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Guest BROWNer

caution:thispostcontainswordsandparagraphsmindrequired

 

(A)n (E)gotistical (I)nstitution

Ralph Nader, _June 18, 2003

 

Preface:

When_we first heard about the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)_event that Ralph Nader refers to in the following article, I thought it was a joke. The uber-influential conservative think-tank recently held a conference in which speaker after speaker_railed on about_how_progressive, unelected, and "unaccountable"_NGOs had "too much power."

 

Huh? This is the same group whose "scholars" include David Frum, the former Bush speech writer who_penned the "axis of..." speech;_Michael Leeden, an ex-Iran Contra player who advocates invading Iran, Syria and Lebanon; and Richard Perle,_the unelected_key architect of the Iraq war who was recently_exposed for_lobbying the Pentagon_on behalf of the disgraced communications giant Global Crossing. During the build-up to the Iraq invasion, it was men like these, working behind-the-scenes, and front-and-center on every news network they could get their face on,_who sold the_lie-packed_rationale_for a_"pre-emptive war" against a nation which posed no threat._

 

AEI sponsored weekly "black coffee breakfasts" in which_Leeden, Perle_and the_other Chickenhawk Players_kept small groups of_the nation's_power brokers in_rapt attention with their_macho Machiavellian justifications for_launching an attack against Saddam before he killed us all._

 

 

Ledeen speaking at an AEI breakfast in late March: "I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war...What we hate is not casualties, but losing."

 

 

 

 

Now, in_a mindbending display of hypocrisy, this unelected, corporate-funded, elite organization is saying_it's_NGOs like Greenpeace, which rely on college kids with clipboards_to help save the whales,_who are_the undemocratic ones. Read on, try to keep a straight face, I_dare you:_

 

(A)n (E)gotistical (I)nstitution, by Ralph Nader

 

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has a problem. It is loaded with corporate money, full of rich fellowships for Washington, D.C. influence peddlers, masquerading as conservatives, who wallow in plush offices figuring out how to assure that big corporations rule the United States and the rest of the world.

 

During the past 22 years, the AEI, their nearby corporate patrons, their allied trade associations and corporate "think-tanks" have, in effect, taken over the executive branch, the Congress and promoted the judgeships of right-wing corporate lawyers demanding another salary increase.

 

The Clinton administration hardly slowed their stride. In fact one high official of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told me that they loved the Clinton government. Why not, under Clinton they got corporate-managed trade called NAFTA and WTO, laws furthering media, telecommunications, agribusiness, banking, brokerage and insurance industry concentration, weak to nonexistent regulation, a chronic softness on corporate crimes against pensioners and small investors, and a pathetically indifferent consumer and labor policy -- to name a few surrenders.

 

What's left to do? How does the AEI keep its corporate supremacists writing those big checks? How to avoid institutional ennui? Why, go after the liberal or progressive non-governmental associations (NGOs). Describe them as a collage of Goliaths running an all-points wrecking machine over government and business. Open a theater of the absurd.

 

On Wednesday, June 11, 2003 the AEI held such a forum on what to do about this burgeoning civic menace, as they contrive it. Speaker after speaker weighed in with their strained fulminations.

 

The room was full, of course, with AEI partisans nodding in agreement. These are the affluent ones who cavil against living wages for janitors who clean their offices, farm workers who harvest their food and hospital workers who care for their parents. These are the fully health-insured comforted ones who assail pleas for universal health insurance for over 45 million American children and adults and those who have contempt for the environmental groups that care about stopping toxic polluters in poorer areas of the country, while living in shrubbed suburbs far from the incinerators and waste dumps.

 

Here was speaker Jon Entine of Miami University, describing "capitalism's trojan horse: Reasonable people should be concerned about the growing influence of the social investment community and its emerging partnership with NGOs, most of which share a kneejerk demonization of corporations and free markets. Its leaders are products of the activist community, yet they are different and more dangerous."

 

Whoa! Trying to persuade shareholders to press for more corporate responsibility, in the midst of a corporate crime wave by the managers, is somehow subversive in his mind. How dare the social investment community advise its clients about corporate misbehavior and urge the owners (shareholders) to exercise more control over their own companies.

