There was a great magic act at the recent Progressive Roundtable convening. During the performance the magician, Al Mite TeDollar, describes the Right’s infrastructure of organizations and how they operate to move America’s politics to the right. (He told me the performance was based on these reports…) Now there’s a video available showing the performance.
Here’s Commonweal Institute’s description of the video:
Al Mite TeDollar, the Billionaire Magician, mystified attendees with his Maximizing ROI (Return On Illusion) performance at the opening reception of the Commonweal Institute’s Progressive Roundtable on March 2, 2006. Weaving magic, political satire, and economic allegories, Al demonstrated why billionaire investments in political infrastructure and legislation have yielded returns beyond the dreams of avarice. Magic was afoot, reminding the audience of the real-world misdirection and shell game operations going on all around us.
See the video (Note, this is an ‘mp4″ file which requires Apple’s QuickTime. You can download QuickTime by clicking here.)
Return on Investments display (Small PDF document)
Return on Investments references (Small PDF document)
PS You can contact Al Mite TeDollar for bookings here.
I’d like to tell you about an exciting and informative panel I will be on at the upcoming YearlyKos convention, June 8-11 in Las Vegas. This convention (details here) is for bloggers, blog readers, “netroots” people such as MoveOn members, progressive activists, and all of us who are upset over the direction the conservatives are taking the United States. Oh, and you party animals will also want to come.
The panel I want to tell you about is titled, Building Progressive Infrastructure. As Markos and Jerome’s book Crashing the Gate discusses, one reason conservatives now dominate the American “marketplace of ideas” is because they have built an “infrastructure” of organizations that are designed to persuade the public to support conservative ideology and candidates. These organizations operate year-round, outside of the election cycle, pursuing a coordinated, long-term strategy. Over time this effort has moved the public ever rightward, creating a receptive environment for a conservative approach to issues, and for their candidates.
At MyDD there is an excellent post on a right-wing corporatist organization called ALEC: Exposing The Machinery Of The Corporate Right,
Up in Wyoming, the local Casper Star-Tribune decided to take a look at the machinery that pushes conservative laws in the state’s legislature. Many here at MyDD may be well aware of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate-funded rightist law-writing factory that works behind the scenes to cram their agenda on the states. But I have a feeling it’s a group that isn’t discussed very often among readers of the Star-Tribune (or, for that matter, any local paper outside of Washington, DC). That’s why their coverage of ALEC is so important.
Please go read the post.
Well I left a comment, based on a line in the post. Readers here might be familiar with this, but repetition works, and this can’t be said often enough:
Reading a great post at The Sideshow triggered something I have been brewing over. From the post,
“…afterwards we’ll have hand-wringing about how the Democrats failed to do this and that and the other thing.”
Let’s think about what is meant here by the term “The Democrats?”
“The Republicans” sure are good at jumping on things, taking advantage, making noise, persuading people, and getting their way. But when we say “The Republicans” who and what do we mean? Are we talking about the Republican Party? Republican elected officials?
When the Republicans “jump on” an event and do such a good job of getting their persuasion-message out to the public, what are the details of how this is accomplished? Who does what? Who formulates the message? Who conducts the polling and focus groups? Who pays the people who organize the writing of op-eds for newspapers? Who calls the editors to place the op-eds? Who arranges for all the Ann Coulters to appear on all the conservative media shows? How is it all organized and coordinated? How is it all funded? Who pays all the Ann Coulters and all the “little people” working behind the scenes?
You have heard it here before, but we all need to say it over and over again, and the word needs to spread out past the blogosphere until everyone “gets” what is happening to us. The Democrats’ Tiny Megaphone,
Indeed, the Right’s subsidizing of media may be the most under-reported money-in-politics story in modern American history. Many good-government organizations track the millions of dollars contributed to candidates, but much less attention is paid to the billions of unregulated dollars poured into media.
This imbalanced attention continues even though the conservative media is arguably the most important weapon in the Republican arsenal.
Political “propaganda themes” – often coordinated with GOP leaders – are distributed instantaneously across the country, reaching into both rural and urban America with a repetition that gives these messages a corroborative ring of truth.
The messages echo from talk radio to cable news to conservative columnists who appear in the mostly pro-Republican local newspapers. The themes then are reinforced in magazine articles and in books that dominate the shelves of many American bookstores.