Sunday, November 28, 2010

The BRAD BLOG

The BRAD BLOG

Signalfire » Italian students protest austerity cuts

Signalfire » Italian students protest austerity cuts

Signalfire » Chinese schoolchildren go on the rampage

Signalfire » Chinese schoolchildren go on the rampage

WikiLeaks Archive — Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy - NYTimes.com

WikiLeaks Archive — Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy - NYTimes.com

t r u t h o u t | The Naked Truth About Capital Gains

t r u t h o u t | The Naked Truth About Capital Gains

Bush could be Arrested in Europe: Turley to Olbermann | Informed Comment

Bush could be Arrested in Europe: Turley to Olbermann | Informed Comment

A Gift From Long Ago - NYTimes.com

A Gift From Long Ago - NYTimes.com

The Real Threat to America - NYTimes.com

The Real Threat to America - NYTimes.com

YouTube - The Origins of War in Child Abuse - The Author Interview

YouTube - The Origins of War in Child Abuse - The Author Interview

Common Man News: How Can We Expect Wall St. Thieves to Stop Stealing Unless We Throw Them in Prison?

Common Man News: How Can We Expect Wall St. Thieves to Stop Stealing Unless We Throw Them in Prison?

YouTube - The Origins of War in Child Abuse

YouTube - The Origins of War in Child Abuse

Common Man News: There Will Be Blood

Common Man News: There Will Be Blood

Common Man News: The Shock Doctrine Push to Gut Social Security and Middle Class

Common Man News: The Shock Doctrine Push to Gut Social Security and Middle Class

Over 900 TSA complaints in Nov., ACLU says | Raw Story

Over 900 TSA complaints in Nov., ACLU says | Raw Story

The Unemployed Held Hostage, Again - NYTimes.com

The Unemployed Held Hostage, Again - NYTimes.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let's invade Mexico!

http://www.fredoneverything.net/Lumbo.shtml

GORDON DUFF: IRAN-KOREA NUCLEAR LIES, ORDERS FROM TEL AVIV : Veterans Today

GORDON DUFF: IRAN-KOREA NUCLEAR LIES, ORDERS FROM TEL AVIV : Veterans Today

A Voltaire Network collaborator jailed in Berlin [Voltaire]

A Voltaire Network collaborator jailed in Berlin [Voltaire]

The Scribe: The Pentagon vs. the truth about Pat Tillman

The Scribe: The Pentagon vs. the truth about Pat Tillman

Rothschild Bank AND Goldman Sachs Are Both On The LIST Of Bondholders Getting U.S. Taxpayer Billions In Irish Bailout - Home - The Daily Bail

Rothschild Bank AND Goldman Sachs Are Both On The LIST Of Bondholders Getting U.S. Taxpayer Billions In Irish Bailout - Home - The Daily Bail

Countrywide Documentation Disaster to Explode at Bank of America? — NETNET—CNBC, CNBC.com - CNBC

Countrywide Documentation Disaster to Explode at Bank of America? — NETNET—CNBC, CNBC.com - CNBC

YouTube - North Korea bombing: South Korean prez looks for war PR boost?

YouTube - North Korea bombing: South Korean prez looks for war PR boost?

YouTube - 'Irish bailout a gamble, Eurozone days numbered'

YouTube - 'Irish bailout a gamble, Eurozone days numbered'