 

Nothing quite captures AEI's intent better than the official AEI statement announcing the conference. Some of its words bear quoting:

 

 

 

"NGOs have created their own rules and regulations and demanded that governments and corporations abide by those rules. Many nations' legal systems encourage NGOs to use the courts -- or the specter of the courts -- to compel compliance."

 

"Politicians and corporate ledgers are often forced to respond to the NGO media machine, and the resources of taxpayers and shareholders are used in support of ends they did not intend to sanction. The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of constitutional democracies, as well as the effectiveness of credible NGOs."

 

Has AEI lost contact with reality? This is what democracy is all about -- advocating, petitioning, suing, lobbying and urging power centers like government and business to do better. AEI has its own positions, together with its corporate allies doing all this and much more with corporate campaign cash and economic power ultimatums. Somehow, citizen groups, that have no governmental power -- either in fact or by purchase -- have become a threat to "constitutional democracies." Has the AEI read our nation's Bill of Rights? What they are condemning, with vague, ironic regulatory nostrums proposed against dissenting citizen groups, is democracy itself. What the AEIstas prefer is plutocracy.

 

These corporate think-tanks have spent too much time talking to themselves in too comfortable sinecures. They are afflicted by what George Will called "pitiless abstractions" (in a column against anti-air bag interests). They need to visit factories, foundries, mines, hospitals, prisons, slums, trailer parks and small farms for some sensitivity training.

 

Maybe alleviating their chronic empirical starvation will tap some residual humanity that places people before corporations. They might remember that 200 years ago, the early corporations in New England were chartered by state legislatures to be our servants, not our masters.

 

 

nader's website

this article from www.tompaine.com

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Guest BROWNer

-Ledeen speaking at an AEI breakfast in late March: "I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war...What we hate is not casualties, but losing."-

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im sure this post has some merit but if i was to sit here and read it i might as well be doing homework!

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Originally posted by BigJoe

im sure this post has some merit but if i was to sit here and read it i might as well be doing homework!

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good find. david frum was recently out in my neck of the woods for a lecture at the fraser institute. I hate the fact that I work at a company who gets monthly faxes for upcoming talks at the frasier institue :heated:

 

almost as fine a think tank as the AEI...

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browner reminds me of this guy on soulseek named zeitguiest or somehting like that

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Guest BROWNer

great man..whatever that means.

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Re: caution:thispostcontainswordsandparagraphsmindrequired

 

Originally posted by BROWNer

(A)n (E)gotistical (I)nstitution

Ralph Nader, _June 18, 2003

 

Preface:

When_we first heard about the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)_event that Ralph Nader refers to in the following article, I thought it was a joke. The uber-influential conservative think-tank recently held a conference in which speaker after speaker_railed on about_how_progressive, unelected, and "unaccountable"_NGOs had "too much power."

 

Huh? This is the same group whose "scholars" include David Frum, the former Bush speech writer who_penned the "axis of..." speech;_Michael Leeden, an ex-Iran Contra player who advocates invading Iran, Syria and Lebanon; and Richard Perle,_the unelected_key architect of the Iraq war who was recently_exposed for_lobbying the Pentagon_on behalf of the disgraced communications giant Global Crossing. During the build-up to the Iraq invasion, it was men like these, working behind-the-scenes, and front-and-center on every news network they could get their face on,_who sold the_lie-packed_rationale_for a_"pre-emptive war" against a nation which posed no threat._

 

AEI sponsored weekly "black coffee breakfasts" in which_Leeden, Perle_and the_other Chickenhawk Players_kept small groups of_the nation's_power brokers in_rapt attention with their_macho Machiavellian justifications for_launching an attack against Saddam before he killed us all._

 

 

Ledeen speaking at an AEI breakfast in late March: "I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war...What we hate is not casualties, but losing."

