06 January 2014

The Role of Conservative Think Tanks (3/3)


Heritage also used organizations like Citizens for America to move money around. This is one of the many shell games played by these organizations. Create multiple entities...it's all the same people...but use them in different ways to obfuscate what you're doing, We also see a similar tactic used by many well known 'ministries' in creating a 'for-profit/taxable' activist wing and using the non-profit to support it.

Citizens for America raised money and funneled it toward Savimbi, toward the Contras, the Mujahideen etc... Basically it was to financially back the covert side of the Reagan Doctrine. Jack Abramoff was involved at the beginning but apparently was too crooked even for these folks and was replaced.

Big businessmen and bankers were involved. The Coors family who helped start Heritage actively gave money to these causes and directly worked with Oliver North in aiding the Contras. The Reagan White House also used many allies such as Saudi Arabia and Brunei to help funnel money toward these covert wars which the administration wished to hide from the public and often Congress itself.

While keeping Citizens for America separate from the official organization of the Heritage Foundation, no one is really fooled. It's all the same people. In fact, it was even in the same building. The offices were simply upstairs.

In the wake of Iran-Contra, Bill Moyers did a piece on the Secret Government of the United States. I can't recall right now if he specifically mentioned Heritage, but what he was trying to bring out was that if US foreign policy is being conducted off the books, in secret, unaccountable to Congress then effectively we have a secret government. Who's running it? Well, it's a secret isn't it? But to unpack it, you have to investigate the mechanisms they're using and start peeling back the layers. Once again it's 'Cui Bono' and 'Follow the money'.

As I've said before, it's ironic but Conservatives are always looking for shadowy organizations and conspiracies which will lead to a Global Government. The reality is the Left is so disorganized and often operates at a grass-roots level. The Right has all the money and hence most of the power. They've lost control of certain institutions but they still dominate the economy. There's a false perception in Right wing circles that the Left has captured all of America's institutions. That's a simplistic view.

The really powerful people are the 'players' who operate in the shadowy nexus between the money and the officeholders. Sometimes they are officeholders. Sometimes they're in the private sector. If you look at these people, they often float between these worlds and often transcend political parties.

As an example from an older generation I think of people like Kissinger and Brzezinski and someone like McNamara who in addition to being Secretary of Defense, ran the World Bank and was a key player and later president of Ford Motors during the post-War boom years. In more recent years Richard Armitage and Robert Zoellick represent this type of figure. These people aren't necessarily at the 'top', in command or well known, but they're important powerful people.

These forces need propaganda, they need people working the legal side, policy shapers who can deal with the right committees etc... They need organizers, forums for meetings, ways to raise money and move it around. They need their meet-and-greets. Groups like Heritage help fill this important role. It also works as an incubator. It can tap younger 'field' operatives and facilitate their move into other roles. Look at someone like Norquist for example. Today he's known as the Tax Pledge guy, but during the '80s he was traveling around Africa and Southeast Asia meeting with guerilla groups in order to raise money for them.

I have no doubt some of these people are actual agents or at the very least assets of the CIA and other intelligence organizations which I and many others believe are the Praetorian Guard of the American Empire. The represent the real power and view themselves as the guardians. But the CIA and what it represents cannot be restricted to the apparatchiks who work at Langley. It's a hydra that spans the power-sectors of society.

None of this is surprising. This is how the world works. This is money, war, and striving for power. Innocents die, people are betrayed. Some are out to make money, some are out to win wars. Some wish to score political points for a promotion. Some want to be re-elected. Some are servants of their paymasters. Others are zealots. It's a world of scheming, lies, betrayal, blood and death. It's about manipulating the news and the historical record. It's about moments of fame, pageantry, secret rewards and the pleasures of the flesh. This is Romans 1. These are people with seared consciences, idolaters and murderers.

Every empire has produced these people. What's unique and perhaps most fascinating about the US is that this is all done in an open society. It's easy to do under a monarchy or in a closed authoritarian system. But in a country like the United States the 'game' is not only played abroad, it must be played at home. Every move is in some way political. Everything in the end is about power. The prize is the world.

This is as old as Babel. After Constantine a cross has been placed atop many Towers of Babel and the United States is no different.

Because the Church has abandoned Christ many 'believers' are building Babel all the while thinking they are advancing the Kingdom of God. Many are proud to work at a place like Heritage. They are dripping with blood and in these pages I've only talked about foreign policy. There are other realms. Social Policy, economics, medicine, the courts.... it's complex and almost endless. And we've only touched on Reagan and the 1980's. They have hardly been idle. Conservative ideology in the '90's and certainly post-2001 have been also influenced by Heritage thinkers.

The overlap with the Christian Right is abundant and undisputed.

Paul Weyrich has to be mentioned at this point. He not only co-founded Heritage but also co-founded the Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. Not an Evangelical, he nevertheless shared cultural values with political Evangelicals and in many ways as an individual represents this marriage of the Church and political power. He played an important role in joining the world of wealthy interests with the mission of the Church. His influence waned after the Clinton years but he lived just long enough to see Barack Obama elected.

