I present the new British Minister of Health, the Rt Hon. Thérèse Coffey by HanssenBob in NotTheOnion

[–]FozzieBear 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It would surprise me. And yes, Scotland appears to be rather generous. I'd argue that the rise in benefits claims in the UK, noted here relates to increasing income inequality, Brexit and COVID. That said, 52% in the UK receive benefits?! I'd agree with any Tory who wants to reduce that number, though particularly while offering alternatives like job placement programs, free college tuition, and anything that puts some of those people back into the workforce.

I present the new British Minister of Health, the Rt Hon. Thérèse Coffey by HanssenBob in NotTheOnion

[–]FozzieBear 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Fair point. But I'd argue that the costs of extreme income inequality (and not delivering on the so-called levelling up promises) will be worse for you (and me) when she helps Tories sell off the rest of NHS (which is why she was appointed, I think), and when she continues to help reduce support for important socio-cultural institutions, and that taxes at the 4 figure level won't be significantly cut, if they're cut all. The taxt cuts will be for those paying 5 through 8 figures in taxes, while also using tax havens.

Do MAGA misinformation and fascist ideology pose a threat to democracy? Here's a point of view from a historian of radical right politics. (I don't expect others here to like this, but you might find this informative and worthy of discussion or debate.) by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks for this interesting historical assessment, which I think offers verry important counter arguments for those who've been concerned with anti-democracy propaganda in recent years. I agree that there are important historical precedents. I will plan to respond to this later in the day, as I am offer to work at the moment.

Just Another Day in the USA by Rastafoo in memes

[–]FozzieBear 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks for this. It's the first I've heard of 'standpoint epistemology' and the first I've seen these kinds of arguments (and I only occasionally read well-written arguments like this on Saidit). The usual excuse that we need greater inclusivity in the workplace makes sense to me, though I think and/or would agree that it does come at a great cost: that the inclusive dialogue does not protect/include those of us who enjoy sarcasm. It can shut down honest, open dialogue in the workplace. Inclusivity should, it would seem, involve the tolerance so-called microaggressions or sarcasm. It's not even up for discussion at the woke workplace. Like me, many at Saidit are contrarians who've likely offended with "microaggressions" the sensitive folks at Reddit (but I also offend people here at Saidit).Thanks for the informative response.

Do MAGA misinformation and fascist ideology pose a threat to democracy? Here's a point of view from a historian of radical right politics. (I don't expect others here to like this, but you might find this informative and worthy of discussion or debate.) by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks for the thoughtful explanations. This is one of the reasons I visit Saidit - to see how you and others here have been influenced by the past 6 years of politics, and beyond. We obviously don't agree on much of this, and sometimes I wonder where there can be middle ground. Sadly the radicalized and polarized political discourses developed by the right wing have had a lasting impact on you and others, so that it's now much more difficult to find common ground beteen so-called left and right political interests. I've been an independent and a moderate, and veyr much against extremism on the right and left, and what I read here in your comments is a summary of many of the arguments from the right. It's a good summary, in some places. The main problem we have is that these right-wing beliefs work against the 99%, and play into the propaganda ot the 1%. Everything you note here has been in the news at Fox and other right wing propaganda outlets. I'll pick one example, "That's Biden and the Democrats who want to pack the court." Did they? Trump added numerous political hacks to federal courts and 3 hacks to the Supreme Court. It was previously illegal to pack courts with political hacks. The confirmation process for justices was supposed to put a stop to this. It's fascism in it's ideology - to for example - overturn Roe v Wade when 80 or 90% of the country NEVER wanted it. It's anti-democratic.

