Money And Think Tanks

I have had no respect for so-called ‘think tanks’. Most of them find the conclusion they desire and they fit the dialog to help prove their conclusion…..and then there is all the cash that is funneled into these policy makers.

Millions upon millions find their way into these falsehood generators.

I do not have much good to say about the GOP but from time to time I find myself in agreement with their attempts…..and think tank cash is one of those policies….

New legislation introduced by three Republican members of Congress would set a new bar for transparency in funding from think tanks receiving foreign funding. The legislation — “Think Tank and Nonprofit Influence Disclosure Act of 2021” — aims to “root out foreign funding behind America’s policy research institutions” by requiring disclosure of foreign governments and foreign political parties that contribute in excess $50,000 per year to think tanks.

The requirement for think tanks to disclose their foreign sources of funding is particularly focused on revealing the extent of Chinese government-linked funding of think tanks, but the bills sponsors — Reps. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — emphasized that the extent of foreign influence in U.S. think tanks is a far reaching problem. 

“Experts believe there are numerous foreign governments backing American think tanks and nonprofits, and that the Chinese Communist Party and Russian government are among those who seek to influence U.S. policymakers in this way,” said a press release from Gooden’s office.

The Republican bill closely closely reflects the policy recommendations in last year’s report by Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, which found that $174 million in foreign funding went to top U.S. think tanks between 2014 and 2018, and advised that  “think tanks should be required, by law, to publicly disclose funding from foreign powers.”

A Responsible Statecraft and American Prospect investigation in January found that the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Wilson is a member, was regularly briefed by experts affiliated with think tanks that refuse to provide transparency into their funding sources. 

GOP lawmakers move to expose foreign money in US think tanks

I agree with this attempt….at least in principle…..

My question is….does apply to all think tanks or just those with liberal/progressive policies?

Will this include ALL think tanks?

Even the policy makers like Heritage?

If you would like to see where this bill goes then maybe a good place to start is with the bill itself…..

Click to access Think%20Tank%20and%20Nonprofit%20Act-Text.pdf

I want to see all ‘dark money’ out of politics and policies.

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Feeding The Authoritarians

Closing Thought–13Jan21

After the breaching of the Capitol building made me think about who was feeding these slugs to make them commit such affront to the country…..not including the uneducated babbling from some on social media.

It is no secret that I do not think much of most so-called “think tanks”….mainly because most of them start with a conclusion and they have the analyst fit the meat of the paper to fit the conclusion they desire.

But what is a think tank in actuality?

A think tank is an organization that gathers a group of interdisciplinary scholars to perform research around particular policies, issues or ideas. Topics addressed in think tanks can cover a wide range, including social policy, public policy, economic policy, political strategy, culture and technology. Think tanks can also be referred to as think factories or policy institutes.

Then there different types of think tanks….

  1. Ideological tanks- These organizations work towards solving a problem based on an ideological philosophy. Also known as advocacy tanks, research is targeted towards convincing policymakers to adopt their solutions.
  2. Specialist tanks- These institutes have a specific thematic focus, such as foreign policy, poverty or the environment.
  3. Subnational tanks- These are government-related think tanks that work at smaller stages than the national level. For example, think tanks that focus on a specific state’s policies.
  4. Practical tanks- Referred to as “think and do” tanks, these institutes are similar to non-governmental organizations (NGO) and conduct more practical efforts, such as funding charity projects.

Now that you know this….let us move on….

I found that many Right wing “think tanks” seem to promote the more authoritarian premises…one comes to mind readily is the Heritage Foundation which feeds many of the polices of the GOP.

Read about it here…..https://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Commanding-Ideas-Think-Tanks-as-Platforms-for-Authoritarian-Influence-Rolland-Dec-2020.pdf

Don’t get me wrong….I think most of these organizations, Left or Right, have a false impression they push as part of some agenda.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–22Oct20

I have had many conversations about our many many endless wars….and I am asked that if I think they are so bad how can they still be fighting wars?

I have a very clear and succinct answer…..Think Tanks.