 

 

 

 

Now, in_a mindbending display of hypocrisy, this unelected, corporate-funded, elite organization is saying_it's_NGOs like Greenpeace, which rely on college kids with clipboards_to help save the whales,_who are_the undemocratic ones. Read on, try to keep a straight face, I_dare you:_

 

(A)n (E)gotistical (I)nstitution, by Ralph Nader

 

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has a problem. It is loaded with corporate money, full of rich fellowships for Washington, D.C. influence peddlers, masquerading as conservatives, who wallow in plush offices figuring out how to assure that big corporations rule the United States and the rest of the world.

 

During the past 22 years, the AEI, their nearby corporate patrons, their allied trade associations and corporate "think-tanks" have, in effect, taken over the executive branch, the Congress and promoted the judgeships of right-wing corporate lawyers demanding another salary increase.

 

The Clinton administration hardly slowed their stride. In fact one high official of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told me that they loved the Clinton government. Why not, under Clinton they got corporate-managed trade called NAFTA and WTO, laws furthering media, telecommunications, agribusiness, banking, brokerage and insurance industry concentration, weak to nonexistent regulation, a chronic softness on corporate crimes against pensioners and small investors, and a pathetically indifferent consumer and labor policy -- to name a few surrenders.

 

What's left to do? How does the AEI keep its corporate supremacists writing those big checks? How to avoid institutional ennui? Why, go after the liberal or progressive non-governmental associations (NGOs). Describe them as a collage of Goliaths running an all-points wrecking machine over government and business. Open a theater of the absurd.

 

On Wednesday, June 11, 2003 the AEI held such a forum on what to do about this burgeoning civic menace, as they contrive it. Speaker after speaker weighed in with their strained fulminations.

 

The room was full, of course, with AEI partisans nodding in agreement. These are the affluent ones who cavil against living wages for janitors who clean their offices, farm workers who harvest their food and hospital workers who care for their parents. These are the fully health-insured comforted ones who assail pleas for universal health insurance for over 45 million American children and adults and those who have contempt for the environmental groups that care about stopping toxic polluters in poorer areas of the country, while living in shrubbed suburbs far from the incinerators and waste dumps.

 

Here was speaker Jon Entine of Miami University, describing "capitalism's trojan horse: Reasonable people should be concerned about the growing influence of the social investment community and its emerging partnership with NGOs, most of which share a kneejerk demonization of corporations and free markets. Its leaders are products of the activist community, yet they are different and more dangerous."

 

Whoa! Trying to persuade shareholders to press for more corporate responsibility, in the midst of a corporate crime wave by the managers, is somehow subversive in his mind. How dare the social investment community advise its clients about corporate misbehavior and urge the owners (shareholders) to exercise more control over their own companies.

 

Nothing quite captures AEI's intent better than the official AEI statement announcing the conference. Some of its words bear quoting:

 

 

 

"NGOs have created their own rules and regulations and demanded that governments and corporations abide by those rules. Many nations' legal systems encourage NGOs to use the courts -- or the specter of the courts -- to compel compliance."

 

"Politicians and corporate ledgers are often forced to respond to the NGO media machine, and the resources of taxpayers and shareholders are used in support of ends they did not intend to sanction. The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of constitutional democracies, as well as the effectiveness of credible NGOs."

 

Has AEI lost contact with reality? This is what democracy is all about -- advocating, petitioning, suing, lobbying and urging power centers like government and business to do better. AEI has its own positions, together with its corporate allies doing all this and much more with corporate campaign cash and economic power ultimatums. Somehow, citizen groups, that have no governmental power -- either in fact or by purchase -- have become a threat to "constitutional democracies." Has the AEI read our nation's Bill of Rights? What they are condemning, with vague, ironic regulatory nostrums proposed against dissenting citizen groups, is democracy itself. What the AEIstas prefer is plutocracy.

 

These corporate think-tanks have spent too much time talking to themselves in too comfortable sinecures. They are afflicted by what George Will called "pitiless abstractions" (in a column against anti-air bag interests). They need to visit factories, foundries, mines, hospitals, prisons, slums, trailer parks and small farms for some sensitivity training.

 

Maybe alleviating their chronic empirical starvation will tap some residual humanity that places people before corporations. They might remember that 200 years ago, the early corporations in New England were chartered by state legislatures to be our servants, not our masters.

 

 

nader's website

this article from www.tompaine.com

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