Thursday, March 16, 2006

Did I Miss Again?

Surely this story about Wealthy donors funneling money into political parties includes the back story on The "Four Sisters"

"Coors told Edwards that Powell's manifesto had "convinced" him that American business was "ignoring a crisis." Coors was moved to act. He "invested" the first $250,000 to fund the 1971-72 operations of the Analysis and Research Association (ARA) in Washington, D.C., the original name of the [Heritage] foundation. Other wealthy contributors followed Coors' lead. Their aim was to counter liberal power in Washington, and aggressively market policies and legislative proposals to Congress and the President that reflected the conservative agenda. Heritage became the trend-setting model for scores of policy institutes and lobbying operations that compose the radical-right apparat. Heritage has been a major beneficiary of the Coors' Castle Rock Foundation ever since."


Now, after 30 years of effort, this core FSFG has built a comprehensive ideological infrastructure. There are now over 500 organizations, with the Heritage Foundation at the hub, all funded by this core group. David Callahan's 1999 study, $1 Billion for Ideas: Conservative Think Tanks in the 1990s, found that just the top 20 of the organizations spent over $1 billion on this ideological effort in the 1990s.

The right-wing movement's messages are orchestrated and amplified to sound like a mass "movement" consisting of many "voices." Using "messaging"--communication techniques from the fields of marketing, public relations, and corporate image-management--the movement appeals to people's deeper feelings and values. Messages are repeated until they become "conventional wisdom." Examples include lines like "Social Security is going broke" and "public schools are failing." Both statements are questionable, yet both have been firmly embedded in the "public mind" by purposeful repetition through multiple channels. This orchestration has been referred to as a "Mighty Wurlitzer, " a CIA term that refers to propaganda that is repeated over and over again in numerous places until the public believes what it's hearing must be true. From "The Mighty Wurlitzer," by Robert Borosage, American Prospect, May, 2002

The Money Comes With Strings

The FSFG money comes with ideological strings attached. Their think tanks are not independent; their organizations must espouse their ideology. "Cato, for example," as Gregg Easterbrook pointed out in an article in the Atlantic in 1986, "flatly states that it will not release any study that calls for a government program. The institute's president, Edward Crane, says that he receives one or two commissioned reports each year that are 'inconsistent,' and he does not publish them. The analyst Jonathan Stein lost his job at [the Center For Strategic & International Studies] CSIS several months after he published a book highly critical of Star Wars, the study of which is worth millions to think tanks that toe the line. (CSIS denies there was any connection.) "

The core group that controls this movement is now attacking even Republicans who would previously have been considered "conservatives" for inadequate ideological purity. Members of the moderate wing of the Republican Party are derided by the radical right as nothing more than RINO's -- Republicans In Name Only. The FSFG is funding efforts to drive these moderates out of office and out of the party.(3)

The Movement is Coordinated

The Ruling Republicans no longer care about truth or decency, but maybe WaPo will care enough to print a correction.

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