June 8, 2017 By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.
COUNTDOWN: As of today, a total of 1,323 days yet remain in this horrid administration’s term in office…
For many years I have deservedly been lambasting the sneaky, secretive, billionaire Koch brothers for the way they have been using millions of dollars to corrupt our electoral system by bribing CON-servative Republican candidates and helping them to get elected to office, and especially for the perverse way they have spent millions to set up and finance a plethora of far-right, anti-democracy and anti-worker libertarian-oriented groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, and many others. I and other progressives have succeeded in casting a bit of light on this sordid pair’s activities, but there are a number of other like-minded regressive groups who remain shrouded in secrecy. Today I will focus on another of these well-financed groups: The Bradley Foundation.
The Bradley Foundation was begun way back in 1942 by a couple of wealthy Wisconsinites named Lynde and Harry Lynde Bradley. Ostensibly a charity begun to help fund the arts and other cultural entities, it has morphed into a secretive force which involves itself in promoting far-right, pro-capitalist and decidedly anti-worker causes. With assets totaling over $800 MILLION, it has been spending freely to disseminate propaganda extolling the supposed great aspects of unbridled, unregulated capitalism, although its main focus seems to be heavily against labor unions. For example, it presents blocks of money it calls grants to various conservative groups and has even begun to funnel these grants to reactionary CON-servative Republican politicians! Housed in Milwaukee, WI, it has begun to involve itself nationally. Just like its Koch brothers-sponsored foundation, it, too, donates to the arts, privatized education, and health organizations. Since 1965, it has become increasingly active in areas of public policy. (It should be noted that co-founder Harry Lynde Bradley helped set up the virulent anti-communist John Birch Society which smeared a huge number of innocent people in the 1950s, and was aided by Koch brothers’ father Fred Koch in doing so).
This group was started to preserve and extend the principles and philosophy of the Bradley brothers. They said, “the good society is a free society. The Bradley Foundation is likewise devoted to strengthening American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles and values that sustain and nurture it.” The problem lies in the fact that, in this age of ever-increasing corporatism, very little of the capitalist system can any more be regarded as “democratic.” Like almost all right-wing groups, it champions limited government, meaning that it favors a giant marketplace where intellectual, cultural, and economic freedom can be realized without influence from regulating bodies of government. It supports American ideas and institutions, and believes that citizens must be properly informed (brainwashed?) so that they can make responsible decisions. As such, it finances scholarly studies in areas of both domestic and foreign policy.
One of he Bradley Foundation’s former presidents, Michael S. Joyce, was influential in creating the Philanthropy Roundtable. The goal of the Roundtable’s founders was to provide a forum where donors could talk over the principles and practices that inform the best of America’s charitable tradition. Currently, there are more than 600 of this Roundtable’s Associates.
Noted author Jane Mayer focused heavily on the Foundation in her book Dark Money, exposing them for the right-wing frauds they truly are.
Current members of the board of directors of the Bradley Foundation are:
Chairman: Dennis J. Kuester, former Chairman and CEO of Marshall & Ilsley (1993-2010).
Vice Chairman: David Vogel Uihlein, Jr., President of Uihlein-Wilson Architects, grandson of co-founder Harry Lynde Bradley.
President and CEO, Richard Graber.
Terry Considine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Curt Culver, Chairman, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation
Patrick English, CEO of Fiduciary Management
Robert P. George, 2005 Bradley Prize recipient, Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Diane Hendricks, Chairman of ABC Supply, plus
Cleta Mitchell, Partner at Foley & Lardner. and, last but not least, arch-conservative, Tea Party darling Art Pope, President of Variety Wholesalers. and notorious far-right NC businessman who has unabashedly championed far-right causes and who spent $2.1 MILLION to get like-minded Republican candidates elected in the horrible Tea Party mudslide of 2010.
These people all comprise a very real THREAT to every worker across this country. They are modern-day robber barons who want to keep your wages stagnant and eliminate ANY chance you’ll ever have to sit at the country’s economic roundtable!
