Thursday, November 3, 2011

Koch/ALEC Cabal - a Smoking Gun for financial connections and control...

Many have fought long and hard to prove connections between Charles and David Koch and the various Conservative Right Wing groups, organizations, foundations and Main Stream Media outlets. Hours and in some instances months of deep research has come away with bits and pieces of the involvement of Koch with the various suspect groups. The most that is usually found is a trace of periodic or sporadic funding from one of the numerous Koch held "Foundations" to the individual entities suspected of deeper connections to Koch.

The question of ties between the Conservative Right Wing think tanks, "grass root" activism and Koch money resulted in my coming at the subject from a different angle altogether. I was looking for not only some form of monetary support but control as well - a way in which Koch money not only funded activities of specific entities, but was able to maintain some form of controlling those activities and "keeping an eye" on their investments.

I believe I found the answers to these two key questions. Many wonder how Davy Boy and Ol' Chucky ensure that they get their money's worth out of the organizations they fund and support. How do they control the work or dissemination of Conservative "messages"? I found their operation is much simpler and more effective than many would believe and done through a system that has virtually been ignored by media and most researchers. Going at it the way I did I also uncovered how they are able to have additional control over what is printed about them in corporate controlled media outlets - print, TV and other formats.

It begins with Koch's "Institute For Humane Studies". IHS describes their mission as:
"Mission The mission of IHS is to support the achievement of a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented students, scholars, and other intellectuals who share an interest in liberty and in advancing the principles and practice of freedom. "Each year IHS awards over $750,000 in scholarships to students from universities around the world. IHS also sponsors the attendance of hundreds of students at its summer seminars and provides various forms of career assistance, including sponsored internships, to students and recent graduates pursuing careers in academia, journalism, and public policy. Through its programs, the Institute promotes the study of liberty across a broad range of disciplines, encouraging understanding, open inquiry, rigorous scholarship, and creative problem-solving."
IHS lists 96 - that's right - 96! organizations that Koch provides "internships" to. They pay these interns $10.00 per hour each and that helps keep the payroll costs down for the organizations where they're placed. It also allows Koch to have direct inside information about the ongoing activities and efforts being conducted in each of those organizations, foundations and "charities".

The list begins here. You'll notice that all the usual suspects we've come to know and expect listed here - plus a few that have so far slipped under everyone's radar. Fourth on the list is ALEC:
"American Legislative Exchange Council (Washington, DC) The mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council is to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America's state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public. The council works with state legislators from all parties and members of the private sector who share ALEC's mission. The council conducts a policy making program that unites members of the public and private sectors in a dynamic partnership to support research, policy development, and dissemination activities. The council also prepares the next generation of political leadership through educational programs that promote the principles of Jeffersonian democracy."
There are page after page of these "affiliates" Koch provides intern staffing to annually. This is bad enough - but as with so much else, it gets so much worse...

Many - including myself - have complained for years about our main stream media refusing to report on Koch activities, ALEC's pro-corporate legislation and in general ignoring anything negative to the Conservative far right groups. Perhaps the second "Scholarship" program of the IHS helps shed some well needed sunlight on why this problem with the MSM exists. IHS scholarships include placement in newspaper, broadcast, digital and investigative media outlets.

IHS also funds "scholarships" (there's the same term used by ALEC to excuse their funding of travel and meeting attendance expenses for legislators, indicating "education" rather than programming) for what they term their "Journalism Internship Program". Have you ever written a letter to the editor, sent a query about ALEC to your local newspaper or TV affiliate? And when you got no response or were ignored and wondered if your letter got to the Editor, producer or other executive, did you ever wonder who actually opened your email or letter? That's right, interns. Journalism interns receive an additional $3,000 + stipend along with per travel and other expenses.

Realizing that this is not some intern program that just began...was started last year, or in 2000...but rather has been ongoing through IHS since 1961 when it was founded, helps explain how conservatives have been able to work their way through the media and insinuate themselves throughout our media. Graduates of the internship program also now have jobs as legislative assistants, aides to lawmakers, hold key positions throughout the U.S. and state government agencies and departments. These men and women have been trained, indoctrinated and groomed to go out and take their places as the next - and next - generations of Conservative Right Wingers.

At first blush, some may think how widespread could such influence possibly be? How can a simple "intern" program be used to disseminate a Conservative Right Wing agenda across the country and throughout various businesses, organizations, and our media? When researching IHS on Muckety I found their description of IHS as:
Muckety metrics: Connections: Institute for Humane Studies has direct or once-removed relationships with 51 people, organizations or other entities in our database of the most influential people in America. Under a scoring system that gives more weight to direct links, this score is higher than 62% of all entries. People related to Institute for Humane Studies: Richard H. Fink - director Other current Institute for Humane Studies relationships: Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation - funder George Mason University - program Muckety connection score: 62
Here is a link to the basic view of the IHS chart: imageDownload (9)

 An extended or exploded view of the connections to everyone and every organization affiliated with IHS through Charles G. Koch:

  imageDownload (8)

 At the Muckety map link you can scroll down and all the individuals, organizations, foundations and connections are listed. Mouse over each entry on this huge list of connections and it will provide the affiliations for that person, group, foundation etc. This is a HUGE data base compiled just from the Koch affiliations through the Institute for Humane Studies.

