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Category Archives: Federalist
Posted: June 20, 2021 at 12:58 am
For years, the funding behind the right-wing, pro-Trump publication The Federalist has been a total mystery. Many Twitter users have asked the websites leaders, repeatedly, Who funds The Federalist? only to be blocked by the likes of publisher Ben Domenech, co-founder Sean Davis, or senior editor Mollie Hemingway. (This author is blocked by all three.)
Last year, Hemingway characterized the question as a kind of a veiled threat and a clear, coordinated attempt to silence The Federalist.
However, a few months earlier, The Federalists affiliated nonprofit, FDRLST Media Foundation, had been certified as a 501(c)(3) charity by the Internal Revenue Service, meaning that donors could begin making tax-deductible contributions to the foundation. If the donor was a nonprofit organization like a family foundation or trade association, its grants to the FDRLST Media Foundation would eventually be part of the public record. Hemingway is a director and governor of the foundation.
Last week, CMD obtained the 2019 tax records of two right-wing funders who donated to the FDRLST Media Foundation that year: GOP megadonor and shipping supply billionaire Richard Uihlein and DonorsTrust, a donor-advised fund manager that has been dubbed the dark money ATM of the conservative movement.
The Federalist may have once had a never Trump image, but the conservative publication moved quickly rightward as President Donald Trump became president and took over the Republican Party. The outlet is now known for vigorously defending Trump, for its trolling and conspiracy-laden posts, and for attacking liberal media. Sometimes trafficking in racism, The Federalist had a black crime tag until someone exposed the tag on Twitter.
Its unclear when Uihlein, the Illinois-based founder of shipping supply company Uline, began funding The Federalist, but it makes sense that his foundation, the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation, donated $400,000 to the FDRLST Media Foundation last year. Uihlein and his wife, Liz, are influential Trump donors and among the Republican Partys biggest funders; Uihlein is the fifth-biggest donor to outside political spending groups of the 2020 federal elections, having doled out over $63 million to super PACs such as the pro-Trump America First Action, Club for Growth Action, the Senate Leadership Fund, and Restoration PAC, which he funded nearly exclusively.
The New York Times reported in August that, based on interviews, Richard Uihlein was a donor to The Federalist, but his foundations 2019 tax return is the first evidence of his financial support to be made public.
As The Federalist published story after story denying science and opposing mask wearing during the coronavirus pandemicincluding one story allegedly written by an anonymous small-town mayor claiming that health officials order mask mandates for political, not scientific, reasonsLiz Uihlein minimized the virus, calling it overhyped, and endangered Uline workers by allegedly using lax safety practices and initially discouraging employees from working from home. Liz Uihlein, the president and CEO of Uline, got an exemption from Canadas quarantine requirement to visit a Uline facility in the country, which she reached via private jet. The Uihleins would eventually contract COVID-19 in November.
The Uihleins have endorsed fringe candidates such as Roy Moore, the far-right Alabaman who ran for Senate in 2017 and was credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors by multiple women. Liz Uihlein was a member of the 2016 Trump campaigns economic council.
The Ed Uihlein Foundation gave to additional right-wing media outlets in 2019, including The Daily Caller News Foundation ($25,000), the Media Research Center ($275,000), and the Real Clear Foundation ($350,000), which has ties to The Federalist (see below). It also donated $400,000 to the Center for Security Policy, an anti-Muslim hate group. Its largest 2019 contribution, $3.2 million, went to the Foundation for Government Accountability, a State Policy Network member that advocated kicking people off of Medicaid this year during the pandemic. Since 2014, the Uihleins have given the Foundation for Government Accountability over $11 million.
One of the political rights biggest funding vehicles, DonorsTrust, gave $249,000 to the FDRLST Media Foundation in 2019. CMD was first to report on DonorsTrusts 2019 tax records and on the groups major donation to the white nationalist hate group VDARE, as well as a smaller amount to the New Century Foundation, the nonprofit behind the white nationalist publication American Renaissance.
DonorsTrust also gave $1,350,000 to the Real Clear Foundation and nearly $400,000 to the Media Research Center in 2019, part of $15 million in grants to conservative media operations that year.
DonorsTrust is a donor-advised fund sponsor, meaning that it manages individual charitable accounts of its wealthy clients, who have included GOP megadonors such the DeVos, Koch, and Mercer Families. These clients can donate appreciable assets into their accounts and score a double tax benefit: they get both a capital gains tax break and a charitable tax deduction. Clients then direct DonorsTrust to donate their money to the nonprofits of their choice, as long as the DonorsTrust board approves the proposed recipient. Donor-advised fund managers allow their clients to remain anonymous, as the manager legally owns and disperses the money.
DonorsTrust and its sister organization, Donors Capital Fund, distributed $165 million in grants in 2019, much of it going to right-wing think tanks, advocacy groups, litigation centers, media outlets, extremists, and climate deniers.
The Uihlein and DonorsTrust grants are the first known donations to The Federalist, but one financial tie was already public. Journalist Andrew Perez found that the George E. Coleman Jr. Foundation is an investor in FDRLST Media, LLC, the company behind The Federalist. In 2018, the Coleman Foundation had $148,000 invested in FDRLST Media. The foundations trustee, Daniel Oliver, is a former Reagan official who was once executive editor of the conservative National Review, which receives significant funding from DonorsTrust through its affiliated National Review Institute.
