The Anatomy of the Religious Right and Their Real purpose
Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast
for a treat!!! Driftglass and Bluegal make the visit worth while. Then,
Go to Veracity Stew - another
progressive Podcast and a Must Listen (warning: contains occasional adult
language and sensitive material-NSFW):
between Church and State." Who coined the Phrase? Give up?
Answer: Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding fathers of this
great Nation and a creator of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment
to that same Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter
to the Danbury Baptist Association, referring to the First Amendment to the
US Constitution. In it he said:
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim
Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist
association in the state of Connecticut.
Believing with you that religion is a
matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to
none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of
government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with
sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared
that their legislature should "make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church &
State. Adhering to this expression of the
supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I
shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments
which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no
natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Jan 1, 1802
REPUBLICANS ARE THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA by R. Blackbird
Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor,
disloyal to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious,
scornful of the nation's history, the dignity of its institutions,
its standards of political morality, and its vision of advancement
for all the people. The Republicans love war as long as they and
theirs do not have to put on helmets and carry guns into the
fighting. They use lies to start wars that kill hundreds of
thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military service
people. They love massive war-time profits, unavailable to their
rich masters if war is absent.
The Republicans hate the rest
of us, which they must, in order to pass away from themselves and
onto us, the financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and
thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant, and destructive liars.
They are blasphemers for they insist that their hateful and
destructive deeds are the work of God. They are apostates for they
gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants, the old and the sick, of
whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.
There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on
false premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for
they have lost all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no
appealing to them for the nation's sake for that it what they hate
The Republicans are the enemy.
Wing Conspiracy (Click on the underlined to
go there) Progressives, Read the following and become enlightened as
to the dangers of the Right Wing.
Conservatives, read and become enlightened as to
the real Reason certain groups are supporting the you and the Right
Wing Teabagger extremists.
The End of America
details the ten steps a country takes when it slides toward fascism.
It's not a "lefty"tot tome, rather a historical look at trends in
once-functioning democracies from modern history that are being
repeated in our country today. It gives any reader (or viewer of the
lecture) a much-needed history lesson and constitutional refresher.
Most importantly, it puts the recent gradual loss of civil liberties
in the U.S. in a historical context. The average American might not
be alarmed at AT&T selling our private information to the Bush
administration, but when this action is seen as part of a larger
series of erosions and events, a pattern emerges with unfortunate
consequences that become disturbingly clear.
Naomi Wolf: [Ten key steps to close down an open society: a
dictator's blueprint] 1. Invoke an internal and external threat
2. Secret prisons where torture takes place 3. Develop a paramilitary force
4. Surveil ordinary citizens 5. Infiltrate citizens' groups 6. Detain and release ordinary citizens
7. Target key individuals 8. Restrict the press 9. Recast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason
10. Subvert the rule of law
If you know the
enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred
battles. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Americans have wondered whether a secret elite really runs the
country. The Illuminati? The Establishment? The Mob? The answer is
less glamorous and more troubling. Going into the year 2002,
influence is available to anyone who can spare, say, a hundred grand
to underwrite a few political campaigns.
Below, we will
identify the nation's largest political contributors. For the
most part, the largest contributors are Conservative foundations.
You can check out this list in its entirety. Do some
investigative work of your own and dig around.
Most of these
people and foundations see their donations as sound investments; in
return, they ask for - and receive - generous tax breaks or
legislation favorable to their businesses. Read the below
information and get a sense of what influence they wield.
The influence of these people is fundamentally at odds with the
American ideal of popular government and sparked demands for reform.
Reform initiatives have had success at the state level, but the
Congress has done next to nothing when it comes to campaign reform.
We hope that this article will fuel the fire of those who want their
votes to count as much as that of a New York investment banker. Or a
camera-shy Cleveland billionaire.
As you shall
presently see there is not just one right wing religious conspiracy,
but, there are dozens of Right Wing religious organizations and
certain Rich donors, who seem to work together on most issues, and
wish to determine the moral values and beliefs of everyone else in
this country and ultimately the World. How do they do this?
By controlling what who think, see, hear and believe.
Who do you think owns most of the news media in this country
these people and organizations do such a thing?
obvious reason is that if a corporation can control what you think,
see, hear and believe, they can make an awful lot of money at your
expense. Of course being the greedy self serving corporate
parasites they are, they also will make a number of big blunders and
end up in the toilet (spell Enron) These corporations will cause a
loss of capital in this country, and fuel the recession by their
also people in this world who have a terrible self esteem problem.
These people over-compensate for this mental deficiency by
convincing themselves that if they can attract enough weak people to
them, and gain a large enough following, their self esteem will
somehow benefit. They create organizations which are designed
to attract emotionally and mentally susceptible individuals who are
easily swayed. (Spell Christian Coalition and Pat Robertson.
It is rumored that the reason Pat resigned from the Christian
Coalition is that he was threatened with an criminal indictment and
civil suit, if he didn't.)
Unfortunately, some of these religious leaders have a gift of
charisma. They attract enough followers so that their
organizations thrive. These people want their member's money,
dedication, sacrifice and give little in return. As the
leader, they feel that they deserve luxury as a reward for their
good works, so they usually buy luxury automobiles, apartments, and
homes or mansions for their "Church". Of course they will
drive these automobiles and live in these mansions.
convince their followers that the end of the world is coming very
soon and unless you do exactly as they say, you will burn in hell.
Some of them will blame the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 on
women's groups, and gays, and wiccans and unbelieving Christians
(say Jerry Falwell) They will forbid that their followers
associate with other groups which they have not approved.
The Hijacking of the Christian
Church, written by a Christian Republican
familiar? These are the same techniques used by Jim Jones when
he attracted people to his commune in South America. Jim
Jones was the pastor of the Peoples Temple, a large California
congregation of the prominent liberal Protestant denomination, the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Jones had become an advocate
of a radical form of Marxist liberation theology, then a popular
perspective in liberal Protestantism. However, while he was praised
within his denomination and other Protestant churches, for his
social outlook and work on racial harmony, he was not without his
harsh critics. In 1977, he moved with hundreds of his church
members, mostly African Americans, to Guyana, where the church had
previously established a small agricultural colony.
There, a serious of events resulted in several hundred members
either committing suicide or being murdered.
these leaders will cooperate with other similar groups, sometimes
they will not. But most of these extremist organizations are
funded by conservative foundations which have been created by a few
individuals and families which own and /or control billion dollar
companies and corporations. These groups almost always work
together. Their purpose seems to be the creation of a society
favorable to their companies and their desire for power. Money
is power. Ideas are power. Appearances are power.
control the money, they control the religious leaders of these
cults, and through them, their members.
leaders and companies can control what you see, hear and believe,
they can control the members. If they have THE POWER, they can
then decide what a person buys, where they live, who they can
associate with, and which Gods are worshiped.
analyze the included profile of the individuals, organizations and
companies we have identified, you will find that in many ways most
of them interact with each other. Several of the individuals
are on the boards of organizations which receive their funding from
the few foundations and companies which have conservative agendas.
Those who are listed,
seem to be connected in some way by beliefs that are in common with
the Christian Reconstructionists
and with certain charitable conservative foundations. Read all
of it. You will find out more than you care to, about the
religious right and their attempt to take away your religious
freedom. Some of the individuals listed below are public
officials who have sworn to defend the constitution of the United
States. It's like sending the fox to guard the hen house.
Go to Christian Reconstructionism Here.
many ways for these religious right extremists to gain control over
your lives and your religious beliefs.
From Jefferson’s time to
the present, Americans have instinctively understood the three basic
principles of democratic organization:
First, energetic, collective
action is essential to produce results in a fragmented,
segmented society where federalism and separation of powers make
change slow and difficult.
Second, the success of any
group (conservative, liberal, moderate, radical, or reactionary)
depends in part upon its ability to marshal greater resources
(people, money, and technology) than other, competing groups.
And third, knowledge is the
ultimate power in politics, as in every other human endeavor.
These three principles, taken
together, explain why the information on this web site is
exceptionally enlightening. The modern conservative religious
right movement has grown into one of the most powerful forces in all
of American history. From school board elections and ballot
initiatives to congressional races and the 2000 presidential
contest, conservative candidates and causes are appearing on the
scene with increasing frequency - and with similar agendas.
Because of this proliferation of conservative religious right
groups, your religious liberty is in great danger. Religious
bigots and right wing conservative leaders are propagating untruths
about liberal political leaders, and religions which they feel are
in competition with their version of religion. Right Wing
extremist organizations continue to storm the United States Capitol,
state houses and school districts to advance a partisan political
agenda that includes:
Revoking First Amendment guarantees, including the
separation of church and state and freedom of speech
sectarian prayer in schools
rights to all Americans
campaign finance reform, and
efforts to protect the environment.
This web page will provide a
comprehensive description of the key players in the conservative
movement, involved in this effort, how they work together and what
they hope to accomplish. This page will trace the growth of the
right from a handful of influential conservatives to today’s
coordinated national network of religious organizations, advocacy
groups and state-based policy institutes.
Many observers have wondered why
conservatives in recent years have bested liberals in most state and
national elections. Contrary to most political analysts, it is not
because the majority of the voters are conservative.
Americans today, are not ideologically driven in any direction.
Instead, in most cases, conservative groups simply have
out-organized and out-fundraised their rivals; they have used their
superior war chests to accumulate resources that can often overwhelm
the opposition; and perhaps most importantly, they have achieved a
decisive edge quietly and without much public attention.
As Dr. Larry J. Sabato, Director of
the Center for Governmental Studies has stated in the forward to
"The Real Story Behind Paycheck Protection: An Anatomy of the Far
well-informed citizens will be astounded to learn in this report
of the breadth and depth of the conservative network across
America. Key scholars, journalists, and activists will not even
recognize the names of many of the individuals, foundations, and
organizations that comprise the right's backbone and nervous
system. Never before has this puzzle-like structure been
assembled and catalogued to such a degree as in this report's
"I hasten to add that
conservatives are exercising their First Amendment rights of
free speech and association, and vigorous political activity
adds to democracy's health in most circumstances. Yet hidden
money is dangerous money in politics, and public disclosure of
contributions and expenditures for many of the foundations
listed herein is sketchy. The nearly unregulated world of
campaign finance that exists in many states (and to some degree,
nationally) also affords groups the opportunities for unexamined
influence. In a democracy, the sunshine of disclosure is the
best disinfectant, and this report generates some necessary
light. The news media ought to increase the wattage."
NEA Communications, 1201 16th
Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
This web page will expose the
ways the Conservative Right is attempting to take control of your
Lets talk a moment about dishonesty. The Religious
Right is Dishonest. Religious Right Leaders Lie.
They lie about almost everything they don't like. They are
Bigoted. They hate the poor. They hate all religions
but their own (whatever that is). Because they are
dishonest, they use that dishonesty as a tool to try to prove
they are right, when in fact the opposite is true. For
instance lets look at the DOMA hearing in the Senate:
The big news about the DOMA
hearing was how Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery for his distortion of a study.
Minnery cited a Department of Health
and Human Services study to make the case that children do
better in a heterosexual household as opposed to a same-sex
household. Franken, however, proved that Minnery had distorted
the study’s wording.
While everyone is reveling (with
good reason) in this pivotal moment from the hearing, let’s not
forget one thing.
What Minnery did was not an anomaly.
His distortion was not a one-time thing from a lazy employee of
an otherwise honorable organization.
Minnery’s misreading of study in
order present a bad picture of same-sex households is
commonplace in religious right data. Often times, religious
right spokespeople will cite studies which have nothing to do
with same-sex households in order to claim that these households
are not the best place to raise children.
Maggie Gallagher of the National
Organization for Marriage
committed this grievance
last year by misrepresenting a study of abused children.
And we’re not just talking about
studies regarding households, either.When groups like Focus on
the Family, the Family Research Council, or the National
Organization for Marriage aren’t busy scaring people with how
the gay community wants to “recruit children,” they busy
themselves distorting all sorts of legitimate data, creating
conclusions that the researchers never intended or worked for.
We know this because at least 11 of
these researchers complained about this. They include:
of a 1997 Canadian study (Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee,
Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and
Martin T. Schehter),
who complained in 2001 that religious right groups were
distorting their work to claim that gay men have a short life
of the book Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities
Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States
(Professors Richard J. Wolitski, Ron Stall, and Ronald O.
complained that their work was being distorted by Focus on the
University College London professor
who complained that the American Family Association was
distorting his work on depression and suicide in LGBT
University of Utah professor Lisa Diamond,
who complained that
NARTH (the National Association of Research and Therapy of
Homosexuality), a group which also share board members with the
American College of Pediatricians, distorted her research on
Dr. Carol Gilligan,
Professor of Education and Law at New York University,
who complained that former Focus on the Family head James Dobson
misrepresented her research to attack LGBT families.
Dr. Kyle Pruett, Ph.D.,
a professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine,
who has also complained that Focus on the Family distorted his
Dr. Robert Spitzer,
Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University,
who has consistently complained that religious right groups
distorted his study to claim that the LGBT orientation is easily
Professor of Sociology at New York University,
who has had to, on more than one occasion, cry foul over how
religious right groups distorted her work on LGBT families.
Professor at the University of Minnesota,
who has complained several times about how religious right
groups such as the American College of Pediatricians and
PFOX have distorted his work,
all to no avail. The American College of Pediatricians refused
his request to remove his work from their site.
These are the reasons why many of us
are celebrating Franken’s dressing down of Minnery. It revealed
to so many what the gay community has known about the religious
right for years – that all of their talk about “morals” and
“values” and “personally held religious beliefs” are a dodge.
They are a smokescreen which these organizations use to hide
When it comes to the gay community,
the vast majority of religious right studies and data have been
fallacious distortions designed to exploit fear, not educate.
These folks – Maggie Gallgher, Peter
Sprigg, James Dobson, et. al. – know that when they misrepresent
studies, particularly in front of Congress, they are committing
fraud but they don’t care as long as they can get away with it.
After today, however, it will be
more difficult for them to get away with it.
Now lets look at the philosophy
which drives the Religious Right.
A passion for the prose
and philosophy of Ayn Rand tells us a great deal about an
individual, none of it good.
Ok we see by the above articles,
that the Right Wing Conservative Extremists want to not only
control every facet of our lives, but they want to control our
minds as well. Does the Novel Orwell's 1984 Ring a
The Republican Party’s slapstick
search for a leader would be heartwarming and sidesplitting, but
for the tragic knowledge that one of these scrambling midgets
will collect tens of millions of votes in the presidential
election of 2012. Never have so many amounted to so little,
talked so much rubbish, dreamed of an office so far above their
abilities. Blood pressures rose among party elders when Donald
Trump, marginally Republican and one of the greatest fools in
the solar system, momentarily tossed his hairpiece into the ring
and became the instant favorite.
The GOP dilemma — a golden
opportunity to rule but nothing to say and no one to say it — is
so desperate that my instinct is to help them sort it out. Could
we make a start, at least, by dismissing candidates who called
for President Obama’s birth certificate or raised the specter of
Sharia law in America, followed briskly off the stage by
lunatics who dismiss global warming as a socialist plot?
That would leave plenty of
unbalanced extremists still in the running, yet reduce the
stench of sheer evil and madness. The “birther” and Sharia cults
reek of cheesy talk-radio racism; climate-change denial is a
stranger faith yet, a political assault on basic science that
insults a ground squirrel’s intelligence and casually threatens
the survival of life on earth.
The party that produces birthers and
global-warming deniers no doubt harbors End-of-the-Worlders,
too, Christians who packed their bags for heaven with the senile
prophet Harold Camping on May 21. Though none of them, I
suppose, would commit to the time and expense of a presidential
campaign just to preside over a nation of sinners expiring in
fire and pestilence. Leo Rangell, the prominent Freudian analyst
who recently passed away, once lamented that the American public
is “gullible or easily seduced, and susceptible to leaders of
Dr. Rangell wrote that in 1980, long
before gullibility became such an epidemic that we began to
doubt the value of our schools, before media demagogues made a
billion-dollar industry of manipulating our most credulous
citizens, before the Republican Party dedicated itself to
gathering most of them into its fold. Before Rush Limbaugh,
before Fox News, before the Tea Party.
“Finally, people’s stupidity will
break your heart,” observed my father, a small-town politician
and a loyal Republican of the moderate traditional strain that
has been systematically exterminated by the radical Right.
My father lived long enough to vote
for George McGovern and against Ronald Reagan, but the rhetoric
GOP candidates churn out to charm this Tea Party would sound
extraterrestrial to most Republicans of his generation.
The odious hypocrite Newt Gingrich,
who considered himself a serious presidential candidate until
his entire staff abandoned him in disgust, rests his appeal on
his intellectual superiority to Sarah Palin and Rick Perry — a
distinction much like being a faster runner than Dom DeLuise. In
his obligatory pre-campaign book Gingrich claims that Barack
Obama, a cautious centrist if there ever was one, drives a
“secular-socialist machine” that “represents as great a threat
to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.”
Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh,
Father Coughlin, move over. Newt is just full of Shariah, among
other things, and accuses Obama of “Kenyan, anti-colonial
behavior,” a blatant pitch for the racist vote the Tea Party has
re-energized. A colossal irony — demonstrating how hopelessly
divided America has become — is that the radical philosopher
Cornel West, a black Princeton professor, calls Obama “a black
mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate
plutocrats.” This is not helpful of Dr. West, nor even
responsible. He and Newt Gingrich are equally useless if a
calmer, more logical and coherent political culture is what
we’re after. But if I had to say which of these two hostile
portraits of our president is less preposterous, I’m sure I’d
choose West’s. Virtually all the valid criticism of Barack Obama
has come from the left.
When Tea-stained legislators gut
environmental laws to protect corporate profits, when they sneer
at climate change while America bakes in its bedrock like a big
green casserole — when Republican educational reform means
classrooms with fewer teachers and more guns — there’s a
temptation for reasonable Americans to throw up their hands and
succumb to despair. Is it a death wish or a scheme to kill the
rest of us, when “conservatives” fight against clean air laws,
or legislate to place a loaded pistol in every yahoo’s holster?
I’ve reached the second half of my seventh decade, and I’ve
never seen such an intimidating swarm of fanatics and fools
marching under one banner. The election of a non-white president
has brought out the worst in the worst of us. But who guessed
that there were so many, or that their worst was so awful?
The late Albert Einstein, of my
father’s persuasion if not of his party, once wrote
despairingly, “The tyranny of the ignoramuses is insurmountable
and assured for all time.” But the coalition that poisons this
struggling republic is an unnatural one, made up of rich cynics
who supply the money and poor ignoramuses who supply the votes.
They have nothing in common, except that the cynics will say
anything and the morons will believe it. There must be
something, optimists insist, that could drive a wedge between
the exploiters and the exploited — some irresistible revelation,
some fraud or contradiction so flagrant that the most obtuse
voter could see how callously and criminally he’s being used.
Finally, how about Ayn Rand? The
latest Republican poster boy, congressman Paul Ryan of
Wisconsin, stole the media spotlight with a slash-to-the-bone
budget proposal that Fox News heralded as the Magna Carta of
fiscal responsibility in America. I lack the expertise to take
on Rep. Ryan’s budget digit-for-digit, but I place considerable
confidence in the opinion of the Times’ Paul Krugman, who won a
Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008. “The proposal wasn’t serious
at all,” Krugman wrote. “In fact, it was a sick joke. The only
real things in it were savage cuts in aid to the needy and the
uninsured, huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and
Medicare privatization. All the alleged cost savings were pure
That sounds about par for the
current Republican course, with fresh infusions of Tea Party
belligerence and unreality. But what frightened me most about
Rep. Ryan was the report that he is an avowed disciple of the
writer/philosopher Ayn Rand, and has declared in public that
Rand is “the reason I got involved in public service.” Good
grief, she’s back. She died in 1982, but someone neglected to
drive a stake through her heart.