I am not a fan of most think tanks for they paid to make manure look like sirloin…..and our wars are no different.  I gave my thoughts here on IST…..https://lobotero.com/2017/09/20/closing-thought-20sep17/

The American Conservative (yes I read a conserv publication has looked into this…..as well……

The top 50 think tanks in America, as ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s Go To Think Tank Index, received over $1 billion from U.S. government and defense contractors. The top recipients of this funding were the RAND Corporation, the Center for a New American Security, and the New America Foundation, according to analysis by the Center for International Policy.

Donations to these think tanks came from 68 different U.S. government and defense contractor sources, under at least 600 separate donations. The top five defense contractor donors to U.S. think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martina and Air Bus.

Top think tank funders from within the U.S. government include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Force, the Army, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department. The defense contractors that forked over the most to think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Airbus.

The RAND Corporation alone received over $1 billion between 2014-2019, accounting for approximately 95 percent of its funding that the report tracked. Nearly all the money came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ($110 million,) the U.S. Army (over $245 million,) and the U.S. Air Force (over ($281 million.)

Top 50 U.S. Think Tanks Receive Over $1B from Gov, Defense Contractors

Then there is the MSM….they hire “experts” to make these wars acceptable…..both print and broadcast….for most are now owned by the very M-IC corporations that are funding the “whitewash” of our worthless endless wars.

If instance the NYTimes has had a section called “At War”….well it has decided to drop the section altogether

Following the announcement Tuesday that the New York Times “At War” section—which has explored the “experiences and costs of war” for the past two and a half years—is ending this week, peace advocates were quick to note that the United States’ actual “forever war” outlasting a forum dedicated to covering it should be a sobering reminder of the nation’s destructive and bloody foreign policy nearly two decades after the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. 

The news came just one week after Stars and Stripes provided an account of U.S. military veterans who fought in Afghanistan watching their children deploy to the same ongoing war.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/14/imperial-irony-new-york-times-announces-halt-war-section-even-endless-us-war

The whitewash and the justification for war and the deaths of Americans proceeds…….with very little notice.

Final Thought:  Tonight is the final debate and I will offer analysis in tomorrow’s posts.

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Stuck in the Mud Of Interventionism

Sorry sports fans but all the efforts by the propaganda machine has made leaving Syria and the quagmire it has created virtually impossible.

I supported Trump’s plan to bring our troops home from Syria but the M-IC put all their assets to work and the plan changed.

There is one think tank that is doing what it is suppose to do…make the case for the Pentagon to stay and stay in Syria.

This is why I do not like or think think tanks are a good source for truth and facts…..they bend the findings of research to suit their benefactors desires….in other words they design their conclusion and then manipulate everything to suit that conclusion….the Syria situation is NO different.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) released a report on November 21st titled “Russia’s Dead-End Diplomacy in Syria.” The report focuses on Russia’s role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and calls for the U.S. to maintain a presence in Syria.

The ISW presents itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.” In reality, the ISW is a neocon think tank funded by some of the country’s largest defense contractors. The ISW has a significant influence in Washington, and its chairman even has direct access to President Trump.

The report argues that Assad does not have the resources to regain and maintain control of the rest of Syria and that his victory would not bring stability. As far as Russia’s role, the report says, “The Kremlin seeks to thwart any Western effort to replace Assad and to instead reach a superficial political settlement that legitimizes his regime and neutralizes his opposition.”

The Think Tank Dedicated To Keeping the US in the Syria Quagmire

I admit that I do use the Institute for the Study of War from time to time……our foreign policy is tied to our use of conflict to settle differences so while I do not think the ISW is a good source it does serve its purposes.

Do not take a “think tank” white paper at face value….find out who funds them and you will know how accurate their findings are.

We are in Syria for the foreseeable future and for what?

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

The U.S. Must…!

I always like it when a think tank issues such dire ultimatums…..this time it is the Neocon think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

The headline of the their report on the US and the recent attack on Saudi territory…..”U.S. Must Lead Strong Multinational Response To Iran’s Extortion Strategy”…….

