Misrepresentation in the legitimate news media is what I call a full on abuse of the First Amendment especially where it is being used to attack everyday working Americans and public education. McIver Newservice is a front group for the Kochs, John Birch Society, and Libertarian ideologues who push free market principles, corporatism, anti-collectivism (unions, Medicare, Medicaid, etc), and privatization of public services and public education via vouchers to cover the cost. Corporations would run education for our nation’s children. They would set the curriculum. To be sure, I am firmly 100% against privatization.
I have a few sources lined up to expose the underpinnings of McIver Newservice.
The MacIver Institute claims to be a news service, but it actually gathers– and in some cases seems to create– “news” footage designed to advance a conservative, anti-worker agenda.
The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy is a Wisconsin-based think tank that, according to its web site, promotes free markets, individual freedom, personal responsibility and limited government. According to One Wisconsin Now, the MacIver Institute is:
“a pro-corporate organization founded in 2009 to advance conservative ideas and values…Its top staff is long-time Republican campaign strategists and its board of directors includes leading Republicans, most notably Mark Block, the head of Americans for Prosperity-WI, Fred Lubar, deep-pocketed Republican donor and Jim Troupis, lawyer to leading Republicans such as Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen and ethically-challenged Supreme Court Justices Mike Gableman and Annette Ziegler.
The Institute operates the web site WisconsinOpenGov.org, which it says “provides you with one location for data on Wisconsin public employee salaries, benefits and labor contracts. We have worked hard to not just allow ‘access’ the way many government information sites do, but to give you all of the data in a format that allows you to select and sort the information as you see fit.”
Institute representatives claim to have caught doctors in white coats in February, 2011 directing Madison, Wisconsin protesters to places where they could obtain absentee excuses for the time they were out of work marching in protest of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill. However, irregularities were found in the report. The absentee letters listed the doctor as “Kathy Orton,” but no Kathy Orton was found to be listed as a Wisconsin doctor. Also, the contact listed on the doctors notes was “Badgerdoctors@gmail.com,” but there was no listing for “Badgerdoctors” which would presume would be the name of the medical group or association that the “doctors” were from.
ThinkProgress reports that the MacIver Institute has numerous ties to the billionaire Koch Brothers, billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries, which has numerous business interests in Wisconsin. ThinkProgress writes,
Mark Block, the Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin state director and a key figure in the alleged voter suppression plot, sits on MacIver’s board of directors. MacIver and AFP Wisconsin also share two other board members, David Fettig and Fred Luber. MacIver also works closely with AFP Wisconsin as part of the Wisconsin Prosperity Network, along with another group with ties to Koch funding, American Majority. The think tank also participates in the Koch-funded Institute for Humane Studies’ Koch Summer Fellows Program and is a member of the Koch-funded State Policy Network.
Scott Jensen Background
Cory Liebmann of the Eye on Wisconsin web site discovered that former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen writes press releases for the MacIver Institute, even though his name is not on the releases and the Institute has denied Jensen is formally involved with the organization. Jensen’s authorship of the releases, Liebmann instructs, can be discovered by accessing one of the organization’s press releases, right-clicking on it and observing the document properties (e.g. “Author:Scott Jensen”). Jensen also authored a PowerPoint presentation on the Institute’s web site.
Jensen is controversial because he was the subject of an eight-year criminal case for misconduct while he was in office in Wisconsin. The case concluded in December, 2010 after Jensen agreed to pay a $5,000 civil forfeiture fine and reimburse the state of Wisconsin $67,174 in legal fees initially borne by taxpayers, according to a plea deal. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick L. Snyder found Jensen guilty of an ethics code violation related to his using his government position for illegal gain. Felony charges against Jensen were dropped under the deal. Jensen also has a 2006 misdemeanor conviction in Dane County for violating the public trust. In 2002, Jensen (along with other GOP leaders in the State Assembly) was charged with using taxpayer dollars to run a secret, illegal campaign machine out of the Capitol.
The Institute’s Educational Policy Analyst, Christian D’Andrea, was formerly a Policy Analyst and State Program Director with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which was named after free market economist Milton Friedman. That organization, which has since changed its name to the Foundation for Educational Choice, advocates the use of voucher systems for education, a system that allows taxpayer funds to flow to private schools.
Related from PR Watch: Consider the Source
The MacIver Institute, also known as the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, is a Wisconsin-based, free-market think tank formed in 2009 which also acts as a “news service,” supplying videos and reports to media outlets, like newspapers and television broadcasters. But just who is the MacIver Institute?