A passion for the prose and
philosophy of Ayn Rand tells us a great deal about an
individual, none of it good. There are few surer signs of a poor
reader, a poor thinker and an unpleasant person than a
well-thumbed copy of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead.
In 2005, Rand’s acolytes gathered in
Washington for a symposium to celebrate her 100th birthday — the
occasion for Rep. Ryan’s disturbing confession — and I admit I’d
give anything to see the seating chart. If there was some way to
ban everyone in that room from holding public office, we could
probably turn the United States of America back toward the
generous light of reason.
She was to literature what Rod
McKuen was to poetry, what Fabian was to rock n’ roll, what Guru
Maharaj Ji was to religion. Look them up. Like them, she once
enjoyed a huge audience of admirers. Unlike them, she was never
harmless and she’s enjoying an alarming revival.
Since Atlas Shrugged was published
in 1957, it has sold seven million copies. It’s possibly the
most polarizing book ever written. For every Paul Ryan who finds
it life-shaping, a dozen readers are mystified and a dozen more
appalled. Few actually finish the 1,200-page novel, which ends
with the mysterious Galt drawing a dollar sign in the air with
his finger. If you wade into this stuff up to your ankles — the
hokey melodrama, the backlit macro-characters posed like Easter
Island monoliths, the cruel and obvious message stamped on every
page—-you begin to fear that you can never wash it off.
At times her critics oversimplify
Rand’s beliefs, which embody any number of contradictions and
opacities. But essentially she glorifies the will and celebrates
Nietzsche’s Ubermensch, the superman whose blazing passage
through the world need never be impeded by the interests or
opinions of mediocrities like you and me. It’s the same string
of arrogant assumptions that spawned the Master Race theories of
Herr Hitler: ego-deification, social Darwinism, arbitrary
stratification of human types. Adapted for capitalism, it
becomes the divine right to plunder — a license for those who
own nearly everything to take the rest, because they wish to,
because they can. Because the weak don’t matter. Let the big
dogs feed. This repulsive theology was the work of a fairly
For an eyewitness portrait of Ayn
Rand in the flesh, in the prime of her celebrity, you can’t
improve on the “Ubermensch” chapter in Tobias Wolff’s
autobiographical novel Old School.
Invited to meet with the faculty and
student writers at the narrator’s boarding school, Rand arrives
with an entourage of chain-smoking idolaters in black and
behaves so repellently that her audience of innocents gets a
life lesson in what kind of adult to avoid, and to avoid
becoming. Rude, dismissive, vain and self-infatuated to the
point of obtuseness — she names Atlas Shrugged as the only great
American novel — Rand and her hissing chorus in black manage to
alienate the entire school, even the rich board member who had
admired and invited her.
What strikes Wolff’s narrator most
forcefully is her utter lack of charity or empathy, her
transparent disgust with everything she views as disfiguring or
disabling: a huge wen on the headmaster’s forehead, the
narrator’s running head cold, the war injury that emasculated
Hemingway’s Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises.
To the boy, she appears to be
exactly the sort of merciless egotist who might have designed a
fascist philosophy that exalts power and disparages altruism.
Rand is wearing a gold pin in the shape of a dollar sign. After
meeting her, he can no longer read a word of The Fountainhead,
which as an adolescent romantic he had enjoyed.
This division of the human race into
the elect few who are destiny’s darlings and the “second-rate”
multitudes above whom they soar—-this Ubermensch nonsense—-is
perilously thin ice on which to rest a philosophy (Nietzsche,
you recall, went hopelessly mad.)
Since there’s no agency that rates
human beings the way we rate bonds, the elect are always
self-elected supermen and superwomen. Super, says who?
If it’s supposed to be intellect as
much as will that sets them above us, I sense a critical
problem. Whenever a person of superior intelligence begins to
comprehend the human condition, the first fruits of his
knowledge are humility and irony—-those two things Rand and her
heroes most spectacularly lack.
Personally, I never feel more
superior than when I see someone carrying a copy of Atlas
Shrugged. What actually sets the self-styled super race apart is
an unrepressed infantile id, a raging “I want” that defies
socialization. These are damaged children, people of arrested
development drawn to an ugly philosophy that legitimizes
narcissism and socially unacceptable behavior. Donald
Trump would be a perfect example. For an apostle of
self-willed happiness, the goddess of greed led a troubled life,
marked by depressions, amphetamine addiction, messy love affairs
and betrayals. But you could say that she had a capacious
mind, if not a healthy or an orderly one.
She was well educated, she had
actually read Aristotle and Nietzsche before she hobbled them
and hitched them to her wagon. Her unlikely 21st-century
resurrection is the work of much smaller, often almost invisible
minds that cherry-pick the vast creaking structure of her oeuvre
for their own ends, just as they cherry-pick the Bible or The
Wealth of Nations.
If corporate feudalism is your dream
for America, she’s the prophet for you. Her naïve faith in
capitalism and contempt for “the welfare state” are just what
the right-wing doctor ordered.
Much of the rest, alas, will never
fly in Alabama. Pundits have been delighted to note that
the heroine of the new Republicans was a
pacifist who opposed the Vietnam War, a
feminist who supported abortion, an adulteress who preached free
love, a bohemian who mocked family life and child-bearing, an
elitist who sneered at the common man, and, after all her “nanny
state” rhetoric, a recipient of Social Security and Medicare and
a late, sick convert to the benefits of socialized medicine.
Worst of all, for tea-stained
Christian Republicans, she was a militant atheist. In
Rand’s ideology religious faith was the most abject form of
weakness, a sniveling retreat from the hardheaded, self-centered
“objectivism” her heroes impose on the world. She not only
would have rejected Jesus and his gospels, she actually
did—-repeatedly. Christ’s message that the poor are
blessed and the meek will inherit the earth is antithetical to
Rand’s belief that the poor and meek are no more than mulch
where the dreams of the mighty take root.
So adamantly did she denounce the
altruism and self-sacrifice at the center of the Christian
message, it’s no exaggeration to call her the intellectual
It’s no great exaggeration to say
that praising her is like spitting in Christ’s face.
How do Paul Ryan, Ron and Rand Paul
and company manage to pass off this radical atheist, this
subversive Russian Jew (born Elisa Rosenbaum) as an iconic role
model for Christian conservatives?
Apparently they don’t think they
need to get into the details, not with their particular
constituency. Assuming that they know the details themselves.
The careless condescension of their leaders is not yet a scandal
to the tea-baggers of America’s unlettered hard Right. But Ayn
Rand seems like the biggest joke of all, one that might yet blow
up in the party’s face.
The plutocrats she worshiped are so
few, the plebeians she scorned are so many. The GOP’s little
people can’t all be totally illiterate, and Limbaugh and Glenn
Beck actually urge them to read this woman’s books. It’s
in-your-face deception that reminds me of the old stage villain,
the silent-movie heavy with the waxed mustache, cackling behind
his cloak and inviting the audience to share the cruelty he’s
about to inflict on his innocent victims. It’s as if Wall Street
is surreptitiously giving the finger to Main Street Republicans,
laughing at the gullible recruits as they march to the polls to
lower corporate taxes and deregulate markets. Ayn Rand, indeed.
She would have applauded the big dogs’ ruthlessness but rolled
her eyes at the Christian-family rhetoric they’re obliged to use
She wasn’t one of them, of course;
she certainly wasn’t one of us. She was one of a kind, thank
god. In her defense, you might argue that her love affair with
capitalism was rooted in a Russian Jew’s horror of the
totalitarian systems that devastated Europe in the 20th century.
That offers her a gravitas she
doesn’t share with ultra-light Midwestern reactionaries like
Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann. But the more Americans read her
books, the better for liberals and the worse, I think, for
Her work illustrates conclusively
what a few brave clergymen and a few ink-stained relics like me
have been saying for years to anyone who would listen, and to
Republicans who refuse to listen — that Christianity and the
wolverine capitalism of a John Galt are totally incompatible
systems, two mutually exclusive human possibilities. They cancel
each other out. Any political party that pretends to integrate
them is a party of liars, and doomed.
Previously I've told you about ALEC's mission, which is
to write boilerplate right wing legislation and distribute it to state and
federal lawmakers as a way to advance right-wing causes across the country. But
ALEC's influence does not begin or end there.
An examination of campaign
donations made by ALEC corporate members dating back to
the 1990 election cycle shows that they contributed
$12.2 million to state-level candidates who were ALEC
members, with 98.4 percent of that money going to
incumbent and winning candidates, many of whom could
vote on proposed legislation. Additional analysis
reveals that $11.9 million of the $12.2 million went to
Republicans. Click here to download the database.
Over the seven (10 for some states) election
cycles covered in a donor-data analysis by the National
Institute on Money in State Politics, ALEC corporate
members contributed $516.2 million to state-level
politics: $202.1 million to state-level candidates,
$228.3 million to high-dollar ballot-measure campaigns,
and $85.8 million to state political party committees. Half a billion dollars. A serious relationship. It seems
ALEC is not afraid of commitment.
Because of the council leak, the Institute for
Money in State Politics was able to link specific
corporate money with specific legislators and issues. Of
the $516.2 million given over the past 20 years,
corporate donors spent $228.3 million on campaigns in
support of issues on ballots in various states. Another
$202.1 million went to candidates and $85.8 million went
to almost exclusively Republican state committees.
Perry was, by far, the most popular donor target
in Texas. Former Republican House Speaker and Exchange
Council member, Tom Craddick, got $878,000 from
corporate council members.
Other leaders were: State Sen. Troy Fraser,
R-Horseshoe Bay, $315,000; Rep. Phil King,
R-Weatherford, $163,000; and Sen. Kel Seliger,
So let's see. Texas has a
tort reform law,
is a oil welfare state, and is in the process of privatizing
and destroying its public education system.
In this, Perry is absolutely, 100 percent correct.
He slashed taxes to the bone, handing out credits to his
political cronies like they were candy. He decried the
evils of Big Government while hypocritically using
federal stimulus funds to help close Texas' budget gap
in the short term, and now he's using the state's longer
term fiscal disaster – one of his own creation – as a
premise for destroying an already threadbare social
safety net serving the neediest Texans. As a
result of these policies, plus immigration and other
external factors, his state's added a lot of low-paying
poverty jobs without decent benefits. He's added very
little in the way of “prosperity.”
In the final analysis, Texas is indeed a shining
example of conservative governance, as well as an almost
perfect model for winning the race to the bottom.
Thanks for that, ALEC. And now Rick Perry is about to
be unleashed on the nation. At least we have Texas as a
harbinger of things to come.
Politicians of two Midwestern states are in
cahoots with one of America's most destructive
The far-right American Legislative Exchange Council
claims that every member of the state legislature in two
states belongs to ALEC.
Recently leaked documents from the
ALEC Board Meeting, Aug. 6, 2013, Chicago, Illinois,
list the number and percentage of each state's legislature
that have signed onto ALEC. Under "# of Legislators," and "#
of ALEC Members," Iowa has 150 in each column, and South
Dakota has 105 in each column. The third column, for both
states, shows the "% of ALEC Membership in Legislature" as
being "100%." At the opposite end, the lowest percentage is
1%, in New York. The second-lowest is New Jersey, 2%. The
third and fourth lowest, tied, are just 4%, in both Maine
and Vermont. The fifth-lowest is New Hampshire, 6%. That
table appears on page 39 of the report.
Page 20 presents the text of the oath of office that the
leading ALEC member in each state must swear to in order to
win or retain his position: "I will act with care and
loyalty and put the interests of the organization first."
When asked about this, ALEC's senior director of public
Britain's Guardian, "All legislators are beholden to
their constituents' interests first — if they are not, they
will be held accountable at the ballot box."
In other words, if ALEC's lead legislator in any state
violates his oath to ALEC, he stands to lose the vast
campaign contributions from the corporations that fund ALEC.
The purpose of those corporate campaign donations is to make
sure that state legislators are "held accountable" to ALEC.
ALEC survives by persuading conservative voters to vote for
the stooges the corporations that fund ALEC want to write
the laws for them.
In some countries, this is called corruption, or even
fascism, but in the United States, it's called politics, or
even (by the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court)
freedom of speech.
A few members of ALEC are conservative Democrats, whom
the large corporations support only because most of the
voters in those districts already know that the Republican
Party is controlled by large international corporations
(which are sometimes called, in the U.S., "Wall Street").
The best-financed Democrats in those less right-wing
districts are usually the most conservative Democrats there.
Pages 15 and 17 of the report contain a "Memorandum" to
ALEC from its law firm, explaining how the so-called
"Jeffersonian Project, Inc., has been established as an
organization exempt from tax," and by means of which
sub-organization their mega-corporate sponsors can get
tax-deductions for their lobbying expenses, via ALEC. The
lawyer says, "The Jeffersonian Project is indirectly
controlled by ALEC through a provision in its bylaws
requiring that its board of directors be appointed (or
removed) by ALEC."
These people aren't kidding around, and all
other U.S. taxpayers have to take up the tax-load the
controlling elite slough off in this way. Conservatives say
that such "social services" (ALEC is, after all, an
"educational organization") should be shed by government and
performed instead by the private sector, via charities,
which are really just ways for these people to get tax
writeoffs for things like lobbying the legislators and
propagandizing the public. It's a smart business plan, used
by many astroturg groups whose top executives receive
considerable remuneration for their services to the
The documents identify ALEC's national chairman as John
Piscopo, of whom Wikipedia says, "In October 2012, he was
one of nine US state legislators who went on an
industry-paid trip to explore the Alberta tar sands,
publicly described as an 'ALEC Academy'."
More than half of the tar sands are owned by David and
Charles Koch, who are the chief financial backers of ALEC.
ALEC is strongly pushing the Keystone XL Pipeline, 25
percent of which would be owned by the Koch brothers. The
pipeline would carry the Kochs' tar-sands oil to two Koch
refineries near the Texas coast for shipment to the European
Union, but the EU's environmental laws prohibit such oil
under the EU's anti-global-warming provisions. President
Obama is trying to force the EU to weaken those regulations
in order to
increase the net worth of the Kochs by around $100 billion.
It seems that the Kochs don't need to pay Obama to do their
bidding; perhaps he does this service out of his personal
conservative respect for them, but it's not something he
Any force in
civil society that contests the right of business to
grab all social surplus, and to treat people like road
kill and the earth like a sewer, should be crushed.
This article is part of
exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council, in
collaboration with the Center For Media and Democracy.
John Nichols introduces
the series.For more great content from the
Nation, sign up for their e-mail
In the world according to
ALEC, competing firms in free markets are the only real
source of social efficiency and wealth. Government
contributes nothing but security. Outside of this
function, it should be demonized, starved or privatized.
Any force in civil society, especially labor, that
contests the right of business to grab all social
surplus for itself, and to treat people like road kill
and the earth like a sewer, should be crushed.
This view of the world
dominated the legislative sessions that began in
January. GOP leaders, fresh from their blowout victory
in November, pushed a consistent message—“We’re broke”;
“Public sector workers are to blame”; “If we tax the
rich we’ll face economic extinction”—and deployed
legislative tools inspired by ALEC to enact their
vision. They faced pushback, but they also made great
progress—and will be back again soon.
Let’s examine what happened
in three critical economic areas:
ALEC has long sought to
limit the ability of states to raise or collect taxes or
fees. Before this spring, it had already succeeded in
getting more than thirty to adopt such limits, often
hard-wired into their constitutions or requiring
supermajorities to change. Its varied model legislation
to this end includes the Capital Gains Tax Elimination
Act, Use Tax Elimination Act, Super Majority Act,
Taxpayer Protection Act and Automatic Income Tax Rate
Adjustment Act. Its model resolutions oppose such things
as mandatory unitary combined reporting (the chief way
states get corporations to pay any taxes at all) while
supporting such things as the federal flat tax and
efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts permanently. The
Automatic Income Tax Rate Adjustment Act, for example,
“provides for a biennial reduction in the state adjusted
gross income tax rate on residents, nonresidents, and
corporations if year-over-year revenue…exceeds certain
amounts,” in effect ensuring no increase in state
revenue, even during periods of growth, while keeping
tax cuts on the table. The Taxpayer Protection Act
“prohibits the revenue department of a state from basing
any employee’s compensation, promotion or evaluation on
collections or assessments,” otherwise known as doing
This past session, ALEC
members, drawing heavily from the list above, introduced
500 bills to “starve the beast.” But their greatest
victory was the most obvious one. Faced with shortfalls
in state revenues from the economic crisis, states
almost universally and overwhelmingly chose cuts to
public employment or services over progressive tax
increases as a solution.
Privatization is so central
to ALEC’s agenda that it has built a fake board game,
Publicopoly, on its website, where the curious can find
model legislation and other resources on privatizing
basically everything, from transportation (Competitive
Contracting of the Department of Motor Vehicles Act) to
the environment (Environmental Services Public-Private
Partnership Act). Critical to ALEC’s agenda are the
foundational bills that set up the rationale for
privatizing government services: the Public-Private Fair
Competition Act creates a committee to review “whether
state agencies unfairly compete with the private
sector,” and the Competitive Contracting of Public
Services Act requires “make or buy” decisions to
encourage privatization. The hallmark of ALEC’s model
privatization legislation, the Council on Efficient
Government Act, creates “a council on efficient
government to leverage resources and contract with
private sector vendors if those vendors can more
effectively and efficiently provide goods and services
and reduce the cost of government.” These councils
typically include representatives from the private
sector, who then decide to let their business colleagues
bid for public sector work.
In the past few years, with
at least three additions this session alone, legislation
establishing a state Council on Efficient Government has
been introduced in Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, Kansas,
Oregon, Illinois and South Carolina. In each case, the
concepts in the bill mirror the ALEC proposal. In some
cases—South Carolina, Arizona and Illinois—the state
bills read as copies of ALEC’s model legislation.
Virginia’s, Oregon’s, Maryland’s and Kansas’ bills, to
varying degrees, contain language directly from ALEC’s
The fiercest attacks this
session were reserved for public sector unions,
especially in the once labor-friendly Midwest states of
Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that went
deep red in November. ALEC has a sweeping range of model
antiunion laws, the broad aim of which is to make it
harder to be a union and easier for workers not to pay
the costs of collective bargaining or union political
activity. The Right to Work Act eliminates employee
obligation to pay the costs of collective bargaining;
the Public Employee Freedom Act bars almost any action
to induce it; the Public Employer Payroll Deduction Act
bars automatic dues collection; the Voluntary
Contribution Act bars the use of dues for political
This spring, GOP governors
or legislatures introduced at least 500 of these and
other ALEC-inspired anti-labor laws, including laws to
restrict the scope of collective bargaining; to limit or
eliminate “project labor agreements” and state
“prevailing wage” requirements; and to pre-empt local
living wage or other labor standards. Just keeping track
of all the antiunion legislation was often daunting. In
Michigan, the AFL-CIO was dealing with more than fifty
laws aimed at its demise.
In some states, the results
have been lethal. In Wisconsin, the first state to
legalize public sector union bargaining, public sector
unions (excluding police and firefighters) were reduced
to near irrelevance. The law limits collective
bargaining to wages only (no bargaining over benefits,
safety or work conditions) and forbids those to be
increased faster than inflation. To continue to exist,
unions must annually win recertification elections with
more than 50 percent of the vote of all workers in their
bargaining unit—a threshold requirement that is unheard
of. Ohio also passed a law limiting public sector
bargaining rights (including for police and
firefighters) and permitting members to opt out of
There were limits to this
stampede. “Paycheck protection,” introduced in fifteen
states, passed only in Alabama and Arizona. “Right to
work,” introduced in eighteen states, hasn’t advanced
significantly anywhere. (Tennessee reaffirmed a
pre-existing right to work, and in New Hampshire the
governor’s veto is holding it back.) But damage has been
done. It may be that unions and other progressive
organizations, moved by the carnage, will work together
and with the public to build a mass movement to reverse
it. Certainly, many people are trying to do that now.