Do MAGA misinformation and fascist ideology pose a threat to democracy? Here's a point of view from a historian of radical right politics. (I don't expect others here to like this, but you might find this informative and worthy of discussion or debate.) by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

MAGA is a lie, stolen from Reagan's campaigns, meant to indicate that these two TV people - as outsiders - could return the US to it's 1950s and early 1960s past, when the benefits of the New Deal and WWII industry allowed for the one-earner family and discrimination against blacks and women. It's a slogan aimed partially at boomers who were born in that period. It's a lie that the TV personality can drain the swamp and restore the US to a more prosperous time. It's an assumption that the Obama administration ruined the US (albeit with low debt and low unemployment and high growth in industry and big business and Wall Street values). It's a lie that corruption will end (though Trump & family & friends are most corrupt in US history). It's entirely focused on the great white(orange) saviour, on ultranationalism, on white supremacy, on the subjucation of women (abortion laws, packing the supreme court, a big deal for Repugs), on smaller government and increased authoritarianism (and corporate deregulation and abuses), on "Christian" bigotry, on racism, on homophobia, on class warfare against the 99%, on the superior 1% runing the inferiour 99%, on the notion that the 99% could pull up their bootstraps and become the 1% (never happening), on lower wages, on the destruction of govermnent departments that help with education, environment, human rights, social programs, &c, about welfare for the 1%, tax cuts, and about making the 99% pay for those loans, aboud grift, corruption, pay-to-play politics, about money laundering, about offshore accounts, about jerrymandering GOP districts, about Citizens United, about an oligarchy, about international proxy wars, about selling CIA secrets to Saudis and getting CIA operatives and translators in the middle east killed, about making billionnaires of the Kushners and Trumps and a few Russians, about manipulating people into thinking that Twittler is going to save the nation, that authoritarian leaders will look after the nation, that one should not trust elections (unless Trump wins), that you should assume that everyone on the Hill is the same, that the US is the greatest country on earth (though it lags behind many other nations in poverty, healthcare, education, gun control, mass shootings, etc, etc, etc), that the only way to MAGA is to wear a slogan on your hat and be an asshole to 90% of the country. It would take a while to explain the MAGA fascist ideology. You can look it up. It's commonly known.

Do MAGA misinformation and fascist ideology pose a threat to democracy? Here's a point of view from a historian of radical right politics. (I don't expect others here to like this, but you might find this informative and worthy of discussion or debate.) by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It's merely an umbrella term for an authoritarian/ultra-national/far-right ideology. Trump is indeed a selfish prick. But his MAGA rhetoric (written for him by Steven Miller and other fascist Jews and non-Jews) is part of the threat to the general appreciation of democracy in the US.

Autocracy, American-Style by HongKongPhooey in politics

[–]FozzieBear 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Excellent points.

I wish however that politicians in the US were referred to in the same way they are in the UK - as public servants (rather than trustees or custodians, which gives them too much importance) - because they are elected to serve the electorate, not to offer advice on our 401k or whatever.

Just Another Day in the USA by Rastafoo in memes

[–]FozzieBear 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Fortune 500 companies employ diversity and inclusivity training

My experience with this is that I was required to watch Title IX and Diversity Awareness videos and related videos, and then answer quiz questions afterward. The process for each video/quiz was 3 hours. And if I got anything wrong, I would have to re-taake the same quiz. Perhaps others are required to attend in-person meetings for 2 or 3 hours.

But this happens ONCE at the job - for each type of 3-hour training. I learned about what the lawyers required me to know in the workplace. It was not a 'camp' and it did not change my personal opinions, nor did I feel indoctrinated, and it was relatively brief training that I've somewhat forgotten by now, several years later. The main focus of the treaining sessions was to address legal requirements of the company and human resources at the company. For Title IX, I was required not to grope women, among other important requirements. I think I can avoid groping. Not a problem. For the Diversity Awareness training, I was required to be aware of types of racism in the workplace, and to avoid acting in a racist manner in the workplace. The company can require me to not be racist or sexist in the workplace. When I get home I can be as racist and sexist as I'd like to be.

Thanks for the informative response. I and others are annoyed with the training sessions. I am not sure that inclusive policies at companies indoctrinate people in the manner suggested in the meme.

Something we might agree on is that this part of the training is REALLY annoying:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression

Just Another Day in the USA by Rastafoo in memes

[–]FozzieBear 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It's not.