In the last three years, the MacIver Institute has gotten at least $300,000 in funding from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which advocates eliminating labor unions under the guise of “restoring worker rights” and “modernizing labor laws.” Harry Bradley, after whom the Foundation is named, was one of the original charter members of the 1960s right-wing extremist group, the John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries’ billionaire brother-owners, Charles and David Koch.
The MacIver Institute’s treasurer, Mark Block, was State Director of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity. As part of a settlement of charges of violating election laws, Block was exiled from political campaigns and fined $15,000 for allegations arising out of an illegal scheme in the campaign of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox. Block, who served as Wilcox’s campaign manager, was charged by the election board with illegally coordinated $200,000 worth of campaign activity with a group that pretended to be operating independently. The person who ran the purported “independent” group was fined $35,000 and banned from Wisconsin state politics for five years. Justice Wilcox — who, astonishingly, was running for the state’s Supreme Court — also paid a $10,000 fine. The fines were the largest ever assessed against a campaign in Wisconsin’s history.
The Institute’s Director of Communications is Brian Fraley, who served as the Senior Vice President for State Affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans in Washington, D.C., a lobbying group that represents big insurance companies. Fraley was also the national Health and Human Services Task Force Private Sector Chairman for the American Legislative Exchange Council, an industry-funded front group that helps advance the legislative agenda of global corporations.
Related: Americans for Prosperity is a Koch funded front group.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries). AFP has been accused of funding astroturf operations but also has been fueling the “Tea Party” efforts. Read more, click here
I hate to burst people’s bubble, but for months I have been quiet about the fact that one of the major sponsors of NOVA, a very well produced and popular PBS program, is David H. Koch. Yes, that Koch, of Koch Industries. Quite frankly, at first I was not sure what to make of it. He is interested in science – so am I. He donates money to a program he likes – so do I. Of course, I donate a couple hundred a year. I am sure his sponsorship is significantly more.
Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.
Now, I am wondering if the Koch effort to strip funding from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, via one of his front groups who works with House Republicans is an effort to be LAST MAN STANDING. To be the primary sponsor and therefore in the position to directly influence content, like on climate change. Knowing what I know about the Koch family and how ruthlessly ambitious David Koch is, I think this is a serious question that must be asked – and answered: Is David Koch’s interest in backing NOVA about greenwashing?
Greenwashing (a portmanteau of “green” and “whitewash”) is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.
Both David Koch and his brother Charles, back front groups, lobbying groups, think tanks and astro-turf groups to promote their causes and interests. One of their pet projects is to counter scientific research about global warming and its causes: carbon pollution.
The Koch Industries Carbon Footprint Is About 300 Million Tons. With the assumption that Koch has a carbon intensity on the order of oil majors such as Chevron and ExxonMobil, each billion dollars of revenue corresponds to 2 to 4 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases. Therefore, each year, Koch Industries is likely responsible for about 300 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution every year. Flint Hills Resources, Koch’s refining subsidiary, processes 300 million barrels of oil a year. This one company — with its refining, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer, cattle, and forestry operations — is involved in up to five percent of the entire United States 7-gigaton carbon footprint. (Source: Think Progress)
The Greenpeace 2011 Update on Koch Industries
Billionaire oilman David Koch used to joke that Koch Industries was “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” Now the shroud of secrecy has thankfully been lifted, revealing the $55 million that he and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming.
A lot can happen in a year. Today, the Kochs are being watched as a prime example of the corporate takeover of government. Their funding and co-opting of the Tea Party movement is now well documented.
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s timely that more people are now aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to. A growing awareness of these oil billionaires’ destructive agenda has led to increased scrutiny and resistance from people and organizations all over the United States.
READ THE REPORT DOWNLOAD HERE Koch-Report-2-FINAL
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“What State Policy Network has done to promote and help build these state-focused think tanks has been one of the great initiatives of the Free Market Movement.”
-Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal
They have multiplied by the hundreds. Blogs supported by the State Policy Network and the Kochs and the Libertarian right-wing. They are paying bloggers through award programs like the Sam Adams Alliance award called the Sammies, to spread the word of their vision for America.
Here is their link, click here
And who sponsors Sam Adams Alliance? None other than Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (Changing the Nation, One State at a Time)
Here’s another: Americans for Limited Government — GetLiberty.org
Americans for Limited Government (ALG) is a conservative, libertarian think tank. Its primary concerns are tax and spending reform, property rights restoration, school choice, limiting the size of government, and political term limits. (Wikipedia)
ALG supported campaigns in 12 states for the November 2006 election.
