Tax-Exempt Foundations, America’s Aristocracy, Threaten All Our Rights

natural gas nowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Tax-exempt foundations, the vehicles used by America’s aristocracy to exercise undue influence over our public policy, threaten our Constitutional rights.

Some 93 years ago President Calvin Coolidge, a distant relative, made a speech that captured the essence our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that undergirds it. His Philadelphia speech on the occasion of the 150th Independence Day also explains what our nation rejected with both documents, that is to say an American aristocracy or ruling class. Yet, today, we see a ruling class that acts through tax-exempt foundations to everywhere undermine the rights of the common man in an attempt to impose its own special interest agendas.

tax-exempt foundations

Here’s some of the best parts from Coolidge’s wonderful speech:

It is not here necessary to examine in detail the causes which led to the American Revolution. In their immediate occasion they were largely economic. The colonists objected to the navigation laws which interfered with their trade, they denied the power of Parliament to impose taxes which they were obliged to pay, and they therefore resisted the royal governors and the royal forces which were sent to secure obedience to these laws. But the conviction is inescapable that a new civilization had come, a new spirit had arisen on this side of the Atlantic more advanced and more developed in its regard for the rights of the individual than that which characterized the Old World…

But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility

This obedience of the delegates to the wishes of their constituents, which in some cases caused them to modify their previous positions, is a matter of great significance. It reveals an orderly process of government in the first place; but more than that, it demonstrates that the Declaration of Independence was the result of the seasoned and deliberate thought of the dominant portion of the people of the Colonies. Adopted after long discussion and as the result of the duly authorized expression of the preponderance of public opinion, it did not partake of dark intrigue or hidden conspiracy. It was well advisedIt was conservative and represented the action of the colonists to maintain their constitutional rights which from time immemorial had been guaranteed to them under the law of the land

Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence.Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination…

It was not only the principles declared, but the fact that therewith a new nation was born which was to be founded upon those principles and which from that time forth in its development has actually maintained those principles, that makes this pronouncement an incomparable event in the history of government. It was an assertion that a people had arisen determined to make every necessary sacrifice for the support of these truths and by their practical application bring the War of Independence to a successful conclusion and adopt the Constitution of the United States with all that it has meant to civilization…

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Think about what Coolidge offered and what we’re facing today with the use of tax-exempt foundations by America’s aristocracy to rule from their superior station and take away the mineral rights of ordinary Americans in Delaware River Basin. The William Penn Foundation is  the prime example. It is a private foundation not permitted to do any political lobbying whatsoever, not even grass-roots lobbying merely intended to influence legislation through mailings, websites and other propaganda.

So, what does it do? The gentry class trust-funders who run it use its $2.5 billion of assets, which earned some $433 million in 2017, to pass out grants (some $129 million in 2017 to other tax-exempt foundations that aren’t private and, therefore, are allowed to do some lobbying. Those tax-exempt foundations do the dirty work, disguising their grass-roots lobbying as education or some similarly innocuous activity. This renders the lobbying limits meaningless, meaning the Haas family that created the William Penn Foundation gets to work its will from its super station with no consequences or risk. The aristocracy has found a way to subvert the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that gave it birth.

The Delaware Povertykeeper a/k/a Riverkeeper is just of one of several such groups that blithely ignore lobbying rules, advocating for and against legislation on a routine basis while telling the IRS it did zero grass-roots lobbying in 2015, for example, and only $29 in direct lobbying. What was that? A cigar for the lobbyist? It’s insultingly ridiculous; a middle finger to the IRS rules and those who might question its activities. The PovertyKeeper rejects authority because it knows well for whom it does its dirty work, the Haas family that controls so much of what happens in Pennsylvania (together with Heinz family) and has financed it to the tune of $3,679,000 since 2015 with additional  millions prior to that.

And, what does the PovertyKeeper do? Fighting natural gas development, rather than protecting the Delaware River, is its top priority. That’s because the William Penn Foundation and the closely related Open Space Institute (the Rockefeller NRDC spin-off) want the land natural gas development would make too expensive to buy.

We’ve come a long way since 1926 when Coolidge talked about going backward being the risk. Although we’re still the greatest nation on earth for all the reasons he mentioned, we’ve undeniably gone backward. The DRBC, cowered by the likes of the William Penn Foundation and its PovertyKeeper shill, is not governing with the consent of the governed, but, rather, at the direction of America’s new aristocracy, one that threatens all of our Constitutional rights through abuse of tax-exempt foundations. We need a new thoughtful rebellion to throw off the yoke of these new royal forces.   

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3 thoughts on “Tax-Exempt Foundations, America’s Aristocracy, Threaten All Our Rights

  1. Where oh where are the elected officials who have the power to start investigations into this nefarious activity? Tom, to his credit, has been exposing this shell game by these foundations for years, and yet nothing is being done to stop it. Landowners are indeed in danger of becoming serfs to the state in which they reside which seems to be the entire Northeast.

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