In advance of a 2019 Buzzfeed News article that cited the Coleman Foundation investment, Domenech, The Federalists publisher, refused to comment but tweeted that this impending revelation of public information amounted to doxxing an investor. They will do this because they want to shut us down, he claimed.
Federal tax records for the FDRLST Media Foundation are not yet public, but the Washington, D.C. secretary of state has public records of the foundation. David DesRosiers, the publisher of Real Clear Politics and the former executive vice president of the Uihlein-funded Manhattan Institute, is a director. Hemingway is both a director and a governor. Attorney Alan P. Dye is the third director.
Its possible that more FDRLST Media Foundation donors will emerge as CMD obtains additional 2019 tax records from conservative foundations.
In September 2017, FDRLST Media filed an offering of debt securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At the time, $200,000 of the $750,000 offered had been sold. Listed as a director of FDRLST Media was John McIntyre, president and CEO of Real Clear Media. Someone named Jenn McIntyre was also listed as a director and an executive officer. The filing located FDRLST Media at the same Chicago address as Real Clear Politics, the main publication of Real Clear Media.
Real Clear has taken a sharp right turn in recent years, likely due to its increased funding from right-wing donors and its reaction to Trumps takeover of the Republican party. A CMD report showed that at least 99 percent of the 2015 to 2018 revenue of the Real Clear Foundation, which funds the outlets investigative stories, came from right-wing funders, including DonorsTrust, Donors Capital Fund, the Uihlein Foundation, and two foundations of Charles Koch.
As the administration lurched from one crisis after another, wrote The New York Times Jeremy Peters last month, Real Clear became one of the most prominent platforms for elevating unverified and reckless stories about the presidents political opponents, through a mix of its own content and articles from across conservative media.
View original post here:
Posted: at 12:58 am
Former President Donald Trump authored an article encouraging Americans to recognize how the left, spurred on by President Joe Biden, is brainwashing children with the ridiculous left-wing dogma known as critical race theory.
In an opinion article published on Friday, Trump warned parents against the danger of schools implementing critical race theory into their curriculum at the instruction of the Biden administration.
The key fact about this twisted doctrine is that it is completely antithetical to everything that normal Americans of any color would wish to teach their children, Trump wrote. Instead of helping young people discover that America is the greatest, most tolerant, and most generous nation in history, it teaches them that America is systemically evil and that the hearts of our people are full of hatred and malice.
This insanity, Trump continued, started a long time ago, was propelled by Bidens removal of the 1776 Commission, and now must stop.
The left has only gotten away with it until this point because not enough parents have been paying attention and speaking up. But that is quickly changing, Trump explained. From Loudoun County, Va., to Cupertino, Calif., parents are beginning to make their voices heard against the left-wing cultural revolution. What they need now is a plan to actually stop it.
Trumps advice for legislators and others invested in fighting this leftist re-education is to pass a ban on taxpayer dollars going to any school district or workplace that teaches critical race theory, which inherently violates existing anti-discrimination laws. Some states have already taken action, he said, but it needs to happen everywhere and Congress should seek to institute a federal ban through legislation as well.
Trump also encouraged states to create their own examination to ensure that students are receiving a patriotic, pro-American education not being taught that the United States is an evil nation and give parents legal protection to have access to curriculum. [E]very handout, article, and reading should be posted on an online portal that allows parents to see what their kids are being taught.
Parents need to organize locally in every school district in America to eliminate Action Civics and other versions of the effort to contort traditional civics education into a vehicle for political indoctrination. The lefts new argument is that our divisions stem from a lack of civics education a problem they intend to fix with lots of new taxpayer money and a redefinition of civics in schools, just as they are trying to redefine the meaning of infrastructure, Trump wrote. The government has no right to brainwash students with controversial ideologies against their parents will.
Trump also wielded school choice and scrutinized educator credentialing and tenure periods in government K-12 schools that reward incompetent teachers and political activist[s] with protections.
Make no mistake: The motive behind all of this left-wing lunacy is to discredit and eliminate the greatest obstacles to the fundamental transformation of America. To succeed with their extreme agenda, radicals know they must abolish our attachment to the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and most of all, Americans very identity as a free, proud, and self-governing people. The left knows that if they can dissolve our national memory and identity, they can gain the total political control they crave. A nation is only as strong as its spirit. For our children, we must act before it is too late, Trump concluded.
Read his seven suggested reforms here.
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.