Many will be surprised to see the links and named individuals connected. Lots of connections through Ol' Chucky and his foundations. Let's take a closer look at how widespread his influence is. Again using the Muckety data base I clicked on Charles Koch Charitable foundation and got this return:
Muckety metrics: Connections: Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has direct or once-removed relationships with 398 people, organizations or other entities in our database of the most influential people in America. Under a scoring system that gives more weight to direct links, this score is higher than 98% of all entries. Muckety connection score: 98
imageDownload (10)

 Those interested can follow this link and click on the interactive map and become overwhelmed - I did that and the expanded map with named affiliations won't fit on this page. I did do some one by one: CATO Institute (Muckety rating 97%):

imageDownload (11)

Federalist Society (Muckety rating 99%!!):

  imageDownload (12)

So far the connections demonstrate a vast wealth of business, corporate and legislative affiliations and influence - from think tanks, to media and wealthy and powerful individuals within society and business. This is the circle within which the interns selected by IHS begin to become acclimated. First they work for these organizations and individuals, then many go on to become clerks for legislators, judges and aides to others. As IHS advertises, the careers and career path of many chosen as interns begin with that internship. Many possibly find their way to invitations to the various groups and organizations affiliated with Koch - such as the Federalist Society.

The Federalist Society - where all the big boys of Conservativism meet, hang out and discuss advancing their ideologies and agenda. Koch supported and funded. Of late we've read several articles about the membership of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas in the Federalist Society:
Charlottesville - Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at a banquet last night sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society lambasting critics who accuse him of impartiality because of his attendance at a meeting with the Koch brothers."
Thomas' membership in the Federalist Society is confirmed by Wikipedia. At Muckety the chart shows no direct link between Thomas and the FS, but provides his relationship rating as 96% and his influence rating as 92%. Here is his basic chart:

  Justice Clarence Thomas connections

 But when you expand the chart through his current and ongoing relationship with Clerks and his good friend, Harlan R. Crow, that changes dramatically. For instance several of his clerks shown in the above chart were also George Mason University Professors and/or Federalist Society members like Steven G. Bradbury (FS member), Michael E. O'Neill (GMU Law Professor) and Neomi Rao (GMU Law Professor) was a Republican witness against Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice. Here is Ms. Rao's Muckety chart:

  Neomi Rao

 When I looked at the Harlan R. Crow chart from Muckety I had an OMG moment. Knowing Thomas' wife worked for the Heritage Foundation, was heavily funded by Conservatives and especially Harlan Crow,

  Harlan R. Crow affiliations,

I began to get a more complete, and truly frightening picture. There at the center surrounding Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas were all the foundations: Castle Rock, Charles Koch, Scaife, Searle and Bradley. Most of the Conservative think tanks and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (remember what the did to Kerry?), American Enterprise Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis and Progress for America Voter Fund! Alongside the funders were all the names associated with Conservative influence in America - and some internationally.

Additionally, we have SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia who is also a member of the Federalist Society along with Samuel Alito .

Who would believe that this trail from lowly interns would lead all the way to our Supreme Court and into the heart of the Conservative Cabal like never before. For those who have not seen or don't remember the ALEC connections to all this, here it is expanded and found at Muckety.

  imageDownload (2)

 ALEC is the "legislative" arm of the cabal, writing the pro-corporate pro-conservative legislation that become the law of our states and nation. George Mason University is the center of influence upon our Judiciary; seminars, internship programs such as the IHS and their Law Education Center used to "educate" judges. Kansas University named in the IHS chart has a "Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy". Most who have studied ALEC know that Shook, Hardy and Bacon's two top lobbyists and partners, Victor Schwartz and Mark Behrens represent ALEC in the filing of briefs, Schwartz is the Chairman of the Civil Justice Task Force and Behrens serves as the "Advisor" on that same ALEC task force. Behrens is one of two SHB lobbyists who got caught lobbying for ALEC in ND in 2009 on Asbestos legislation proposed by ALEC and under consideration in that state at the time.

So we have an intricately and well organized web stretching from the Koch brothers HQ in Kansas all the way through our state legislators, to the U.S. Congress and beyond that right into the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court...and to add insult to injury that influential web crosses the Atlantic in the form of the recently closed Atlantic Bridge Charity operated by/with ALEC. This "Charity" was just closed down and the UK with the Minister of Defense resigning in the midst of a scandal that continues to widen and encompass more of Britain's top government officials, ALEC and some of their corporate members.

The foregoing is why I and many others have tried to convince Democrats - and especially Progessives in the Party to put aside their differences and pool resources and organize a defense against the cabal. As this shows, they are anything but disorganized or under funded in their activities. They may prevail unless we stop beating on them with twigs and begin finding 2" x 4"'s to hit back with. To continue to battle them separately on teachers fighting over their education legislation, unions fighting on collective bargaining, students fighting back over voter suppression is to fight their fight. This is what they anticipate and are prepared to overcome. This cabal has the money, influence and power all concentrated in the hands of Ol' Chucky and Davy Boy. They have gathered the major Conservative family foundations to their side to fund, have used that money to buy further influence within each state, our Congress, the state/federal judiciary and the Supreme Court.

To rebut our identifying all this power and influence the Conservatives rebut that by using George Soros' name as doing the same thing for the Liberals and Progressives...I only frigging wish he would! If/when we come together and unify and take it to them on a national platform, that will be something they will have never anticipated - because Progressives can never quit quibbling amongst themselves and unify. If this is done, they will be caught flat footed and have to develop other initiatives and plans to prevail. Let's not fight their fight any longer...

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