Persecuted FEMA 9-11 Photographer Fights Extradition - 12160

Persecuted FEMA 9-11 Photographer Fights Extradition - 12160

t r u t h o u t | Hands Off My ObamaCare

t r u t h o u t | Hands Off My ObamaCare

t r u t h o u t | Tax the Rich: A Deficit Plan That Doesn't Hit We, The People

t r u t h o u t | Tax the Rich: A Deficit Plan That Doesn't Hit We, The People

Friday, November 19, 2010

How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff

Friday, November 19th, 2010
Friends,
When someone talks about pushing you off a cliff, it's just human nature to be curious about them. Who are these people, you wonder, and why would they want to do such a thing?
That's what I was thinking when corporate whistleblower Wendell Potter revealed that, when "Sicko" was being released in 2007, the health insurance industry's PR firm, APCO Worldwide, discussed their Plan B: "Pushing Michael Moore off a cliff."
But after looking into it, it turns out, it's nothing personal! APCO wants to push everyone off a cliff.
APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter -- best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake "grassroots" organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, "normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans" were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged -- outraged! -- by exactly the things APCO's clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were "furious" that regular people had the right to sue big corporations...you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report "The CALA Files" (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)
Right about now you may be wondering: how many Americans get pushed off a cliff by Big Tobacco every year? The answer is 443,000 Americans die every year due to smoking. That's a big cliff.
With this success under their belts, APCO created "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition." TASSC, funded partly by Exxon, had a leading role in a planned campaign by the fossil fuel industry to create doubt about global warming. The problem for Big Oil speaking out against global warming, according to the campaign's own leaked documents, was that the public could see the "vested interest" that oil companies had in opposing environmental laws. APCO's job was to help conceal those oil company interests.
And boy, have they ever succeeded. Polls now show that, as the world gets hotter, Americans are getting less and less worried about it.
How big is this particular cliff? According to the World Health Organization, climate change contributes -- right now -- to the deaths of 150,000 people every year. By 2030 it may be double that. And after that...well, the sky is literally the limit! I don't think it's crazy to say APCO may rack up even bigger numbers here than they have with tobacco.
With this track record, you can see why, when the health insurance industry wanted to come after "Sicko," they went straight to APCO. The "worst case," as their leaked documents say, was that "Sicko evolves into a sustained populist movement." That simply could not be allowed to happen. Something obviously had to be done.
As Wendell Potter explains, APCO ran their standard playbook, setting up something called "Health Care America." Health Care America, according to Potter, "was received by mainstream reporters, including the New York Times, as a legitimate organization when it was nothing but a front group set up by APCO Worldwide. It was not anything approaching what it was reporting to be: a 'grassroots organization.' It was a sham group."
Health Care America showed up online in 2007 (the year "Sicko" was released) and disappeared quickly by early 2008. You can still find their website archived here. As you'll see, their "moderated forum" allowed normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-the-insurance-industry Americans to speak out. For instance, here's something Nicole felt very strongly about:
"Moore shouldn't be allowed to call his film a 'documentary.' It should be called a political commercial. We need to fix our health care system, but we shouldn’t accept a Hollywood moviemaker’s political views as the starting point."
Here's what Wendell Potter revealed about the insurance industry's media strategy:
"As we would do the media training, we would always have someone refer to him as 'Hollywood entertainer' or 'Hollywood moviemaker Michael Moore.' They don't want you to think that it was a documentary that had some truth."
Thanks for your perspective, "Nicole"!
Now, how big was THAT cliff? A pretty good size -- according to a recent study, 45,000 Americans die every year because they don't have health insurance.
And here we are in 2010. A lesser PR firm might be resting on its laurels at this point, content to sit back and watch hundreds of thousands of people continue to be pushed off the various cliffs they've built. But not APCO! Right now they've taken on their biggest challenge yet: leading a giant, multi-million dollar effort to help Wall Street "earn back the trust of the American people."
We may never know the size of this particular cliff. But we can be sure it's gigantic. According to the New York Times, one of the things Wall Street's recession gave us is "the crippling of the government program that provides life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to Americans with H.I.V. or AIDS who cannot afford them." Internationally, organizations fighting AIDS and other diseases are "hugely afraid" of cutbacks in funding.
Of course, there are the 101 ways recessions kill quietly. For instance, children's hospitals are seeing a sharp 55% rise in the abuse of babies by parents.
And that's just the previous cliff. If APCO and its Wall Street co-conspirators lull us into turning our backs on them again, we can be sure the next cliff -- the next crash -- will be much bigger.
Anyway, this is all just a way for me to say to APCO: No hard feelings! My getting mad at you would be like a chicken who's still happily pecking away getting mad at McDonald's. Compared to the millions you've already turned into McNuggets, you've actually treated me much, much BETTER! Spying on my family, planting smears and lies about me, privately badgering movie critics to give the film a poor review, scaring Americans into believing they'd be committing a near-act of treason were they to go to the theater and see my movie -- hey, ya done good, health insurance companies of America. And, most important, you stopped the nation from getting true universal health care. Good job!
There's only one problem -- I'm not one of those "liberals" you fund in Congress, the ones who fear your power.
I'm me. And that, sadly, is not good for you.
Yours in good health,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com
P.S. It seems to me that APCO's discussion of pushing me off a cliff should legitimately be part of their Wikipedia page. And why not something about their role in Wall Street's new PR offensive? So I'm asking everyone interested to write something up that meets Wikipedia's guidelines and help bring the APCO Worldwide entry up to date. Post it somewhere online and send a tweet about it to @mmflint. I'll award a signed copy of "Sicko" by noon Sunday to the best entry...and then deputize you to post it on Wikipedia for real and make sure APCO's minions don't take it down. Just be sure afterward not to walk near any cliffs!
P.P.S. The late, great comedian Bill Hicks had some thoughts about marketing and the people who do it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crash JPMorgan, Buy Silver Now – A Report :

Crash JPMorgan, Buy Silver Now – A Report :

Angry Over Airport Full Body Scans? On the Horizon, Red Flag Tests | DBKP - Death By 1000 Papercuts - DBKP

Angry Over Airport Full Body Scans? On the Horizon, Red Flag Tests | DBKP - Death By 1000 Papercuts - DBKP

The Anglo-American axis

Anglo-American Axis

The Anglo-American axis, within the context of the power, elite, is the unacknowledged cultural cradle of the latest effort to consolidate countries and governments into a global order. One needs to see the axis from a historical perspective to understand its evolution and the strength that it derives from successive waves of immigration.

From Wikipedia we learn that "Anglo-Saxons" – the Germanic tribes that entered England after the fall of Rome -

drove the indigenous people out of most of the region and into Wales. There were at least three tribes. First, the Angles from Angeln, the whole nation of which apparently entered Britain, "leaving their former land empty." (The etymology, then, would be Anglo-Saxon 'Engla land' or '├ćngla land'.) Second, were the Saxons from Lower Saxony and, third, apparently, the Jutes from Denmark.

The Anglo-Saxons in England were in turn invaded by the Viking Normans. According to Wikipedia, "The name 'Normans' derives from 'Northmen' or 'Norsemen', after the Vikings from Scandinavia who founded (French) Normandy. ... In 1066, Duke William II of Normandy conquered England killing King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. The invading Normans and their descendants replaced the Anglo-Saxons as the ruling class of England ... Eventually, the Normans merged with the natives, combining languages and traditions. In the course of the Hundred Years war, the Norman aristocracy often identified themselves as English. The Anglo-Norman language became distinct from the French language."

There was yet, perhaps, one more cultural overlay, a most controversial one and part of what may be termed "secret history." This, according to certain historians was a migration of various Venetian banking families to England during a period of perhaps 200 years (1500-1700). These wealthy and powerful families, some apparently with Jewish antecedents, are said to have established themselves within the independent enclave of the "City of London" a financial district and the epicenter of world-spanning Anglo-American financial power. Eventually, these families, inter-marrying with Anglo-Saxons, are said to have become part of the royalty of Britain with familial branches through Europe and especially in Germany, France and Italy.

The "Anglo" power elite that emerged from the above waves of conquest, if such "secret history" is deemed to be true, was highly militant and manipulative – perhaps the most ruthless and vibrant power-culture on the planet. It utilized fiat money and central banking as tools to impose its will throughout Europe. Set back by the communication explosion of the Gutenberg press and resultant Reformation, it nonetheless persevered and created, eventually, a "democratic" facade of governance behind which it could continue to exercise leadership and further consolidate hidden authority.

