The Old Guard and A New Beginning
By Nicole Nichols
Two and a quarter centuries ago, a group of very brave and daring men came together as masters of nation building. They crafted a miraculously progressive document laying out the blueprint for what would become the most powerful and revered nation on the face of this earth – the United States of America.
Two and a quarter centuries later we, the American people, watch and wonder, argue and debate, agree and disagree on what their true intent was, and how to continue to apply that document to the complexities of the 21st Century. As brilliant and as forward thinking as our Founding Fathers were, it is a sure bet that the current batardization of the intent behind their vision and the co-opting of that document to further the insanity of the right-wing power brokers in this country is causing them a great deal of discomfort as they turn in their graves.
Two hundred years later the document itself still inspires awe and is defended in its wisdom and its utility. It is guarded against any alteration or modification and revered as the defining authority of a free people. Yet, there are those nefarious individuals who, while wrapping themselves in the American flag and carrying their crosses, insist upon cherry-picking from that document – much as they do with the Bible – and using it to twist and bend the truths to help further an agenda that can only be described as malevolently malignant.
Unfortunately, the American public is largely unaware of the shameful desecration that is taking place as well as the nature of the beast behind the odious transgressions of these individuals. While most of the intelligent world is thankful to be rid of the Reagan and Bush eras in this country, we only thought that we got rid of them. Few understand that those two individuals live on in the policy making institutes that really run this country.
In actuality, few are familiar with fact that the wheelers and dealers who came out of those administrations still occupy seats of power, and that there are “training” facilities all across the county where the right-wing dogma is being pummeled into the minds of up and coming politicians and leaders. There is little attention given to such endeavors, yet the ultra-conservative zealots have made huge inroads into the political landscape and into our everyday lives.
One of those institutes is the Heritage Foundation. Long considered one of the most influential research and policy setting bodies in the country. The Heritage Foundation took a leading role during the Reagan Administration and has been furthering the conservative agenda ever since. The stated mission of the Foundation is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”.
Insinuating themselves into every facet of American life, the Foundation is active in the halls of Congress at both the federal and state levels writing and presenting policies and laws that favor the end roads that they seek. They have the ears of our elected officials and the clout to cause those servants of the people to stand up and listen.
Throughout the last four years the Foundation has left its finger prints all over some of the most distasteful, intrusive, and prejudicial legislation to ever be suggested to the American people. Opposition to the removal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Personhood Acts, the Defense of Marriage Act, Voter ID laws, School Vouchers, Deregulation of EPA mandates, Climate change denial, Global warming denial, privatization of Social Security and education, continuing the War on Terror, expanding the military, tax breaks for the wealthy, etc. all bear the mark of the Heritage Foundation along with other powerful entities.
It is important to note that the Heritage Foundation was started by three individuals in 1973, thus it is not a newly organized group. Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner, and Joseph Coors all deserve to be mentioned here, as they have been a huge driving force behind, not only the right, but the religious right, as well.
Weyrich, who is now deceased, also founded the Committee For the Survival of a Free Congress which was among the first organization to be able to utilize evangelical Christian churches for the purpose of recruiting and cultivating future activists to further and support conservative social causes. He later co-founded the Christian Voice, and in 1979, he and Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority.
But, Weyrich didn’t stop there with his attempts to Christianize the country. He went on to found the extremely powerful American Legislative Exchange Council, the most persuasive legislation writing group in this country today, and the Free Congress Foundation. Both Weyrich and the Free Congress Foundation have long been considered examples of dominionism in action. As the author The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement, Weyrich came under fire for what Katherine Yurika said was a “call 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.”
As if all of that were not enough, Weyrich also co-founded the Council for National Policy with another dominionist, Tim LaHaye. The CNP is a highly secretive conclave of some of the most powerful social conservatives in the country.