ALG promotes a free-market approach to the American public school system based on vouchers or charter schools, arguing that competition among schools will increase both the quality and the economic efficiency of public education. (Wikipedia)
The organization claims that privatizing American schools will decrease education spending, promote accountability in school administration, and permit parents a greater degree of control over the schools their children attend.
Opponents claim that ever since Milton Friedman suggested the concept during the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education, vouchers have functioned to increase racial and economic discrimination in schools, beginning in the late 1950s with the appearance of segregation academies. Critics also contend that since approximately four out of five US private schools are religious, voucher and charter systems violate the Constitution. (Wikipedia)
From their web site:
What does Americans for Limited Government do?
ALG is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. We work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
The time is ripe for an independent, nonpartisan political movement that fights for hardworking taxpayers against the special interests that continually push for big government nationwide. *end quote
That’s a lie. They are very much partisan and back specific people like Ron Paul, a John Bircher Libertarian. They do not work for everyday Americans. They work for the Kochs and other industrialists. So, that’s a fabrication – another lie. They want to privatize public education, do away with what they see as welfare: Medicare, Medicaid, and unions.
Here is the spin from The State Policy Network: Fueling the New Revolution
Free enterprise is under attack from a well-funded and motivated political establishment. With a historically high national debt, significant political turmoil and a critical series of public policy milestones approaching, we will decide in short order whether we continue down the path of European-style social democracy or whether we return to our Constitutional roots as a free-market Republic.
Free enterprise is not our government. Free enterprise is a function of our economy. The political turmoil is coming from the right-wing who wants to dismantle the remnants of the New Deal coalition and legacy of the Great Society legislation passed in 1965 by President Johnson.
Please share and make your friends aware.
COPYRIGHT 2011 FAIR USE LAW APPLIES TO ORIGINAL CONTENT AND ALL EXCERPTED MATERIAL ON THIS SITE.
You want to know why Democrats are so woefully ill equipped to deal with Republican Libertarian party? Don’t fool yourself, that IS the Republican party – Libertarians in the style of the late Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater. Whenever I see the Cato Institute in any reporting, I know we are talking hard core Libertarians. Who backs the Cato Institute? The Koch brothers, the Coors Foundation, and the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation. Libertarians have taken over the Republican party.
Andy Kroll should be awarded a Pulitzer prize for this story. It rips the cover right off the conservative-Libertarian-Republican movement.
According to a April 25th article in Mother Jones: Conceived by the same conservative ideologues who helped found the Heritage Foundation, the State Policy Network (SPN) is a little-known umbrella group with deep ties to the national conservative movement. Its mission is simple: to back a constellation of state-level think tanks loosely modeled after Heritage that promote free-market principles and rail against unions, regulation, and tax increases. By blasting out policy recommendations and shaping lawmakers’ positions through briefings and private meetings, these think tanks cultivate cozy relationships with GOP politicians. And there’s a long tradition of revolving door relationships between SPN staffers and state governments. While they bill themselves as independent think tanks, SPN’s members frequently gather to swap ideas. “We’re all comrades in arms,” the network’s board chairman told the National Review in 2007.
Founded in 1992 by businessman and Reagan administration insider Thomas Roe—who also served on the Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees for two decades—the group has grown to include 59 “freedom centers,” or affiliated think tanks, in all 50 states. SPN’s board includes officials from Heritage and right-wing charities such as the Adolph Coors and Jacqueline Hume foundations. Likewise, its deep-pocketed donors include all the usual heavy-hitting conservative benefactors: the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, which funds the Cato Institute and Heritage; the Castle Rock Foundation, a charity started with money from the conservative Coors Foundation; and the Bradley Foundation, a $540 million charity devoted to funding conservative causes. SPN uses their contributions to dole out annual grants to member groups, ranging from a few thousand dollars to $260,000, according to 2009 records.
Read entire article, click here
See list of the 59 organizations, click here
Sourcewatch.org: The State Policy Network is a professional service organization for the “state-based free market think tank movement.” Its founding chairman was Thomas A. Roe, who died in 2000. He was succeeded by Gaylord K. Swim, who died in 2005. The current board members are listed below.
Check out State Policy Network for yourself, click here
COPYRIGHT 2011 FAIR USE LAW APPLIES TO ORIGINAL CONTENT AND ALL EXCERPTED MATERIAL ON THIS SITE.