The American exception, especially as enunciated by the American libertarian philosopher and statesman Thomas Jefferson, was a conscious attempt to break away from the mercantile authoritarianism of Europe and the Anglo power elite. These "united States of America" were successful in pursuing a republican, agrarian legislative order until the "War Between the States" – partially funded by New York banks controlled by the Anglo elite – put an end to the Republic and ushered in a new order, the Anglo-American axis.

It is this Anglo-American axis (a "special relationship") that has dominated the Western world for the past 150 years. It is a secretive and closely guarded group of families and individuals with enormous wealth derived from the implementation of mercantilist central banking. In recent years, America has provided the military power and to a large extent the corporate vehicles that have projected the "one world" vision of the Anglo-American elite throughout the West, and even to Africa and Asia.

The ruthless progress of the Anglo-American axis – or Empire – depended in large part on secrecy and on the implementation of fear-based dominant social themes that were used to control the expanding populace and to further consolidate wealth and power. These themes were promoted through an intricate array of think tanks, universities and government organizations that first presented the concepts and then provided authoritarian solutions. The introduction of the Internet, like the Gutenberg press before it, has exposed the machinations of the Anglo-American power elite and made visible the secret mechanisms of control via dominant social themes.

The Anglo-American power axis is currently in retreat, its authoritarian promotions giving way to increasingly failed attempts at manipulation via outright force and the implementation of legislation that has not been properly promoted. Since it is impossible for a few thousand to harry the world's billions into submission via brute authoritarianism, one would assume at some point that the latest efforts at global governance would be abandoned and the Anglo-American power elite would take a step back to come up with new control methodologies as they have before.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Angry Voters of a Decaying Empire

Editor’s Note: The collective will of American voters, as expressed in Election 2010, to put corporatist Republicans back in charge speaks volumes about the popular delusions that continue to dominate U.S. politics and culture.
The message also is confirmation that the decaying American empire continues to corrode not only the nation’s strength but its collective sanity, as poet Phil Rockstroh notes in this guest essay:
 
 
Once again, partisan Democrats are reeling in shock and humiliation, boggled by a familiar scenario -- the sheer velocity of their reversal of fortune and the Republican right's perennial ascendency.
Democrats implore, why is it voters occupying less than privileged positions in the economic order evince such ardor embracing the principles of a political creed dedicated to their exploitation for the benefit of a ruthless few?

There is truth in the one-liner that Democrats bandy: Anyone from the working or middle class who votes Republican is suffering from Battered Wife Syndrome.
Although one is tempted to retort, anyone who votes for either one of the corporate/National Security State parties is closer to a half-senile spinster who still believes her prince will come.
For decades, middle and laboring class conservatives have been hoarding their resentments against phantom enemies, foreign and domestic, as the time-yellowed, eroded social contract, once, offering a better life for themselves and for their children, has crumbled to dust in their hands.
By the financial machinations of elitist kleptocrats and the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar money pit, they have been endowed with little else but this stash of toxic baubles they store against reality.

"The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens." -- Leo Tolstoy

Amid the casual brutalities and nettling banalities of the U.S.'s perpetual militarism and its entrenched culture of corporate oligarchy, two pernicious modes of being, seemingly unrelated, arise, converge and cross-pollinate: the collective compulsion to displace fear and rage intertwined with an aura of personal dislocation and collective anomie.

This has been the legacy wrought by the nation's collective will to beat its civic plowshares into the Pentagon's war machine (as well as those much needed accouterments of the commonweal such as the fleets of the tax-exempt, Gulf-Stream jets appropriated by corporate oligarchs).

As the people of a fading empire, our self-absorbed victim-swoon is only exceeded by our paranoia: We cower from phantoms and rage at realms of invisibles: Within this empire of Paxil, Palin and paranoia, collective fear of all the wrong things has made the U.S. and her people analogous to a car alarm that issues a shrill, electronic warning to an empty parking lot.
In reality, no intruder has attempted to invade the car’s envelope of steel, aluminum, and glass. A sudden gust of wind was the culprit. Yet it disturbs all within earshot, announcing the presence of imaginary marauders.

