Hackers have revealed a new conservative attack on America. This latest assault is led by the $900 million dollar Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation.
Their goal is to duplicate the success they had in attacking unions in Wisconsin. Their dirty foundation money was the fuel behind Gov. Scott Walker’s union busing efforts. From 2011 to 2016, the Bradley Foundation funded more than a dozen nonprofits, labeled the Wisconsin Network, to the tune of $13 million dollars.
Having perfected this nefarious model in Wisconsin, they are taking it national. The Bradley Foundation is focusing their efforts on states – lavishly funding non-profits and corrupt lawmakers who are willing to sell out working families for right wing money.
Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the organizations that the Bradley Foundation is funding are “hostile to labor unions, skeptical of climate change or critical of the loosening of sexual mores in American culture – which obviously means anti-LGBT advocacy.”
According to Bice’s story in the Journal Sentinel:
• Starting in 2016, the foundation put $575,000 into five groups in Colorado. One group uses the money to recruit and train conservative activists and candidates while two others have the stated goal “to defund teachers unions.”
• Bradley Foundation officials are giving $1.5 million over three years to two organizations in North Carolina, another swing state, to “create a comprehensive communications infrastructure around four primary elements: radio, online content aggregation, mobile applications and an AP-style news service for local newspapers.” One group has acquired a Drudge Report-style website called Carolina Plott Hound.
Once again, the far right understands that if you control the messaging platforms, you control America. Not only does the right wing have 1000-plus talk radio outlets, they also have FOX News, and Sinclair Broadcasting – while progressives have virtually no way to get out their messages. In spite of this enormous and decisive advantage, The Bradley Foundation is investing in even more media.
And you wonder conservatives control Washington and most governorships and state legislatures. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if people hear a conservative message 100 times to each time they hear a progressive one – the twisted conservative version of reality will win the day – at the expense of this country.
The article quotes Rob Stein of the progressive Democracy Alliance. This is a group of wealthy liberal funders. They do wonderful work and should be applauded for their efforts. But how much has the Democracy Alliance actually invested in independent media to counter the far right?
Obviously, not enough.
Unless the Democracy Alliance is happy with the performance of corporate media that elected Donald Trump with more than $3 billion in free press.
The Democracy Alliance and other funders, including Hillary Clinton’s new philanthropic venture, should follow the lead of Sinclair, FOX, and the Bradley Foundation and correct the gross media imbalance that is literally strangling the life out of the progressive movement and this nation.
Make no mistake: What the Bradley Foundation is doing will undercut the middle class.
People who work in so-called “Right to Work” for peanut states earn $6,000 less per year. This is because they have no leverage to negotiate with employers.
The more unions have been under attack by plutocrats like the Bradley Foundation – the more middle class shrinks and more people are moved from comfortable lives to poverty. Many of you have you have experienced this deterioration of living standards.
• From 1970 to 2012, the share of American families living in middle class neighborhoods declined from 65 to 40 percent, while the share living in either poor or affluent neighborhoods grew substantially.
• Over the past decade and a half, nine in ten US metropolitan areas have seen their middle class shrink.
• Approximately 117 million adults stuck on the lower half of the income ladder have been completely shut off from economic growth since 1970. There has been close to zero growth for working-age adults in the bottom 50%.
• Stagnant wages have cut the share of income by the bottom half of Americans to 12.5% in 2014, from 20% of the total in 1980.
It’s not enough for the greedy Bradley Foundation to be rich. They want you to be poor – and they’re spending millions of dollars to keep your family in the poor house.
But I will give The Bradley Foundation credit. They’re smarter than we are. They play the long game. According to Bradley Foundation CEO Rick Graber:
“You have to take a longer view on some of the things we’re trying to accomplish. You’re not going to see definitive results every three months. It can take decades.”
Liberal foundations and donors have to make a choice. Either they can play the long game – like the Bradley Foundation — or the losing game. Too often progressives are underfunded, or they get short-term funding which is self-defeating.
And as I mentioned earlier, unless we follow the lead of conservatives and create a media infrastructure – Get used to living in a world led by Traitor Trump and Paul Lyin’ Ryan.