Photo a href=https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse45/49328584106/in/photolist-2i9ZTtq-TK1vF1-2ivZmg1-2gkMWvo-2gkMMJZ-2gkMMN1-2jxhnnf-2i9Xsxu-GrnLNz-GrnLYV-21hWkwJ-2jsDjjP-2jyyvFv-2iqiCcd-2jyypgS-2iq53sF-2jyyvG7-2jmTogR-2hj9wwx-D1yb19-2h368UR-2gkMMGp-2jyypdR-D1ybcG-D1yb69-2ia21sK-2jeZvFk-2hU4dZy-2jxX8xJ-2jxxybf-2ga2uVD-2jxBXio-2ii1Lgr-2iq39tM-2jC1RpK-2jyypeC-2jyznsv-2j2fdqT-2jyvaQg-2jyypeY-24n4jRR-2jyyvJ6-2hNNoww-2jxW4ca-2hpBWUF-2jxW4cA-2jGR8YL-2jGMzQv-2jeVjSa-2jGMzSK>White House Flickr Archives/Photo
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Posted: at 12:58 am
Loudoun County Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler continues to claim critical race theory isnt being taught to teachers or students. In support of this claim, Max Sawicky urges everyone to calm down in an op-ed in our local paper, The Loudoun Times-Mirror. Sawicky claims its ridiculous to think high school students are being taught critical race theory because its w-a-a-y over the heads of both high school students and laypersons.
Ziegler and Sawicky are playing with semantics. Much of what is being touted in Loudoun County teacher trainings and trickling down into classrooms are poisonous fruit straight off the critical race theory tree. Unfortunately, Americans are daily gobbling up these divisive beliefs.
What Booker T. Washington noted generations ago still rings true today:
There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who dont want the patient to get well; because as long as the disease holds out, they have not only an easy means of making a living but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.
Loudoun County Public Schools has paid various race problem solvers to find and remedy systemic racism in our schools. Systemic racism conveniently presents a problem that cannot be solved, making Washingtons quote both prophetic and wise. While so-called experts rake in a lot of money making themselves prominent, our student body suffers from myriad issues created by the very initiatives these race problem solvers claim they will fix.
Indeed, some white students are experiencing the effects of equity, being told, Check your white privilege, and You cant be in this conversation because youre white. This is just one example of how equity treats everyone as mere avatars based on their outward identity without any regard for their individual characteristics.
The whole construct of white privilege constitutes group guilt for our white students. It also harms students of color by labeling them permanent victims while denying them the dignity, agency, and ability to flourish based on their own merit and good character.
Our education leadership denies it, but equity is critical race theory dressed up fruit pleasing to the eye, but lethal to ingest. This new equity is not about equality of opportunity, which is foundational to American political culture and economic strength; its about equal outcomes, a tenet foundational to Marxist political ideology.
Equity means manipulating the system to ensure everyone comes out the same. In the name of equity, the Virginia Department of Education is looking to place students of different abilities into the same math coursesand theyre exploring the option ofdoing away with advanced diplomas. Our own school board recently moved to eliminate class rank and the tradition of valedictorian.
With this new dangerous interpretation of equity, we crush the alleged oppressors and elevate the allegedly oppressed. The consequence of these policies will be the demise of excellence in education for all of our students, and everyone including black and Hispanic students will suffer from the leveling-down of curricula.
Sadly, as we see our leaders and politicians embrace this pernicious new definition of equity alongside critical race theory, we watch Dr. Martin Luther King, Jrs dream die on the vine. Kings dream was for people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. He encouraged a color-blind society a biblical perspective proclaimed throughout scripture but exemplified in Galatians 3:28:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
As a Christian, this means that when I look at someone, Im not supposed to look at them based on their race, ethnicity, gender, or social status. Im supposed to look at them as a unique, beloved image-bearer of God. Yet during our countys most recent equity training, we were taught claiming colorblindness is a micro-aggressionand a form of white supremacy.
Our society isnt suffering from white fragility, as critical race theory proponent Robin DiAngelo claims. What we are suffering from is emotional fragility, and we are cultivating it in our children in the education system.
Fostering the idea of micro-aggressions encourages our children to seek reasons to be offended rather than to assume good intentions. Yet individuals who ground so much of their reality on their feelings rather than rational thinking are easily hurt and easily manipulated, making equity so dangerous to our children.
If children are taught to base their identity on things like race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality then their identity is going to be tragically delicate a house of cards which the smallest slight will bring toppling down. Is it more important that they focus on their race or that theyarekind, honest, hard-working, compassionate, gracious, forgiving, loving, self-disciplined, and responsible?
If we cultivate in children that their identity is tethered to their character rather than their immutable characteristics, then they will be far more likely to manage ignorant and insensitive slights from others. Until we start instilling in children a strong sense of internal character, instead of blaming problems on an external system, children will continue to live under the tyranny of emotional fragility.
So, what can a concerned teacher or parent do? Engage.Teachers and parents dont have to cede any ground or give up the souls and minds of our children. Successfully pushing back against the current narratives can be accomplished by teaching proper critical thinking skills.
First, its necessary to build rapport with young people. Rather than just presenting ones own point of view, respectful discourse must be modeled. More time must be spent listening and asking penetrating questions with the objective of forcing young people to think about and then defend their position.
The second element to fostering good thinking and discourse isto set expectations for framing speech. Many Gen Z individuals begin statements with I feel like and then proceed to insert their opinion. As we live in a culture that idolizes feelings and demands every feeling be validated, this is a danger to good thinking and good civil discourse.
To be sure, its important to note our emotions are real and they can provide us with guidance, but there is a time and a place for dealing with emotions. In teaching young people how to engage in good discourse, they dont have to divorce themselves completely from their emotions, but the emotional response cant be allowed to be a trump card they throw down to win every argument.