Nor is it a camp

And

42% of Americans stated that their household was currently subscribed to a cable service, among many more who did not respond to the survey: https://www.statista.com/statistics/612660/paid-services-broadcast-vod-programming-north-america/

85% of US households have a video subscription service : https://www.kantar.com/north-america/inspiration/technology/85-per-cent-of-us-households-have-a-video-subscription-service

87% of American households own at least one internet-connected TV device: https://www.statista.com/statistics/294654/connected-tv-penetration-rate-usa/

In the US, there was an estimated 119.9 million TV households (of 123.6 million US households) in the TV season 2018/19: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_consumption (97% of US households have a TV)

Just Another Day in the USA by Rastafoo in memes

[–]FozzieBear 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

the POTUS just called half the country a threat to democracy.

I keep hearing this, which is obviously disinformation. Biden addressed MAGAtard extremist simps for a Trumpist fascist dictatorship. The main problem is the misinformation that developsfascist MAGAtards. That portion of the US is closer to 10% or 20% at best. Hardly any of those people attend protests, or visit communities.win or Saidit, or have any significant presence in most of the country. Some of those dumbasses elected fascist politicians in red states, where they remain among the poorest people in the country. Recent surveys show that less than half of GOP voters would support Trump in 2024. More info:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/02/trump-republicans-biden-maga/

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/09/26/politics/actual-trump-support/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/12/us/politics/trump-approval-polling-2024.html

https://www.voanews.com/a/poll-fewer-than-half-of-republican-primary-voters-would-support-trump-in-2024/6656498.html

https://www.quora.com/How-many-die-hard-Trump-supporters-are-there-percentage-wise-in-the-US

We're not grooming the children, we're just putting gay porn in the middle school library and encouraging them to go on gay sex hookup apps. It's perfectly wholesome! by iamonlyoneman in whatever

[–]FozzieBear 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

We'll both agree that the school library does not require the book. But we certainly do not agree on the long list of what you think the book encourages or teaches. It merely offers information about sexuality. I I don't think it's a dangerous book. Think for example of the porn that kids have had access to in recent years. This book is a better way to learn about sexuality. My view is that parents can address this topic at home. That said, the biology class in middle school should also address some basic aspects of sexuality, as this is part of a normal biology program. We're not in a country where the Taliban, or Putin, or others can dictate what kind of information we can access and which sexuality we must identify with. If a kid is confused because he likes boys more than he likes girls, perhaps he should ask his parents or read this book. The book is not a danger to anyone and will not make children gay, in my view. It doesn't argue for the awesomeness ot being gay, for example. None of us here know enough about child psychology to claim that a book like this can encouage kids to be LGBTQ+ or whatever they think they might be. They need good parenting to keep their personal life choices at home. To assume that the book does all that you claim it does is a tough sell. I appreciate the long, thoughtful list of arguments, which offer a good place to start with a discussion about this book. The simple fact is that: we cannot legislate morality, or indeed an individual's decision about his/her sexuality. We all want to learn about sexuality when we are younger (and kids like me didn't really understand sexuality in middle school, as curious as we were about girls, and no matter how often we looked at Playboy magazines - tells you a bit about my age). It's better to study in a thoughtful manner with basic books like this, and/or to work with one's parents, then to have NOTHING to read, or to have no discussion. The lack of information is what can harm a kid, who should never make desicions about serious personal matters from a position of ignorance or without consultation with their parents. Many kids don't want to talk to their parents about their sexuality. I would never recommend that they depend on guidance from friends, who also know very little at that time. This book seems to be a reasonable explanation in very simple terms, and I seriously doubt that it would change a kid's mind about his/her own sexuality. The book can, however, teach tolerance about the sexuality of one'e self and especially of others, and thereby save a kid from personal harm or harming others. What's really important is that these approaches to one's sexuality remain a private matter, and that this privacy is respected by others. This book and the minority of LGBTQ+ folks aren't a danger to child development, and more importantly, we all need to learn at an earliy age how to live with an increasingly complicated world.