Edwin Feulner, another Foundation co-founder, has served as the Director of the Council for National Policy and in other capacities, as well. Feulner has been an extremely active force in furthering the ultra-conservative movement serving in a variety of positions with councils, centers, foundations, PAC’s, institutes and political campaigns. He has become a major figurehead to the right. He currently serves as the President of the Heritage Foundation until April when he will be replaced by former Senator Jim DeMint.
Joseph Coors, late President of Coors Brewing Company, was also instrumental in the founding of the Council for National Policy and the Free Congress Foundation. Some of his fortune was invested in the career of President Ronald Reagan and he served on Reagan’s Kitchen Cabinet. Coors also donated $65,000 dollars to purchase a light cargo plane for the contras in the Nicaraguan affair funneling the money through the National Security Council adviser Oliver North.
Among the Heritage Foundation’s staff members and advisers are David Addington, former chief aide to Vice President Dick Cheney; Ed Meese, Reagan’s Attorney General; Richard Scaife, mega-right-wing funder; and Midge Decter, the wife of neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz.
Right Web tells us that In addition, “Heritage maintains a plank of some 60 in-house experts who are in turn supported by nearly 200 staff and management personnel. It also supports some 30 additional websites and affiliated projects, including the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, the Heritage Congressional Fellowship, NationalSecurity.org, and ReagansHeritage.org.”
The Heritage Foundation is divided into many different factions that allows it to run pretty stealth where it wants to. The Senior Management Staff and the Board of Trustees are a bevy of heavy-hitters from every possible spectrum covering the bases of business, energy, economics, environment, foreign affairs, military, religion, law, culture, education, media, etc.
There are several “policy centers” within their structure that run the gamut: Asian Studies; Principles and Politics; Data Analysis; Health Policy Studies; International Trade & Economics; Legal and Judicial Studies; Media and Public Policy; Religion and Civil Society; The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom; Economic Policy Studies; Foreign Policy Studies; and International Studies.
Perhaps one of the most substantially ominous quotes from the Heritage Foundation, and the one that speaks volumes about the influence they wield is:
“Heritage analysts help members of Congress and their staff prepare for congressional hearings by providing valuable insight on foreign or domestic policy issues. Congressional staffers come to Heritage regularly to receive custom-tailored briefings on the latest Heritage research related to their committee assignment or legislative priority.”
Currently, the Foundation is offering 507 very sophisticated charts to members of Congress to use on the floor. These charts include union membership, welfare spending, public education staffing, health care costs, the federal budget, entitlements, etc. all of which are presented with the conservative bias that would, of course, be expected.
Every day, the national press is provided with a list of Heritage Foundation experts who are available for interviews on the pressing issues of the day. Their voluminous website makes policy papers available with the click of a mouse and houses articles and ruminations from some of the most prolific conservatives who seek to inundate the public with their religiously driven, prejudicial, narrow-minded, perspective that would insure a conservative Christian American government.
They encourage enrollment in their “Young Leaders Program.” Targeting college-age students, the Foundation offers internships to qualified students where they will be able to engage in research, writing, administrative, and computer projects, and work with many of the Foundation’s experts.
The Heritage Foundation boasts that it currently has over 700,000 supporters. It is largely funded through private individuals and charitable foundations such as the Olin, Scaife, DeVos, and Bradley Foundations. However, its corporate donors cannot be ignored. Among those donors have been General Motors, Ford Motors, Proctor & Gamble, Chase Manhattan Bank, Dow Chemical, Mobil Oil, and Smith Kline Corporation. It should also be noted that the Heritage Foundation is a part of the Koch Foundation Associate Program. Hence, with an operating revenue budget of over seventy-five million dollars, it is unlikely that this outfit is going to go away anytime soon.
At this juncture, there is no denying how powerfully influential the Heritage Foundation is within the political landscape, or how successful they have been in managing to foist their right-wing agenda on the American people. However, as puissant as they have been, they are entering a new era, one that promises to take their right-wing zealotry to, perhaps, even higher levels of radical regression and political extremism.
As Jim DeMint assumes the Presidency of the Foundation, it is quite possible that acquiring such a seat will give him an even greater voice in conservative circles and for conservative causes than he had in the Senate. That possibility alone is daunting.