Letting your students (or your own kids) get away with expressing their thinking and opinions as feelings conflates emotion with rational thinking. Indeed,when the emotional region of the brain is in conflict with the rational region the emotional one tends to win.
Tell your students and your own kids: No more I feel like statements unless they are actually going to speak about their emotions. Instead, set the expectation of using appropriate stems to frame their thinking, having them begin their statements with I think, I would argue, or With respect, I disagree.
Lastly, and most importantly, people need to learn better ways to think based on established criteria and methods, such as logic and other modes of rational argument. If critical thinking is not in the curriculum, we need to infuse it ourselves.
The Art of ArgumentandThe Discovery of Deduction are two books by Aaron Larsen and Joelle Hodge I recommend for this, whether in your classroom or with your own kids at home. While these resources are at the middle school level, they can be easily modified for either younger or older kids.
The Art Of Argument goes through 28 different logical fallacies. Cover one fallacy a week. If you are a teacher, do it in your class. If you are a parent, do it over the dinner table. Give your kids the opportunity to learn these logical fallacies and look to identify them out in the world.
I also recommendMama Bear Apologetics: Empowering your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies, edited by Hillary Morgan Ferrer. This is an excellent read aimed at moms, but its just as powerful and helpful for dads.
As our young people are presented with all kinds of crazy ideas and views from the world, we need them to have the right skills to construct proper thinking about all the ideas they encounter whether in the classroom, in entertainment, from their peers, from the news, or through social media. So, ladies and gentlemen, in whatever capacity you have to influence young people, the time to engage is now.
Monica Gill holds a masters degree in American history from George Mason University. She has been teaching American history, government, and comparative politics for 25 years and currently teaches for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia.
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Posted: at 12:57 am
Brandy Zadrozny, a senior reporter at NBC News, is displeased with how American citizens have mobilized against critical race theory. Many are using open-records laws to obtain evidence of what public entities are doing with their tax dollars.
To Zadrozny, people who seek to hold government accountable via the Freedom of Information Actpassed by Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966are participating in an onerous process. Well, is she in favor of governments keeping public information from the people paying for it?
Its hard for me as a reporter because I dont want to put FOILs in a bad light, Freedom of Information Laws are wonderful things, the writer preluded.But it is in fact a tactic of national and just hyper and fast-growing local organizations to use onerous public records requests Asking for all these record requests of how much money did you spend on anything involving race, and then that is used to sort of frame again the school board as paying for CRT. Which, again, is just not the case.
Should we be shocked that a so-called journalist is criticizing a legal process used by people to understand what their own governments are doing? Absolutely not.
After all, it was Zadrozny who earlier this week put on full display her lack of commitment to honest reporting when she declined to include a comment from CRT critic Christopher Rufo in a critical theory hit piece that mentioned him. While I am only an intern, journalism 101 is pretty simple on this: It is unethical to deny people you write about the opportunity to comment based on disagreeing with on-record experts [and] activists.
Zadrozny did not return a request for comment from The Federalist.
The NBC reporter decries the Freedom of Information Act then claims those who file FOIAs are operating under the erroneous impression critical race theory is a real phenomenon hijacking the school system. Along with many leftists, Zadrozny therefore pushes the idea critical race theory is a voodoo conspiracy Republicans have cooked up.
Virtually all school districts insist they are not teaching critical race theory, but many activists and parents have begun using it as a catch-all term to refer to what schools often call equity programs, teaching about racism or LGBTQ-inclusive policies, she wrote in an articlejointly bylined with others. Now, conservative activists are setting their sights on ousting as many school board members as they can, and local Republican Parties have vowed to help, viewing the revolt against critical race theory as akin to the tea party wave from a decade ago.
A day later, Zadrozny thought she struck gold. She published a hit piece on Republican activists based on a Media Matters report decrying the idea that parents could also be political.
One of the people she discussed, Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior, told The Federalist, It says a lot that an NBC News reporter thinks that moms and dads fighting for their children is a problem because they have appeared on Fox News or are conservative.
What these reporters that are now writing hit pieces on parents fail to understand is that this is not political for any of us its 100 percent personal, Prior added.
If Zadrozny truly views FOIAs as onerous in the case of critical race theory, does she determine them to be in the case of those that were directed toward the Trump administration, or Oklahoma Republican Attorney General Mike Hunter over the 2020 presidential election, or the U.S. Department of Justice for communications ties to Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz?
It is safe to assume not. But apparently, either open records requests are for elite reporters only, not taxpayers, or critical race theory is not a worthy cause for people to seek pertinent information from elected officials.
Onerous FOIA requests, school board meetings being showed up in mass and yelling at school board members, all of this is sort of a tactic, said Zadrozny. And its being leapt upon by national organizations from The Heritage Foundation to ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council], to other groups that have popped up after the Trump presidency to sort of push this American first agenda. And its also being roundly embraced by news organizations. Like you mentioned, like Fox News, Breitbart, other right-wing organizations who are just covering this stuff in mass when its really just a local issue.
The reason Zadrozny views concerned people reacting to critical race theory with FOIAs and attendance at board meetings as just a local issue is that she bizarrely asserts the anti-racism doctrine these parents are mad about is not definable. Instead, the entire clash between school curricula can be chalked in her mind to a bunch of bigoted conservatives who are uninterested in learning about racial equity. But what anyone paying attention knows is that equity is a buzzword frequently used to usher in critical race theory.
A journalist angry that citizens are doing a better job than the entire journalist class on this issue of extreme public importance using open-government tools. That about epitomizes the American elites of 2021.
Posted: at 12:57 am
It lacks any facts because it's a pressure piece, pure and simple, designed to intimidate America's bishops into doing what The New York Times thinks they should do.
Vatican Warns U.S. Bishops, the headline boldly declares: Dont Deny Biden Communion Over Abortion.
Its a striking title, and even with its sagging readership and brutalized reputation, these sort of things carry weight when they come from The New York Times. But it doesnt take a marginally informed Catholic to see somethings wrong here it merely takes a decent search for details to notice that whatever weight the headline is carrying, it certainly isnt in facts.
It lacks any facts because its a pressure piece, pure and simple, designed to intimidate Americas bishops into doing what The New York Times thinks they should do; that is, perpetuate the corporate media myth that President Joe Biden and other pro-abortion politicians are close adherents to their Catholic faiths.
The article comes as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gather Wednesday through Friday to discuss a host of issues, including whether politicians who publicly, materially, and unrepentantly support grave sins should be denied Holy Communion.
Catholics who are not in a state of grace, meaning they are aware of grave sin, are barred from Communion. While Catholics hold that Communion is instituted by God for men and for their salvation, and that all men sin (Catholic guilt is a real thing, folks), the Roman Catholic Church teaches that in order to receive Communion, you must first be absolved of your sins, which you achieve by confessing them to a priest, committing to sin no more, and giving an act of repentance as directed by your confessor.
Although as a matter of church law the case of gravely sinning leaders is clear-cut, over the past 60 years a number of Catholic clergy have dispensed with punishment and consequences for sin as if afraid to appear to judge another, and have instead stressed a sort of hippy Jesus theology of easy-going forgiveness.
Catholic teaching is clear that there is no forgiveness without repentance, however, and at the top of June, Pope Francis issued a rare update to church law that included a crackdown on the laxity of its enforcement, calling correction an essential act of pastoral care. For example, the purpose of barring a Catholic from Communion, like excommunication, isnt simply to punish but to prompt the sinner to repent, reconcile himself with God, and return to the church.
Meanwhile in Europe, where Biden is meeting with high-profile leaders, the Vatican reportedly asked the president to not make a stopover to come to the popes Mass. The reason given, according to American Catholic news service ETWN, is Pope Francis not wanting to send any mixed messages while the American bishops decide the issue. While the White House has specifically claimed there was no meeting ever planned between the pope and the president, follow-up questions from The Daily Caller News Foundation show the spokesman dodging if the president had been asked to not attend the Mass.
This, of course, stands in contrast with The New York Times, which claims in its opening paragraph that the Vatican has warned conservative American bishops to hit the brakes on their push to deny communion to politicians supportive of abortion rights, describing the apparent warning as a remarkably public stop sign from Rome.
The following 30 paragraphs, the casual headline reader might be surprised to learn, fail to deliver any remarkably public stop sign from Rome at all.
Instead, the third paragraph ties the ancient Catholic opposition to aborting children to former President Donald Trump and the fourth calls the discussion of ancient Christian teaching a dangerous precedent, citing a European Jesuit priest. The sixth paragraph cites the popes dislike of American Catholic opposition to his pontificate and a May 7 letter from Cardinal Luis Ladria in Rome.
The six-week-old letter, which is most likely what the Times is claiming to be its remarkably public stop sign, instructed American bishops to proceed carefully by discussing the matter privately among themselves and in light of both church teaching and the 2002 Vatican Doctrinal Note on Catholic politicians, which cites St. John Paul IIs command for Catholic politicians to limit those abortion laws they cannot overturn, and further calls on Christians to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism and accept that democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society.
Cardinal Ladrias letter further instructed the bishops to not let their meeting end in discord among them, to make sure that their treatment of sin encompasses all sinners and not simply politicians, and that once a decision is made, it be discussed privately with those politicians it would affect.
It strains credulity that the Rome correspondent for The New York Times could honestly read the cardinals letter as a remarkably public stop sign and the analysis appears slightly absurd in light of the Vatican reportedly asking the president to pass on Mass with the pope, but our reporter doesnt dwell on any specifics, plowing on in paragraphs seven and eight with filler on Pope Franciss feud with American clergy, and paragraph nine with the White House spokesmans statement on Bidens strong faith.
Paragraph 10 doubles down on the absurdity, claiming the churchs jurisdiction over sin doesnt extend to politicians, the 11th insults the archbishop of Los Angeles, the 12th quotes him, and the 13th complains that American bishops arent enthusiastic enough about the popes climate change agenda.
The bishops conference treats poverty, racism, alleged global warming, and other major issues as serious threats to human life and dignity, but maintains that the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.
The 14th and 15th paragraphs details internal politicking and the likelihood of any action being taken, with the 16th and 17th tackling the resistance to the call to hold sin to account from Washingtons Archbishop Wilton Gregory, an ally of the president who enjoys his proximity to powerful people.
A desire to curry favor with power has indeed driven the bishops past reluctance to chastise public leaders, with church leaders fearing that if they stand up for themselves they will lose the little remaining influence they maintain in American public life. Serial abuse, laxity in teachings, and closed doors have pockmarked a massive decline in church attendance worldwide with little course-change from most succeeding bishops.
Those readers who made it that far in the Times might be wondering what possibly justifies the headline, and paragraphs 18-21 continue to disappoint, focusing on U.S. climate envoy John Kerrys 2004 fight with the bishops (during which the bishops backed down) and ending with Kerrys suggestion they not try it again.
In the final third of the article, the Times calls American Catholics political and extremist, reiterates their disagreements with Rome, tells us this isnt a problem in Europe (where churches sit nearly empty and the pope warns that German bishops toy with excommunication), calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a Catholic and derides her diocese bishop an archconservative for his adherence to his religion.
The article opens with a patently unsubstantiated claim, portrays a serious lack of understanding of Catholic doctrine at the Times, and betrays its true intent: to pressure the bishops ahead of their Wednesday meeting something the pope himself has reportedly declined to do. It isnt surprising; its just sad, and for Catholics and Americans, its more of the same.
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Posted: at 12:57 am
The Tolkien Society, a literary organization founded in 1969 and dedicated to promoting the works of J.R.R Tolkien, has held an annual academic conference for decades. This years conference, to be held virtually via Zoom on July 3 and 4, is on the theme of Tolkien and Diversity.
Before we go on, understand that the Tolkien Societys president was, and formally remains, the great J.R.R. Tolkien himself. His daughter, Priscilla, currently serves as the vice president. At its annual seminar, scholars present academic papers, archival materials are sometimes displayed and discussed, and a serious effort is generally made to understand and appreciate Tolkiens unique genius. In other words, its not some ramshackle fan club for Middle Earth LARPers.
But this year, seminar attendees will be subjected to something different. Papers to be presented include, Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings, The Lossoth: Indigeneity, Identity, and Antiracism, and Something Mighty Queer: Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien. Pretty much the entire program is like this.
The best thing we can say about a Tolkien conference that presents papers on, say, Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings, or The Invisible Other: Tolkiens Dwarf-Women and the Feminine Lack, is that the scholars in question do not know the first thing about Tolkien or the meaning of his work.
The worst we can say is that they hate Tolkien and his work, and would like very much to destroy it.
Indeed, how else can we account for such a conference? The Lord of the Rings, like The Hobbit and The Silmarillion and Tolkiens entire corpus of writings on Middle Earth, has almost nothing to say about the concerns expressed in these papers or the worldview from which they spring. There are no transgender realities in the Lord of the Rings. There is nothing to say about the Lossoth a remnant of the ancient people of Forodwaith, a race of hardy men who dwelt in the icy far north of Middle Earth that even remotely relates to contemporary leftist ideas like antiracism. There is no place in a serious discussion of Tolkiens writings for phrases like cishetero amatonormativity.
The only reason to torture Tolkiens work like this is not to understand it more deeply but to tear it down. And why would modern scholars want to do that? Because everything that Tolkien was, and everything he wrote, is an affront to the modern secular scholars understanding of the world, reality, and the meaning and purpose of life.
Put bluntly, the worlds Tolkien created sprang from an imagination shaped and suffused by his deep Roman Catholic faith. The Silmarillion in particular is in some ways a poetic and literary reflection on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In considering Tolkiens Middle Earth, there is no way to escape this reality.
His creation, as he himself said, was a kind of sub-creation under the inspiration and aegis of almighty God. His grand themes good and evil, truth and falsehood, power and glory and honor and sacrifice all flow forth from his Christian faith and his decidedly sacramental view of the world. For Tolkien, all the world is shot through with meaning by a Creator who loves mankind and is manifest in His works.
That men and women now come to slander and distort and ultimately destroy these sub-creations of Tolkien is also, in a strange way, a testament to his legacy. Like Melkor, they are possessed by dark thoughts of their own imaginings, unlike those of the great Tolkien, and seek not so much to increase their own power and glory, but to bring Tolkiens down to their grubby station, where everything can be reduced to race and sex and politics.
These people are taken today to be Tolkien scholars. What can we, who love Tolkien and his profoundly Christian art, do but repeat in sorrow a line from Lament for the Rohirrim
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
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Posted: at 12:57 am
Last week, the Biden administration gave Iran what it wanted. Without consulting Congress, the administration lifted sanctions on multiple former Iranian officials and businesses, thereby relaxing U.S. pressure on the worlds largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee werent amused. On the contrary, they continue to assert that the administration chose not to consult Congress about the lifted sanctions in order to intentionally bypass legislative oversight. These Republicans are now demanding an explanation.
The State Department announced the sanctions were lifted as a result of a verified change in status or behavior on the part of the sanctioned parties and that [t]hese actions demonstrate [Americas] commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of a change in status or behavior by sanctioned persons. The Treasury Department echoed this announcement. Meanwhile, the State Department imposed new sanctions on an Iranian-backed supply network to the Houthi terrorists in Yemen.