We're not grooming the children, we're just putting gay porn in the middle school library and encouraging them to go on gay sex hookup apps. It's perfectly wholesome! by iamonlyoneman in whatever

[–]FozzieBear 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Bullshit.

Rather than read this misinformation, think for a second that anyone can get this book, here (a basic search will locate it):

https://eu1lib.vip/book/2518512/1bbdac

And now you too can read through it, while also noticing that there is nothing odd in the book. It's a very simple, vanilla approach to some aspects of LGTB+ whatever. Kids need parenting, not useless parents who prefer instead to attack schools. How pathetic. And after reading the book, do let me know if this changed your mind about your own sexual interests.

Keisha Lance Bottoms won't say if Biden supports HIS party financially backing MAGA extremists by HongKongPhooey in corruption

[–]FozzieBear 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I would agree that these are all important points that we should keep in mind in this kind of political discussion. My personal political position years ago was 'independent' (as registeresd), and with the rise of increasingly aggressive right-wing approaches, over the past 40 years, I've wanted very much to see a Democrat leadership (in any branch) that would also respond aggressively to to the right. Bill Clinton's style was very interesting because it engaged fully in the deal-making process across the aisle, even if this had mixed results on all sides. That said, he dealt with Republicans (some of which are still in office) who were focused on stopping everything Democrats supported. After that presidency there were no aggressive challenges to the right wing, nothing that took on the uncompromising authoritarianism of the right. The pluralist democracy that would value alternating forms of leadership and balance in political discourses died in the late 1980s and has gotten worse. Whereas many Democrats were happy with Obama, he did not take on the authoriatarians in a direct, aggressive manner. This was costly, as was the nomination of Hilary.

Anyhow - tl:dr - I like 'Dark Brandon's' aggressive dialogue and think Democrats should be much more vocal about their concerns about the right AND left, rather than act like the limp dicks of the past, even if it means stooping to the low level of the meanness of the right (and there are meannies on the left, but not mean enough). My greatest concern is with authoritarianism, though at times this is called fascism.

IMDB deleted every single negative review on LotR (over 300+ reviews are removed) leaving only the positive reviews by TheRealPanzer in Movies

[–]FozzieBear 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

9gag want me to turn off adblocker, which I won't, especially for fucking 9gag.

Anyhow, more info: 2773+ 1/10 IMDB votes were obviously suspicious:

https://www.reddit.com/r/lotr/comments/x42h6n/wherever_you_like_the_show_or_hate_it_this_is/

I think Amazon owns IMDB and will control review numbers at Amazon and IMDB, which I naturally don't support. But the 65% 1/10 or 10/10 IMDB votes don't make sense for Rings of Power, which is a decent or OK series at the moment.

There's now a conservative book publisher (Brave). Politico is salty about it. by iamonlyoneman in books

[–]FozzieBear 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Absolutely nothing to do with conservatism - these CHILDREN'S books are meant for ONE goal: turn kids into radical Republican domestic terrorists who will have absolutely no moral compass. Politico is spot on.

Fascist Is An Increasingly Apt Label For Today's GOP by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks for this. It's good to read a reasonable comment (for a change).

Biden walks back attacks on Trump voters in anti-MAGA speech by [deleted] in politics

[–]FozzieBear 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

One dude in office for 2 years didn't do this to the economy. The continued obstruction of Democrat bills (by Republicans), the 10 trillion in debt in January 2021 (thanks to Republican-led tax cuts for the wealthy), the Trump admin and Republican focus on spreading COVID and fucking up the economy for the 99% while the 1% got richer, attempts in the Trump admin and among Republans to kill every government Department (so that corporations can be unregulated), and so much more of that kind of corruption is what's wrong with the current economy, thanks to 40 years of GOP (and some Dem) gleaning the 99% for their own greedy ends. It's a pattern: Dems get the US out of debt and Repuglicans put the US back into debt.

Jackson’s Mayor Wanted To Create The ‘Most Radical’ City On Earth. Now They Have No Drinking Water by [deleted] in politics

[–]FozzieBear 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You still don't understand the linked information.