Attempting to cope with the degradations of a violence-prone, exploitive system and its attendant degraded social milieu, an individual can become susceptible to demagogic narratives that serve to displace overwhelming feelings of rage, shame, and mortification. Thus, around the clock, right-wing media haters -- human, hair-trigger car alarms -- admonish empty air.

Overextended empires, and the distracted and harried individuals within, will stand, bristling in a paranoid posture, with feet planted in stubborn defiance of changing circumstances, snarling at invisible threats and imagined affronts, as life moves on with indifferent grace.

A nebulous sense of anger, co-existing with free-floating ennui, has become normalized, leveling a sense of desolation and inflicting a hyper-attenuation of the will to freedom upon the psyches of U.S. conservatives of modest economic means.
What remains: brittle pride, paranoia, belligerence, and empty braggadocio -- each serving to occlude from their conscious awareness the reality of the nation's plummeting quality of life.

By any metric, other than military spending and armament production, the U.S. is nowhere close to occupying the top dog position it once held among nations ... maybe global junkyard dog.
In the U.S., it is astonishing to hear middle and laboring class conservatives defend their degradation by the present corporate order i.e., how they refer to the leash, held by their corporate masters around their necks, as their wings of freedom.

Thus corporatism, by its diffuse nature, avoids direct critique, as, all the while, it atomizes community. The money generated doesn't remain in neighborhoods; instead, profits flow back to corporate headquarters.
These practices of the corporate state (that go nearly unquestioned) have rendered U.S. culture bland and inflicted alienation in their wake.

The culture has been reduced to a center-devoid archipelago disconnected to community commerce and communal engagement. This is revealed, in microcosm, in the nature of the bland, uniform food proffered at corporate chain restaurants which is produced for quick profits in order to provisionally assuage the disproportionally large appetites of the denizens of the consumer state.

Hopes and dreams have been crowded out and marginalized by oversized, empty cravings ... My heart is bereft -- but I can fill my belly with giant burgers and endless varieties of donuts ... Buddhists term this state of being: existing as a hungry ghost.

As corporate chains conquer every block, waistlines expand and civic engagement shrinks ... Shuffling, bereft, through the consumer state's soul-denuded architecture of anonymity, we, in turn, have internalized the illusory image-scape of the mass media hologram.
The human being as consumer is not only clad in corporate chain clothes but wears its labels within.

Due to the banality, blandness and flat out ugliness of the strip mall/big box store/fast food outlet, prefab nothingvilles of the U.S. landscape, life under corporatism is as seductive as the glare of florescent tube lighting in a convenience store.
Our suburban architecture looks as though Socialist Realist architects of the old Soviet Union grew bored of the worker's paradise of Hell, rose to earth, and went into the prefab structure design business.

The difference between the Soviet Union during its last few decades and the U.S. Empire in its death swoon is the people of the Soviet Union knew it was all a fraud. In contrast, our corporate masters are too wily to display their corrupt carcasses on the reviewing stand on May Day as the fraudulent parade trundles past.

At present, the only reason voting is still permitted is to provide a wall of camouflage for corporate oligarchs. Their power remains hidden … provided the public believes, by voting, they are afforded any significant degree of mastery regarding the condition of their lives and the trajectory of their fates.

Extreme totalitarian policies such as Stalin's engineered famines aren't required under the hidden (loose knit) authoritarianism of the present system:
Our corporate commissars have more cunning, albeit less dramatic, methods of keeping people in their place: keep the workforce off balance with downsizing, arbitrary staff reductions, and outsourcing; inflict a famine of the mind by means of a class-stratified system of education, in combination with a constant and enveloping bombardment of inane mass media content; and provide food, plentiful amounts of it, but manufacture food products as high caloric, high fat, high sugar, growth hormone-injected, antibiotic-sodden, empty calorie delivery systems e.g., corporate chain death burgers and donuts of doom.