Whatever their success, we can be sure that ALEC will
fight them fiercely in the states, while pressing
forward with its own project: the complete business
domination of American public life.
he passed away in 2006, states are now
grappling with many of the toxic notions
left behind by University of Chicago
economist Milton Friedman.
groundbreaking book, The Shock Doctrine,
Naomi Klein coined the term "disaster
capitalism" for the rapid-fire corporate
re-engineering of societies still reeling
from shock. The master of disaster?
Privatization and free market guru Milton
Friedman. Friedman advised governments in
economic crisis to follow strict austerity
measures, combining radical cuts in social
services with the full-scale privatization
of their more lucrative assets. Many
countries in Latin America auctioned off
everything standing -- from energy and water
utilities to Social Security -- to for
profit multinational firms, crushing unions
and other dissenters along the way.
Now, U.S. states
are in crisis. The 2008 Wall Street
financial meltdown, caused by years of
deregulation and lack of government
oversight, cost Americans $14 trillion in
lost wealth and eight million lost jobs.
Today some 25 million are unemployed or
underemployed. This jobs crisis has tanked
federal and state tax receipts, adding
billions to state budget shortfalls.
As the prime
movers of this deregulatory agenda, the GOP
spin machine has launched into hyper-drive
in an attempt to wash the blood from their
hands. Governors across the nation, backed
by Wall Street's Club for Growth and the
Koch Brother's Americans for Prosperity, are
working hard to convince average Americans
the a jobs crisis is actually a deficit
crisis and that the culprits are not the big
banks on Wall Street, but state, county and
governors are reaching for an almost
identical set of "solutions," to their
financial woes: massive tax breaks for big
corporations, constitutional amendments to
prevent states from raising revenue, the
slashing of critical public services, the
busting of unions and the privatization of
every possible aspect of government
including public schools -- long a Friedman
agenda item. (See the video
of these measures has not gone unnoticed,
but now we have found the fountainhead of
these radical measures: the American
Legislative Exchange Council. (ALEC)
This week the
Center for Media and Democracy made
available to the public over 800 ALEC
"model" bills and resolutions on a new
We display the documents, crafted by
corporations, and right-wing state
legislators behind closed doors, so that
citizens across the country can now trace
the origins of many of the radical proposals
moving in their states. (Our site contains
lists of ALEC members, corporations, task
forces, scholars, funders and more.)
"Only a crisis -- actual or perceived --
produces real changes. When the crisis
occurs, the actions that are taken depend on
the ideas that are lying around. That, I
believe, is our basic function: to develop
alternatives to existing policies to keep
them alive and available until the
politically impossible becomes politically
inevitable." Think of ALEC as Milton
Friedman's little shop of horrors where
legislators across the country can easily
access the "ideas laying around."
ALEC is not a
lobby, and it is not a front group. It is
much more powerful than that. Behind closed
doors, corporations hand legislators the law
changes they desire that directly benefit
their bottom line. Corporations are "equal"
members. They have their own corporate
governing board which meets jointly with the
legislative board. Corporations and trade
groups fund almost all of ALEC's operations
directly through hefty membership dues and
indirectly through corporate foundations,
like the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
like Koch Industries, Phillip Morris,
Reynolds, Kraft, Wal-Mart, Bayer, Coca Cola,
State Farm and more, sit on ALEC task forces
and vote with state legislators to approve
"model" bills in secret. They wine and dine
legislators at swank hotels, with child care
provided, fundraisers and other perks
pre-arranged. After a swell time,
participating legislators -- overwhelmingly
conservative Republicans -- bring the bills
home and introduce them into statehouses
across the land as their own brilliant ideas
and important public policy innovations.
ALEC cuts out the middleman and the state
legislators themselves become "super
lobbyists" for the ALEC agenda.
Disaster Capitalism in the States
In December of
2008, while the economy was shedding
hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, one
group was treating the catastrophe as a
terrific opportunity. Governor Mitch Daniels
reminded an ALEC gathering that the collapse
of the U.S. economy was "a terrific time to
Republicans won the governorship and control
of both houses in 21 states. ALEC shock
troops swung into high gear. In Wisconsin,
Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Maine a steady
stream of bills emerged from Milton
Friedman's shop. Starving
State Government of Revenue to Make It
Dysfunctional and Despised: ALEC
members are introducing hundreds of bills to
grant tax breaks to big corporations and to
cripple state's ability to raise revenue,
including new constitutional rules to
limiting state taxing powers. Grover
Norquist would love these lethal proposals. Privatizing Schools and Other Government
Services: ALEC bills encompass
over 20 years of effort to privatize public
education through an ever-expanding school
voucher system, to turn Medicare and
Medicaid into voucher programs, and to
privatize almost all aspects of government
including toll roads and bridges, pensions,
foster care and prisons. Foreign firms like
Maquarie and Cintra, which are snapping up
U.S. roads and bridges, are also using ALEC
to push model bills.
Race to the
Bottom in Wages for Americans:
ALEC bills would repeal state or local laws
that boost workers wages such as "living
wage" and prevailing wage laws. ALEC bills
call a starting minimum wage an "unfunded
mandate" but think that prison labor is just
terrific. ALEC also supports a radical "free
trade" agenda that sends U.S. manufacturing
and an increasing number of service-sector
Traditional Supporters of the Democratic
Party: ALEC purports to be
nonpartisan, but only 1 of 104 legislators
in ALEC's leadership is a Democrat.
ALECexposed.org contains dozens of bills to
defund public sector and private sector
unions and to make it harder for trial
lawyers to bring cases when consumers are
injured or killed by dangerous products.
ALEC's agenda is
vast. These bills and many more are moving
in all 50 states. We need your help! Visit
today, see the corporations and legislators
pursuing this agenda and help us track the
bills moving in your state. Join the
and Twitter at
#ALECexposed and Take Action to tell the
ALEC corporate cabal to
First, they intend to dismantle the
Public School System, because if they can brainwash your children in
religious and private schools, they can control the future
population of the United States.
How are they going to do this? By
following a nationally defined plan.
Their first step is to take political
power from the Teachers Unions. As an example, let's look at
local California politics and Proposition 226
Although Proposition 226 was
defeated, it was a wakeup call for all those think the Religious
Right political movement is dead. Let's see what Proposition
226 would have done:
1. It forbid foreign donations,
but that was just a smokescreen. Federal law already
prohibits foreign donations to political candidates. It
would not have decreased the amount of foreign donations in any
way to political campaigns. But,
2. It would have set up
two sets of rules governing how different types of organizations
engage in political campaigns, which is totally unfair.
It would have stopped unions and employee organizations from
engaging in politics to protect pensions, health and safety
laws, and health care benefits. Meanwhile big
business - which already outspends unions and employee
organizations by 11 to 1 - would have been able to freely
contribute to politics to influence governmental policy and
political decisions. Hmmmmm sort of lopsided wasn't
3. It would have cost
state and local governments and schools millions to implement
because of its bureaucratic regulations on employees' political
While noting the right-wing
character of those pushing, the initiative, what has received little
attention is what may be the primary agenda of the movement. There
was a clear reason why conservative organizations from around the
country were dedicated to neutralizing the voice of unions,
including the National Education Association (NEA), and their
allies. And this page offers important information and warnings as
similar measures are pushed throughout the country.
Who would have benefited?
Founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, head
of the Committee for Survival of a Free Congress and a Principal founder
of the Heritage Foundation,. ALEC was created to nurture conservative
legislators around the country. ALEC was formed in 1973 in Illinois and
relocated to Washington, DC, several years later. For a period of time,
it shared a building with the Heritage Foundation. Although nominally a
bipartisan organization, ALECs strongly conservative bent results in the
bulk of its membership being from the Republican side of the aisle.
ALEC's goal is to make business a
natural ally of state legislators and to advance a conservative
free-market agenda that is consistent with religious conservatism.
ALEC's literature puts it this way: "ALECs credo is that business can,
should, and must be an ally of legislators," and that its
"...cornerstone is the forum it provides for the private sector to work
in a one-on-one relationship with state legislators to develop public
policies that are pro-growth, pro-business and pro-freedom."
ALEC is a 501 (c) (3) membership
organization, claiming nearly 3,000 state legislators as members from
every state (there are about 7,500 state legislators serving in the
United States at any one time). In its current literature, ALEC boasts
that its membership includes 31 Speakers and Speaker Pro Tems; 37 Senate
Presidents and Senate President Pro Tems; 25 Senate Majority and
Minority Leaders; and 38 House Majority and Minority Leaders. Among its
alumni, ALEC claims 12 sitting governors and more than 80 members of
ALEC has a senior staff of six people
and a total staff complement that has ranged as high as thirty. Former
Executive Director, Daniel Denning, had salary and benefits in 1996
totaling $141,969. Denning has since beco@e director of Heritage 25 for
the Heritage Foundation. ALEC reported total revenues in 1996 of
In addition to its membership of
elected officials, ALEC includes representatives of the corporate world
as both active members and funders of the organization. Literature from
their National Orientation Conference lists over 300 corporate sponsors
In its literature, ALEC states that it
"ensures loyalty from its legislative and corporate constituencies by
involving them directly in the operation of the organization." ALEC
accomplishes this by pairing state legislators, who serve as ALEC State
Chairs, with representatives of business, who serve as ALEC State
Private Sector Chairs. According to current ALEC literature, every state
in the nation, as well as Puerto Rico, is represented by at least one
legislative ALEC State Chair, and most also have a Private Sector Chair.
ALECs current Private Enterprise Board
includes Alan Auger from Coors Brewing Company, who serves as the
board's chairman, and Michael Morgan from Koch Industries as first vice
chairman. The board draws from a galaxy of corporate America and
includes J. Patrick Rooney, CEO emeritus of Golden Rule Insurance
ALEC is unabashedly a pro-business
activist organization. In addition to aggressively pairing elected
officials with local business representatives in each state, ALEC
maintains fifteen task forces to craft model legislation and set the
organizations political agenda in specific policy areas. Each of these
task forces is chaired by an elected official and a Private Sector
Chair. The task forces cover:
* Business & Labor
* Civil Justice
* Criminal Justice
* Empowerment, Opportunity, & Urban
* Energy, Environment, & Natural
* Health Care
* Real Estate, Banking, Financial
* Substance Abuse
* Tax & Fiscal Policy
* Trade, Travel, & Tourism
* Transportation & Public Works
In these topic areas, ALEC claims to
have developed more than 150 pieces of model legislation. ALEC maintains
that in 1995-96 a total of 1,647 bills based on its model legislation
were introduced in all 50 states, with 365 bills being enacted-a success
rate of 22 percent. In addition to model legislation, ALEC provides its
members with dozens of position papers and research reports on topics
related to its policy agenda. ALEC claims the most recent round of state
legislative sessions was its most successful to date. Research indicates
ALEC has grown steadily in recent years, adding members and increasing
its budget as well as increasing the number of ALEC-sponsored bills
introduced in stare legislatures across the country.
With the recent and continuing shift in
legislative priorities and in power from the federal government back to
the states, ALEC is in a key position to affect the political direction
of public policy in each of its issue areas. ALEC is well-organized,
well-funded and poised to take advantage of the resurgence of state
power that has come about as a result of the conservative shift in
ALEC, working in cooperation with
Heritage, Americans for Tax Reform, the National Right to Work
Foundation, the Alexis de TocqueviBe Institution, and the State Policy
Network, has circulated model "paycheck protection' legislation to
states for consideration in legislatures this year.
Membership in ALEC is based on the
level of funding by a business or individual. The following is a partial
list of companies that maintain membership in ALEC and their
Jefferson Club ($50,000)
Philip Morris Management Corp.
Madison Club ($25,000)
Eli Lilly and Company
Shell Oil Company Foundation
State Farm Insurance Company
Franklin Club ($15,000)
Joseph E. Seagram
Washington Club ($10,000)
Under the general "Members and
Contributors" listing are nearly 300 other business and trade
from an article in publicschoolshakedown.org by Mona
McDermott on March 19, 2014
Three years ago I had
never heard of The American Legislative Exchange
Council, the uber right wing neoconservative
think tank that forges pro corporate policies in
secret with their legislative buddies. But for
those of us studied in the ways and means of
education reform, we have come to learn how
deeply entrenched ALEC’s roots are in the rounds
of state level and national policies that are
laying waste to public education. Mercedes
Schneider exposes this
ALEC’s “model” bills can
be seen etched carefully into state level
policies that call for:
led, hedge fund invested) charter schools,
draining the funds greatly needed by starving
public schools into the pockets of “venture
-the call for new
teacher evaluations (rolling out the red carpet
for union busting TFA faux teachers, and
Pearson’s domination of the educational/testing
-replacing brick and
mortar schools with more online classrooms. Is
it a coincidence that Mickey Revenaugh, CEO of
Connections Academy sat as the co-chair of the
ALEC education subcommittee or that ALEC member K12
Inc was represented at Arnefest 2013 (aka
of data collection via the new high stakes
tests, lobbying efforts led by Pearson,
political push by billionaire Rupert Murdoch,
and “research” done by big data gurus McKinsey
Common Core “State” standards. (CCSS)
Yes. Common Core.
Even though there is the voice of opposition to
CCSS within ALEC, their involvement is plainly
evident to anyone not living under a rock. The
financial investment in CCSS of right wing
politically conservative groups such as Jeb
Bush, Eli Broad, Walton, Lumina, K-12 Inc, and
Wireless Generation are but a few. After all,
let’s not forget that it was George
Bush who passed
NCLB, the first federal effort to
link school financing to standardized test
How can the role
that Rupert Murdoch (owner of tea party’s
darling Fox News and owner of inBloom in concert
with Bill Gates) be ignored?
As one website comments:
“Besides New York and Louisiana, inBloom has
contracts with seven other states. All are part
of the Shared Learning Collaborative, a pilot
program set up by the Council of Chief State
School Officers (CCSSO) to help implement Common
Core standards through the tracking of student
data. The Council of Chiefs, also a non-profit,
is composed of the heads of America’s state
school systems who work together with
corporations to collectively design education
policy, in mold of the American Legislative
Exchange Council, or ALEC.”
Now I do not
believe in any way that ALEC represents the
beliefs of your average politically Conservative
“every man.” I’m sure, my own
father, a die-hard Conservative who graduated
from Columbia University and served as editor in
chief for a major magazine, and who voted for
Reagan, had never even heard of ALEC up until
the day he passed away.
Nor do I believe
that Bill Gates (touted by Conservatives as a
“progressive”) reflects many (if any) of the
progressive or liberal values of your average
left-leaning voter. Claiming to “save the world”
by forcing impoverished nations and even your
own country into policies that are modeled after
your own self-serving corporate image is NOT a
Greed is the bi
partisan motivator and ALEC’s agenda
trumps democracy no matter what side of the
aisle you’re on. As Piascik reminds
who think the Democrats are
a significant alternative and right-wingers who
believe the Democrats have been taken over by
Marxist-Leninists would do well to consider that
(1) more wealth was redistributed from the 99
percent to the super rich under Clinton than
Reagan and (2) President Obama, with his cohort
of Goldman Sachs advisers and GE executives, is
carrying out virtually the same policies as his
No. The likes of
Bill Gates and ALEC corporations might use some
of the language embraced by their respective
political parties. But they belong
in a class all their own. In the
words of Diane Ravitch, they
belong to the “billionaire’s boys club.”
So theirs is a billionaire
ideology. It’s largely led by
neoconservative values which demonizes the
“progressive” values because nothing stands in
the way of unfettered profits (at the expense of
human and environmental health and well-being)
more than mandated oversight or restrictions.
Regulations of any kind for fair labor laws, a
clean environment and human safety …they just
slow things down. Nothing spoils a day of record
industrial profits more than the messy reality
of climate change. It’s far easier to legislate
school curricula that will teach the next
generation of children to deny it as well, and
then carry on with business as usual. ALEC’s
ideological zealots sell everyday average
Conservatives the value of “freedom” and
“individual rights,” when what they really mean
is freedom for them to
trample upon the individual rights of the rest
of us. That gets lost in the fine print.
so-called “progressives” (as Gates is labelled),
are right on board with them. In the name of
“equity” and “human rights” they
launch global campaigns of profit, dominance and
control. How else can one explain
Gates’ claim to “help all children” through
education reform, with solutions that include
selling his OWN products, attaching children to
wires, biometric bracelets, and other
frightening Orwellian invasive data tracking
systems? Is that his definition of fighting for
civil or human rights? Maybe in the 6th circle
of hell it is.
Piascik summarizes it
thusly: The Greed Party creates illusions of
blaming the “other,” which “is the super
rich’s trick of fomenting divisions within the
populace where they might otherwise be united.”
So you might, like
me, be scratching your head when you read news
reports claiming that opposition to the CCSS is
coming from ALEC, even Tea Party, voices.
where it gets complicated.
Members of ALEC
(representing extremist neo conservative views)
are both promoting and opposing Common Core.
How does this work?
On the one side you
have the ALEC agenda for corporate profit and
control: The pro- multinational corporate
interest sponsoring the Common Core. Through
their efforts many things can or will happen.
First, they will get even richer off the backs
of public schools, our tax dollars, and our
children. Secondly, when bundled as it is in the
package of Race to the Top along with the other
policies I already mentioned, CCSS will go a
long way toward ensuring schools and children
“fail” so as to be replaced, managed or owned by
private corporate interests. And they’ve made a
deal with the Federal government in order to do
so. Third, their investments mean they can sway
curricular and instructional decisions in ways
that favor their visions for future U.S. and
global labor markets (career and college ready).
I’m sure there are other reasons I’m not
mentioning. God only knows what they’ll do with
the 400 private data points from millions of
On the other side of
the playing field you have the ALEC in the guise
of the extreme views of the Tea party (created
and funded largely by the Koch
Common Core for its own (but not too dissimilar)
reasons, to which I will come back in a moment.
Now it’s important
that I clarify here the differences between
people and ideology. I believe in,
and I have seen, successful alliances in
opposition to the Common Core between groups or
individuals from all over the political
spectrum. These alliances have put aside now
defunct political labels or other differences in
favor of five shared goals:
children’s privacy rights from the “data
pirates” (phrase given by Leonie
Haimson via Twitter).
2) Opposing the
developmentally inappropriate and harmful
effects of the Common Core on our children’s
3) The desire
to fight FOR the possibility of a sustainable
and meaningful PUBLIC education for ALL
children-by supporting the rights of
communities, teachers, and children in forging
for greater state and local control; opposing
the gross over-reach of the Federal Dept of
Education in state and local education policies.
our democracy from the hands of
corporate-controlled decision making.
So here in the land
of the sane and the reasonable, we can agree
that most conservative-minded
parents/activists/educators fighting against
CCSS are not trying to sneak in a privatizing
(or ideological) agenda and that
parents/activists/educators from the progressive
side are not trying to brainwash our children
with a communist values.
But if you move into
the hinterlands beyond the sane and reasonable,
you will see the dual face of ALEC
rearing its head. I realized this
only after I did some research into primary
documents crafted by founding members of ALEC.