WHO gave the order? THE STATE

The order is a federal (EPA) mandate that the city do whatever the state and EPA require of the city.

In that order you can see that there were problems with staffing and management, which the CITY had failed to address, according to the state's press release.

So why are we seeing this press release? Because the STATE - which funds the INFRASTRUCTURE - has failed to construct the appropriate facilities to cope with flooding. AND because the state wants to blame the city for poor staffing and management, in order to draw attention away from the state's failure to build the appropriate facilities.

What broke down: the facility

Who was responsible for that state facility: the state

Was there a problem with city politicians and their management of the facility?: sure

Did this matter when the facility exceeded its capacity?: not as much as has been suggested by the racist propaganda media

Jackson’s Mayor Wanted To Create The ‘Most Radical’ City On Earth. Now They Have No Drinking Water by [deleted] in politics

[–]FozzieBear 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

AGAIN: the Curtis Water Plant is managed by the state, NOT the city:

https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/23,24664,341.html

Complain all you want about a black mayor, but this not related ot the water plant.

Fascist Is An Increasingly Apt Label For Today's GOP by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Reports are that he started with well over 5b.

Not factual. He had previous 8 bankruptcies, had been $400 m in debt, reported loses on his taxes every year for at leat 10 years, thereby paying no tax, and his wealth was mainly in property values, rather than liquid income. It's unlikely that he had much money, other than a few million in properties.

Fascist Is An Increasingly Apt Label For Today's GOP by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think there were reports that he was in debt before the election (Russian businessmen paid his Deutsche Bank debt of $400 million). Forbes now claims he's worth $3 billion. His son-in-law netted 3 billion in deals with Saudi Arabia (2b) China (800m), and a Federal loan he doesn't have to repay if he defaults (500m).

What is most striking are the facts outlining how the former president and his team knowingly put our national security at risk. by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You really should write more explicit statements that are to the point. Trump is guilty of holding top secret documents (which he now confims in a Tweet were in his posession and are those photographed here) that put our secret service people and national secrets in danger and in arm's reach of the highest bidding foreigner (which is why Trump wanted them; to sell the information; he and hsi family should face the death penalty for treason during the past 5 years). (On the other bits of the essay, we agree on stricter border controls and migration policies.)

Fascist Is An Increasingly Apt Label For Today's GOP by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

To my knowledge one could NEVER file bankruptcy for student loans. It was not allowed. It also fucks up your future, unless you're rich and have offshore investments.

Fascist Is An Increasingly Apt Label For Today's GOP by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Dude.

Look at the bills Democrats write, and the number of times ALL Republicans try to obstruct their passage, and consider that the student loan forgiveness would NEVER have happened via Republicans, and that there bave been numerous attempts to reform voting rights, rebuild infrastructure, develop jobs and much more that the Republicans and 1 or 2 traitor Democrats put a stop to. Republicans NEVER do anything for the 99%. 40 years of their abuses have led to extreme income inequality, making the US comparable to a 3rd world nation in some sectors (education, healthcare, amoung of $ people have in the bank, amount of debt, etc).

In fact, the weakest aspect of the Democrats, is that they and their supporters will not follow the same party lines. They don't blinly follow one agenda. Republicans are however united in their fascism.

What is most striking are the facts outlining how the former president and his team knowingly put our national security at risk. by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yes and the reason the Trump crime family should face the death penalty for espionage, treason, corruption &c.

An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives by FozzieBear in politics

[–]FozzieBear[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

PART 2 of 2

The funds are difficult to trace through public records. Tripp Lite is a private company that is not subject to corporate disclosure rules for public companies. On its tax filing, Marble indicated that the $1.6 billion came from the “sale of gifted company and subsidiaries,” but indicated that it withheld identifying information “to protect donor confidentiality.”

And Eaton, the publicly traded Irish company that bought Tripp Lite, does not refer to Marble in statements related to the sale.