Although, in a traditional sense, the swag the privileged class mountebanks have made off with isn't actually money; in reality, they are in possession of a cache of weightless pixels funneling through a matrix of computer systems.
There is simply the illusion of money in the vaults of the nation's colossal banking entities. The only thing the financial elite didn’t steal for themselves was any sense of self-awareness, because if there was ever an honest audit of their ill-gotten assets the illusion would be exposed and the house of electronic cards would fly asunder.

And that time is approaching. Soon enough, the next black swan will glide into the picture. And this presents peril: Prolonged hopelessness breeds rage. When that rage is unloosed, the fabric of civilization unravels and is soon cobbled together as a death shroud.

Accordingly, right-wing hatred is a many-headed hydra that feeds on fear and desperation. It cannot be fought by attacking its spindling heads, each of its hissing mouths dripping black poison. Instead, one must thrust at the noxious heart of the raging beast.
But one cannot know where the heart of an external monster beats without gazing upon one's own ugliness. One's ugliness, with apologies to Emily Dickinson, must be public like a frog.

Apropos: How can it be, on a level of collective awareness, the populace of the U.S. can persist in avoiding blundering in to this steaming pile of the obvious: How can we have a modicum of empathy for the people of Iraq when we refuse to even glimpse our own degraded condition and our complicity therein?
What does it speak of a people who can be indifferent, inured, or ignorant regarding the following?

‎"The Battalion commander walked into the weight room where 3rd platoon was at, yelled out 'Listen up, new battalion SOP (standard operating procedure) from now on: Anytime your convoy gets hit by an IED, I want 360 degree rotational fire. You kill every motherfucker in the street'" -- former U.S. soldier, who served in Iraq, Ethan McCord.

The Military Industrial Complex/National Security State serves no one but the God of Death, munitions manufacturers and those politicians they bribe. War is a money train for the rich and connected and a death wagon for everyone else.

Regardless, the people of the United States owe the Iraqi people an amends. If we demure, we will remain caged by our ignorance. That will be our punishment: our fates, analogous to a mistreated dog that licks the hand of his cruel master and exists, restless and vicious, behind a fence, snarling at the passing world.

There are many worlds, many heavens and many hells -- and they are all in this one. Without a public accounting of, as well as, restitution made for our crimes, we, in the U.S., will remain in our own tiny, fenced-in hell, straining against the tether of our tiny view of the world ... barking and snapping at empty air in futile rage.

Because our sense of entitlement here in the U.S. engenders so much death and suffering overseas, at times, I feel like shouting in frustration:
"I don't give the hind quarters of a small rodent about the beliefs, feelings, consumer preferences nor fates of the somnambulant herds of big box store waddling, overgrown adult infants of this empire of the arrogant and the empty. Millions have been murdered worldwide so that these entitlement-maddened monsters can keep their SUVs topped-off with gas, and their fat brats' greedy gobs stuffed with Hot Pockets & Juicy Juice."

Yet as Hannah Arendt observed: "Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing."

Years ago, I had a friend, a struggling artist, who purchased an old, dilapidated, Victorian-era house. Upon moving in, he discovered the place was infested with cockroaches. Worse, the house sat close to railroad tracks and when trains trundled by, shaking the structure, its floors, walls, and ceilings would seethe with agitated cockroaches.

Since no amount of bug spray could lessen the infestation, he began zapping individual insects with glow-in-the-dark spray paint. After many months of this endeavor, when friends dropped by after dark, and, subsequently, a train rumbled down the tracks adjacent to the house, he would switch off the lights and all present were dazzled by his creation -- a moving, organic mobile of scuttling, multi-colored, living art.

At present, this is where we find ourselves as a people: powerless before the ugliness of the age. Therefore, we have little choice other than to light up the ugliness and turn the objects of our revulsion (personal and collective) into something resembling the truth of art.

Darkness must and will descend upon us. The absence of light must grow so unbearable that we’re willing to ask how is it we arrived in this place and begin to illuminate the darkness by revealing the scuttling, creepy crawlers of empire.
Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: phil@philrockstroh.com. Visit Phil's Web site  And at FaceBook

Cascade Policy Institute nothing but paid HIT MEN!

