Think-Tanks Explained

Or, Where National Policy Comes From.
by Tony Cartalucci

January 12, 2012 - I was shocked to see the corporate-financier Lowy Institute of Australia tweet a story explaining the ins-and-outs of think tanks. I was equally shocked to actually read the article, titled "Devaluing the Think Tank," written by Tevi Troy and published in "National Affairs." It describes what is basically an extra-legal process where national policy is not produced by our elected representatives within the legislative branch, but rather in these policy think-tanks and in some cases, even described as being "marketed."

Image: "Your nation's policy has been brought to you by...." These represent just some of the corporate sponsors of just one single think-tank (the Brookings Institution) that creates both foreign and domestic policy for the United States, extra-legally beyond the nation's legislative branch, as well as the blueprints for America's future wars of conquest. Afterward, all that remains is for "elected representatives" to rubber stamp it and for the corporate-media to sell it to an unsuspecting public.

I was impressed by the depth at which Troy covered the inner workings of policy think-tanks and was only disappointed in three respects. One, Troy never mentions who actually funds and directs these think-tanks. Two, because of the first omission, the illusion that these think-tanks are aligned along and driven by political parties is created. And three, Troy whitewashes, and even defends think-tanks and their role in policy making that should remain exclusively within the realm of elected representatives and the legislative branch.

However, these omissions are easily remedied by reading "Naming Names: Your Real Government" and "Clinton Turns to Naked Corporate-Fascism" where the real forces driving this think-tank industry described by Troy is fully explained. While reading these three articles together is not going to be "light reading," those who succeed in doing so will walk away fully enlightened of how policy, both domestic and foreign, is created throughout the dominion of Wall Street and London.

Understanding how utterly futile faith in our representative form of government is when our "representatives" are simply handed policy by established think-tanks funded by a combine of billion-dollar multinational corporations is the first step in devising viable solutions to correcting this enormous imbalance of power.

Quite obviously, if corporate-financier interests dominate our policy because of the immense wealth and unwarranted influence we have granted them through our patronizing them, boycotting and replacing them back down to size would be a good first step.

To illustrate how complementary Troy's article is with "Naming Names," and "Naked Corporate Fascism," consider these two excerpts:

"Devaluing the Think Tank" by Tevi Troy

"The Center for American Progress is easily the most thoroughgoing example of what City College of New York professor Andrew Rich has called "marketing think tanks." For these institutions, the balance between original research and public relations is clearly tipped in the direction of the latter. As Rich puts it, these organizations often seem more interested in selling their product than in coming up with new ideas. CAP in particular seems to have turned marketing and organizing into an art form. According to a 2008 article by Bloomberg's Edwin Chen, CAP devoted about 40% of its resources to communication and outreach that year, eight times as much as typical liberal policy organizations did. At the time, CAP had a budget of $27 million and claimed 180 staffers, employing about as many full-time bloggers (11) as PPI did scholars. CAP has even been involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests: According to the New York Times, CAP "encouraged and sought to help coordinate protests in different cities"; a spokesman for the center told the Times that "we've definitely been publicizing it and supporting" the movement."

"Clinton Turns to Naked Corporate-Fascism" by Tony Cartalucci

Center for American Progress

Background: The Center for American Progress holds transparency in contempt, refusing to reveal on its website or in its annual report, exactly who is paying the bills. While "right-wing-styled" institutes are generally more proud to show off their corporate sponsors - a sign that they are for the "free market," allegedly left-leaning organizations attempt to portray their efforts as subsidized on goodwill alone. We saw this earlier this year when the self-proclaimed "independent" Prachatai, a "liberal news website" according to the BBC, which was exposed to be funded millions of Thai baht a year by the Neo-Conservative lined National Endowment for Democracy. Likewise, just beneath the surface of "American Progress" are billionaire bankers, corporate-lobbyists, and everyone else one would consider corporate-fascist.

