the systems of exploitation and oppression altogether . [T]he green economy will start off as a small subset, and we are going to push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.”

The administration can drag us into an energy utopia using creative means. It can continue to funnel grant money to questionable enterprises in the name of “green” energy, to subsidize those projects with special-interest tax breaks and to guarantee business for those companies with “renewable energy” mandates. A president has a thousand tools, from national-monument designations (which can be used to block oil drilling), to building-efficiency standards (which can put “global warming” rules into effect), to fuel-economy standards for cars (which, incidentally, make cars less safe, causing people to die).

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Southern Poverty Law Center: Wellspring of Manufactured Hate

Southern Poverty Law Center: Wellspring of Manufactured Hate

By James Simpson, Organization Trends, October 2012 (PDF here)

Summary: The Southern Poverty Law Center began with an admirable purpose but long ago transformed into a machine for raising money and launching left-wing political attacks. Lately it’s become more of a threat to free speech and civil debate than a defender of the weak or a foe of violent extremism. It has also taken in millions from the Picower Foundation, whose own funds came largely from founder Jeffry Picower’s “investing” in his old friend Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

On August 15, 2012, an angry gay rights activist named Floyd Corkins stormed the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and began shooting. Corkins shot a brave security guard in the arm, but the guard still managed to wrestle him to the ground before he could kill or injure others.

Corkins was carrying 50 bullets and two loaded magazines for his 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol; 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches; and the address of another potential target, the Traditional Values Coalition. Before initiating his shooting spree, Corkins reportedly said, “I don’t like your politics.”

Reacting to the shooting, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins stated: “Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations as hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”

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Brett Kimberlin and the Threshold Foundation’s radical ties

What do self-described “communist” Van Jones, his good friend Arianna Huffington, radical philanthropist George Soros, the Threshold Foundation, and the Tides Foundation all have in common?

They all are connected in some way to convicted “Speedway Bomber” Brett C. Kimberlin, a man described by Michelle Malkin as “a radical, violent, lying, dangerous felon.”

Kimberlin, as blogger Liberty Chick previously reported,

spent nearly 17 years in prison after being convicted of launching a week-long bombing spree that terrorized the residents of Speedway, Indiana in the late 1970’s. One of the blasts horribly maimed a man so badly that it directly led to that man’s suicide a few years later, which was proven when the widow of that bombing victim successfully sued and won a civil judgment against Kimberlin for $1.6 million.

Kimberlin is a political trailblazer of sorts. He is a tactical innovator whose tried and true methods would have impressed the father of modern community organizing, Saul Alinsky. The late conservative Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart recognized Kimberlin’s unique talents last fall, tweeting that the convicted terrorist and his confederates needed “exposure.”

Kimberlin is focusing on bullying conservatives into silence, which is the same thing that so much of progressivedom is concentrating on nowadays. But unlike Van Jones and the various Marxist agitators who have inflicted damage on conservative talk radio and innocuous groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through innuendo and smears, Kimberlin gets in his enemies’ faces. While in prison he taught himself the law. Nowadays he sues conservatives who write about him and obtains restraining orders against them – the First Amendment be damned.

Amazingly, a leading Kimberlin detractor, conservative blogger Aaron Walker, was jailed by a Maryland judge yesterday after criticizing Kimberlin.

JTMP and another nonprofit Kimberlin founded, Velvet Revolution, receive money from left-wing funders. Of course it’s their privilege to do what they want with their money even if it means funding nonprofits operated by “a radical, violent, lying, dangerous felon.” Similarly, since 1984 it has been Capital Research Center’s mission to report on and analyze what charities do with their money.

The Threshold Foundation has been in the news in recent days because the San Francisco-based philanthropy gave $20,000 in 2008 to the Justice Through Music Project, a seven year old Bethesda, Maryland-based 501c3 nonprofit entity. JTMP was founded by Mr. Kimberlin a few short years after his release from prison. (See its latest IRS Form 990 [tax return] here.) Threshold has also given $60,000 to the related nonprofit, Velvet Revolution, since 2007. (For more information on Threshold, see Bonner Cohen’s July 2006 Foundation Watch article.)

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“If I wanted America to fail”

A spinoff of Americans for Limited Government called Free Market America has created a wonderful new video that sums up all the ways that the Left is sabotaging America.

This powerful video is called “If I wanted America to fail.” It shows how the Left has been pushing an “economic suicide pact” for decades.

Click on this link to view the video on YouTube:  If I wanted America to fail

 

Federal Tax Dollars Indirectly Fund Organization Leading Assault on ALEC

Joel Griffith has an item in Red State this morning that’s worth looking at.

He writes that the Center for Media and Democracy is leading the charge against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization” dedicated to advancing limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.”  The Center is funded by the taxpayer-supported radical money-laundering outfit known as the Tides Foundation.

Leftist spring training is ACORN-approved

Admitted communist Van Jones is working with various leftist groups “to train over 100,000 young people to engage in acts of massive civil disobedience throughout the country,” Ron Radosh writes in a great op-ed on PJM called The Organized Left’s Spring Surprise: Revealed on TV and in The Nation magazine.

These radicals swear up and down that their activities will be nonviolent but they’re lying.  With the Left there is no such thing as nonviolent protest.  The goal is chaos.  The Left wants to stir things up so violently that it leads to a radical transformation of America.  God help us if these subversives succeed.

This training is endorsed by three ACORN-related organizations:  the  Working Families Party, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment.

As I explain in my book, Subversion Inc: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers WFP is ACORN’s political party and ACCE and MORE are rebranded ACORN state organizations.

 

 

Tainted Obama Official Leaves Energy Department for Soros-Backed Private Equity Fund

Well, what a surprise.

CNBC.com reports

Cathy Zoi, who was the Acting Under Secretary for Energy and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is going to work for a new cleantech private equity fund sponsored by George Soros and a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

The new fund will invest in…wait for it…”the energy and resource sectors.”

Zoi became a bit of a public relations headache for the Obama administration after it was revealed she held a stake in two rent-seeking businesses that were gearing up to benefit from energy efficiency programs sponsored by the government.

What’s next? Will Van Jones move to Fenton Communications? (That’s not a serious question, by the way.)