The person with knowledge of the matter said that the Tripp Lite shares were donated to Marble months before the deal with Eaton was announced in January 2021. The sale was completed in March 2021.

Katy Brasser, a spokeswoman for Eaton, said in a statement, “We have no additional information to share regarding the acquisition that was announced last year.”

Ray D. Madoff, a professor of tax law at Boston College who is the director of the school’s Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, said the structure of the transaction was most likely legal but did appear to allow a donor to avoid federal tax obligations from the sale of the company.

Here is how it works: Marble Freedom Trust is registered under a section of the tax code — 501(c)4 — for organizations that focus primarily on what the Internal Revenue Service calls “social welfare” and as a result are exempt from paying taxes. Such groups are allowed to engage in political advocacy, but their supporters are not entitled to deduct donations from their income taxes. Supporters can, however, donate assets that a nonprofit can sell and avoid capital gains taxes on the sale.

“These actions by the super wealthy are actually costing the American taxpayers to support the political spending of the wealthiest Americans,” Ms. Madoff said.

She said that donating corporate shares to a nonprofit was one way that those with incredible wealth skirt taxes when giving away money not just to charities, but to more politically minded nonprofits.

The tax filings shows that the Marble trust paid $940,000 for legal fees related to the sale to Sullivan & Cromwell, a leading New York law firm that specializes in business transactions. Other law firms paid by Marble include Kirton McConkie, a Utah corporate firm that was paid $140,000, and Holtzman Vogel, a Virginia firm specializing in political law that was paid more than $100,000.

The mission that the Marble trust lists in its tax filings is vague. “The trust exists to maintain and expand human freedom consistent with the values and ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States,” it says in the filing.

The person with knowledge of the matter said that the group’s name derived from the metamorphic rock, signaling the group’s intent to be enduring and maintain a clarity of purpose.

Mr. Seid has kept a low political profile in recent years. His last federal campaign donation, in 2008, was to a Republican running for Congress in Illinois, and his name has previously appeared only once in The Times, in 1990, for lending a Republican candidate for governor of Illinois nearly half a million dollars.

His family foundation, the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation, has operated with an annual budget of several million dollars, giving most often to the Chamber Opera Chicago, which Mr. Seid founded decades ago. He has been linked as a donor to some conservative causes in the past, though nothing at the scale of the Marble Freedom Trust.

Mr. Leo developed relationships with many major donors during his years as executive vice president of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal group through which he helped advise Republican presidents on the selection of Supreme Court justices.

In 2018, during a live event, Justice Clarence Thomas joked about how honored he was to be sharing the stage with Mr. Leo, calling him “the No. 3 most powerful person in the world.”

In recent years, Mr. Leo increasingly expanded into a broader role in the conservative movement, shaping the big money flow as an adviser to donors and nonprofit organizations. In 2020, he left the Federalist Society to become chairman of a company called CRC Advisors, which advises and helps manage conservative nonprofits.

He is trustee and chairman of the Marble trust and has “primary authority” to decide how the money is spent, according to the tax filing, which shows that he was paid $350,000 in salary by the group.

Others named on the tax filing include Jonathan Bunch, who is listed as successor trustee. Mr. Bunch is president of Mr. Leo’s firm, CRC Advisors.

The Marble trust, which has already reported donations totaling nearly $229 million to other nonprofits, will expand the capabilities of a network of nonprofit groups that Mr. Leo has helped shape and guide in recent years.

In 2020, groups linked to Mr. Leo spent a total of $122 million on issues that animate the conservative base, including working to confirm conservatives to federal judgeships, fighting to restrict access to abortion and defending measures that Republicans cast as protections against voter fraud but that Democrats contend are hurdles to voting.

One of the groups, the Rule of Law Trust, which has been involved in judicial confirmation fights, received $153 million from the Marble trust last year. Another, the Concord Fund, received $16.5 million from the new group.

Two other funds that steer money into conservative politics, Donors Trust and Schwab Charitable Fund, received a total of $59.1 million from the Marble trust, according to the filing.