Now for the report that made the ultimatum possible…..

Iran has openly breached the limits on uranium enrichment set by the 2015 nuclear agreement, and is escalating pressure on European signatories of the agreement to shield it from U.S. sanctions—which were re-imposed after the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018. Tehran is raising the stakes of its nuclear blackmail campaign every 60 days by ratcheting up its nuclear efforts to extort concessions from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom; drive a deeper wedge between the United States and its allies; and gain bargaining leverage for eventual negotiations with Washington on the nuclear issue.

Iran’s steadily escalating nuclear noncompliance has been accompanied by an intensifying campaign of maritime threats against gulf Arab oil exports. What Tehran wants is not only sanctions relief but unquestioned acceptance of its civilian nuclear program, which it has used in the past as a fig leaf to disguise its nuclear weapons program, and which it plans to use as a pretext for the future expansion of its uranium-enrichment activities.

https://www.heritage.org/middle-east/report/us-must-lead-strong-multinational-response-irans-extortion-strategy

They violated the agreement that Trump basically cancelled when he dropped out of the process……sanctions look like extortion as well…..

Diplomacy is always preferable that armed conflict….but some think that a bullying techniques will always work when they are the single most powerful country on the planet…..and yet that seems to never work  these days.

Heritage is one of those think tanks that will take a desired conclusion and set about making the facts fit the needed end…..to be honest most think tanks operate this way.

The U.S. MUST lead the response….why?

The Saudis have the best and most of US weaponry…they have the best training and the best war chest….so again….why must the US do anything?  Plus they bought the Israeli “Iron Dome” to protect against incoming missiles….that appears to be a absolute failure.

The US military is to be used to protect the homeland….and Saudi is NOT my homeland….is it yours?

Sorry but this recent attack could be turned into one helluva conspiracy theory.

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Closing Thought–20Sep17

For 40 years I have been bad mouthing so-called think tanks….these institutions are there tom help formulate policy….there a conserv ones as well as liberal ones and even some that claim to be independent.

MY dislike for them comes from when I was working for one after college…..we were given the conclusion they want and we were to analyze and come up with policy the fit the conclusion.

I think they are worthless waste of time…..any way I recently read a good piece that asked if “think tanks were doomed?”

In 2015, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president and CEO of the New America Foundation co-authored an ambitious manifesto about the future of the D.C. think tank that emphasized the need for civic action. “The Progressive Era model of think tanks as extensions of technocratic governance is no longer sufficient to make meaningful, large-scale progress in resolving public problems,” Slaughter argued. Instead, she suggested, “pre-partisan” efforts at civic enterprise were necessary for ideas to get traction “in the hyper-partisan, pay-for-play environment of Washington policy development.” She acknowledged that her undertaking was “an ambitious project—nothing short of rethinking the relationship between the people who make public policy and the people for whom they make it,” but New America was poised for the challenge.

Source: Are Think Tanks Doomed? – POLITICO Magazine

Too much cash involved for them to disappear…but they could be better run.

The Republican Brain

No that is not an oxymoron!  (Although if it were it would be a damn good one)

These days the actual conservs do not think for themselves instead they out source that function to a think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

Most of my regulars know that I do not think much of so-called think tanks…..the reason is that most of them have a conclusion and then set about making stats and such fit what they want to report to say.

The worst among these fake intellectual endeavors is the Heritage Foundation……this group decides what the GOP will offer as way of policy and they, the politicians, do as they are told…..but to get a better grip on how this “foundation” works…….

The mood was jubilant two days after the November 2016 election at a Washington, D.C., panel co-hosted by two powerhouse conservative thinktanks—the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

In his opening remarks, Heritage president Jim DeMint rejoiced that Donald Trump’s election had “preserved our constitutional republic.” Panelist John Yoo, a Berkeley law professor best known as the architect of George W. Bush’s justification for torture, drew laughs with feigned surprise at the audience size. “I thought everyone at Heritage was working over at transition head quarters,” Yoo quipped. “I asked the taxi cab driver to take me to Trump transition headquarters, and he dropped me off here.”