While the Biden administration contends that the lifted sanctions are unrelated to continued negotiations with the Iranian regime in Vienna, Rep. Claudia Tenney and some of her colleagues say the Biden administration is lying. They demand that the State Department share its internal plans.
Tenney and some colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are so concerned by the Biden administrations handling of U.S.-Iran relations that they initiated a congressional review on Thursday. The Washington Free Beacon notes this review could unearth evidence [that] the State Department lifted sanctions as part of a package of concessions meant to appease Iranian officials, as U.S. diplomats negotiate a revamped nuclear agreement with Tehran.
The Washington Free Beacon proceeds to write that the Biden administration is struggling to productively negotiate with Tehran, leading to potentially desperate measures: While senior Biden administration officials initially vowed to keep [the Trump administrations] sanctions in place until Iran agreed to a stricter nuclear agreement, the administration has moved in recent months to relax pressure to keep Iran at the bargaining table. Moreover, Talks in Vienna have largely stalled over Irans refusal to roll back portions of its nuclear program.
In the congressional correspondence obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee address Secretary of State Antony Blinken to express [their] serious concern regarding the lifted sanctions. They emphasize that Iran continues to hold American citizens hostage, expand its nuclear enrichment program, and export terrorism across the region.
These Republicans remind the Biden administration that it promised to consult Congress about U.S.-Iran policies, but has failed to do so.
In the letter, Republicans also remind the administration that it promised it wouldnt reward Iran with concessions until the regime came into full compliance with the original 2015 nuclear accord. Today, the regime remains non-compliant and has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to 60%, which is near the quantity required for an atomic weapon.
Iran also continues to fund regional terrorist groups like Hamas. Iran sanctions have nonetheless been lifted by the Biden administration.
In their congressional correspondence, members of the GOP pose numerous questions of concern to the administration. Why were committee members not made aware in advance of these high-profile delistings of Iranian targets? they ask Blinken. Furthermore, why did you fail to inform either the House Foreign Affairs Committee or the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of this pending action when you testified before these committees on June 7 and June 8, respectively?
Given that Iran continues to support terrorism in the region, expand its nuclear program, and violate U.S. sanctions on exports of oil and petrochemicals, why have the Departments of State and the Treasury made the decision to prioritize the removal of Iranian sanctions violators over other competing priorities? GOP members add. They demand answers, as well as detailed information concerning any inter-administration discussions about the lifted sanctions.
It frequently takes weeks or even months for sanctions to be reprieved, and the Biden administrations justifications for expediting the process remain unclear. The Washington Free Beacon notes that members of the GOP demand the State Department prove these sanctions were not lifted as part of a behind-the-scenes bid to push negotiations over a deal further along.
Members of the GOP assert that only a policy of strength and moral clarity toward the brutal regime in Iran will advance Americas interests.We already have grave concerns about this [a]dministrations willingness to chase these terrorist mullahs around the world begging them to reenter a flawed deal, they write. Now we are even more concerned that [the administration is] walking back [its] commitment to hold firm on existing sanctions until a new deal is reached and Iran reverses its nuclear program.
While the House Foreign Affairs Committee probes this issue, the Republican Study Committee has also spearheaded a parallel investigation.
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Posted: at 12:57 am
Twenty-two wildlife conservation organizations are urging Senate leaders to reject the nomination of Bidens Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) director pick David Chipman due to his long record of radical anti-firearm statements and actions.
Their letter, written to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last week, is the latest call from organizations urging the Senate not to confirm Chipman, an anti-gun lobbyist, to ATF leadership.
At the outset, we would note that the majority of the undersigned organizations have never opposed an ATF nominee, the groups stated. Given Mr. Chipmans longstanding public activism against our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage, however, we are compelled to oppose his nomination. Many of us, for example, are concerned that confirming a high-ranking official of one of the countrys most prolific anti-gun organizations would politicize a traditionally apolitical bureau. Others fear Mr. Chipman will weaponize the directorship and lead to the undermining of our Second Amendment rights through punitive administrative actions.
The groups specifically reference that many new gun owners are minorities and women, and that there has been a 41 percent increase in female hunters. This increase in shooting sports activities was accompanied by a 7.6% increase in hunting license sales, which are a vital funding source for state wildlife programs, the letter says.
Chipman reiterated in his confirmation hearing his support for a ban on AR-15s. He likewise called for an assault weapons ban in 2019 during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. There is no indication that the nominee is not still employed at Giffords, a gun-control group, which supports a ban on so-called assault weapons as well as large-capacity magazines. Chipmans resume still lists Giffords as present.
Chipman would be a very bad head of the ATF and were doing everything we can to get that confirmation to not happen, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, one of the signers, told The Federalist.
The groups that signed the letter include:
Below is the letter in opposition to Chipmans confirmation.
AWCP Letter in Opposition to Chipman Nomination (06-11-21) by The Federalist on Scribd
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Posted: at 12:57 am
On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Margarita Mooney-Suarez of the Princeton Theological Seminary; Jenet Erickson, a fellow at the Insitute of Family Studies and the Wheatley Institute; and Brad Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a professor at the University of Virginia, join Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss the Republican response to family policy.