Meet Paul Weyrich and the Koch Brothers
In 1978, these
millionaire magnates set forth to create a
group, now known as ALEC, where free market
philanthropists, industrialists, and ideologues
could bend the ear and sway the minds of
national or state level public policy makers in
their favor. They have an agenda. And they have
a strategy. Their desire to eliminate the Common
Core is not reflective of the five
goals I outlined previously. Their
goal is eerily (or ironically) similar to the
one forged by the PRO Common Core ALEC entities.
The Koch brothers
founded ALEC and also had a huge hand in the
creation of the tea party to one might see how
their ideologies are aligned. As a Rolling
Stone article explains
it: “They don’t
oppose big government so much as government –
taxes, environmental protections, safety-net
programs, public education: the whole bit. (By
all accounts, the Kochs are true believers; they
really buy that road-to-serfdom stuff
about the holiness of free markets.”
And while many folks
of all political stripes oppose the Common Core,
we also oppose the bundle reform package it
comes wrapped in. In contrast, Koch’s mission to
oppose Common Core does not also
oppose other education reform measures.
billionaire Koch Brothers,
virulently anti-union, have poured many millions
into efforts to push charter schools to replace
public schools, to impose a test-based teacher
assessment, and bust teacher unions.”
It could be that
Scott Walker’s own “about face” move to now
oppose the Common Core comes sole at the behest
of his buddies Koch, who have been huge
supporters of his.
Let’s not forget
billionaires promoting school choice and
privatization are the billionaire Koch brothers,
who gained national notoriety during the
protests against Gov. Scott Walker in
There will be
three main stages in the unfolding of this
movement. The first stage will be devoted to the
development of a highly motivated
elite able to coordinate future
activities. The second stage will be devoted to
the development of institutions designed to make
an impact on the wider elite and a
relatively small minority of the masses.
The third stage will involve changing
the overall character of American popular
will be entirely destructive,
and entirely constructive. We will not try to
reform the existing institutions. We
only intend to weaken them, and eventually
destroy them. We will endeavor
to knock our opponents off-balance and
unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our
constructive energies will be dedicated
to the creation of our own institutions.
We will maintain
a constant barrage of criticism against the
Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the
Left. We will not give them a moment’s rest.
We will use guerrilla
tactics to undermine the
legitimacy of the dominant regime. We will take
advantage of every available opportunity to
spread the idea that there is something
fundamentally wrong with the existing state of
affairs. For example, we could have every member
of the movement put a bumper sticker on his car
that says something to the effect of ‘Public
Education is Rotten; Homeschool Your Kids.’
This will change nobody’s mind immediately; no
one will choose to stop sending his children to
public schools immediately after seeing such a
bumper sticker; but it will raise awareness and
consciousness that there is a problem. Most of
all, it will contribute to a vague sense of
uneasiness and dissatisfaction with existing
society. We need this if we hope to
start picking people off and bringing them over
to our side. We need to break down
before we can build up. We must first clear away
the flotsam of a decayed culture.
In terms of our
long term prospects, because we
will be seen as a purely defensive movement,
not interested in imposing our views on anyone,
only interested in being left alone, we will
surely gain the sympathy of the public. The
dominant culture will see its life-force being
sapped, and it will grow terrified. It will do
whatever it takes to destroy its assailant. This
will lead to the perception that the dominant
leftist culture is empty, hollow, desperate, and
has lost its mandate to rule, because its only
basis for authority is coercion, much like the
communist East Bloc. Sympathy from the American
people will increase as our opponents try to
persecute us, which means our strength will
increase at an accelerating rate due to more
defections–and the enemy will
collapse as a result.
I’m the enemy of the
elite apparently. Oh well. And I’m such a
I think that the
education reform narrative (drawing from Naomi
Klein’s “manufactured crisis”) of “our nation is
lagging behind” and ‘we are a nation at risk”
creates a sense of instability and panic. The
reformers use language like “status quo” to
attack teachers defending what they believe to
be good and right for their children and their
schools. They use guerilla tactics like shutting
down hundreds of schools in one fell swoop and
replacing them with poor performing but highly
profitable McCharters. The insane and chaotic
untested and forced implementation of Common
Core standards are certainly keeping public
school teachers and children off balance.
ALEC loves to follow
its own playbooks doesn’t it? Why not learn from
And the cherry atop
their cherry bomb cake? It’s to use an
anti-common core rhetoric NOT to protect
children and public education as a democratic
good. No. It’s to hijack anti common core
efforts in order to demonize “progressives” and
to (using their fear tactics as Weyrich
suggests) claim that Common Core isn’t just
wrong, or developmentally inappropriate, or
selling our children to corporate interests. No.
It’s because it leads to communism. Or fascism.
Or both. Some websites I’ve visited seem to
think the two ideologies are either synonymous
or interchangeable. Someone didn’t take
Political Theory 101 I guess.
I don’t care what
it seems like to the tea party.
Because if this were in fact
true it would indeed be an historical epic
moment: The first communist takeover in history
wholly funded and led by free-market loving,
American-flag-waving, neo-liberal billionaire
That’s is, unless
the avoidance of this fact were a deliberate
truth, replaced with a false narrative in
order to hijack the trajectory of the
collaborative efforts of opposition to the
Common Core for one’s own extremist ideological
So when you see
ALEC’s agenda on both sides of the Common Core
debate remember Weyrich’s words:
conservatism should renew the call to
disestablish the Federal department of Education
and leave local schools to local communities. If
we don’t stop it, soon we will find that it
doesn’t matter how we educate our children,
their minds will still be poisoned by this
anti-Western, anti-Christian ideology”
What Do You
is there some schism in the inner ranks of ALEC
between the global profiteers supporting CCSS
and the ideological ranks opposing ALEC- now
fighting with each other?
Or are they simply
gaming the system? Is it a deliberate strategy
to confuse and destroy?
I don’t know.
Either way ALEC wins
of WE don’t remain aware, vocal, UNITED, and
Either they will win
by pushing CCSS with its tentacles of other
reform policies to the bitter end…
Or they will win… IF, after
eliminating CCSS we allow another ALEC-
sponsored education policy to take its place.
Either way … the
education reform initiatives (including the CCSS
as a vital facet) will have led to a breaking
down of one of the cornerstones of our
democratic society: the right to a free,
meaningful, and sustainable public education
system for all. A right, which by
the way, we have yet to fulfill or fully realize
for all our citizens… but I for one will
never give up on its potential. And I will never
sell it to the highest bidder.
15 Conservative State Legislatures
Trying to Upend the Constitution (And the Right-Wing Ideologues
That Fuel Their Fringe Ideas)
Around the U.S., state
legislators are proposing laws influenced by radical-right
ideas. Most are flatly unconstitutional.
In March, the Arizona State Senate
passed a law that cut, in dramatic fashion, to the heart of a
long-running debate in American history: What is the proper
power dynamic between the states and the federal center? In the
extremist style that has come to typify Arizona's state
legislature under the influence of Republican Senate President
Russell Pearce, S.B. 1433 came down with force on the side of
"states' rights." The bill proposed nothing less than the
creation of a 12-person body tasked with studying federal laws
and nullifying any and all of those it deemed unconstitutional.
In essence, it was an attempted
declaration of independence from Washington and a direct
challenge to the United States Constitution, which explicitly
states that laws made by the federal government and backed by
the Supreme Court are "supreme."
S.B. 1433, which ultimately did not
make it out of the Senate, was not the only bill of its kind to
bubble up in legislatures across the country in the wake of the
2010 midterms. It exemplified a spate of challenges to federal
power that illustrate how the Tea Party-fueled GOP surge of 2010
is a story playing out in every corner of the country. From
Appalachia to Alaska, state lawmakers have introduced bills that
challenge the authority of the federal government to execute
powers granted by the Constitution. These bills target all three
branches of federal power, often in language that reveals the
influence of radical-right ideologues from bygone times. While
the sponsors of the bills routinely point to last year's health
care reform bill as the impetus for their legislation, the scope
of their targets manifest a deep and longstanding animus against
most of the landmark federal legislation of the modern era—from
environmental protection, to reproductive rights, to the very
idea of state-backed paper currency. Consider:
Virginia lawmakers have proposed the
creation of an independent state currency, premised on "the
destruction of the Federal Reserve System."
In Georgia, another currency bill
would require banks to accept gold or silver as legal tender,
thus overriding federal monetary regulations.
A group of Kentucky Republicans
introduced a law exempting the state from the jurisdiction of
the Environmental Protection Agency. Montana's "Sheriffs First
Act," would give local sheriff's veto power over any federal law
enforcement activity in their counties; those who failed to
comply would face jail.
So-called "birther bills"—inspired by
far-right suspicions about President Obama's country of birth
and requiring new proofs of citizenship for candidates—have been
introduced in a dozen states, including the moderate New England
state of Maine.
these same states have also seen the introduction
of harsh immigration bills modeled on
Arizona's controversial S.B. 1070, which has been held up in the
courts since the Obama Administration's Department of Justice
sued to stop its enforcement last year.
Experts doubt the current bills will
have much practical impact or leave a long-term legacy.
"These bills are nothing but
symbolic grandstanding for conservative constituents," says
Erwin Chemerinksy, dean of the Law School at the University of
California at Irvine. "States cannot violate federal law or
authorize the violation of federal law. The laws are clearly
unconstitutional, but that does not keep conservative
politicians from introducing them."
The bible for many of the Republican
legislators sponsoring states'-rights bills is Thomas Woods'
Nullification: How to End Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.
Among Woods' main sources is the 1957 states' rights manifesto, The
Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia, by
James L. Kilpatrick, a chief ideologist of southern resistance
during the civil rights movement.
"The ideology behind these new bills comes directly out of
resistance to civil rights legislation in the 1950s," says
Garrett Epps, a professor of constitutional law at the
University of Baltimore School of Law. "They claim it goes all
the way back to Jefferson, but it's really grounded in the
resistance to the federal enforcement of civil rights. I expect
that to be the next wave of bills—to nullify the Americans with
Disabilities Act or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is
lunatic fringe stuff that's coming out of the shadows at a
moment when people see an opportunity to take us back to the
In some cases, the sponsors of these bills
have ties to extremist groups. Russell
Pearce, the main sponsor of Arizona's
S.B. 1070 and S.B. 1433 laws, has been a friend of neo-Nazi
Ready, who is a former member of the National
Socialist Movement. Georgia's State
Rep. Bobby Franklin, sponsor of a bill that would reject the
authority of the Supreme Court and essentially criminalize all
abortions and even miscarriages, is a member of the Chalcedon
Presbyterian Church, which is part the Christian
Reconstructionist movement that seeks to impose draconian Old
Testament law on the United States.
Lunatic fringe or not, the activists
pushing these bills are often well organized. The driving force
behind Utah's bill targeting Washington's power of eminent
domain is a group called the Patrick Henry Caucus. With the help
of allies like the archconservative Eagle Forum, the caucus has
all but taken over the state GOP. Through events such as last
year's Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta, it has established
working contacts with state legislators in 30 states, from North
Dakota to New York. The summit, organized by then-Georgia
gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry and the Tenth Amendment
Center, was enthusiastically promoted by the far-right John
Birch Society and the antigovernment Patriot Action Network.
As reported by the Birchers' New
American magazine, participants agreed that the federal
government is unconstitutionally seizing powers belonging to the
states and the people. The answer, it suggested, was "through
state nullification of unconstitutional federal laws." In
addition to McBerry, speakers included Judge Andrew Napolitano,
a far-right Fox News personality, and Roy Moore, the former
Alabama chief justice who was thrown out of his job for defying
federal court rulings against his placing of a Ten Commandment
monument in the rotunda of his courthouse.
"The goal has always been to organize states' sovereignty
activists nationwide," says Stephen E. Sandstrom, a Utah state
representative and founding member of the Patrick Henry Caucus.
"If we only fought health care and gun laws here in Utah, people
would just dismiss us as, 'Oh, that's just right-wing Utah.' But
if we get it done nationally, coordinating with like-minded
people across the spectrum, we can truly have a huge impact."
What follows are state-by-state looks
at some of the more outlandish proposals emanating from
legislators in 15 states since last November. The status in the
legislative process of many may have changed since press time.
Arizona is the state most
Americans think of first when it comes to controversial state
laws. For this distinction, the state can thank
S.B.. 1070, which last year all but mandated racial
profiling and provided
a template for state lawmakers around
the country to whom enforcement-only immigration law appeals.
Republican lawmakers in the Copper
State have not been resting on their laurels. Under the
leadership of State Sen. Russell Pearce, they have since
introduced a slew of other immigration-related bills, including S.B.
1405, which would require proof of citizenship
before receiving treatment in the state's emergency rooms.
Lawmakers have also passed S.B.
1610, which designates the Colt single-action army
revolver the official state firearm. Perhaps the most drastic of
the proposed legislation is S.B.
1178, which would make all services performed in
state and all goods grown or made for consumption in Arizona
"not subject to the authority of Congress under its
constitutional power to regulate commerce among the several
Even more sweeping is S.B.
1433, which would create a 12-person "Joint
Legislative Committee on Nullification of Federal Laws" to
"recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to
nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation
that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People
to the federal government in the United States Constitution."
State Sen. Sylvia Allen introduced S.B.
1495 giving the governor the power to establish a
"state guard" independent of the National Guard. Under the law,
the governor could create this new force for "any reason the
governor considers to be necessary."
Republican lawmakers in
the Natural State crafted H.B.
1292 "to prohibit illegal aliens from receiving any
state benefit except in instances of emergency or when
life-saving measures are required."
The bill has enjoyed the support of activists with the
hard-right nativist group Secure Arkansas, an organization whose
director, Jeannie Burlsworth, is on record describing a water
conservation bill as a ruse to "[turn] America from a Republic
into a Fascist, Communist order [that] will enable the globalist
water masters to start working towards achieving centralized
World Bank objectives which will severely limit our individual
water use." While not as extreme as many bills making their way
through state legislatures, it signifies a lurch rightward for a
state dependent on undocumented workers for key industries such
as industrial poultry farming.
54 to allow police to make warrantless arrests of
those it suspected of being in the country illegally. H.B.
1088 would require a court to consider (before
setting bail) any "information" provided by the district
attorney, a pretrial services agency or a law enforcement agency
that suggests there are "reasonable grounds" to believe a
defendant is an illegal immigrant. The bill would also require a
law enforcement agency to tell both the DA and pretrial services
agencies if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe a person
is an illegal immigrant.
State Rep. Bobby Franklin
— the self-described "conscience of the Republican Caucus" —
made national headlines when he introduced H.B.
1. The bill would require women who have had
miscarriages to provide evidence that they were not "at fault."
Those who could not do this would be subject to criminal
investigations by the state.
The foundation for the bill is
Franklin's belief that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to
v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized many abortions.
Franklin's bill states: "The State of Georgia has the duty to
protect all innocent life from the moment of conception until
natural death. We know that life begins at conception." In the
past, Franklin has expressed the view that the state has no
authority to issue driver's licenses or teach children.
On the immigration front, State Rep.
Matt Ramsey introduced H.B.
87, known locally as the "Show
Me Your Papers" law. It would
require state and local law enforcement officers to investigate
the immigration status of all individuals they "reasonably
suspect" of being in the country illegally. H.B.
72 would eliminate the ability to take the permanent
driver license exam in a language other than English.
401 is among the most ambitious of the "birther
bills" popping up around the country. It would give any
registered voter a two-week window to challenge a candidate's
bona fides, even after the Georgia secretary of state certifies
a candidate as native-born.
Republican state senators
99 to make their state a "sanctuary" from meddling
by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. State Sen. Joe
Bowen introduced a bill that would allow public schools to host
classes about the Bible.
associated with the Tea Party in the Treasure State have been
giving their counterparts in Arizona a run for their money.
Within weeks of the opening of the new session, members of the
House and Senate introduced a number of bills designed to
nullify various pieces of landmark federal legislation. One
targets the Endangered Species Act, which the right sees as
inhibiting extraction industries operating in state. Another
would make county sheriffs the supreme authority.
But these legislators' respect for local sovereignty is not
endless. The same bloc of lawmakers has introduced bills to
smack down locally approved ordinances on marijuana and
protections for gay people.
State Sen. Mark
232 represents one of the most extreme pieces of
anti-abortion legislation in memory. The bill would allow a
mother or another person to use force — including deadly force —
to "protect a fetus." While it was supported by anti-abortion
groups such as Americans United for Life and Family First, fears
that it would increase the threat of, and possibly sanction,
violence against abortion providers led local law enforcement
officials to join the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in speaking up
Christensen is known for introducing
controversial legislation. He is also the force behind recently
proposed laws that would allow teachers to carry concealed
weapons on school grounds; require presidential and vice
presidential candidates to provide a "certified copy" of their
"original long-form" birth certificates in order to be listed on
the ballot; and prohibit Nebraska's courts from citing Islamic
religious, or Shariah, law in their rulings.
Republican State Rep.
Daniel Itse introduced H.B.
343 to create a volunteer "permanent state defense
force," separate from the New Hampshire National Guard, "to
defend this state from invasion, rebellion, disaster,
insurrection, riot, breach of the peace or imminent danger
thereof, or to maintain the organized militia." The legislation
would require Gov. John Lynch to establish a state guard
comprised of an undetermined number of volunteers who sign up
for one-year stints. It would have an "inactive reserve" made up
of all able-bodied adult state residents, with exemptions for
conscientious objectors, state and federal officials and others.
Itse is a natural sponsor for such a bill.
In February 2009, he said that the state of New Hampshire need
not comply with federal legislation, citing Thomas Jefferson's
State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann
125 to ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat
could be detected—before many even know they are pregnant.
Republican lawmakers in
the Sooner State have proposed nearly 30 bills dealing with
various aspects of immigration. Two-thirds of them have come
from the offices of State Rep. Randy
Terrill, a member of the hard-line State
Legislators for Legal Immigration, and
State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a member of a newly set up joint
immigration reform committee. The bills would crack down on
undocumented residents of the state in numerous ways, ranging
from restricting property rights of noncitizens to requiring
school officials know the legal status of students.
The "Interstate Compact for Birth
Certificates Act" is a direct challenge to the birthright clause
14th Amendment. Several bills require schools to identify
undocumented students; one would allow school districts to
charge students not lawfully present in the country, while
others would prohibit them from resident tuition. With words
echoing the Arizona immigration law enacted last year, one piece
of legislation would allow law enforcement with "reasonable
suspicion that a person is an alien" to "determine the person's
South Carolina State Sen. Lee Bright introduced legislation that backs the
creation of an "alternative" currency for the Palmetto State.
The currency to be created by S.B.
500 is predicated on the expectation of a breakdown
of the Federal Reserve System. According to Bright's bill, "many
widely recognized experts predict the inevitable destruction of
the Federal Reserve System's currency through hyperinflation in
the foreseeable future."
South Dakota Among the most controversial bills of recent memory was H.B.
1171, which became a flash point in the right's
broader national challenge to abortion rights. Introduced by
Republican State Rep. Phil Jensen, the bill sought to widen the
definition of "justifiable homicide" (usually restricted to
self-defense) to include homicide committed to prevent harm to a
H.B. 1217, meanwhile, would force women to undergo
counseling at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) before they can
obtain an abortion. Critics note that CPCs are not regulated and
are generally run by anti-abortion Christian groups and staffed
by volunteers—not doctors or nurses.
State Rep. Hal Wick introduced H.B.
1237, a bill that would mandate that every resident
of the state over the age of 21 purchase a firearm sufficient
for their self-defense. It is, says Wick, his way of satirizing
mandatory health care.
Tennessee State Sen. Bill Ketron and State Rep. Judd Matheny introduced S.B.
1028 to make the practice of Shariah law a felony.
It is considered the strictest anti-Shariah law among more than
a dozen such bills around the country that would bar judges from
considering Shariah in legal decisions, according to the
National Conference of State Legislatures.