As, perhaps, the most conservative member of the Senate, DeMint was a very powerful force. He has been consistent in advocating prayer in public schools and allowing banners and posters revering God flying in the face of the concept of separation of church and state. A staunch Pro-Lifer, he took a stand against abortion even in the case of rape or incest. DeMint garnered a 100% approval rating among anti-immigration groups for his stand on illegal immigration, opposition to the Dream Act, and favoring legislation that would declare English as the official language of the United States. Vehemently opposing same-gender marriage, he told a rally of his supporters that openly homosexual and unmarried sexually active people should not be teachers. He also favors banning gays in the military and prohibiting adoptions by same-sex couples.
DeMint claims that American exceptionalism requires understanding from a Biblical viewpoint and that we all benefit from government founded on Christian values. He wholeheartedly supports faith-based initiatives. In response to questions on poverty and welfare, Jim DeMint offered this statement:
“Every member of the House has to stand in the House chamber, raise his right hand, and recite the oath of office at the beginning of each new Congress:
“I, Jim DeMint, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
“There is nothing in this oath about representing my district and state or helping the poor and downtrodden. There was nothing about responding to the woes of the American people. There was no list of duties because everything we were supposed to do in Congress was written in the Constitution. All federal officers & members of the armed services all take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. It must have been really important at one time.”
Jim DeMint is the epitome of the Christian right hard-liner. Revered by the Tea Party, he embodies all of the characteristics of the dogmatic, radical fanatic who lusts for power. Putting and keeping the populace in its place of being subservient to the elite and the ‘chosen’ is paramount to achieving authority over the masses.
“Only accountability to God, economic necessity, and the rule of law can redirect the inherent negative tendencies of mankind toward morality, virtue, hard work, self-control, and personal responsibility.
These are the character traits that make people governable with only limited government and external control.” (Jim DeMint)
Additionally, Jim DeMint is a member and housemate of “The Family,” better known as the “C-Street Group.” For those unfamiliar, C-Street is located in Washington and the establishment in question is listed as a church. Several members of Congress inhabit the house and others similar to it where spirituality sessions and Bible studies are conducted. The group has come under a lot of scrutiny after a couple of sex scandals brought them to the forefront. Interestingly, the congressmen who are part of this group all believe that they were chosen by Jesus Christ to be leaders.
One can only speculate where his leadership will take the already fundamentally avaricious Heritage Foundation, but it is probably safe to assume that it will be down a path that generates policies and legislation that are essentially untenable to anyone who refuses to live under theocratic rule.
We, as a nation, value our right to vote and cherish the “idea” that our government is truly “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But, is it really? That begs the question – “Which people?” Clearly, we have been misinformed for it is not us that make the decisions. “The people” are those who sit in high places, draw down nice fat salaries, and seek ways to make the rest of us manageable – controllable – governable. They are the ones who grease the right palms, kiss the right asses, and wrap themselves in the American flag while calling themselves virtuous patriots.
Fear is a powerful motivator, and the fear of these “people” is palpable. They shiver in their shoes at the thought of becoming powerless. They are terrified of losing control, of not being in authority, of being stripped of their titles, of ever having to become just one of us. Consequently, there is no limit to what they will attempt to maintain their superiority. Their conscience is non-existent as they try to impose laws and regulations that are wholly deleterious to the very fabric of American society. Their use of the Bible and their so-called Christianity is simply their way of trying to subjugate us into a submissive posture to assure that their place at the table isn’t threatened.
The Heritage Foundation is but one of many all seeking the same end. However, they are all connected through their membership and through their collaboration with each other. These organizations are well connected, well heeled, and well on their way to achieving their goals of total dominion. That is why it is incumbent upon every American that we understand the agenda and make the determination to, once again, be “The People” or become the servants.
For an overview of the Heritage Foundation see the chart below
For a birds-eye-view of the structure of the Heritage Foundation see the chart below: