John Kasich

New Reports Expose a Hidden Conservative “Cabal” Masquerading as Think Tanks

New Reports Expose a Hidden Conservative “Cabal” Masquerading as Think Tanks

An Analysis by Bob Sloan

ALECExtremeRightWingCPS2001The above graphic charts the relationship(s) between dozens of extreme right-wing organizations, foundations, institutes, conservative owned companies and wealthy individuals working together to advance a pro-conservative agenda against a majority of Americans.  I used this graphic in May of 2011 in an effort of exposing the formation of a secretive “Cabal” dedicated to changing the way our democracy works.  Now other sources have revealed – and corroborate – the existence of such a cabal is in fact true…

Yesterday twelve new reports were jointly announced by CMD and ProgressNow research groups in a press release.  The findings of these comprehensive reports expose the involvement of a nefarious network operating under the umbrella of the State Policy Network (SPN), an $83 million web of right-wing “think tanks” embedded in every state across the country.  This network, operating under guidance from the Koch brothers, Charles and David, is responsible for many “spin-off” organizations and groups such as American’s for Prosperity, American’s for Tax Reform and the Tea Party.  Through their joint efforts our public school systems, healthcare, rights to vote, tort “reforms” and other key initiatives are funded and the conservative position on each advanced.  In effect this is a highly organized and influential network used to advance a political agenda expressing only one point of view.  Additionally nearly every member of this Cabal operates as a non-profit entity with tax exempt status, allowing the millions spent to be recouped as tax deductible “contributions” and/or operations. The goal sought is to allow a minority to gain and exert control and power over the majority.

For three plus years now VLTP, CMD and several other research groups have reported that through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch brothers along with well known affluent and influential “families” such as the Waltons, (WalMart), Coors, Scaifes, DeVos’  and Bradleys have funded numerous organizations, institutes, think tanks and foundations to coordinate and advance a RW agenda against American workers, consumers and voters.  I have continuously referred to this network as “the Cabal”.  Websters defines a cabal thus: 

“1 :  the artifices and intrigues of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government); also :  a group engaged in such artifices and intrigues”

Wikipedia provides perhaps the best description of a cabal – and it precisely describes this heretofore secret network…

“A cabal is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views or interests in a churchstate, or other community, often by intrigue. Cabals are sometimes secret societies composed of a few designing persons, and at other times are manifestations of emergent behavior in society or governance on the part of a community of persons who have well established public affiliation or kinship. The term can also be used to refer to the designs of such persons or to the practical consequences of their emergent behavior, and also holds a general meaning of intrigue and conspiracy. The use of this term usually carries strong connotations of shadowy corners, back rooms and insidious influence. The term is frequently used in conspiracy theories…”

The founder of ALEC, Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation and co-founder of Christian Voice and the Moral Majority was Paul Weyrich who used initial funding provided by the Coors family to launch those RW organizations.  Previously we reported on Weyrich’s “manifesto” (written by Eric Heubeck) that was published by Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation in 2001, titled; The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement.  This document provides a literal written road map used by ultra-Conservatives to subvert democracy and wrest it from the hands of Americans.

A read of this disgusting but important document reveals that this is indeed the path used over the past 13 years that has totally changed the political atmosphere of the U.S. Prophetically, Heubeck and Weyrich describe their methodology as “dominionism”:

“According to TheocracyWatch, and the Anti-Defamation League, both Weyrich and his Free Congress Foundation were closely associated with Dominionism.[22][23]TheocracyWatch listed both as leading examples of “dominionism in action,” citing “a manifesto from Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation”, The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement[24] “illuminates the tactics of the dominionist movement”.[22] TheocracyWatch, which calls it ‘Paul Weyrich’s Training Manual’ and others consider this manifesto a virtual playbook for how the “theocratic right” in American politics can get and keep power.[25] The Anti-Defamation League identified Weyrich and the Free Congress Foundation as part of an alliance of more than 50 of the most prominent conservative Christian leaders and organizations that threaten the separation of church and state.[23] Weyrich continued to reject allegations that he advocated theocracy, saying, “[T]his statement is breathtaking in its bigotry”,[26] and dismissed the claim that the Christian right wished to transform America into a theocracy.[27]Katherine Yurica wrote that Weyrich guided Eric Heubeck in writing The Integration of Theory and Practice, the Free Congress Foundation‘s strategic plan published in 2001 by the FCF,[28] which she says calls for the use of deception, misinformation and divisiveness to allow conservative evangelical Christian Republicans to gain and keep control of seats of power in the government of the United States.”

