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The Apparat

excellent article on how the right-wing corporate-funded network behind today's Bush-Rove campaign has been built over the past 30 years.

this anti-democratic, anti-constitutional network, operating outside of government campaign funding constraints, is pursuing its unprecedented goal of a one-party state, where elections represent only a vestigial appearance of democratic process.
"The Apparat: George W. Bush's back-door political machine" by Jerry M. Landay contains complete references to all the key corporate, media, and institutional players.

homepage: homepage: http://www.mediatransparency.org/stories/apparat.html
address: address: Media Transparency - The Money Behind The Media

Interesting article 18.Mar.2004 22:53

George Seldes

I am very puzzled, though. Why does Landay pretend that this wealthy propaganda apparatus goes back only thirty years? Any superficial reading of popular activism in this country will show its ink-stains all the way back to the Hay Market massacre and before, before the Civil War, probably before the Revolutionary War.

George - 19.Mar.2004 01:21

i.f. stone

I think he's concentrating on the tax-exempt, specifically-ideologically oriented far-right lobbying that has sprung up since Watergate - which was the point at which the American right wing mobilized to backlash the wave of 1960s grassroots populist anti-corporate activism (note how the author mentions their model having been Ralph Nader's Raiders!).

this shill network is a focused post-1960s 'counter-coup' response of the wealthy elites who run corporations to 'protect' their dominance and thriving at the peak of the capitalist pyramid. Objective is to churn out narrow corporate and far-right ideology counter to the academia- , "welfare state"- and US government/career lawyer-generated American ideology which was predominant after WWII. as you can see from the article's focus, these are the post-'Reagan Revolution' ideologically-driven entities and elites that have made GWB's regime into what Karl Rove calls "Reagan - Phase III".

this campaign has many different tactical and strategic methods -

>>from Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform "leave us alone coalition" with their 'inverse populist' goal of a corporate socialist state: "My ideal citizen is the self-employed, home-schooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed carry permit - because he doesn't need the goddamn government for anything."

>>to PNAC's overall strategic agenda for 21st century US foreign policy

>>to the "liberal media bias" attack groups of Reed Irvine (AIM), David Horowitz (CPSC, FrontPageMag), and L. Brent Bozell (Media Research Center)

several more recent historical trends follow along with the rise of this network:

the growth of PACs and IRS-exempt forms of political lobbying since the 1950s is important and significant. many of the above groups sway in and out of quasi-legal types of lobbying campaigns (attack advertising, direct mail) that they are provided with funding and resources to execute at specific times and for specific issue or political campaign-vote contest goals.

another difference (especially since Reagan) that these elite organizations have co-evolved with is the extreme consolidation and homogenization of the "fourth estate" - U.S. corporate media.

there are significant ideological and rank & file differences between the 1870s-1950s GOP and the current (post-Nixon, and especially post-Reagan) RNC. also note these newer groups' specific ideological targeting of George Soros' 'open society' campaigns.

to do a historical study back to the 18th century or earlier of how the elite/rightist/industrialist elements control their national (and global) agendas would require a much longer article - probably book-length.

U.S. media ownership since 1983:  number of controlling corporations
U.S. media ownership since 1983: number of controlling corporations

i. f. 20.Mar.2004 02:26

George Seldes

I cannot, and do not wish to, dispute any of your points, including "book-length".

Nevertheless, the article is misleading. A similarly structured article, emphasizing the hockey-sticks a band of thugs were using to beat people, would similarly divert attention from the fact that it is the same damned thugs who used to beat people with pool-cues.

The same damn propagandists, lackeys for the wealthy, are using the most convenient effective means at hand to spread lies. That they are now using tax-exempt foundations reflects no change in purpose or methods; it reflects only that businesses were not taxed a century ago. That they hide behind masks of education and science reflects only that masks of religion and agrarian wisdom no longer impress urban humanists.

It is one of the tricks used by oppressors for millenia to keep us gainlessly occupied : set up a multitude of irrelevant issues. While we try to remove their tax-exemptions, and built our own foundations, they pump out the propaganda. When we finish, they will wimper about the unfairness of it all, as they whine today about the left-wing corporate media; and we will discover the propaganda will be still flowing like an overloaded sewer. If we burn down all their foundations tomorrow, and everybody in them; the day after, the same lies will be spewing from new faces.

The problem is not how they put out the message. The problem is that the oppressor has effectively limitless resources and, while he likes to minimize expences, control of public opinion is a good return on his investment, no matter how expensive. The problem is also that public opinion proves to be remarkable easy to control.

That last sentence scares me, because I do not mean merely that the unwashable masses are gullible. I mean, too, that the intelligensia and the stalwart subversives are so readily turned to questing after will'o'wisps and even to advancing the projects of the oppressor.

I do not mean agents and traitors. I mean skilled people with the purest of intentions and careful consideration doing what seems right, doing what they have been taught since they could distinguish words with more than one vowel.

Nor do I mean that the oppressor designed our education in detail. He certainly designed parts, but largely he takes advantage of what is there. He influences. He suppresses. He makes suggestions -- with enormous wealth on one's side, and eager underlings, idle whims tend to come true.

We are all complicit.


Thank you for the opportunity to think on this.