Its time for us to move beyond Nikki Haley-ism, kind of classic fusionist thinking about family policy confusing with poverty policy and thinking about bold new policies that make it easier for working and middle-class families to have kids and to raise their kids successfully, Wilcox said. Its also important for us to note on the conservative side ledger that if we dont do this, were going to have to kind of cede the policy arena to people like Senator Elizabeth Warren or President Joe Biden who much more statist, workist agenda.
We must also reframe the way we think about childcare, they said .
The data show conclusively that women have different paths to fulfillment and work is a part of it, Mooney-Suarez said.
You cant pay anybody to do that for a child,that natural inborn capacity for parents to bond with children and impact their development, Erickson added. The government is not an effective replacement.
Read Wilcoxs article Why parents need the flexibility of cash payments more than universal child care here.
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Posted: at 12:57 am
The following is a transcript of my radar from Tuesdays edition of Rising on Hill TV.
Id introduce you to the New Contras, but you already know them: Andrew Schulz, Michael Malice, Katie Halper, Katie Herzog and, of course, Joe Rogan. This show itself has been a huge driving force behind the New Contra movement Federalist publisher Ben Domenech and I sought to describe in an article we published on Election Day last year.
In December, we wrote a follow-up, inspired by a telling set of parallel departures at Vox. Ezra Klein went to the Grey Lady. Matthew Yglesias went to Substack.
In corporate media, heterodox thought is rewarded with closed doors, we wrote. In the Wild West of todays new media, its rewarded with subscriptions. While it may sound laughable that Klein and Yglesias will enjoy similar levels of influenceone at the Paper of Record and the other at an independent newsletterits mostly true. And thats a blindspot legacy outlets still havent corrected.
But those outlets have little incentive to correct their blindspots in this splintered media economy, where Stephen Colbert can be both the most polarizing and successful late-night host and papers like the New York Times can retract anodyne op-eds from Republican senators for violating thoughtcrimes and actually please their readership. Were all in niches now.
So the currency is trust. For polarized media consumers, that means listening to talk radio or reading the Times. For everyone in between, trust is increasingly boosting voices that prize authenticity over gloss. The gatekeepers are gone or corrupt. Nobody knows who to trust and for good reason so people who level with us about that are doing well. Thats what happened with Rising. Its why Im a longtime viewer, like many of you and why Ive been working three jobs for the past few weeks, dragging myself out of bed too early, despite being the most anti-morning person ever. This show is part of something really important.
Just last week, Ryan Grim and I went a little bit viral for sparring over the legacy American imperialism. We didnt mean to, we were just talking, covering the news as we had done all week. We were actually amused by the strong reaction. I think it revealed something really interesting and, perhaps, impossible about the political realignment, with one sides motivation moored in a reverence for the country and the others in a genuine, good faith disdain for it.
Thats a disconnect thats best exposed and explored through good-faith debate. But this is exactly the point. Jon Stewarts legendary death blow to Crossfire wasnt as great as the corporate press likes to remember. Its good to see representative political debate in the media. In its absence, something quite ugly can develop.
Enter Jeff Bezos. On Wednesday, Jeff Bezos announced a career accomplishment that the movie archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld could only dream about: owning James Bond, Rachel Bovard wrote in The Federalist. Her headline was brilliant: Theres No James Bond To Stop Jeff Bezos From Increasing His Global Power.
With his empty expressions and robotic cadence, Bezos really is the perfect Bond villain. Hes a Bond villain whos now in charge of the Bond villains. The question of market economics, however, is separate from the cultural consequences of Amazon taking ownership of yet another avenue of expression in America, wrote Bovard, who then walked through a list of egregious efforts on Amazons behalf to preserve a cultural monopoly: yanking a totally inoffensive documentary about Clarence Thomas during Back History Month, deplatforming Parler like it had deplatformed Wikileaks, stopping sales of books that question the excesses of transgender ideology on children.
Think what you want about Clarence Thomas or Parler or Ryan Anderson. Whats troubling is that executives at one of the biggest platforms for retail and web hosting believe their bar for company censorship should be that low, despite their market share being so high.
Heres more from Bovard:
Americas rich speech traditions are built around robust dissent, counternarrative, and the clang and clash of ideas in the public square. Free expression is central to our flourishing. Americans want our books to be controversial, our media to be curious, and our films to be creative. But the genius of that creation is sparked by fearlessnessthe kind which only exists when the public square is brimming with voices, rather than the antiseptic sameness of a solely owned company town.
There is no way I couldve said it better than that. And its what Americas monopolists dont understand about the public. Their cultural monopolies are powerful, but perhaps not as powerful as their economic ones, connected as they are. Demand for heterodox thought and charged debate is increasing as monopolists like Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, try to bring the public discourse under their control.
Culture is what creates demand. These companies control the biggest podcasting platforms, web services, video streamers, etc. But, as Andrew Schulz told us late last year, All these corporations act all woke, but what they really want is the dollar.
His Netflix show debuted a few weeks later.
None of this is to say todays monopolists dont warrant regulatory checks. True conservatism should be as hostile to cronyism as progressivism.
But sometimes its important to prioritize cultural checks as well.