The Bradley Prize is a major grant to individuals who are “innovative thinkers”(e.g. stooges, or brainwashed fools who unquestioningly accept the Foundation’s propaganda). According to the Foundation, the Bradley Prize is to “formally recognize individuals of extraordinary talent and dedication who have made contributions of excellence in areas consistent with The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation’s mission.” Up to four Prizes of $250,000 each are awarded each year. Winners have included the late notorious far-right Fox “News” co-founder Roger Ailes, among others.
Organizations which have been awarded grants include a host of far-right groups such as FreedomWorks, The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, the Hoover Institution, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, plus the SEED Foundation. Each of these, in varying degrees, have been responsible for the dissemination of disinformation and the spreading of anti-worker propaganda, and they present a very real danger to economic freedom for average, everyday Americans! (An internal Bradley document contains a sort of enemies list, which include two progressive, truth-oriented Wisconsin groups, One Wisconsin Now and the Center for Media and Democracy).
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a major Wisconsin newspaper, has reported, “from 2001 to 2009, it [Bradley] doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined.”
In her book, investigative journalist Jane Mayer has revealed how the mission statement of the Bradley Foundation changed over time, by telling us, “Originally, the foundation’s purpose was to help aid needy employees and the residents of Milwaukee, as well as prevent cruelty to animals….After (Mike) Joyce took over the foundation in 1985, however, a new mission statement was drafted, directing its grants to the support of ‘limited, competent government,’, ‘a dynamic marketplace,’ and ‘vigorous defense.”‘ This off-the-rails group strongly supported far-right governor Scott Walker as he began to disassemble Wisconsin’s public-sector labor unions and turned the once-strong union state into a right-to-work (for LESS) state in 2015. The Foundation contributed over $8 MILLION to Walker’s political campaign in 2012 – 2013. and supported a web of three dozen anti-worker, anti-union groups all favoring right-to-work and privitization efforts in that time frame. In a One Wisconsin Now report released on February 25, 2015. “The Bradley Foundation, having nearly half a billion dollars in assets, regularly hands out $30-40 million a year, making it perhaps the largest right wing funding foundation in America. Groups operating in Wisconsin, including the MacIver Institute, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, Media Trackers and the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation…each took in excess of $2.9 million.”
An anti-union group called The Center for Union Facts, which is part of virulent anti-worker lobbyist Rick Berman’s family of phony front groups, received $1.55 million between 2007 and 2010 from the Bradley Foundation and spent huge amounts to support Walker and smear teachers unions during the nfamous 2011 fight over public sector collective bargaining rights. Plus, a member of the ALEC-allied State Policy Network, and Koch brothers-created and funded Americans for Prosperity called the MacIver Institute spent millions om Scott Walker’s recall election to ensure his continuance in office. As a matter of fact, a few days after Walker’s successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Walker met with the board of the Bradley Foundation, and, two weeks later, this MacIver Institute published an editorial urging the legislature to turn Wisconsin into a right-to-work state. THIS, EVERYBODY, IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF EXACTLY WHY WE MUST GET BIG, CORPORATE-SPONSORED MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!!!
In addition to the ties to Scott Walker listed above, Bradley Foundation CEO Michael Grebe personally conducted interviews at the cabinet level of the Walker administration and served as chair of Walker’s campaign, the “Friends of Scott Walker.”Directly and indirectly due to this, Wisconsin’s public sector unions lost any power they had previously held. The union has lost all bargaining power for its employees. This can hardly be considered economically fair, or an aid to poor workers!
In 2013, a total of $33,988,318 in Bradley Foundation grants were awarded.
According to Right Wing Watch, the Bradley Foundation has given grants to highly controversial individuals, among which have been Charles Murray, who has stated that intelligence is based upon race, and Dinesh D’Souza, who has ludicrously attempted to excuse whites from having made blacks slaves by claiming that blacks of that time were too uncivilized to be part of society anyway!
A GIGANTIC number of reactionary far-right groups have benefitted tremendously from Bradley Foundation’s grants. Every single one of them have proven to be regressive, pro-wealthy, and anti-worker. For brevity, I have only listed a few of these well-funded, anti-democracy groups here. There are an alarming and utterly disgusting many, MANY more! I encourage you to read Jane Mayer’s superb book and Google as much as you can regarding this sordid, dark money group called the Bradley Foundation which is actively trying to buy out and corrupt our democracy and return American workers into feudal, economic serfdom!
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