The bill's sponsors, who are also
fighting the expansion of a mosque 30 miles southeast of
Nashville, describe the bill as "a powerful counterterrorism
tool." Local Muslim groups fear the measure would outlaw central
tenets of Islam, such as praying five times a day toward Mecca,
abstaining from alcohol and fasting for Ramadan.
Nearly 60 pieces of
immigration-related legislation have been filed in the Lone Star
state legislature. The bills range from mandating that school
districts report immigration status of children, to making it a
felony to hire an undocumented individual, to denying birth
certificates to children of the undocumented (another direct
challenge to the 14th Amendment). Republican State Rep. Lois
Kolkhorst has introduced a bill that would mandate law
enforcement agents turn detained undocumented residents over to
a U.S. senator's office or congressmen's office.The Senate also saw the introduction
16, requiring doctors to perform a sonogram at least
two hours before an abortion takes place and to provide the
woman with an opportunity to view it or hear the fetal
heartbeat. The bill's exceptions include cases of rape, incest
or where the fetus has fatal abnormalities.
Utah In the words of one longtime political analyst of the Beehive
State, "Utah politics always has a lot of crazy to choose from."
This year offers a typically rich bounty.
The state has seen a raft of "Arizona-like" enforcement-only
immigration bills, mostly notably H.B.
497, which would create a light trigger
(misdemeanors) for the mandatory check of immigration status.
Another bill would repeal resident tuition for state college
students who are in the country illegally but graduated from a
Utah high school.
And thanks to State Rep. Carl Wimmer,
the Browning M1911 handgun is now the official Utah state
firearm. (Wimmer is also pushing to liberalize gun laws with a
"constitutional carry" provision which would allow anybody who
isn't mentally ill to have a loaded gun, anywhere, without a
And State Sen. Mark Madsen introduced H.B.
220, which states that the United States is a
"constitutional compound republic" — not a "democracy" — and
that Utah schools should make this clear in classrooms. Madsen
says his bill stems from a desire to have "true history" taught.
"Schools from coast to coast are indoctrinating our children to
socialism," he said.
Now lets look
at the major contributors who want to keep working Americans from
having a voice in state politics:
(Not surprising since the Coors gives to many right wing
causes, but they would have benefited by reducing union
contributions, while letting them contribute as much as they
The American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) is the group working on getting initiatives like
this introduced in state legislatures and on the ballot in other
states. The major sources of funds for ALEC include Golden Rule
Insurance Co., Coors Brewing Co. and major tobacco and oil
interests. ALEC, a project of the Heritage Foundation, drafts
and pushes "model" legislation wherever it can.
Brothers David and Charles Koch of
Koch Industries, a Kansas-based oil
company, who are major supporters of ALEC and other anti-union
groups. As a vice-presidential candidate in 1980 (on the
Libertarian ticket), David Koch called for the abolition of
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Paul Weyrich, the Heritage
Foundation, (The Heritage Foundation is a Right Wing think tank
and conduit for right wing donations)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, (why
wouldn't they? They represent big business!)
Carl Lindner, top officer at Chiquita Banana, who dropped
$100,000 on the initiative.
Mountaire Corp., an Arkansas food
processor whose CEO routinely gives to GOP candidates, $20,000.
The US Justice Foundation, $20,000.
and his pal Grover Norquist, (They are right Wing Republicans,
they hate Unions and wanted their influence reduced)
David Brennan and the Brenlin
Group, Akron, Ohio, $49,000. Brennan has been a major
contributor to Gingrich's GOPAC and a backer of school
Business Roundtable (The Business
Roundtable wanted to reduce the influence of Unions) ,
Richard Mellon Scaife gave $50,000 to Prop 174 and $100,000
to Prop 226. Scaife provided funding to several state-based
policy groups, including the Reason Foundation, Claremont
Institute, and Pacific Research Institute, as well as the
Howard Ahmanson, Jr. gave
$223,000 to Prop 226 and $402,353 to Prop 174. Ahmanson is a
founding director of the Rutherford Institute and is on the
board of governors of the Council for National Policy and the
board of directors of the Claremont Institute, which funded
pro-Prop 226 ads.
Golden Rule Insurance Co. CEO
emeritus J. Patrick Rooney gave $49,000 to Prop 226 and $
100,000 to Prop 174. As the founder of CHOICE Charitable Trust,
Rooney is the godfather of the privately funded voucher
movement. He is also the chairman of the American Education
Reform Foundation, which gave $48,325 to Prop 226.
This is the biggest laugh. This idiot
has been pushing medical vouchers to the federal congress for
years and would love to get a vote where only big business was
donating money for political races. He would really
benefit because guess what - HE WANTS TO SELL MEDICAL SAVINGS
ACCOUNTS! Who can afford them? Only those who make a
lot of money or less than 10% of the population!
J. Patrick Rooney recently
founded Medical Savings Insurance Co. which specializes in the
health savings accounts created out of President
George W. Bush's 2003 prescription drug plan, according to
Washington Post, which first reported on Rooney's backing
People of Color United, a political
front group that purports to represent African-Americans
(although Rooney is Caucasian). He has provided approximately
half the funding for the group, which is running misleading ads
on African-American radio stations.
"Rooney: I have a long
history of involvement with and support of the black
community. . . For 21 years I have gone to an all-black
church. They finally elected me over other black people to
their church board. I'm one of them."
In the fall of 2006, Rooney was
the primary funder for pro-Republican radio advertising aimed at
African-American voters. He contributed $900,000 to
America's Pac, which conducted the campaign. The ads
included a conversation between two black men about "ho's"
and an attempt to link Republican white supremacist
John Walton, of the Wal-Mart
fortune, Arkansas, gave $250,250 to Prop 174 and $360,000 to
Prop 226. He also --gave $137,000 to the Claremont Institute,
which paid for pro-Prop 226 ads. Working with Ted Forstmann,
Walton in June launched a $200 million national voucher effort.
Leininger, chairman of Kinetic Concepts in Austin, Texas,
contributed $49,000 to Prop 226. He played a key role in
founding the pro-voucher organization CEO America, a member of
the State Policy Network whose board of directors includes
Rooney and Walton. In May, CEO America announced a $50 million
program to fund vouchers in San Antonio in an attempt to
persuade Texas legislators to support a statewide voucher bill.
He is also a major source of funding for a PAC for Parental
School Choice, which supports conservative candidates in school
Notice anything strange about these
players? First, there's not a single California citizen in the
bunch. All these individuals and organizations live and
operate outside the state, but they wanted to set the rules for
working people in California.
Second, this group claimed to
be on the side of working people and union members. But
a closer look at the issues and positions these groups have taken in
the past demonstrates how far from the truth that claim really was.
The major financial supporters of Prop. 226, identified above,
raised and spent over $149 million -- to try to get this measure by
citizens in California and other states.
Many of the proponents of the
anti-worker initiatives-in California and elsewhere-are the same
cast of characters who are leading and funding an anti-public
education crusade nationwide. The funders of California's Prop 226-
individuals, organizations, and foundations-are the same major
players in voucher initiatives throughout the country. They are the
same people who supported California’s unsuccessful voucher
initiative, Prop 174, in 1993. And they are the same people who are
now pushing expanded voucher programs, funded with private money, to
win over the public as well as lawmakers. In reality, "paycheck
protection' may well have been a fight over the future of public
Choking off NEA funding is not an
end in itself. Rather, evidence indicates the conservative network
uses it as a critical step in achieving its broader aims which
include a state-by-state assault on public education. By forcing NEA
to engage in "paycheck protection" fights, the network achieves the
added result of diverting funding away from NEAs ongoing pro-public
As a means of understanding the
enemy, lets take an in-depth look at two of the individuals
mentioned above, who are also movers and shakers in the Republican
party which has been taken over by the Religious Right.
Nearly two-thirds of the funds being
used to promote Prop. 226 -- more than 60 percent -- were from
people who don't live in California. Case in point -- J.
Patrick Rooney, an Indiana insurance company executive. Rooney
founded the Golden Rule Insurance Co., which lobbies Congress
regularly for the right to sell "medical savings accounts" for
individuals, as well as for changes in Medicare that could undermine
the entire system.
Golden Rule's often deceptive practices
have resulted in a $2.8 million fine levied by the Michigan
Insurance Commission and continuing investigations by other
authorities. Rooney's idea of medical insurance is to
issue policies only to those people "it deems healthy and unlikely
to file a claim," according to a 1994 investigation by a House
Energy and Commerce subcommittee.
Rooney is very close to
pals Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist (more about them later) and
this trio has had quite a relationship over the past years.
Rooney contributed $1 million to the GOP in the 1996 elections and
half-a-million to the Republican National Committee in 1994.
He gave another $117,000 to GOPAC in 1993 (then controlled by
Gingrich) and has poured millions into right-wing efforts nationwide
to replace quality public education with a voucher scheme that would
benefit very few students. Most recently, he's dropped another
$100,000 into a California ballot initiative to de-fund public
education. He gave over $49,000 to defeat Prop. 226-- just
below the reportable limit of $50,000, claiming that he didn't "need
the publicity." Another Rooney-connected group, the American
Education Reform Foundation, contributed an additional $48,325.
California was just the first stop on Rooney's tour. He also
met with members of the Republican Governors Association to talk up
this initiative and outline his other target states.
Grover Norquist has been a player among
right-wing circles in Washington, D.C. for years. A
member of Newt Gingrich's "kitchen cabinet," Norquist set up a
number of extreme organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform
and the "Leave Us Alone" Coalition (whose members include the NRA,
Christian Coalition and National Federation of Independent
Among the other positions he's staked out,
Norquist believes social security should be replaced with individual
investments in the stock market. "If you privatize social security, if
you voucher education, if you sell $270 billion worth of airports and
wastewater treatment plants, eliminate welfare, and so on, you can cut
the government to basically half its present size," Norquist believes.
Norquist is busily raising money -- he said he plans to raise millions
-- to promote similar initiatives on next November's ballot in at least
eight states and to lobby for passage of such bills in every state where
legislatures meet in 2000. Norquist adds: "Incidentally, there's
an added bonus. It also de-funds the GOP's best-financed and most
This is a message California Gov. Pete
Wilson carried as well, to the Republican Governors Association and a
meeting with members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wilson's
anti-union sentiment was no surprise to California workers. Back
in the 1970s, as mayor of San Diego, Wilson was constantly fighting with
unionized bus drivers, fire fighters and other employees.
Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform did much of the heavy lifting on
this initiative, paying for a 1.5-million-piece mailing to get the
proposition on the June ballot. This group and Norquist contributed
$441,000 to the campaign. Not surprising, given the Norquist connection,
Americans for Tax Reform is pressing hard for medical savings accounts
as a key to "Medicare reform."
As you can see from this example,
the Religious Right through the Republican Party focuses is on making a
profit for their contributors who are for the most part - Big Business!
They try to decrease the ballot power of their opponents by legislation.
They want to do away with Social Security and make everyone become
involved in the stock market which is not a very good idea given the ups
and downs of the stock market, but Big Business will thrive because of
the influx of money. They want to do away with Medicare and
Medicaid and just give everyone Medical Savings accounts which can be
tax deductible, but only the well off or rich can use them.
They want to give vouchers to students to be used at any public or
private school they want to go to, only experience has shown that the
religious private schools find ways of keeping the most needy from being
accepted and the only ones who get to use these vouchers are the ones
who already have their kids in private schools. Plus the private
schools get to force their brand of religion on defenseless children.
Pretty good deal - the rich get richer because the are subsidized in
their choice of private schools, and the poor get nothing but the same.
Pretty sick isn't it? But we will all be suffering if these greedy
immoral individuals have their way.
During the 1970s, an effort to organize
social conservatives resulted in a network of activists under the
leadership of Paul Weyrich, beer baron Joseph Coors, former presidential
candidate Howard Phillips, NCPAC founder Terry Dolan, and direct mail
guru Richard Viguerie. It was Weyrich, founder of the Committee for the
Survival of a Free Congress, and Viguerie, who first understood the
politics of organizing religious leaders around the abortion issue.
Weyrich brought in Jerry Falwell with the formation of the Moral
Majority and persuaded Pat Robertson to run for president in 1988.
Weyrich and Viguerie believed that social conservatives could be
organized into a group that would form a following greater than the
activist core of either the Democratic or Republican parties. As Richard
Viguerie said: "I organize discontent."
In 1973, Paul Weyrich and Joseph Coors
created The Heritage Foundation to develop public policy.
Weyrich also established the Free Congress Foundation, a 501(c)(3)
organization created to disseminate public policy from the right. The
Heritage Foundation, under Weyrichs direction, then organized the
American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based association
whose membership is made up primarily of conservative Republican state
legislators. Together the three founded the State Policy Network to
oversee an association of state-based think tanks that function as
Heritage-like organizations at the state level.
To summarize, the Right Wing
Conservative movement is disciplined, organized and extremely well
funded. It has a national reach and management with a local presence.
This movement is:
grounded in the
representing millions of grassroots members;
coordinated through the
Council for National Policy,
representing the nation's leading conservative activists;
funded by wealthy
Conservative Philanthropic Foundations;
guided by high-profile national
policy organizations, including the Heritage Foundation,
American Legislative Exchange Council
(ALEC), Americans for Tax Reform,
Center for the Study of Popular
and the Alexis de Tocqueville
executed locally with lobbying,
research, and media spin through the conservative think ranks that
are members of the State Policy
largely controlled by a small
group of individuals and organizations representing some of the
wealthiest people in the country.
This movement has swept through the
states of Washington and California and is now at work in more than two
dozen other states. What this alliance has movement to achieve in
California and the U.S. House and Senate, it is attempting to achieve in
each of the other states. Just as devolution has shifted power from
Washington, DC, to the 50 states, so too does this movement seek to
empower its supporters in methodically accomplishing their agenda on a
This page will expose
the efforts of this national coalition of Right Wing groups in its
efforts to: Take over public education,
as well as
revoke First Amendment guarantees, including the
separation of church and state and freedom of speech; Mandate sectarian
prayer in schools; Deny civil rights to all Americans; Fight gun safety;
Fight campaign finance reform, and Fight efforts to protect the
To find out how we can stop
this insidious cancer from spreading any further, we will look at the
operations and policies of the following organizations and individuals
which provide the policy direction, funding, and framework for the
Christian Conservative movement. They often have interrelated boards and
funding sources. They include:
The Religious Right which is the
heart which produces the grassroots support, this includes focus on
the family, Christian Coalition, etc.
The Council for National Policy is
the Nervous System, it provides the networking resource where all
the individuals and groups can meet in secrecy and map out their
insidious plot to take over the minds and hearts of every American.
The Council is the principal coordinating body-and funding
mechanism-for political projects of religious conservatives.
The many Conservative
philanthropic foundations and organizations are the Energy of the
beast. they provide the financial resources needed to influence
The Heritage Foundation is the
brains of the beast, it dispenses the philosophical direction.
This organization is by far the largest and best funded "think tank'
in the country, and with the Republican takeover of Congress in
1994, it has been the most influential conservative voice in
Congress. On the issue of "paycheck protection," Heritage has been
playing a supportive public relations role to Americans for Tax
Reform, ALEC, and members of the State Policy Network. To foster
legislation on the state level, Heritage has worked with ALEC, the
Family Research Council, and other conservative and religious policy
organizations to create. a network of state-based think tanks that
provide some of the most effective arms and legs for the
conservative movement. Some of its co-conspirators are:
The Americans for Tax Reform -
Among the most active organizations, Americans for Tax Reform
was the largest donor in support of California Prop 226
the National Right to Work
Legal Defense and Education Foundation - As the law firm for the
National Right to Work Committee, the Foundation has taken an
active role around the country by supplying the legal muscle for
"paycheck protection' drives and has worked closely with
Americans for Tax Reform and
ALEC. It claims to have more than 400 court cases pending
The Center for the Study of
Popular Culture - David Horowitz, the president of the Center
for the Study of Popular Culture, has long been an adversary of
the NEA. In a September 1996 Los Angeles Times interview he
said, "'We want to take them out of politics, not just in
California, but in every state in the Union.";
The Alexis de Tocqueville
Institution - One of the most aggressively pro-voucher groups,
the institution recruits high-profile figure's to promote its
agenda. It specifically targets the NEA for criticism and was
rated by the National Journal as one of the "up and coming think
tanks" in Washington, DC.
The American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) is the Skeleton, which furnishes the framework for
legislative initiatives. Although nominally a bipartisan
organization, ALECs strong conservative bent accounts for the bulk
of its membership (of 3,000 state legislators) being from the
Republican side of the aisle. Working with the other organizations
listed here and the State Policy Network, ALEC has circulated model
"paycheck protection' and other conservative legislation to states.
The State Policy Network is the
Arms and Legs, which supply support to legislators committed to
conservative ballot initiatives or legislative action.
Now we have the Tea Party
Organizations who are funded by Koch Industries and Other
Playing a leading role (politically and
financially) are seven individuals:
* Grover Norquist - president of
Americans for Tax Reform, which was the single biggest contributor to
Prop 226-$441,000. Norquist has pledged to spend $10 million to put
anti-worker measures on ballots in up to eight states. He finally accomplished his goal as
several Governors passed anti-union initiatives.
* Bob Williams - president of the
Evergreen Freedom Foundation, which spearheaded the Washington paycheck
* Howard Ahmanson, Jr. - Religious
Right California philanthropist.
* J. Patrick Rooney - Golden Rule
Insurance Company CEO Emeritus.
* Richard Scaife - Pittsburgh
billionaire and owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
* James R. Leininger - Conservative
The "heart" of this network of
conservative organizations working to take away our economic, political
and religious freedom is the Religious Right. Made up of dozens of
religious groups around the country, this network has supplied
leadership, staff, money, and grassroots power to many conservative
causes in the past two decades. The most active and well-funded of these
religious organizations are
Focus on the Family, the Family Research
Council, and the Christian Coalition. Each
plays a role by either mobilizing members or contributing directly to
the effort. They provide the leadership, staff, money, and
grassroots power to many conservative causes.
Due to the nonprofit status of
religious right groups, it is difficult to pinpoint the extent of their
involvement in various political initiatives. But it is clear that
groups associated with the religious right paid for mailings, phone
banks, voter guides, and get-out-the-vote efforts.
The Christian Coalition, for example,
said it would distribute two million voter guides in churches the Sunday
before the June 2 vote on Prop 226, according to The Washington Post. A
letter from Focus on the Family president James Dobson was mailed to
thousands of Californians, urging their support for the initiative. The
Family Research Council, through its "advocacy" arm American Renewal,
contributed $10,000 during the final days of the campaign.
Rachel Maddow did
the world a favor recently by airing a series of
short video clips
of the endorsers of Rick Perry’s Prayer Event. The clips
were posted by
Right Wing Watch,
with some originating from Talk2action.org. These video clips should
receive much more national exposure, but they need to be viewed in
context of the movement they represent. Rachel Maddow, keep at it!
Perry’s endorsers are not just a random group of radical evangelists
making outrageous statements.
the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation, the
biggest international religious movement you never heard of.
Wagner, the one in the video clip about the Japanese stock market
plunging because the emperor slept with the sun goddess, is probably
the most powerful religious leader that you never heard of.
C. Peter Wagner
Wagner is the Convening Apostle of a international network of
apostles and prophets who believe they are unifying the church to
take control over government and society, and bring about the return
of Jesus. The apostles have a 50-state communications and
mobilization network of “prayer warriors,” which is becoming
increasingly enticing to right-wing politicians. Remember
Sarah Palin’s repeated thanks to her prayer warriors? This was
not a generic use of the term, as described in a
previous Alternet article
by Bill Berkowitz in 2010.
coined the term New Apostolic Reformation, and describes his
movement as “the most radical change in the way of doing
church since the Protestant Reformation.” The movement
primarily draws from the Independent Charismatic sector of
Christianity, which encompasses almost 400 million people worldwide
and is sometimes referred to as neo-Pentecostal or neo-Charismatic.