The New York Times exposes the center's backers in an article titled, "John Podesta, Shepherd of a Government in Exile." And while the New York Times attempts to portray the center as "liberal," and its the lack of transparency as "normal," what we find is yet another corporate infested organization of unelected policy makers, producing reports and bills on behalf of the planet's monied elite, that are passed to Congress for rubber stamping, while their connections throughout the corporate-media ensure that the policy is promoted, sold to, and accepted by the public.

The New York Times reveals George Soros as a donor, as well as Peter Lewis of Progressive, a Fortune 500 insurance company, and Herb Sanders, formally of World Savings Bank, who made billions in the "mortgage industry." The center itself is headed by John Podesta, whose colorful career within the United States government is elaborated at length within his bio featured on the center's website. And despite the New York Times' long, ranting history of Podesta's ties to the Democratic party, what is never mentioned by either, is that he also heads a Washington lobbying firm, the Podesta Group representing corporate-financier interests including Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and British Petroleum.

A long and self-incriminating "record" of their past work can be found on their website. Despite the colorful pictures and adjectives used to describe Podesta's work, what is essentially representing corporate-special interests in Washington, we may see the clearest example yet of what and of whom these think-tanks are really made of -hardly "scholars." Lobbying firms like Podesta are literally the glue that holds this un-Constitutional, corporate-fascist system together. While bills like the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation shut down small, start up competitors, Podesta was busy "convincing" Congress that its client didn't need to be regulated - resulting in a system that is literally stacked against the people, in favor of the Fortune 500 - Wall Street and London.

Podesta even brags about its ability to use the media to manipulate public opinion on behalf of their clients. Ed Rothschild's biography on Podesta's site claims:

"Chairing the Podesta Group’s energy and environment practice, Ed crafts and executes government relations and public relations strategy for many of the firm’s clients, including companies, trade associations and advocacy groups. With his deep Rolodex of media contacts and communications savvy, Ed provides messaging guidance and media training, and opens doors to media outlets for clients."

Under a section of the Podesta Group's website titled, "International," is a breathtaking admission of how lobbying groups drive foreign policy for "clients," be they foreign governments or international corporations.

"Some consider international policy and Washington politics to be separate entities - we know better. Whether the client is a foreign government, international corporation or interest group, our team of experts is a favorite for international entities with regulatory, legislative and communications needs in Washington. Our strategists have worked in senior positions in the offices of Washington’s foremost decision makers, with international law firms and think tanks. They have experience at the highest levels of journalism, and have worked abroad, affording a global perspective necessary to crafting successful strategies here in the US. Routine tactics for many complex projects rarely work. Our international team understands the unique needs of global interests and in developing and executing customized strategies that are effective in any political environment."

On the same page, beneath the category, "PG at Work" and "PG in the News," we see links that lead off to the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor featuring Podesta's employees literally writing editorials and articles, the vast majority of them calling for or defending war with nations across the planet. Podesta employee Stephen Rademaker is even featured in an article declaring that he is now a "foreign policy adviser" for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Clearly Mr. John Podesta is as compromised as any man can be in Washington, and clearly in bed with corporate-financier interests while heading a "think-tank" policy front simply dressing up his lobbying work with a certain air of "scholarly" credibility. Now, and hopefully to the alarm of all Americans, these lobbyists will be directly advising the US State Department.
Clearly Troy, while whitewashing and spinning the implications of "CAP's" activities, still gives readers insight into how they operate. The latter excerpt then gives readers a more detailed explanation of who funds CAP, why, what their real agenda is, and how they carry it out.

Not only will reading these three articles give us the ability to understand how policy is made, how our society is governed, and a starting point from which to begin changing this obviously fraudulent system, but by understanding where our policy comes from and following these think-tanks instead of the disingenuous corporate-media that then spins and sells these policies to the public, we can tell what the global corporate-financier elite are really doing and why.

Devaluing the Think Tank
Naming Names: Your Real Government
Clinton Turns to Naked Corporate Fascism