The above treatise has been more successful than even Weyrich could have predicted.  Today two key ALEC alumni sit atop the pinnacle of our House of Representatives – Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor.  From positions of nearly unlimited legislative power, these two men ensure that the wishes of the Cabal are carried out at the federal level.  Another 80 members of the House of Representatives are also ALEC alumni – as are 11 U,S, Senators.  We see the guidance of the Cabal in the behavior of ALEC affiliated lawmakers today on key initiatives: Senators – James Inhofe, Michael Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), James Inhofe (R-OK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS),Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).  Many of these Senators appear in the media daily, sent out to speak on behalf of the Cabal for or against issues important to Americans; healthcare, voter suppression, right to work, privatization of public schools and dozens more.  They represent the true face of disinformation. Nationally ALEC’s membership of elected state lawmakers number nearly 2,000 today and are used to disseminate legislation written and then pursued by the Cabal state by state.  Over the past decade or so ALEC’s influence has spread from states through the federal level and internationally to foreign governments.  Currently ALEC has more than 18 foreign elected officials holding full membership and sitting down alongside corporate representatives and state lawmakers to help craft legislation that later becomes the law in many U.S. states. Other devoted alumni now hold positions as Governors of many states: Ohio (Kasich), Wisconsin (Walker), Arizona (Brewer) and many former Governors were also alumni or acolytes of ALEC and the cabal, as reported in ALEC Alumni data compiled in 2002 :

Michigan Governor John Engler 1993 Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award Recipient Louisiana Governor Mike Foster Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating 2000 Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award Recipient Colorado Governor Bill Owens New York Governor George Pataki Connecticut Governor John Rowland Past Governors Idaho Governor Phil Batt South Carolina Governor David Beasley Iowa Governor Terry Branstad ALEC Founding Member/1996 ALEC Pioneer Award Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson Illinois Governor Jim Edgar

This alumni list reveals that the first Homeland Security director, Tom Ridge was in fact an ALEC alum – as was Andrew Card who served as the White House chief of staff for the first five years of George W. Bush’s presidency. Additionally, as in Ohio, an active ALEC member, Representative Todd Snitchler was chosen by ALEC alum Governor Kasich as Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).  In that capacity Snitchler immediately raised rates for electric power for two of ALEC’s corporate members, American Electric Power (AEP) and Duke Energy – only to have to revoke the rate increases two months later.  Just this week news from Ohio involving PUCO and AEP revealed the Commission refused to negotiate on behalf of an aluminum company with AEP to ease rates and keep the company in business.  Snitchler’s action caused the shuttering of Ormet Corp., an aluminum smelting giant along the Ohio River and the onetime largest customer of American Electric Power. About 1,000 workers — mostly unionized steelworkers — are out of work.  This development comes as no surprise to most after Governor Kasich’s pursuit of anti-union legislation a couple of years ago. Two weeks ago in Nevada, ALEC’s state Chair, Senator Barbara Cegasvke announced she will run for the office of Nevada’s Secretary of State in next year’s election.  With appointments and election wins through the backing of the Cabal, it now has a sprinkling of hundreds of alumni or members serving as lawmakers, holding key cabinet positions, chairmanships of state departments and agencies.  Each of these individuals pursue the mandates of the Cabal with regard to education, energy, state and federal regulations and contribute to the continued successes of this network.

Kudos to the hard work, research and connecting of the dots by CMD and ProgressNow’s team of researchers.  I know this report took a substantial amount of effort to ferret out the connections, track the exchange of money through tax exempt contributions and donations.  What their work reveals – quite clearly now – is that in America a truly “shadow government” operated by a minority faction is secretly operating at all levels.  Due to it’s secrecy this Cabal has enjoyed success after success  for two or more decades without the public ever knowing of it’s existence. Now that this existence has been made public, I hope American’s will realize how they have been duped by Cabal owned media outlets into accepting this network’s deception and misinformation as fact – and will take the steps necessary in their communities and at the polls to free us all from their talon-like grip.  The CMD/ProgressNow report findings clearly show the efforts of this network to permanently change important programs to all of us; education, healthcare, social security, medicare and operations such as the USPS – in search of control and through that control, enrichment of the families at the top of the SPN “food chain”.

How Kasich’s Budget for Ohio Hurts All Schools, But Especially The Poorest

Governor John Kasich has made clear that he wants to privatize the schools of Ohio as much as possible with vouchers, charters, and online schools. His new budget reflects his attitude toward public education.

This report came from Jan Resseger in Cleveland. Jan works tirelessly on behalf of equity and social justice.

It is likely you have been getting mixed messages about Ohio’s proposed school funding plan. The political rhetoric is designed to confuse you. How to sort out the facts and how to consider the moral implications of the plan that will allocate opportunity among Ohio’s children?

First, forwarded below is an alert from the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. You’ll remember them as the DeRolph plaintiff group. The point being made here is clear and simple. Of course poor districts will get more from the state than the wealthiest districts, even though the proposed formula for this biennium rewards rich districts more than poor districts. All of Ohio’s school funding plans going back over a century deliver more money to poor districts. That is a primary function of a state funding formula… to make up at least to a tiny degree for disparate property taxing capacity across local school districts. Back in the 1990s, the Supreme Court of Ohio found four times that Ohio’s formula did not do a good enough job of equalizing access to opportunity.

The problem with this year’s budget proposal is that it doesn’t deliver anywhere what is needed to make up for vast disparities in local property taxing capacity. This means that school districts in wealthy communities will continue to have plenty while the poorest rural and urban districts won’t have nearly enough. This means, for example, that despite passage of a 15 mill levy last November, Cleveland probably still won’t be able to afford to reduce class size enough or hire back all the social workers who were laid off two years ago.