Source: The Right-Wing Machine Behind the Curtain

The radical conservative Heritage Foundation has spent 40 years trying to gut the federal budget. Now Trump is proving to be the perfect tool.

Many of its proposals are lifted straight from the recommendations of an elite ultra-conservative D.C. think tank: the Heritage Foundation.

Trump’s Budget proposal, released on Thursday, echoes none of the populist, anti-establishment themes of candidate Trump’s campaign for higher office. Instead, it calls for a large increase in defense spending while reducing spending for a variety of popular domestic programs.

That’s not surprising considering where those ideas came from. Rather than bringing in new ideas from outside of the Beltway, many of its proposals are lifted straight from the recommendations of an elite ultra-conservative D.C. think tank: the Heritage Foundation.

Source: Trump the Outsider Outsources His Budget to Insider Think Tank

It is disgusting to out source your policies, policies that are not anything promised while luring idiots to his cause, but that is how you do it when a bunch of screaming amateurs are running the Greatest country on the planet.

All the American people can do now is bend over and wait for the insertion….sans Vaseline.

Closing Thought–10Mar17

The evil that is a think tank!

I have written about what I think of so-called “think tanks”….these are organizations that are contracted to present policy options and analysis…..

When I graduated from college I was recruited by 3 think tanks as an analyst…I turned them down….why?  The pay would have been excellent…then why?

Most of them are partisan and work for a certain group and their “analyses” reflects what the group wants it to reflect….I other words analysts are given a conclusion and we are told to make the research fit the conclusion…I would not be part of this lie and deception.

I read an article that covers “think tanks”……

Think tanks have the ability to influence government policy and legislative debates because of their perceived independence from corporate interests. But the need for donor funding is causing some think tank scholars to support agendas backed by their corporate donors, blurring the line between independent research and corporate lobbying.

Source: How Think Tanks Amplify Corporate America’s Influence |

One of the worse offenders is the Heritage Foundation….it is pure bullshit from the first inked word.

I would suggest that one do not accept the words of these “tanks” without doing some research on your own…..I know that is asking much these days when actual research is limited to one’s limited mental capacities….so….just do not believe everything you read…..NO matter where it originates.

That be it for the week…I start my weekend and hopefully you will do the same…..I shall return Monday with more stuff of interest……be well, be safe…..chuq

The World Of The “Deep State”

Now there is a term that is being used way too much these days…..just a decade ago it was used mostly by people that did analysis for think tanks….but thanks to this past election it has made its way into the main stream.

The problem is there are not many Americans that are aware of what this term actually means…..

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power

Source: Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State | BillMoyers.com

What got me to thinking about the term “Deep State” was a post I read on Washington Blog……

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the unelected National Security State often referred to as the Shadow Government–is not a unified monolith but a deeply divided ecosystem in which the dominant Neocon-Neoliberal Oligarchy is being challenged by elements which view the Neocon-Neoliberal agenda as a threat to national security and the interests of the United States.

I call these anti-Neocon-Neoliberal elements the progressive Deep State.

If you want a working definition of the Neocon-Neoliberal Deep State, Hillary Clinton’s quip–we came, we saw, he died–is a good summary: a bullying, arrogance-soaked state-within-a-state pursuing an agenda of ceaseless intervention while operating a global Murder, Inc., supremely confident that no one in the elected government can touch them.

Source: Trump Aims to Cut the Neocon Deep State Off at the Knees

The Deep State has been a fixture that most Americans were unaware of in the past……It will be interesting to see if Trump has it in his playbook top neutralize this group.  It has even invaded the political parties (if we call them that)…..

Crooked elections and wars with nuclear-armed countries are not supported by the base of either party, nor are they part of any party’s platform.  Whose agenda are they serving?

I had been hearing, off and on, about the Deep State, so I Googled and found an essay from 2014 on Moyers & Company called Anatomy of the Deep State by former Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren.

Source: U.S. Political Parties and the Deep State – LA Progressive

I am guessing that we will become far more familiar with the term “Deep State” in the next 4 years…..