The latter description is used in the World Christian Trends,
the gold standard for statistics for the evangelical missions
the brains behind the demon and witch-hunting that is part of
Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare,
or SLSW, that has drawn interest throughout much of the charismatic
evangelical world. With the aid of some of his top apostles
including Cindy Jacobs and Ed Silvoso, Wagner developed and promoted
the SLSW techniques of spiritual mapping, warfare prayer, and
“Reconciliation” events. The latter are claimed to remove the
“generational curses” from certain population groups such as Native
Americans, African Americans, Roman Catholics, and those of
Sam Brownback’s promotion
of the U.S. Senate’s resolution of apology to Native Americans was
in coordination with Apostles Jay Swallow, Nigel Bigpond, Lou Engle,
and John Benefiel, who believe the removal of a generational curse
will bring an end to abortion.
clip of Wagner’s claim that the Japanese stock market slump could be
explained because the emperor had sexual intercourse with the sun
goddess, is from a Wagner video seminar series. It’s titled
Breaking Strongholds in Your City: How to Use Spiritual Mapping to
Make Your Prayers More Strategic, Effective, and Targeted. The
training series is introduced
by Jack Hayford, former head of the
International Foursquare Gospel, who has played a pivotal role in
Pentecostals embracing Wagner’s New Apostolic movement and ideology.
may be tempted to chuckle and brush off this sudden onslaught of
information about the apostles – their burning of other people’s
religious objects and claims that the Statue of Liberty, monuments,
and Indian mounds are demonic – don’t. Chances are the
apostles have a prayer warrior group or “Transformations” entity in
your city or region.
Global Day of Prayer initiated by South African Graham Power is a
product of this movement and much Religious Right activism in this
country has been commandeered by the movement. Religious Right
leaders like James Dobson, former head of Focus on Family, and Tony
Perkins of Family Research Council, have participated in events led
by the apostles, as have numerous other traditional Religious Right
leaders. American Family Association sponsored Rick Perry’s
event, whose organizers also include leadership of Lou Engle’s The
Call and Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer.
International Christian Zionist activism is
by the New Apostolics. John Hagee, founder of Christians United for
Israel (CUFI) and another endorser of Rick Perry’s prayer event,
teaches a different end times theology. However, many of his CUFI
directors are New Apostolic leaders and support the aggressive
proselytization of Jews and “Israel Mandates” that characterize the
Wagner was Rick Warren’s
mentor for his dissertation
at Fuller Theological Seminary. That dissertation was the
foundation for Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church,
which was followed by Warren’s blockbuster book The Purpose
Driven Life. Warren’s dissertation promoted the idea,
also advanced by Wagner’s movement, that evangelical churches should
not be democratically governed.
has written about Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. plan as being “Phase One” in a
God-given mandate for Christians to take “dominion” or control over
the earth. Wagner describes Phase one as, “strategic-level
spiritual warfare and associated activities have not been placed
front and center.” This takes place in Phase Two and Phase
Three, as Wagner defines it, includes the apostolic/prophetic
government of the church, dominion theology, the Seven Mountains
mandate, and the great wealth transfer. The latter is the
belief taught by the apostles that there will be an imminent
transfer of wealth from the ungodly to the godly. The Seven
Mountains mandate is the call for charismatic evangelicals to take
control over arts, business, education, family, government, media
and entertainment and religion.
late 1990s, Wagner was finishing up his leadership role in a massive
world missions project called AD 2000 and Beyond, which aimed to
evangelize the world by the year 2000. Billy Graham served as the
honorary co-chair of the effort. Wagner left his 30-year
position teaching Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary to
move to Colorado Springs and set up the nerve center of the New
Apostolic Reformation. His partner in this enterprise was Ted
Haggard, who would later lead the National Association of
Evangelicals. What could be described as the Pentagon of Spiritual
Warfare, was set up in the World Prayer Center adjacent to Haggard’s
New Life Church.
had worked with Wagner in AD 2000 and Beyond, and Haggard wrote in
The Life Giving Church that their worldwide prayer network
involved 40 million people at its peak. Haggard promoted the
spiritual warfare ideas of the movement, including conducting
“spiritual mapping” of his community of Colorado Springs. He
claimed this effort drove witches out of the town and, in Haggard’s
words, resulted in reduced cattle mutilations. This tidbit can
be found in Haggard’s 1996 book
Warren and Haggard became well known to the public, Wagner managed
to stay completely out of the limelight as he developed a global
religious network. His apostles in this movement can be found
in countries around the world, meeting with presidents, prime
ministers, business leaders, and politicians.
In the U.S., in addition to Sarah Palin and Sam Brownback, Newt
Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jim
DeMint, and many others have participated in events led by the
apostles. In Jacksonville, Florida, Kimberly Daniels, a
leading apostle specializing in demon expulsion was recently elected
to city council – as a Democrat. In the primaries prior to the
2010 election, Hawaii’s gubernatorial race included two candidates
working closely with Apostle Ed Slivoso’s International
Transformation Network – Republican Duke Aiona and Democrat Mufi
ironic, given that Aiona is Catholic and Hannemann is Mormon. These
two faiths have been literally demonized by the New Apostolic
leadership, who have written openly about destroying the icons,
artifacts, and relics of these and other religious beliefs. Leading
apostles go on spiritual warfare ventures around the world with the
goal of taking on the “Queen of Heaven,” described by Wagner as “one
of the most powerful spirits in Satan’s hierarchy” and responsible
for blocking the evangelization of both Catholics and Muslims.
Wagner has written extensively about one particular venture in 1997
called “Operation Ice Castle,” led by Wagner’s wife and a lead
prophetess, and later described as perhaps contributing to the
death of Mother Teresa.
after Sarah Palin was named as John McCain’s running mate,
published tens of thousands of words documenting Palin’s ties to
leadership and activities of the New Apostolic Reformation. Despite
having video and audio documentation, the idea of a specific network
of apostles and prayer warriors was treated with derision by most of
the mainstream press, and many academics and religion writers.
of Palin being anointed by an Kenyan pastor in a ceremony that
included calls for protection from witchcraft, was discounted as
overblown and part of the Kenyan pastor’s native cultural
heritage. The reality is that Thomas Muthee was an
international leader in Wagner’s network and well known around the
world in some circles for his role as a star in movement’s training
These movies are produced by George Otis, Jr. and feature
vignettes of communities around the globe that have supposedly been
transformed through this prayer movement of the end times. The
crowning jewel in this series of transformations is supposedly the
of several Transformations movies.
mapping and spiritual warfare techniques taught by the movement are
the product of Wagner and other western missionaries, as described
in an extensive academic treatment of spiritual mapping, written by
Rene Holvast. The overview of my well-worn copy of this
resource states, “The
reader is presented with a unique insight into Spiritual Mapping as
an expression of Americanism, as well as the socio-political concept
of Manifest Destiny and U.S. religious marketing.”
Other’s dismissed the investigation of Palin’s association with the
apostles as an attack on conservative Christianity. However,
outside of the progressive writers at Talk2action.org and PFAW’s
Right Wing Watch, almost all of the critical media on the apostles
has come from conservative evangelicals. Many evangelicals are
opposed to the dominion theology and politicized Christianity taught
by the movement, as well as their goal of eradicating denominations
and restructuring world Protestantism.
In 2008, Palin’s religious activities were brushed off as either
weird, none of our business, or overhyped. There was little
serious effort by the press, including religion writers, to analyze
her relationship to a movement that threatens religious pluralism
and separation of church and state. Numerous journalists used
sources at Charisma Magazine
to dismiss the documentation being released by contributors of
Talk2action.org and other sources. This was questioning the
fox about who ate the chickens. At that time both the
publisher of Charisma, Stephen Strang, and editor, J. Lee
Grady, were apostles in C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of
The offhanded dismissal of the apostles has already started.
C. Porter Wagner?
Lynn Grossman, writing for
discounted the efforts of Right Wing Watch to expose the New
Apostolic network behind Perry’s event. She implies that Perry
should not be held accountable for the evangelists who endorse his
event and failed to note that the organizers, not just endorsers,
include leaders from this movement. Grossman referred to C.
Peter Wagner, one of the most influential religious leaders in the
country, if not the world, as “C. Porter Wagner.”
states that one source knows that the American Family Association
“is running this show.” It is true that the AFA, designated as
a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is financing the
event, but they are not the sole organizers of the event. And
I would be a little wary of Grossman’s source, which has a vested
interest in how this event is publicized. Her source was Charisma Magazine.
Dr. James Dobson
has lobbied Washington more powerfully than any single person or
organization on the religious right today and is arguably the most
respected man in the social conservative movement. Dobson is president
of Focus on the Family, the largest and strongest Religious Right
organization both financially and in terms of its grassroots strength
and impact. He has the media arm, the ua-,sroots organization, and the
lobbying arm to exert his influence. Focus on the Family, plus his
Washin6,ton lobbying group, the Family Research Council, raised
approximately $125 million in 1996, reporting gross receipts of nearly
$1 1 0 million with assets of some $72 million.
Dobson is effectively getting his
message out to a worldwide audience. Focus on the Family reaches more
than six million people through its 15 monthly and bimonthly magazines
and newsletters. In 1996, Focus published and distributed more than 78
A daily radio audience of nearly six ml
I Ilion people listen to Focus radio programs on more than two thousand
TJ.S. stations and 1,500 stations internationally. The organization
publishes books as well, including Gary Bauer's biography, Our Home, Our
Dream Dobson, himself, has written 14 books on child rearing and
Dobson, who claims 3.5 million families
on his mailing list, reaches his many followers through his folksy radio
program, which deals primarily with child rearing and family counseling.
Often, families initially come to Focus on the Family for advice and
grief counseling. The staff then converts that initial contact into
contributions and grassroots action with sophisticated product
marketing, premiums, and political messages that advance Dobson's
"Until recants [Dobson] was regarded
among many on Capitol Hill as a bumpkin who imagines himself to be a
political leader Conservatives know better. Washington Post
Dobson also commands a network of
family policy councils in more than 30 states. These councils comprise
the grassroots arm of Dobson's network, even though the individual
councils claim to be totally independent. Focus delivers these councils'
literature tucked into Dobson@s letters. Focus employees travel around
the country to lead Community Impact Seminars, which are really
grassroots training seminars. Some of the Family Policy
Councils-including the Alabama Family Alliance and the Capital Resource
Institute-also belong to the State Policy Network, whose supporters
include activists involved in national anti-employee initiatives.
Dobson, used the Capitol Resource Institute to distribute a letter
urging voters to support Prop 226.
"If I go, I'll take as many people with
me as possible." James Dobson
In July 1996, Dobson was highly
critical of Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, who declared he
would have no litmus test on abortion. Dobson described his constituency
at that time: "Their views are not represented ... by The New York
7z-mes or by what goes on Capitol Hill. ...They are concerned about same
sex ideology and what their kids are being taught in school. They're
waiting for some political Figure to articulate those views. And no one
That political figure could have
included Dobson, before his stroke, but more likely will be his man Gary
Bauer, who appears to be raising his profile and2-lready is holding
fundraisers to test the waters. Addressing about 300 members of the
secretive Council for National Policy in 1997, Dobson said that
Christians have been betrayed by the Republican party. In his remarks
before the Council, Dobson Declined to personally lead a national
campaign to weed out GOP-elected officials who have failed to keep
promises to uphold strict Bible-based principles as part of their
lawmaking activities. His call, which he likened to the voter revolt
that overthrew the @ig Parry in the 1800s, was delivered to the Southern
Baptist Convention, which met June 9-1 1, 1998, in Salt L-ake City.
On March 5, Dobson sent a scathing
letter to Rep. Tom Coburn (R-OK) in reply to -a request from House
Speaker Newt Gingrich for Dr. Dobson's top legislative priorities.
Speaking on behalf of the "pro-rrioral" community, Dobson writes, "It
would be refreshing, indeed, to have a senior politician devote even a
single speech to the value system from which this list is drawn. No such
speech has been given to my knowledge and virtually none of our
objectives has been met. Thus, it is curious that the Speaker is asking
now for confirmation of the principles and policies that have been
emphasized ... etc. etc." Educational issues cited are: school vouchers,
opposition to national testing, opposition to Goals 2000, and
eliminating the Department of Education.
After a litany of priorities, Dobson
delivers the emotional example, which links education and homosexuality:
"No better examples exists than the complete silence among@ Republican
leaders after the President gave the credibility of his office to
homosexual activists, and then called for 2, revamping of school
curricula to include homosexual propaganda. That was outrageous.),
Dobson believes comprehensive sex
education is a tool of homosexuals and leftists. Focus on the Family is
a member of the National Coalition for Abstinence Education, made up of
62 grassroots groups, including Phyllis Sclilafly's Eagle Forum.
Observers believe that if their demands
are not met, Dobson and his followers could lead a revolt that would
spell disaster for the Republican party in the 2003 elections, and if
not that, in the presidential election of 2004.
At this writing, there is a likely
possibility Bauer will run, with Dobson@s backing kicking the campaign
off in Iowa-and using the -,-ay/education issue as far as he can go with
Family Research Council (FRC) is a
"nonprofit, non-partisan educational organization," originally founded
in 1983. Today it operates as the lobbying arm for Focus on the Family
and carries out much of Dobson's political work. Fic merged with Focus
on the Family from 1988 to 1992, then reorganized and incorporated as a
separate nonprofit corporation based in Washington, DC. James Dobson,
president and CEO of Focus on the Family, hired Gary Bauer to run the Family Research Council in 1989.
FRC exists to reaffirm and promote
nationally, and particularly in Washington, DC, "the traditional family
unit and the Judeo-Christian value system upon which it is built." While
the Council distanced itself from Focus on the Family in 1992 for tax
purposes-so as not to jeopardize Focus' tax status-the two organizations
are legally separate but "spiritually one," according to Dobson. Bauer
has access to Dobson's powerful radio network and Dobson serves on FRC's
board of directors. Other board members include: Ronald Blue, Lee Eaton,
Edgar Prince, Larry Smith.
FRC has 90 employees, 455,000 members
and a $14 million annual budget. Bauer sends a daily fax to 7,000 people
and delivers a radio message on about 300 Christian stations. Bauer's
wealthy backers include the DeVos family of Amway Corp. and Howard
Ahmanson, a millionaire California religious conservative.
FRC officers include: Gary L. Bauer,
president; Philip Olsen, vice president of education and development;
Charles A. Donovan, vice president for program planning; Kristi Stone
Hamrick, director of communications; Robert H. Knight, director of
According to The Weekly Standard, Bauer
has transformed himself into the "most influential social conservative
in Washington-and perhaps in America." Gary Bauer is a lawyer who held
several posts in the Reagan Administration, including director of the
White House Office of Policy Development., undersecretary for the U.S.
Department of Education, undersecretary for planning, budget and
evaluation for the Education Department, and senior policy analyst for
the Reagan-Bush campaign.
"With Ralph Reed gone and his
successors at the Christian Coalition, Don Hodel and Randy Tate, unable
to match his sway, Bauer is the number one social conservat ive,
according to The Weekly Standard. Supporters are already holding
fundraisers for Bauer's presidential bid in 2000.
Bauer has made a habit lately of
bucking Washington's conservative establishment. First, it was Bauer who
launched the partial-birth abortion litmus test for candidates backed by
the Republican National Committee. Second, it was Bauer who mounted a
campaign to block most favored nation status for China.
On the issue of Social Security
privatization, Bauer broke with m conservative Grover Norquist,
promoting a "family friendly' tax, rather than the flat tax proposed by
Dick Armey and Steve Forbes or the national sales tax pushed by Bill
Archer. And it was Bauer who launched an independent expenditures effort
in the special California election to replace Congressman Walter Capps,
going against the GOP-handpicked candidate Brooks Firestone, who lost in
the primary. In May, American Renewal, Inc.-an arm of Bauer's FRC based
at FRCs Washington headquarters@ocontributed $10,000 to Prop 226.
Bauer's prominence has invited
comparisons to Ralph Reed, the charismatic former executive director of
the Christian Coalition. The most important difference between the two
men, according to the Wall Street journal, may be stylistic. "Many
Republicans see Mr. Bauer as more rigid and uncompromising than Mr.
Reed. He's also more ready to openly criticize Republicans. Reed is a
pragmatist. Bauer is a rabble rouser."
Bauer is placing increasing emphasis on
the anti-homosexual activities of FRC. Last spring, FRC launched
"Culture Facts," edited by Peter LaBarbera, under the supervision of
Robert Knight. LaBarbera is a former reporter for the Washing-ton Times
and now publisher of the Lambda Report on Homosexual Activism. Robert
Knight is the director of cultural studies at FRC and was instrumental
in crafting the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, according to his
Bauer says he wants politicians to
"speak out for normalcy and for the values the overwhelming number of
their voters have." Bauer says sexual preferences should not be
protected under civil rights laws or receive federal subsidies. He rails
against the "gay rights agenda' and demands that the "Secretary of
Education stop the pressure on school officials to introduce gay issues
in the c@sroom." In July 1998, the Christian Coalition and Focus on the
Family led a coalition of religious groups that launched an
anti-homosexuality campaign through newspaper ads that describe
homosexuality as a sin and a mental illness.
FRC offers a fax service called
EdFacts. There, one finds the widest possible range of Religious Right
commentary on Congressional legislative issues concerning education.
Focusing on the NEA, a recent banner headline read, "NEA & AFT on Verge
of Merge .... the new mega-union would be a lobbying super power in
Washington." The publication expressed FRCs concern about the merger.
"In years past, these unions have opposed the most basic pro-family
education reforms. They bitterly oppose parental choice in education,
disdain phonics, and promote gay rights."
In Bauer's book, Our Hopes and Dreams,
published by Focus on the Family, he poses five questions to ask of
"Those Who Would Lead Us" in the chapter entitled "Schools That Teach
Question #5.- 'Will you support the
eight of teachers to teach without joining the National Education
Association or American Federation of Teachers? According to Forbes
magazine, the NF,4 collected some $750 million in annual dues from all
Levels of the union. A significant portion of that money is spent on
partisan political activity and efforts to oppose educational reforms
ranging from parental choice to parental ?lights and limits on
value-free sex educational. Bauer issued a press release in
November 1997 stating, "Students at the elementary and high school
levels are being denied the right to receive the best possible education
by defenders of a failing status quo who insist on propping up a
monopolistic education lobby."
To raise money for its political
activities, FRC has formed a political action committee, Campaign for
Working Families. In 1997, it raised some $2 million. In the first Seven
months of 1998, it has raised $2.1 million. The PAC weighed in heavily
in the March 10 California special election to replace Rep. Walter
Capps. It waged an aggressive independent expenditure campaign backing
Tom J. Bordonaro, Jr. With FRC's backing, Bordonaro defeated the GOP-
backed (and Gingrich-backed) candidate, Brooks Firestone. FRC was behind
television ads on the partial birth abortion issue, deemed "too graphic"
to run by all three of the local Santa Barbara television network
Other major contributions from the
Campaign for Working Families PAC include: $12,500 to Mark Earley for
Attorney General (R-VA); $4,000 to Mike Pappas for Congress (R-Nj);
$4,000 to Helen Chenowerli for Congress (R-ID); and Bordonaro for
Congress ($5,000). The president of Campaign for Working Families
is Jeffrey Bell, a former Federal Reserve Board economist and Wall
Street analyst. Bell was unsuccessful in his campaign for U.S. Senate in
New Jersey in 1978. He is the author of Populism and Elitism and was the
prime mover behind the Colorado ballot initiative to add a Parental
Rights Amendment to Colorado's state constitution in 1996. Explaining
his strong support for the amendment that would give parents the right
"to direct and control the upbringing education, values, and discipline
of their children," Bell proclaimed that "victory here could be more
important than Dole's election or the control of Congress." Speaking at
a Christian Coalition conference, Bell referred to opponents of the
Amendment as "people who believe the measure is about a small group
suing teachers, doctors, nurses, librarians, movie theaters, and schools
to impose their views on everyone else."