That left the Marble trust with a whopping $1.4 billion to spend at the end of April 2021. While that money cannot be donated directly to campaigns or party committees, it could help mitigate slowing Republican fund-raising ahead of a 2022 midterm cycle that otherwise seemed to favor the party in many ways.

An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives by FozzieBear in politics

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PART 1 of 2

An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives

A low-profile Republican financier donated his company to a new group run by the influential operative Leonard A. Leo.

This article is part of our Midterms 2022 Daily Briefing

Leonard A. Leo has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help finance battles over judicial appointments, abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy.

Leonard A. Leo has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help finance battles over judicial appointments, abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy.Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Leonard A. Leo has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help finance battles over judicial appointments, abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy. Kenneth P. VogelShane Goldmacher

By Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane Goldmacher

Aug. 22, 2022

WASHINGTON — A new conservative nonprofit group scored a $1.6 billion windfall last year via a little-known donor — an extraordinary sum that could give Republicans and their causes a huge financial boost ahead of the midterms, and for years to come.

The source of the money was Barre Seid, an electronics manufacturing mogul, and the donation is among the largest — if not the largest — single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit. The beneficiary is a new political group controlled by Leonard A. Leo, an activist who has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help engineer the conservative dominance of the Supreme Court and to finance battles over abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy.

This windfall will help cement Mr. Leo’s status as a kingmaker in conservative big money politics. It could also give conservatives an advantage in a type of difficult-to-trace spending that shapes elections and political fights.

The cash infusion was arranged through an unusual series of transactions that appear to have avoided tax liabilities. It originated with Mr. Seid, a longtime conservative donor who made a fortune as the chairman and chief executive of an electrical device manufacturing company in Chicago now known as Tripp Lite.

Rather than merely giving cash, Mr. Seid donated 100 percent of the shares of Tripp Lite to Mr. Leo’s nonprofit group before the company was sold to an Irish conglomerate for $1.65 billion, according to tax records provided to The New York Times, corporate filings and a person with knowledge of the matter.

The nonprofit, called the Marble Freedom Trust, then received all of the proceeds from the sale, in a transaction that appears to have been structured to allow the nonprofit group and Mr. Seid to avoid paying taxes on the proceeds.

For perspective, the $1.6 billion that the Marble trust reaped from the sale is slightly more than the total of $1.5 billion spent in 2020 by 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with Democrats, according to an analysis by The Times. That spending, which Democrats embraced to aid the campaigns of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his allies in Congress, dwarfed the roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the Republican Party.

The Marble Freedom Trust could help conservatives level the playing field — if not surpass the left — in such nonprofit spending, which is commonly referred to as dark money because the groups involved can raise and spend unlimited sums on politics while revealing little about where they got the money or how they spent it.

In a statement, Mr. Leo cited some of the left’s biggest donors and an advisory firm that helps manage the nonprofit groups they fund.

“It’s high time for the conservative movement to be among the ranks of George Soros, Hansjörg Wyss, Arabella Advisors and other left-wing philanthropists, going toe-to-toe in the fight to defend our constitution and its ideals,” Mr. Leo said. Mr. Seid and an associate did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Biden on the Campaign Trail: Fresh off a series of legislative victories, President Biden is back campaigning. But his low approval ratings could complicate his efforts to help Democrats in the midterm elections.

The Evidence Against a Red Wave: Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, it’s increasingly hard to see the once-clear signs of a Republican advantage. A strong Democratic showing in a special election in New York’s Hudson Valley is the latest example.

New Women Voters: The number of women signing up to vote surged in some states after Roe was overturned, particularly in states where abortion rights are at risk.

Sensing a Shift: Abortion rights, falling gas prices, legislative victories and Donald J. Trump’s re-emergence have Democrats dreaming again that they just might keep control of Congress. But the House map still favors Republicans.

The Marble Freedom Trust’s formation in May 2020, the donation of Tripp Lite shares by Mr. Seid, and Mr. Leo’s role have not been previously reported.

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