Republican National Committee

ALEC: Pursuing Universal Stewardship – Part II: Exploring That “Special Relationship” – Atlantic Bridge and Patroness, Lady Thatcher

ALEC: Pursuing Universal Stewardship – Part II: Exploring That “Special Relationship” – Atlantic Bridge and Patroness, Lady Thatcher

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By Susan Kraykowski

In part I, we barely scratched the surface of ALEC’s involvement overseas – most especially in the United Kingdom. It is time to delve a bit deeper into what is called the Atlantic Bridge and its works and ways. Full disclosure: the project officially known as Atlantic Bridge is now defunct, due to scandal in the UK and subsequent legal action. That doesn’t mean that ALEC isn’t still active on both sides of the Atlantic, as we will see.

Thatcher and ReaganMuch was made in the press about former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s friendship with former President Ronald Reagan. At the time – and even to America’s liberal Democrats – that seemed innocuous. “So what?”, we thought, “They share political goals as well as some kind of personal chemistry. It isn’t the first time in history that leaders of governments have formed personal ties. What harm can friendly leaders of allied governments do in the long run?”

Not that one advocates unfriendly allies – far from it! – but in this case, the answer turns out, thirty-odd years on, to be: plenty!

First of all, is the aspect of enshrining Reagan’s and Thatcher’s papers, policies and memorabilia in learning centers, which sponsor exchange programs between the interns of both countries for the purposes of study and indoctrination. Americans tend to honor past presidents with “Presidential Libraries” – at least since Hoover’s time. That custom isn’t followed in the UK but Margaret Thatcher will have her very own memorial library, very soon. Interestingly, most of the funding for it has already been raised in the United States.

Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor for The Telegraph discusses this in his article of April 14, 2013. Note the names of the members of the fundraising organizations and the party youth organizations in England and the United States. These same names crop up again and again in different contexts: heading different organizations, as speakers for various gatherings, and in other fundraising and legislative capacities. Their relationships are complicated and interconnected. It will take a few articles to sort through them.

For instance, one Donal Blaney, who heads something called the Young Britons Foundation – and calls it “a Tory madrasa…for radicalizing young Tories” (Britons, apparently, having much less political sensitivity to such terminology than Americans) – is delightedly behind the fundraising for the Thatcher Library, and is also in cahoots with such BlaneyAmerican fundraising experts as Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich on the project [pic of Donal Blaney and Karl Rove]. Just to tie up this example with a neat bow, the Prime Minister, David Cameron is on board with the Library project, according to Patrick Hennessy, who links him to foreign fundraisers in this way: “…John Howard, the former Australian prime minister, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives in the US, Fred Ryan, President Reagan’s chief of staff and Karl Rove, who performed the same role for President George W Bush.”

It gets worse. Donal Blaney is CEO of Conservative Way Forward, which is the entity actually in charge of the fundraising for the Thatcher Library. Note the address at the bottom of the page, at Griffin Law in Kent, England. If one follows that link, through a couple of Dropbox ™ sites, one eventually arrives here:

Griffin pic

This is Griffin Law’s US Office – which also happens to share the same address as William J. McCarthy & Associates. Who does McCarthy & Associates advertise as their clients? Here is a partial list: American Council for Immigration Reform, Americans for Free Speech, Americans for Sovereignty (Council for America), Center for Law and Accountability, Center for the Defense of Freedom, Children’s Mercy Fund, Christian Action Network, Citizens United, Coming Home Foundation, Conservative Victory Fund, Draft Sarah Now!, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Human Events/Eagle Publishing, International Anglican Federation, National Republican Congressional Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Right to Work Foundation, Republican National Committee, State Department Watch, Senate Conservatives Fund, Tea Party Veterans, The American Sentinel (Penguin Group), The Dave Bossie Investigative Report (Breitbart Columnist), The Minuteman Project, This Nation, The Tea Party, The Tea Party Campaign with Dr. Jerome Corsi, Young Americans for Freedom (Young America’s Foundation).

Here is a picture of Donal Blaney and Margaret Thatcher taken at a Young America’s Foundation event

blaney and thatcher

Are we beginning to be afraid…very afraid? Good! More in the next installment.

Michigan GOP: Stupid is as Stupid Does

Michigan GOP: Stupid is as Stupid Does

There he goes again — Gov. Snyder, Michigan’s Great Equivocator, said that he’s “not going to get in the middle of all that” when asked whether former state lawmaker Rep. Dave Agema should resign from his post as Michigan’s representative to the Republican National Committee in the wake of his bigoted homophobic Facebook page post: “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals”. Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson similarly declined to offer an opinion and said it’s a decision for Agema to make for himself.

The essay Agema posted was written by Frank Joseph, M.D. who relied on “statistics” of Dr. Edward R. Fields, a non-practicing chiropractor a KKK-affiliated white supremacist, anti-semitic loon-case. The highly offensive piece was clearly not of scientific origin and should be a clarion call for GOP leaders to condemn such bigotry, especially as the party struggles to re-brand itself. But, in Michigan they cower instead.

Not that Democracy Tree is in the business of giving advice to Republicans, but this kind of thing is exactly what Gov. Bobby Jindal meant when he said “we have to stop being the stupid party”.

Stupid is as stupid does…Gov. Snyder.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree
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Opponents Of Health Reform Spent More On Ads Trashing The Law Than Obama Spent On Ads For President In 07/08

The health insurance industry secretly sponsored over $100 million in anti-health reform ads through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

[This analysis, by Lee Fang, takes a long NY Times article, ferrets out the key points and presents them in a very understandable format.]

“…quantifying the money is critical in understanding at least part of the reason why public opinion soured so quickly on a law that contains extremely popular provisions.  In addition to the paid-advertising, healthcare industry interests and other opponents of the bill spent a great deal on direct lobbying, campaign donations, and public relations campaigns. This story, however, only concerns the ad-war that helped turn Americans against the bill.”

“…total (spent) on negative health reform-related advertising to $323.75 million.”

To read all of this excellent analysis, please click here

The effect of this amount of misinformation has had great impact on public perception about the Affordable Care Act.  You can read about this–and try to understand it–by reading the NY Times article, Distaste for Health Care Law Reflects Spending on Ads which goes into more depth on this issue.  Read the article by clicking here

This is the conservative echo chamber at work.