In 1993, Bell founded a parental rights
group, Of the People, in Arlington, Viroinia. He has also served
on the Advisory Board of Rev. Pat Robertson's Catholic Alliance.
Recognizing the essential role of
fundraising in his lobbying efforts, Bauer plans to emphasize the role
of his PAC in the future. "Over the next couple of years, I've decided
to lay down some important markers," says Bauer. "'We've got to show
some of these thick-headed politicians, the ones who just don't get it,
that values issues should be at the center of the national debate. Our
PAC will help the politicians who believe these thin without shame and
embarrassment, and work a-,ainst those who don't."
Throughout the Family Research Council
activities, homosexuality and education are central issues. In a Capitol
Hill briefing in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, representatives
of the FRC denounced what they see as homosexual correctness advancing
in Americas schools. The FRC stated, "The campaign to teach school
children and teens that gay is OK benefits from the usual coordination
of a united gay movement, which has the advantage of pressing for a
single radical goal, versus its pro-family opponents who face a
multiplicity of challenges...Parents who simply want a good education
for their children are increasingly confronted with the prospect of
seeing precious educational resources spent on talking about
homosexuality, and they are drawn into time-consuming and divisive
debates over this issue."
Singled out in FRCs attacks on
homosexuality are Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian
and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the promoting of "Gay History
Month," and GIAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation).
The Family Research Council often
allies itself with other Religious Right organizations on specific
projects. Last year, FRC joined with the Southern Baptist Convention,
Focus on the Family, Donald Wildmon's American Family Association,
Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women of America, and the Rev. James Kennedys
Coral Ridge Ministries in a letter-writing protest of American Airlines'
gay policies. Alliances with other Religious Right organizations are
established by Bauer's activities on their behalf. He now serves on the
executive committee of the Council for National Policy and is also on
the board of directors of the Declaration Foundation. Founded by Alan
Keyes, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for president in
1996, the Declaration Foundation is dedicated to "restoring" America by
returning to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
Among his other activities: Bauer
serves on the advisory board of the National Federation of Republican
Assemblies (NFRA), along with Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum and
Bay Buchanan. NFRA is the umbrella organization for state-based groups,
the first of which was the California Republican Assembly (CPA), a
Religious Right Republican "caucus" that has taken control of the
statewide party and holds a dozen top positions in the party structure,
including the chairmanship. CRA takes credit for winning the ballot
initiatives Prop 187 and Prop 209; and supports actively the California
Reform Initiative. Nearly 40 states now have religious-conservative
A presidential campaign in 2000 by
Bauer should be anticipated. Bauer has ind:,cared his intention to run
for president. He has been coordinating at least the Iowa caucuses
portion of such a move with Bill Horn, the most rabidly anti-gay
crusader in Iowa. Horn produced the videotape, The Gay Agenda; and
recently produced and now actively promotes another new videotape: NF-4:
Abuse of power.
A Bauer presidential run would leverage
off some 30 state "family policy councils" created by and tied to
Dobson's Focus on the Family, giving him a built-in national network.
Founded by Christian broadcaster, the
Rev. M. G. "Pat" Robertson in 1989 in the wake of his failed 1988
presidential bid, the Chesapeake, Virginia-based Christian Coalition
claims 1.7 million members and more than 1,000 chapters nationwide.
Working through its state-based
Coalition groups and with "pro-family" groups including organizations
allied with Focus on the Family, the Family Foundation, and, at one
time, the Robertson- founded Catholic Alliance, the Christian Coalition
has been one of the most effective mobilization networks in the country.
Yet in 1997,. contributions dropped to $17 million after the record-high
$26 million in 1996, forcing the Coalition to lay off twenty of' its one
hundred staffers, suspend publication of its magazine, and generally
reorganize its activities. After a change in leadership in 1997, the
Coalition is looking to the future with plans announced this year to
strengthen its network for the next two election cycles.
While Focus on the Family has its
radio network, Robertson has worked effectively through television.
Supporters are encouraged by Robertson and others through The 700 Club
and through extensive mail solicitation to lobby on "family' issues,
such as abortion, vouchers, parental rights, and sex education before
legislatures, and to ,et involved in local, state, and federal
Though the Christian Coalition
steadfastly proclaims that its political and legislative efforts are
simply "voter education@' and participation in 'Public policy," the
Christian Federal Election Commission has challenged the Coalition@s
level of political involvement in a pending lawsuit. Its tax-exempt
status remains under review by the Internal Revenue Service.
Political consultant Ralph Reed served
as executive director of the Christian Coalition until 1997. Robertson
split Reed's job and brought on former U.S. Rep. Randy Tate as executive
director and Don Hodel as president. In addition to serving on the board
and sta-ff of Focus on the Family, Hodel once chaired the Independence
Institute of Colorado. Hodel has been active in the Council for National
Policy, serving as vice chairman.
Operating as a 501 (c) (4)-a
provisional status that is still under review by the Internal Revenue
Service-the Christian Coalition reported a record- high $26,487,746 in
total revenues in 1996. Nearly $15 million of its revenue came from
direct mail solicitations and $4 million from telemar",-ting. In 1996,
expenses totaled $27,041,692, with legislative efforts accounting for
about $12 million of all expenses and field and education together
accounting for another $5 million.
The Coalition maintains that its
principal purpose is to "encourage active citizenship among people
professing the Christian faith." Projects it funded in 1996 included:
* Lobbying and grassroots mobilization
in states and in Congress for "pro-family, faith.pro-life" issues;
* "Educational" efforts that include
"voter guides" detailing candidate positions on issues important to the
Coalition (abortion, school vouchers, etc);
* Training for political involvement
through the annual "Road to Victory " conference;
* Conducting seminars, such as
"Building a Neighborhood Organization", and "Voter Registration," aimed
at encouraging involvement in the public policy process;
* Distributing the Christian Coalition
Campaign Handbook, with step-by-step instructions for organizing people
and communities for candidates and causes.
The Christian Coalition empire includes
other notable Virginia-based, Robertson- founded affiliates: Operation
Blessing, an international relief organization ($36,325,987 in revenues
in 1996), and the Christian Broadcasting Network ($99 million in
revenues in 1996),.home of The 700 Club, which claims about 7 million
Before the Christian Coalition, CBN
already had affiliates set up to encourage Christians to get involved in
government-the Freedom Council, National Perspectives Institute, and the
National Freedom Institute-which afl.stopped operating in October 1986.
The three affiliates were targeted in an Internal Revenue Service audit
of CBN's activities that was just settled this year. In announcing the
settlement of the 12-year-old audit, the IRS said CBN lost its
tax-exempt status in 1986 and 1987 because of rules, prohibiting
intervention in political ac tivities and had to pav an undisclosed
"signiflcant payment" to the IRS.
Robertson founded Regent University
(formerly CBN University) and its law school to train a new generation
of Christian attorneys. The first dean of the law school was Herb Titus,
who caught the beliefs of P-J. Rushdoony, the father of Christian
Reconstructionism. Titus is a board member of the Conservative Caucus,
based in Washington, DC.
Robertson opened the American Center
for Law and Justice ($6,849,036 in revenues in FY 1996; $7,514,461 in
expenses) on the Regent campus in 1990 to fight for "religlous liberty,
the sanctity of human life, and the two-parent, marriage-bound family."
Today the Center's attorneys, led by chief counsel Jay Sekulow, argue
cases to uphold parental rights, pro-life positions and religious
expression. In 1997, the ACLJ was active in working with churches whose
tax status has been challenged by the IRS. Sekulow wrote in August 1997
that "the IRS has been used as a political weapon for far too long."
The Catholic Alliance, founded as part
of the Christian Coalition in 1995 but spun off on its own in 1996, was
intended to oraanize conservative Catholics to the Coalition ranks. It
has, however, drawn criticism from Catholic leaders. The group, which
lobbies, distributes voter guides, and has helped run a partial-birth
abortion media campaign, claims 50,000 members nationwide, and has
outlined a direct mail campai-n to double its revenues to $3.5 million
by 2000. Dr. Keith Fournier is president of the Alliance. Advisory board
members include Jeffrey Bell, president of the Family Research Council's
Campaign for Working Families PAC.
The Christian Coalition faces ongoing
tax troubles. Christian Coaiition leaders regularly defend the
Coalition's activities as nonpartisan and strictly aimed at voter
education. Yet the Federal Election Commission sued the Coalition in
July 1996, challenging its distribution of voter guides as a partisan
activity and alleging the group worked to defeat congressional
candidates in 1990, 1992, and 199't and worked on behalf of George Bush
in the presidential race. The FEC charged that voter @des were pro
Republican literature and that "cooperation and consultations" with
campaigns constituted in-kind contributions. Allegations outlined in the
suit began with a 1992 lawsuit filed by the Democratic party of Virginia
challenging the Coalitio@s voter guides.
The Coalition continued its voter guide
practice, announcing distribution of 2 million pro-Prop 226 voter guides
in California churches the Sunday before the June 2 vote.
In the 1997 Virginia governor's race,
Coalition members were instructed and mobilized to defeat Democratic
candidates for governor and House of Delegates. At one workshop in
August 1997, attendees were instructed to work against the Democratic
nominee for -overnor, Don Beyer (The Wlashington Post, Sept. 28, 1997).
Robertson contributed $50,000 to the Republican candidate, James
Gilmore, who won the governor's race. (In March 1998, Gilmore named
Robertso@s son, Tim, to a coveted spot on the University of Virginia
board of visitors.) In the same race, Virginia members of the Coalition
received postcards and raped messages urging them to call the Democratic
campaign headquarters to protest television ads. The hundreds of cans
effectively shut down the headquarters for several days.
Robertsons "Operation Blessing," an
international relief effort intended to distribute food and medical
supplies nationally, also drew fire over its tax status in 1997 and
1998. Reports that Robertson used Operation Blessing planes to remove
diamonds from Zambia as part of a diamond mining, operation he owns
prompted a Virginia state senator to to challenge, without success,
Blessing's tax status in the 1998 legislative session.
"I told Don Hodel when he joined us, my
dear friend, I want to hold out to you the possibility of selecting the
next president of the United States, because I think that's what we have
in this organization." Pat Robertson
In September 1997, Robertson caused a
flap when his clearly political remarks to supporters in a closed-door
meeting in Atlanta were reported. He told the group that it is time the
Coalition got something in return for the Republican majority supporters
Some of the elected to Congress in 1994. "We just tell these guys,
'Look, we put you in power in 1994 and we want you to deliver ...Don’t
give us all this stuff about you've got a country's different agenda.
This is what we're going to do this year. And we're going to hold your
feet to the fire while you do it.'
The Coalition's plans for this year
include a "church-based" strategy to expand its grassroots reach in time
for the 1998 and 2000 elections. In February 1998, crowing they were
"fresh from victory in Maine"-where Coalition members take credit for
mobilizing defeat of a gay-rights measure-Tate announced a new plan to
expand its organizational base and recruit 1 00,000 "church liaisons" by
The Coalition says the additional
partners will be used to lobby for its national agenda: overriding
President Clinton's veto of the partial birth abortion ban; adopting
Provide legislation creating education scholarships and education
savings accounts; eliminating the marriage tax penalty; passing a
Religious Freedom Amendment and the Freedom from Religious Persecution
Act. State legislative issues targeted in the strategy include funding
for parental rights and notification laws and defeating state
In reviewing the announcement,
Americans United for Separation of Church and religious State-the group
that taped Robertsons September 1997 remarks and that is a party to
challenging the Coalition's tax status-advised churches that the new
drive could indanger their tax status if they choose to participate.
In addition to heading up the
Free Congress Foundation,
Weyrich joined Coors and Viguerie as key players in the Council for
National Policy (CNP), which began operation in 1982 as the conservative
alternative to the Council on Foreign Relations. Membership is by
invitation only and dues run $2,000- plus a year. In 1997, the Council
for National Policy had income of $617,773 and assets of $74,500.
The Council for National Policy
operates as a highly secretive compact that includes conservative
activists and intellectuals, former government and military leaders, TV
preachers, and state and federal legislators. The Council is the
principal coordinating body-and funding mechanism-for political projects
of religious conservatives. It also operates a political action
committee-CNP Action, Inc.
The Council's membership list includes
a who's who of conservative activism and includes representatives from
some of America's wealthiest and most politically active families, such
as Coors, DeVos, Hunt, and Scaife.
Council members include: Christian
Coalition activists Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and Don Hodel; Eagle
Forums Phyllis Schlafly; James Dobson of Focus on the Family;
Congressman Robert K. Dornan (former Republican congressman from
California), Congressman William Dannemeyer (R-CA), former U.S. Senate
candidate and current talk show host Oliver North (R-VA); Moral Majority
founder Jerry Falwell; the Rev. Lou Sheldon who heads the Traditional
Value Coalition; Ed Feulner of The Heritage Foundation; Burton Pines of
Heritage Foundation; John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute; Gary
Bauer of the Family Research Council; and Reed Larson of National Right
to Work. CNP Executive Director Morton Blackwell was also the founder
and president of the Leadership Institute.
Several active CNP leaders have a
mentor in CNP late member Rousas J. Rushdoony, known as the father of
Christian Reconstructionism. Rushdoony, who recently passed away in his
80s, founded the Chalcedon Institute in California, espousing the
concept that the United states should be governed by Old Testament law.
Reconstructionism wants to see the United States become a theocracy much
like the Massachusettes Bay Colony. (Remember the Salem Witch Trials?)
Rushdoony has been a major influence in
the life of CNP founding member Howard Phillips, whose resume includes
serving as chairman of the Conservative Caucus and chairman of the U.S.
Taxpayers Alliance. Rushdoony has also received substantial financial
support from millionaire Christian conservative Howard Ahmanson of
California-a major supporter of the California Prop 226 initiative-who
was listed on CNPs board of governors in 1996.
The Council for National
Policy is a secretive forum that was formed in 1981 by
Tim LaHaye as
a networking tool for leading US
political leaders, financiers and
activist leaders. The group, which meets three times a year,
promotes "Educational conferences for national leaders in the fields
of business, government, religion and academia to explore national
policy alternatives. Weekly newsletters are distributed to all
members to keep them apprised of member activities and public policy
issues. A semi-annual journal is produced from membership meeting
In 2001, ABC News reported: "The CNP describes
itself as a counterweight against
domination of the American agenda."
With leaders and foot soldiers aligned
thru a grassroots structure, the network needs only policy and lobbying
organizations to carry out the agenda. Among the most active of these
organizations, especially in the anti-employee initiative, is Americans
for Tax Reform (ATR), first organized in 1985 to build grass-roots
support for President Reagan's 1986 tax cut. Since char time, ATR has
reorganized into a 501 (c) (4) and set up the Americans for Tax Reform
Foundation as a 501 (c)(3). Prior to the anti-employee initiative, ATRs
principal missions have been seeking signatures from candidates for
public office for its "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," opposing the Value
Added Tax in Congress and sponsoring the calculation of National Cost of
ATR is headed by President Grover
Norquist, who reports to the IRS that he received no salary from ATR and
only $12,670 from the ATR Foundation in 1996. Norquist's full
compensation is unclear. He receives speaking fees and book royalties
and has begun lobbying for the Merritt Group Of Alexandria, Virginia, a
move that has generated some criticism among Republicans.
ATR and the ATR Foundation are located
together in Washington, DC, and have a combined staff of six employees.
ATR and the Foundation share administrative expense, staff, and
contributions. According to its 1996 IRS Form 990, ATR had total income
of $6,547,008 with assets of $114,552 while the ATR Foundation had total
revenues of $3,125,636 with assets of $36,021 in 1996 ' In 1996, ATR
spent $2,865,257 on direct mail for the Republican National Committee as
an independent expenditure campaign but as much as $4 million in 1996
The ATR Foundation is the principal
fund-raising arm of the parent organization and has received major gifts
* $100,000 from the John M. Olin
* $40,000 from the Lynde and Harry
* $ 1 0,000 from the John William Pope
* $5,000 from the Roe Foundation
* $15,000 from the J.M. Foundation
The Foundation is the principal means
of support for ATR and ran a deficit of $146,353 in 1996.
Over the last five years, contributions
and foundation grants have grown at the rate of 35 percent per year. A
close associate and political advisor to House Speaker Newt Gingrich of
Georgia, Grover Norquist holds forth every Wednesday morning before a
select group of Republican lobbyists and "true believers" at ATRs
offices in what has come to be known as the "Wednesday Group." The
purpose of the informal group is to offer suggestions to the Speaker and
the House leadership and to network ATR in Washington and around the
Americans for Tax Reform was the
largest single donor of California's Prop 226 initiative. Before the
loss in California, ATR committed to raise and spend as much as $10
million to push similar measures in other states. Norquist met with
Governor Pete Wilson in California, along with former Wilson Press
Secretary Dan Schnur, who now represents business interests in Silicon
Valley, to kick off ATR's California effort to pass Prop 226. He also
has visited about a half-dozen other states to encourage similar ballot
initiatives and union hostile legislation. Working with ALEC and the
National Right to, Work Foundation, which has pledged anti-union legal
assistance in states, Norquist has barnstormed his message across the
country Norquist participates in Council for National Policy meetings
and ATR is an associate member of the State Policy Network.
ATR contributed $4 million to
congressional candidates in 1996
Norquist worked with Republican
political consultant Carolyn Malenick-, president of Triad Management,
on the California initiative. Malenick has close personal ties to both
the Scaife and Koch families, and worked on the initiative with close
friend and California political consultant Carlos Rodriguez. Malenick
received criticism during the Senate campaign finance hearings for her
role in running soft money independent expenditure campaigns for the
Republican National Committee.
Malenick also has close ties to the
religious right. She was a consultant for Oliver North and assistant to
Richard Viguerie. She has also worked for the Old-Time Gospel Hour and
the Moral Majority in Lynchburg, Virginia. In 1996, Malenick and
Rodriguez worked for a number of Republican campaigns, including the
campaign of Representative Bob Schafer (R-CO), who has taken the lead on
"paycheck protection" legislation in the U.S. House. Senator Don Nickels
(R-OK) is a close friend of Malenicles and made a promotional video for
Triad Management that created controversy over the propriety The Nation
of such an endorsement of their services by a U.S. senator. Nickels
sponsored "pay- check protection" legislation in the U.S. Senate last
Malenick and Rodriguez also worked on
Rep. David McIntos@s (R-IN) race. in 1996. Rodriguez is especially close
to McIntosh, who is the former staff director of the Bush
Administration's Council on Competiveness chaired by Vice President Dan
Quayle. McIntosh also spent his first term in the U.S. House holding
hearing's on federal legislation that would "de-fund the left."
Founded in 1968 as a 501 (c) (3) by the
National Right to Work Committee, the provides the National Right to
Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation functions as the Committee's
law firm, filing suits against organizations it believes have violated
workers' rights to refuse union membership. In 1988, the foundation won
the case of Beck v. Communications Workers of america, which allowed
non-union employees in a union shop to pay only for those activities of
the union that related to contract negotiations and to refuse to pay for
political activities. The Foundation has taken an active role around the
country by supplying the legal muscle for "paycheck protection" drives
and has worked closely with Americans for Tax Reform and the American
Legislative Exchange Council. It claims to have over 400 cases pending
On May 5, the Foundation filed a
lawsuit on behalf of professors at the University of Alaska seeking a
court order to enjoin the local teachers union from collecting dues from
university employees' paychecks.