State Policy Network


6255 Arlington Boulevard
Richmond, CA 94805
www.spn.org
Founding Chairman: Thomas Roe
Established: 1992
Formerly Known As: The Madison Group
President: Tracie Sharp
Financials: $391,496 (2001 budget)
Membership: 40 state membership groups in 37 states
Publications: SPN News (quarterly newsletter), SPN group directory.
Read the latest news on the State Policy Network on the group's Right Wing Watch index page

SPN's Principal Issues:

  • SPN is a national network of state-based right-wing organizations in 37 states as well as prominent nationwide right-wing organizations. Through its network SPN advances the public policy ideas of the expansive right-wing political movement on the state and local level.
  • Due to SPN's state think tank network, smaller organizations have met with success by following the Heritage Foundation model of extensive public relations to court the media and politicians in an effort to have more impact on public policy. The agenda of Heritage and most of SNP's network members are nearly identical: privatization of most public services and hostility to public education.
  • SPN's Purpose: "The Era of Big Government is not over. Federal control has merely been reinforced by state mandates. This is the reality of the 'New Federalism.' Independent think tanks that promote market-oriented public policy ideas at the state and local levels are confronting that reality head-on, working in the trenches at the forefront of the movement for free market policy solutions, and State Policy Network is boosting its capacity to support them."
  • SPN's leadership work includes "program planning, delivery, evaluation" and establishing "outreach programs" to help smaller organizations to market and promote themselves to lawmakers and business leaders.
  • SPN is a network of "state-based think tanks," organizations, corporations, and foundations in the "conservative/free market movement."

SPN's Activities:

  • SPN provides seminars and workshops on areas such as market analysis and fundraising strategies for non-profits to market themselves in the for-profit world.
  • The State Policy Network has received funding from the Olin Foundation, the Richard & Helen DeVos Foundation, the Bradley Foundation and the Castle Rock Foundation (Coors affiliated). The Network meets regularly to share strategies and coordinate activities.
  • Through SPN's network the different state membership groups lobby and organize on a local and state level for privatization of many public services including schools and mass transportation, deregulation of business, and opposition to organized labor.

SPN's Members and Associates: [partial list]

Acton Institute
Alabama Policy Institute
American Legislative Exchange Council
Allegheny Institute for Public Policy
Americans for Tax Reform
Arkansas Policy Foundation
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Cascade Policy Institute
Commonwealth Foundation
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Foundation for Economic Education
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Heartland Institute
Heritage Foundation
Institute for Justice
Landmark Legal Foundation
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
National Center for Policy Analysis
Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Research Institute
Pioneer Institute
Reason Foundation
Southeastern Legal Foundation

recipients by amount granted from:

Roe Foundation

301 N. Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
For years:
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Total contributed: $ 10,491,429
Name Total
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund 886,700
Heritage Foundation, The 831,000
South Carolina Policy Council 661,000
State Policy Network 640,000
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc. 455,000
Evergreen Freedom Foundation 235,000
Mackinac Center for Public Policy 225,000
Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) 220,000
Miracle Hill Ministries 219,800
Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions 190,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation 187,500
Cascade Policy Institute 180,000
Indiana Policy Review Foundation

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steve Fung's Halloween Week.

Aldous Huxley, English author, 1894--1963

"One of the great attractions of patriotism -- it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Attention All Flag-Wavers

Attention All Flag-Wavers
You Want War? Pay For It


by Eric Margolis
Smmirking Chimp
October 31, 2010


I don't ever recall seeing such an ugly, dim-witted, childish American election as this coming week's mid-term vote.

A national frenzy has seized America. Fierce debate and name-calling has raged about job losses, the nation's growing $12 trillion debt, mandatory health care, socialism - and even witchcraft. Sarah Palin, the patron saint of low IQ Americans, has hovered over this sordid contest like an evil Halloween wraith.

If we believe polls, the Democrats look like toast. President Barack Obama may be ready to join the ranks of the unemployed.