It is appropriate here to remember the words of political philosopher Benjamin Barber: “Equality is not achieved by restricting the fastest, but by assuring the less advantaged a comparable opportunity. Comparable in this matter does not mean identical. The disadvantaged usually require more assistance to compete. Adequate schooling allows those born disadvantaged to compete with those advantaged.”

Here also is a link to an analysis of the proposed state budget by an alternative newspaper in Cincinnati. It is a fair and balanced analysis.

In a constitutional, thorough and efficient system of public common schools, all students and all districts should be winners when a state budget bill is crafted. The state has the constitutional responsibility to secure a thorough and efficient system of public common schools for the benefit of all of Ohio’s school children. So why should there be any losers?

State administration officials, in regard to their state budget, had said such things as:

Students in every zip code deserve a quality education.

If you are poor you will get more, if you are rich you will get less.

The district-by-district spreadsheet revealed that poor districts typically will not receive more state aid than the current amount. The administration officials then said:

We were not looking for a specific per pupil funding number-there is no magical number.

We are not attempting to arrive at a cost amount per pupil.

Poor school districts receive more total state money per pupil.

A historical perspective is warranted. Poor districts have received more state money per pupil than rich districts since at least 1906. SB 103, enacted April 2, 1906, provided state funds to poor districts on top of the state subsidy of $1.85 per pupil for all districts. In May 1908, HB 1302 appropriated $45,000 “to assist with the maintenance of weak school districts.” A $50,000 appropriation, via HB 561, was enacted in May 1910-again, to put more state money in poor school districts.

The state’s first foundation program (Ohio Foundation Program) was enacted in 1935. The Foundation Program Act provided additional funding to poor districts in addition to the state “flat rate” per pupil amount to all districts. The legislature revised the foundation law in 1947 but the result remained the same-more state aid to poor districts.

In August 1975 the legislature enacted SB 170 which included the equal yield formula. The premise was to yield more state funds to poor districts. Equal yield was repealed in the early 1980s in favor of a return to the foundation program. The equal yield formula failed because it was grossly underfunded.

The idea of more funds for low wealth districts is obviously not new. However, even with more state funding per pupil provided to low wealth districts, the total per pupil revenue available to low wealth districts is much less than high wealth districts. Since, in general, low wealth districts will receive no increase with the proposed state budget, the equity gap will widen.

The proposed budget for FY 14 & FY 15 is a loser for all districts. In general, most school districts will be receiving less state and federal money than they received in FY 11. K-12 public education will not benefit from an improved Ohio economy under the state budget proposal and thus a greater burden will be shifted to local revenue sources. FY 2014 and FY 2015 STATE BUDGET PROPOSAL:

Rich districts, poor districts, which are the winners?

Ms. Jan Resseger
Minister for Public Education and Witness
Justice and Witness Ministries
700 Prospect, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3711

http://www.ucc.org/justice/public-education

“That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children…. is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination…. It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose… tied to one another by a common bond.” —Senator Paul Wellstone, March 31, 2000

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This article is written by Diane Ravitch and is posted at her blog at http://dianeravitch.net/2013/02/26/how-kasichs-budget-for-ohio-hurts-all-schools-but-especially-poorest/

Diane Ravitch's Blog

ALEC Experimental Privatization Agenda: Public Policy Failure, Corporate Success

While ALEC legislators still insist on implementing ALEC experimental policies and legislation claiming they are cost effective.  But, at the same time, the public is being inundated with more and more research that privatization of governmental agencies does not benefit anyone – except the ALEC corporate profit sector member who gets the state contract or buys state assets.

Two of the on-going experimental legislative projects that ALEC has pushed for several decades include:

  •     Privatization of governmental goods and services
      “government cannot provide goods or services as cheaply as the private sector can.”

and

  •     Turn Capital Assets into Financial Assets: Sell or Lease Government Assets and Enterprises
    states own over $226 billion in infrastructure assets that could be sold to the private sector.”

A current case in point is the on-going privatization issue: More →

Another Voting Rights Victory in Ohio: Restoration of Early Voting on the Weekend Before the Election

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruledon Friday that Ohio must make early voting during the three days before the election available to all voters if it’s available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision.  The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is available here [PDF].

…In late August, U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus ruled against the Ohio Republicans and ordered that their restrictions on Early Voting for all, in those three days, be immediately lifted.

Sec. of State Husted attempted to work around that order, issuing a directive to county election officials, instructing them that they didn’t need to set new hours for voting during that weekend, because he intended to appeal Economus’ ruling.

Economus was not happy and ordered Husted to personally appear before him. A chastened Husted filed a motion apologizing to the court in early September.

…Husted has claimed he believes in uniform voting standards across the state. If so, he could issue a directive ordering all counties to open their doors over the weekend before the election for liberal access to voting for all.

There is a lot more information in this article.  Please click here to read about all of the ramifications and “wiggle room” in this case.