In 1995, the Foundation had revenues of
$4,490,369 and expenses of $3,737,546 for an excess of revenue over
expenses of $757,823. It reported net assets of $2,262,095. Total
salaries and benefits were $2,238,050. The Foundation had program costs
of $3,147,910 for 1995. The Foundation shares-office space, equipment,
and employees with the National Right to Work Committee and the National
Institute for Labor Relations Research. The Foundation employs a staff
of five attorneys and in 1995 spent $110,702 on outside counsel and
received court-awarded legal fees of $45,114.
Reed Larson serves as president of the
Foundation as well as president of the National Right to Work Committee.
He is also executive director for the National Institute for Labor
Relations Research. Larson receives salary and benefits of $96,497 from
the Foundation and $44,168 from the Committee for total compensation of
$140,665. Rex H. Reed serves as executive vice president and secretary
of the Foundation on a @ll-time basis. Reed receives salary and benefits
of $186,728, while Edith Hakola serves as vice president and treasurer,
and receives total compensation of $178,347.
The Foundation relies heavily on
conservative philanthropic foundations for a major part of its operating
budget. In 1995, the Foundation received $100,000 from the John M. Olin
Foundation, $60,000 from the Sunmark Foundation, and $50,000 from the
J.M. Kirby foundation, with smaller grants from additional foundations.
The Foundation spent most of its
$334,512 in fund-raising costs on direct mail in 1995. Those appeals
were similar in tone and content to a letter from former Vice President
Dan Quayle that was sent March 1998. The letter on behalf of the
Foundation said the reason why our "personal goals for the country have
been thwarted and why big government and "far left politicians in
Washington still [call] the shots" is because of "union boss cash."
Quayle asked readers to contribute to the Foundation so it could "mount
the legal attack so critical to derail [John] Sweeneys illegal, no-holds
barred campaign to buy control of Congress and ram his agenda down our
throats," and "to act decisively to shut down Big Labor's plans to
retake Congress in the 1998 election."
David Horowitz, president of the Center
for the Study of Popular Culture, has long been an adversary of the
National Education Association. In a September 1996 Los Angeles Times
interview he said, "We want to take them out of politics, not just in
California, but in every state in the union." His comments were in
response to an arbitrator's ruling over the use of non-members dues in
the 1993 Prop 174 voucher campaign.
The Los Angeles-based 5 01 (c) (3)
organization reported total revenue of $2.5 million in 1996 and expenses
of $2.6 million, down from the year before when the group took in $3.3
million. The Center's publications, including The Education Report Card,
command the largest share of expenses.
Contributor lists available for 1995
shows contributions of $525,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation and the
Scaife Family Foundation, plus $780,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley
Foundation. Horowitz has gone on the attack this year defending the
contributions the Center receives from Richard Scaife as being just a
portion of the contributions the Center receives from twenty-some
foundations and 15,000 individuals. (Los Angeles Times, February 24,
1998). Horowitz says lie is a trustee of the Mart Drudge Legal Fund, to
help Drudge in a defamation suit Filed against him by White House aide
The 12-year-old Alexis de Tocqueville
Institution, rated by the National Journal as one of the Five "up and
coming" Washington, DC, think tanks, promotes the concept of "classic
liberalism" in research, education, taxes, immigration, defense, and
deret,)iaation issues. The Institution has selected the NEA as a regular
target, producing a report on the "fiscal impact" of NEAS legislative
agenda, paid for by a -,rant from the Olin Foundation.
The Institution is also tied to the
conservative coalition of pro-voucher groups, including the Coalition to
Educate America, the Center for Education Reform, and the @ Challenger
Network, coordinated to take on the Washington Education Association.
With assets of $218,925, the
Institution raised $565,841 in revenue in 1994. It spent $400,000 on its
'programs that year. In 1995, it received grants from the Lynde and
Harry Bradley Foundation ($20,000), the John M. Olin Foundation
($10,000), Koch Brothers ($100,000) and the John William Pope Foundation
In addition to its efforts on education
issues, the Institution has studied the concept of privatizing the
Department of Defense.
The lions share of funding for the
movement, including the organizations described above, comes from
conservative philanthropic foundations financed by a handful of the
nation's wealthiest people, including:
* Sarah Scaife Foundation
* Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
* Carthage Foundation
* Earhart Foundation
* Charles G. Koch
* David H. Koch
* Claude R. Lambe
* Philip M. McKenna
* J.M. Foundation
* John M. Olin Foundation
* Henry Salvatori Foundation
* Smith Richardson Foundation
The Claremont Institute, which played a
leading role in promoting Prop 226, has received donations from the
Sarah Scaife, Carthage, John M. Olin, Philip McKenna, Robert and Janice
McNair, J.M., and Roe Foundations. The Bradley Foundation has provided
$2.4 million over five years to set up the Wisconsin Policy Research
Institute, a State Policy Network member that pushes vouchers.
The Heritage Foundation was established
in 1973 under the direction of Paul Weyrich with seed funding from
Joseph Coors. The mission of the Foundation is "...To formulate and
promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free
enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American
values, and a strong national defense."
Heritage is by far the largest and
best-funded "think tank' in the country, and, with the Republican
takeover of Congress in 1994, it is easily the most influential
conservative voice in the Congress.
Heritage is a 501(c)(3) organization
with revenues of $28,626,078 in 1996. Expenses for 1996 were $24,195,169
for an excess of revenue over expenses of $4,430,909. Heritage reports
total net assets for 1996 of $47,580,039. The Foundation receives 85
percent of its income from grants and contributions from individuals,
foundations, and businesses.
Its list of donors reads like a who's
who of American conservative philanthropy and American business.
Heritage also received program income of $462,214 from subscriptions to
Polit), Review (more than 30,000 in circulation) and The Insider
magazines and from books like School Choice Programs 1998 - What’s
Happening in the States. Heritage also received $12,096 from
advertising, $726,070 from the rental of mailing lists, $78,489 from
building rental income, $1,138,371 from dividends and interest, and
$6,670,253 from the sale of assets.
Direct income is also received from
Town Hall, a Web site Heritage has created with National Review. The
site was developed with a loan of $500,000 from the Lynde and Harry
Bradley Foundation. Town Hall is a 501 (c) (4) in which Heritage has 50
percent ownership and received income of $376,0 1 0 in 1996. The
function of Town Hall is to spread the conservative gospel and network
among 35 religious and social conservative "member -,roups" like the
American Association of Christian Schools, the American Conservative
Union, ALEC, Americans for Tax Reform, Empower America, the Family
Research Council, and the Claremont Institute.
Heritage spent $3,091,827 on
fund-raising and receives funding from almost all of the conservative
foundations in the country. In 1996, Heritage used Factory Direct
Limited of Los Angeles ($414,638) and Winchefl and Associates ($309,281)
and Precision Marketing ($165,654), both of Arlington, VA, to provide
membership services. Public relations services are provided by Newton
and Associates ($128,000) of Washington, DC. Outside legal counsel is
William Lehrfeld ($126,105), also of Washington. From a pro-ram
perspective, the Heritage Foundation spent $10,125,159 on research,
$6,003,526 on educational programs, and $4,170,745 on media and
government relations for total program costs of $20,299,430.
The president and CEO of Heritage is
Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. The former staff director of the House Republican
Study Committee, Feulner came to Heritage three years after it,.-,,as
founded. Most recently Feulner took a leave of absence from his post at
Heritage to serve as staff director and counselor for Jack Kemp's Vice
Presidential campaign. During 1996, Feulner was paid $243,953 in salary
and benefits and received a bonus of S197,470. Feulner is a member of
the executive committee of the Council for National Policy,. Philip N.
Treelike, executive vice president, is number two at the Foundation,
receiving $184,233 in salar-yr and benefits with a bonus of $81,3@0.
Heritage employs an executive staff of
fourteen officers to run the Foundation with a payroll cost of
$2,115,858. The Foundation as a whole has more than 160 employees and a
total payroll of $10,222,773. Heritage also employs a number of
"Distinguished Scholars.' In 1996, they included former Attorney General
Edwin Meese (S230,734), former Secretary of Education William Bennett
(S215,680), Thomas Atwood ($89,395), David Winston (5 103,857), and
Marshall Whiteman ($80,283).
The Board of Directors and Trustees for
The Heritage Foundation are a conservative master list of the Republican
* Chairman - Dr. David R. Brown
* Vice Chairman - Richard Scaife
* Secretary - J. Frederic Reach
* Midge Decker (Institute on Religion
and Public Life)
* Thomas L. Rhodes (President,.
* William E. Simon (former Secretary of
* Jay Van Andel (Founder, Amway
* David Koch (Koch Industries)
* Thomas A. Roe (The Roe Foundation)
* J. William Middendorf II (former U.S.
Ambassador to the OAS)
* Frank Shakespeare (former U.S.
Ambassador to the Vatican)
* William J. Hume
* Preston A. Wells
* Edwin J. Feulner, Jr.
* Douglas F. Allison
* Holland H. Coors
* Barb Van Andel-Gaby
The scope of The Heritage Foundation's
research, public relations, and conservative issue advocacy dwarfs all
its competitors. According to the Wall Street journal, Heritage is the
most frequently quoted think tank in America. Heritage has been active
on such issues as welfare reform, telecommunications and electric
utility reform, agricultural subsidies, budget reform, Medicare reform,
regulatory reform, tax reduction, immigration reform, affirmative
action, school vouchers, and "Paycheck protection."
On the issue of "paycheck protection,"
Heritage has been playing a supportive public relations role to
Americans for Tax Reform, ALEC, and members of the State Policy Network
such as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Washington State. In a
recent commentary entitled "Give Workers Their Dues" in Policy Review,
Heritage President Fe..ulner reported on the progress of their efforts.
"Happily, lawmakers in all 50 states
plan to offer legislation prohibiting the use of a union member's dues
for political purposes without the member's express permission. In
California a 'Paycheck protection initiative, requiring both employers
and unions to get workers' written Oks before using their money for
politics, is headed for the June ballot. Similar -grassroots drives are
moving forward in at least eight other states. In Congress, comparable
workers-rights legislation also is in the offing." - Edwin FetAner
Citing Communications Workers of
America V. Beck, Feulner noted that under Beck, "A teacher who backs
school choice can refuse to allow her union dues to be used in a
campaign against educational vouchers." In his opinion therefore,
"What's needed to bolster those rights is affirmative legislation."
To foster legislation at the state
level, Heritage has worked with A.LEC, the Family Research Council, and
other conservative and religious policy organizations to create a
network of state-based think tanks in the image of the Heritage
Foundation. It is these think tanks that provide some of the most
effective arms and legs for the conservative movement in America.
Providing the arms and legs on the
state level for the national conservative movement is a growing web of
interrelated think tanks in about 35 states. These think tanks share
nearly identical agendas, including the privatization of most public
services and a fierce opposition to organized labor. Created in the
image of the Heritage Foundation, these state policy institutions-linked
as members of 'Most of the money the State Policy Network (SPN)-provide
a local tie to media and conservative policy briefings for legislators
and business leaders.
Associate members of SPN anchor the
network. They include the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform,
ALEC, the Center for Education Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Golden Rule Insurance Co., and CEO America. ALEC, for example, uses SPN
as a clearinghouse to craft model legislation on conservative issues and
to provide testimony in state capitols. Heritage serves as a bridge for
SPN and its members to other national groups.
Most of the money supporting Prop 226
came from individuals connected with SPN. Richard Mellon Scaife, for
example, has funded several SPN groups. J. Patrick RooneVs Golden Rule
is the only corporate member of SPN. And CEO America, whose board
includes Rooney and John Walton, is a member of SPN.
In California, the leading SPN members
include Capitol Resource Institute (affiliated with Focus on the
Family), Golden State Center for Public Policy, the Pacific Research
Institute, the Reason Foundation, and the California Public Policy
Foundation. In recent battles in the State of V7ashin-con, the SPN
member Evergreen Freedom Foundation played the leading- role in
initiating and publicizing attacks against the Washington Education
The following sections of this report
provide details about the conservative network and its components. Using
publicly available sources, we have documented the interrelationships
among conservative think tanks, Foundations, legislative and grassroots
organizations, and a handful of wealthy individuals.
This report paints a clear picture of
the motivation and agenda of the organized effort to push paycheck
protection: to reduce the political power of the NEA and others fighting
to improve public schools.
Right groups and their allies in the Tea Party claim to respect
American values, but much would change if they had their way. May
Religious Right groups and their
frequent allies in the Tea Party talk a good line about respecting
American values, but much would change if they had their way. They
seek not to restore our country to some Golden Age (that never
existed anyway) but to recreate it – in their own fundamentalist
An America rebuilt along Religious Right
lines would be a very different place. And to get there, the
theocrats among us first have to tear down some features of American
life – some of which are longstanding. Here are ten things about the
United States that drive Religious Right groups crazy:
1. Our History Debunks
Religious Right Mythology:
history stands as a rebuke to the Religious Right. America’s
founders established a secular government with freedom of religion
and its necessary corollary, separation of church and state, built
into the First Amendment. A “Christian nation” was not what the
founders sought. How do we know this? They said so. Think about it:
If an officially Christian nation had been the intent of the
founders, the Constitution would prominently include that concept.
And those Religious Right claims that
separation of church and state is a myth? They’re a crock. As James
Madison put it, “Strongly guarded…is the separation between Religion
and Government in the Constitution of the United States.” Madison
ought to know. He’s considered the Father of the Constitution and
was one of the primary drafters of the First Amendment.
2. We Support
polls show some confusion over issues like evolution, most Americans
are big fans of science and are quick to rally around the latest
medical breakthroughs and cutting-edge technology. Many religious
people in America long ago reconciled their faith with modern
science. But the Religious Right remains stubbornly insistent that
any science that conflicts with its literalist interpretation of the
Bible must go.
Religious Right activists hate science
because it casts doubt on their narrow worldview – a worldview that
teaches that all answers are found in a rigidly fundamentalist
interpretation of an ancient religious text. To the Religious Right,
evolution and the Bible can’t co-exist. They refuse to read the
scriptures in a metaphorical or symbolic context. Since, to the
Religious Right, evolution undercuts the Bible, evolution should not
be taught in public schools.
3. America Has A
Tradition Of Tolerance: Yes, we’ve fallen short of
complete tolerance from time to time, but at the end of the day,
most Americans believe in treating their fellow citizens decently,
even if they have different religious or philosophical beliefs. But
to the Religious Right, tolerance is entrance ramp on the highway to
The idea that religions should strive to
get along is dangerously close to the idea that all religions are on
equal footing. This is bad, so says the Religious Right, because it
leads people into “error” – that is, an embrace of any religion
that’s not fundamentalist Christianity. Tolerance is ridiculed
because it dares to suggest that a Unitarian, Buddhist, Jew, Hindu,
Pagan or atheist might have an equal claim on truth alongside a
4. We Have A Secular Government:
To the theocrats of the right,
secular government, secularism and secular anything is the bogeyman
of the moment. If you doubt it, just listen to some of our leading
politicians (assuming you have the stomach for it). To most people,
it just makes sense for government to remain neutral on theological
disputes – remember the Middle Ages? To the Religious Right, such
neutrality equals hostility toward religion and a “war” against
Ironically, there is one place where the
Religious Right backs secular government: Muslim nations. Those
should be secular, of course – but only as a prelude to adopting
5. The U.S.
Constitution Has Endured:
Religious Right and the Tea Party claim to revere our basic
governing document, the Constitution. So why do they treat it like a
first draft? Just consider the list of amendments they’d like to
add: pro-school prayer, anti-abortion, “parental rights,” fetal
personhood, “traditional marriage,” the list goes on.
Why does the Religious Right distrust
our founders? Maybe because the founders weren’t fundamentalists,
and they dared to believe that the Bible could speak metaphorically
yet still contain wisdom and insight. Consider this quote by Thomas
Jefferson (from a letter to Benjamin Rush, May 21, 1803): “To the
corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the
genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only
sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines,
in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human
excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.”
6. Our Nation Has A Legacy
Of Freedom Of Religion: To the Religious Right, “religious freedom”
means the right to use their religion to run other people’s lives.
When it comes to groups they don’t like, ideas like liberty and
freedom suddenly evaporate.
Consider the controversy over the
proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan and efforts to block
construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Normally, once
religious groups comply with local zoning laws, get the necessary
permits and so on, they can build houses of worship where they
please. Yet Brian Fischer, a columnist with the American Family
Association, argued recently that the Constitution grants religious
freedom rights only to Christians and said we can legally shut down
mosques. Where does this appear in the Constitution? It doesn’t.
Fischer made it up.
7. Americans Support
The ability to
control your own body when it comes to reproduction is the ability
to control your own destiny. It’s a big no-no to the Religious
Right. God is supposed to control your destiny. Who are you to
interfere with His plans? Although most people think of this issue
in terms of abortion, it’s worthwhile to look a little deeper.
Increasingly, access to birth control is on the chopping block as
well. (See attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and bills in the
state laws granting pharmacists a right to refuse to fill
prescriptions for the pill.)
Throughout recorded history, religious
prudes have been obsessed with sex lives of others. They clearly
have issues. There’s just something kind of icky about it.
8. Gay People Live Here:
Where to begin? Not only will
gay people not stay in the closet or become straight, now they want
to get married! You can be sure that Bible Belt fundamentalists, who
have the highest divorce rate in the nation, aren’t going to stand
for that assault on the sacred institution of marriage.
The bile the Religious Right spews
toward gays is unfathomable. You have to call it what it is: Hate.
And as polls show increasing numbers of Americans backing same-sex
marriage, it’s only going to get worse.
9. Most Kids Go To
hotbeds of secular humanism actually receive tax funding! They’re
known to teach evolution, and some even dare to talk about how they
human reproductive system works in Biology class. Since not everyone
has the time for home-schooling, it’s best to distribute vouchers,
says the Religious Right.
Here’s Tim LaHaye, author of the popular
series of apocalyptic potboilers “Left Behind” on public education:
“I have a pet concern, and I think it is the concern of everyone in
this room; and that is we are being destroyed in America by the
public school systems of our country. And it was Abraham Lincoln who
said, essentially, let me educate the children of this generation
and they will be the political leaders of the next generation. And,
folks, we have let the enemy come in and take over the greatest
school system in the history of the world.” (So, Tim, what do you
10. We Fund NPR And
PBS: Sure, the
Religious Right and the Tea Party said they wanted to cut off
funding to public broadcasting to save a few bucks, but in reality,
they just don’t like the elitist, left-wingery of “All Things
Considered” and “Masterpiece Theatre.” Snobs listen to and watch
Don’t even get them started on the
Muppets. Bert and Ernie have a suspiciously close relationship.
Of course, there are many other things
the Religious Right dislikes about our country – consider women’s
rights, for example. For all of their flag waving, some supporters
of the Religious Right just don’t sound too happy to be here. I
doubt think they plan to leave soon, so we can expect they’ll keep working
to change our nation. Be warned – this list is just a start.
For information on all
individuals and organizations listed in this website, or the name of a
contact person in your area that can give you further information on the
Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast, or the First Amendment
Coalition, contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.orgLet us hear from you!
You may call also call us at 000-000-0000 If you access our voice
mail, we will call you back collect if long distance.
Or, you can write to us at: RFCSE,
P.O. Box 673206, Marietta, GA 30006-0036
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