What did Democrats think would happen when they eagerly took over the monumental financial and military mess created by George W. Bush and the Republicans? No wonder Republicans are gleefully rubbing their hands. But now they may be next to get stuck with Bush's Tar Baby.

Amidst all the low-brow invective, Tom Brokaw, the respected former national news host for NBC News, recently wrote a fine opinion column, "The Wars That America Forgot About."

He quite rightly asked why the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been ignored during the election race. After nine years of combat, 5,000 US dead and 35,000 seriously wounded soldiers, and expenditure of over $1 trillion - silence.

These longest and second most expensive wars in US history have dropped off the radar. Not even the latest WikiLeaks shocker, which revealed the US condoning death squads, torture and mass human rights violations in Iraq, became a campaign issue.

No one raised the scandalous fact that US-run Afghanistan and Washington's political satraps there produce and export 94% of the world's heroin. Russian drug authorities just claimed that Afghan heroin kills 10,000 Russians annually.

The Iraq and Afghan wars are ignored, Brokaw rightly says, because Americans are totally focused on high unemployment and economic insecurity. America's wars have become irrelevant.

The US professional military represents less than 1% of the population, mostly working-class people from small towns in America's rural, poorly-educated heartland.

It's not like Vietnam War days, when millions of Americans were drafted to serve in the war, creating huge public protests that eventually ended the war.

The US has adopted Imperial Britain's model of small, all-volunteer armies fighting in remote colonial wars to supposedly bring the light of Christianity and justice to benighted natives.

However, it now costs $1 million per annum to keep each of the 120,000 US troops in Afghanistan. The US has also deployed over 40,000 armed mercenaries in that nation.

Americans have become psychologically detached from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, even as the specter of stalemate or even defeat in both conflicts looms.

Brokaw calls on Americans to re-engage and give their wars the public and politicians the attention they urgently need.


Waging stealth wars it undemocratic and unwise.

During World War II, America's "Home Front" was engaged in the conflict by war taxes, rationing, buying war bonds, collecting clothing and metal, and accepting shortages of consumer products.

By contrast, President George W. Bush actually cut income taxes in wartime, the only time in US history this has happened.

In an act of profound financial deception, instead of funding the Afghan and Iraq Wars through higher taxes, the Bush White House and subservient Congress financed the wars by "Emergency Supplement Requests," which were supposed to be only used short-term for natural disasters and the like.

Bush's view appears to have been, "apres moi, le deluge." He raised the national debt to vertiginous levels, vastly expanded the size of government, increased military spending by 50%, on top of cutting taxes.

The first wave of the deluge came in 2007-2008, as a financial cataclysm hit America. More is on the way as the US stumbles from one financial crisis to another - the latest being bankrupt states and pension funds.

The real $1 trillion plus costs of the wars were quietly added to the $12 trillion national debt, America's credit card. Funds to finance these huge war loans was borrowed from China and Japan, putting America ever deeper in thrall to the Asian powers, and undermining its finances.

The Obama administration and Democratic-controlled Congress continued Bush's dishonest method of war finance, hiding costs from the public.

America's wars should be fully funded through direct taxes. History shows great powers cannot long go on waging imperial wars on credit. Look at Spain, Holland, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. Which empire do we think will be next?

A special war tax ought to be levied on all Americans to fully cover the mounting costs of Afghanistan and Iraq. We must pay for our wars and world hegemony.

It will be interesting to see how all the flag-waving Republican "patriots" will react when asked to pay for the wars they so passionately support from the safety of their sofas, and at no apparent cost.

Make Americans actually pay for Afghanistan and Iraq and these wars would be ended in short order.

But if Republicans likely retake Congress, it is most unlikely a war tax - or any major new taxes -will be implemented. Republicans have gone from being the party of balanced budgets and pay as you go to a northern version of Argentina's wild spending Peronista Party.

Right-wing Republicans will press for more war, in more places - financed, of course, by the magic of credit. Few stop to think that this manic borrowing it wrecking America.