Speaking of wealthy backers, one thing that recently caught my eye is that Warren Smith from World Magazine has been running around in Christian Media circles promoting a revised version of Theonomist Marvin Olasky's book from the '80's on the media's anti-Christian bias. They claim the news media during the 19th century reported from a Christian worldview and basically after the Scopes Trial and the 1960's, the media turned against the Church. I don't even want to get started on these issues. Suffice it to say, whether true or not, whether Biblical or not, it's a message these audiences want to hear. In addition to running the Christian circuit I noticed last month he was also speaking at a Heritage event....and thus the 'wealth' aspect.

Interestingly I noticed their auditorium is named after Lewis Lehrman a big investment banker, former head of Rite-Aid, and heavily involved in the PNAC and other Right wing causes. He also helped found Citizens For America which again was heavily involved in the whole Contra mess.

PNAC (The Project for the New American Century) was itself a quasi-think tank which basically was developing blueprints for American domination of the world. The bipolar world of the Cold War had ended and the greatest threat to American power was a reversion to a historic multi-polar world order. PNAC sought to maintain American hegemony and establish the world as a unipolar American paradigm....kind of a One World Government. Ironic isn't it?

The Neo-Cons were behind this project and its statements were signed by not a few affiliates of the Christian Right. The overlap with Heritage is obvious. This project dissolved after the disastrous Iraq War policy and after considerable public exposure...but it has hardly gone away.

This piece is not meant to be a defense of the Left. If that's what you're taking away from it, then you've missed my point. The Left has its evils and its propaganda mills as well. Lost people will always play the power game. That's what fallen people do. They build Rome's and Babylon's.

My concern (in the United States) is with the political Right and its marriage and overlap with Evangelicalism. This is a false gospel and these men of blood not only sit in our churches they shape the way the Church thinks and directly and indirectly fund and support many Christian projects.

For another example of wealth at work in the Church, look at the Hunt family. The famous HL Hunt who was the inspiration for JR Ewing on Dallas was heavily involved in the anti-Kennedy campaigns... the Tea Party of that day. These folks were heavily involved with the John Birch Society and these organizations also played a role in the Church. They recruited, raised funds and leaned heavily on Church members. Besides being racist, John Birch was/is so far to the Right that even many avowed Christian-America types have tried to disassociate themselves from it.

Hunt's son was a backer of Rushdoony's Chalcedon, and in addition to be involved with Iran-Contra's private sector players, he was a supporter of Campus Crusade, a Presbyterian elder and also funded some the Bible translation-missionary groups who have been accused of colluding with Big Oil in South America. SIL/Wycliffe Bible translators have sought to refute these claims but many are not satisfied.

The wealthy banking heir Howard Ahmanson sat on Chalcedon's board for years and is heavily involved in backing numerous Christian colleges and political activist organizations. Again my point being, they overlap. On the one hand you have political action, on the other hand these same people are funding and supporting groups which produce books and newsletters for church members. He's also supported the Hudson Institute, another Right Wing think tank and a regular source for media seeking a conservative opinion. Hudson is by no means exclusively Christian but many Christians are affiliated with it. Backed by wealthy corporations and donors like Ahmanson their policy positions are regularly heard and advocated in Christian media.

If you listen you'll hear many Christian radio shows and podcasts constantly referencing studies from groups like Hoover, Hudson, the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage, and the people affiliated with these groups are often interviewed.

There are many more. There's the DeVos family of Amway fame. We could talk about Scaife and the Walton Family, examples of people who aren't overtly involved in the Christian Right but nevertheless support organizations where there is overlap. What's key here? Big business interests, Investments, Foreign Policy, and Economic policy.

These people fund the Conservative Movement and conservative American Churches are in bed with them.

The anti-Environmentalist Cornwall Alliance is big in Christian media circles right now. With Calvin Beisner as the spokesman, and rolled out at the Heritage Foundation, they've been making the rounds through Christian circles. Whether you agree with them or not, it should be a little troubling that most of their money is coming from Exxon and the Koch Brothers. I'm sure Beisner is a true believer. His name has been well known to me for many years representing a branch of Reformed theology I am critical of.

Nevertheless, it should concern Christians that these people (sincere or not) are being used by powers which have no concern or regard for the Kingdom of Christ. They're duped. But in their theological system the unbelieving world can help the Church and facilitate it in the building of the Kingdom of God... which as I continue to insist is a redefinition of the Church and the Kingdom, the Gospel itself.

This is why I continue to cry out about these people and the theology which inspires their actions. They're bad for the world and death to the Church. They can't win in the end. But look at what they've done! And imagine what they would do if they were granted the power they desire? I'm not suggesting we go out and 'fight' them in the political arena. Our role is to expose and denounce them, and offer the Truth as an alternative to their false gospel of blood and power.

 

 

1 comment:

Eliyahu BenYsrael said...

I recently heard about the film "God Loves Uganda" about the influence of American conservative evangelicals on the radical "kill the Gays" bill in Uganda recently. Just wondering about your take on the Christian nation of Uganda and it's legislation of Biblical morality, enforceable by law and this as an ideal situation in the ideology of AMerican conservatism…are we seeing what the religious right would like to do here? Or is this a distortion of the pro homosexual side? Just your thoughts. Thanks bro