Beer and a deacon...
Beer, a deacon, "Citizen Mellon" and how to build radio parts in Wisconsin with a little bit of xenophobia for inspiration.
Yes that is it.
How does that odd conglomeration relate to Gay Civil Rights and more pointedly how does this explain how the religious-right scapegoats gay people?
Well with a stunningly deep pocket of a handful of financial magnates marinated in a strange-brew of "Robber-Baron Catholicism" and what is sometimes termed neo-reconstructionist evangelicals.
Believe it or not, it starts back in the 1800s.
Continued below the fold
The potential significance of inherited wealth was foreseen, by Thomas Mellon. In 1885, reflecting on his success, he observed: "The normal condition of man is hard work, self-denial, acquisition and accumulation; as soon as his descendants are freed from the necessity of such exertion they begin to degenerate sooner or later in both body and mind."
This was a pessimistic forecast for what might happen to Mellon's heirs, but many of them lived up to it. Like other American families overwhelmed by great riches, the Mellon line has produced numerous unhappy souls. One of them was Thomas Mellon's granddaughter Sarah, who would pass a fortune on to the son everyone called Dickie.
In time, the family holdings came to include, in addition to the bank, substantial blocks of stock in Gulf Oil and American Aluminium Company (Alcoa), among other companies. By 1957, when Fortune magazine tried to rank the largest fortunes in America, four Mellons, including Dickie's mother, Sarah, were listed among the top eight. But that is getting ahead of the story.
While the Mellon bank was slowly amassing a vast fortune in investments and holdings, in Wisconsin, another series of key events were unfolding which would eventually congeal Beer and a deacon to unleash an anti-gay scheme that is hard at work, and at the very core of the entire Religious-Right's anti-gay hostility and propaganda.
Lynde and Harry Bradley brothers were part of one of Milwaukee's most prominent families. Their grandfather was William Pitt Lynde, one of Wisconsin's first two congressmen who also served as the state's U.S. Attorney, an alderman, and a mayor of Milwaukee. In 1903, Lynde and Harry founded a business that would become the Allen-Bradley Company, a major manufacturer of electronic and radio components.
By 1942, with a decent fortune from the Allen-Bradely Company, the brothers formed the Allen-Bradley Foundation, which quickly became a key benefactor for local institutions, but while it gave a few grants to right-wing groups like the Freedoms Foundation and Morality in Media, it was basically just local philanthropy.
Harry was the more political of the two brothers and a man with extreme right-wing views. Harry was an key early financial supporter of the John Birch Society, one of the country's leading far-right organizations, based in nearby Appleton, WI.
Robert Welsh, who founded the Society in 1958, was a regular speaker at Allen-Bradley sales meetings. Harry distributed Birchite literature, as did Fred Loock, another key figure at the company. They also supported the Australian doctor Fred Schwarz, founder of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade and a right-wing Midwest radio program produced by anti-communist producer Bob Siegrist. Harry's main political targets were "World Communism" and the U.S. federal government, not necessarily in that order. His political philosophy was laissez-faire capitalism, and he was strongly opposed to anything that might restrict his freedom to conduct his business as he saw fit. His promotion of "freedom", however, did not extend to his own workers. While women had worked at the plant since 1918, and made up nearly a third of the workforce during World War II, they weren't paid the same as men. They finally sued in 1966, charging the company paid less to women than male workers operating the same machines. A federal judge ruled in their favor.
Allen-Bradley was one of the last major Milwaukee employers to racially integrate, and then only through legal pressure. By 1968, when the company's workforce had grown to more than 7,000, Allen-Bradley employed only 32 Blacks and 14 Latinos. The company was eventually forced to adopt an affirmative action plan, after the federal government backed a discrimination suit. In 1970, a two and half month strike forced them to agree to allow payroll deduction of union dues. All of these advancements for their workers furthered their view that government intercession for equal rights for minorities or based on gender where sign of the ills of "liberalism" and should be stopped. Lynde, Harry, and Frank Loock all shared a view of themselves as benevolent dictators over their workers, more than able to decide what their employees needed, without any interference from the government. If that included racial and gender discrimination, that was their business and no one else's.
While the Allen-Bradley Foundation was building and would go under a monumental shift in it's reach down the road, the catalytic roots of the "new" right, which would spawn the anti-gay propaganda mills were taking shape in 1964 as Goldwater went down to defeat and Johnson was alienating the Christian evangelical whites by forcing desegregation in the south and where spearheaded by beer and a deacon.
While Barry Goldwater campaign for president failed, it brought together several elements of the right wing into a national movement. Among these were anti-Communists who had followed Sen. Joseph McCarthy and evangelicals who believed that secular humanism was trying to subvert the U.S. from a God-centered society to atheistic socialism. Reinforcing this conspiratorial world view were members of the John Birch Society, whose founder Robert Welch claimed that even Dwight Eisenhower was a "dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."
Three men who worked on the Goldwater campaign would become key factors in creating an anti-gay propaganda machine which would also play on any and all fears of "liberalism" which it equates with communism and atheism. Shortly after the 1964 defeat, a Richard Viguerie painstakingly compiled the first of his legendary computerized mailing lists by copying the "Barry Goldwater for President" mailing list, which was stored on index cards. Computerized, this list would later expand into the millions, securing Viguerie's standing as a sought-after Republican campaign consultant and forming the basis for the political ascent of the candidates of Viguerie's choice. He used the information to launch a fundraising empire based on direct mail appeals which became the model for building the Religious-RightTM. In the early 1970s, Howard Phillips, one that would go on to be one of the three key players founded the Conservative Caucus and championed militarism as well as the cause of the apartheid government of South Africa while the last central player, who would become the lynch pin for and being the key money-broker to fuel the enterprise and its social conservative watchdog... was a man by the name of Paul Weyrich.
Paul Weyrich is a Melkite Greek Catholic who is a deacon of his church whose personal background abounds with ties to Nazi collaborators and neo-fascist organizations which, many said, in turn crisscrossed with ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. He is also more importantly a radical social neo-conservative evangelical who is the "nexus" of the Religious-RightTM for the movement taking over the GOP and is behind the anti-gay and "social issues" watchdog who as Sen. John McCain put it in his memoir's about the late John Tower's failed nomination for secretary of defense during the first Bush administration. "He was a superb selection," and amid unsubstantiated charges of alcohol abuse and womanizing lead by Weyrich described him as a "self-serving son of a bitch." But again, I jump ahead.
Just add bear and they will come.
After Paul Weyrich left the failed Goldwater campaign he went to work in 1967 as a press aide for Colorado Senator Gordon Allot. This would prove to be a pivotal place for him and leads to the key transitions down the road which go to the very core of the anti-gay machinations of the Religious-RightTM.
As some of you who may know a little bit about beer, or recall how Coors beer is marketed, you may know that Coors Beer is a part of the Coors Brewing empire based in Colorado. They tout the "rocky mountain water" that makes their beer so good, though anyone who really knows or likes brews knows it sucks and is the same sort of mass-produced piss-water as most beers like Old Style, Bushe Beer, etc. are, but I digress.
Beer tycoon Joseph Coors, at the beginning of the 70s, sent his aide Jack Wilson, to Washington, D. C. to investigate projects that he might support that advanced his very conservative views. Coors met Paul Weyrich who then left Allot's office to became Coors unofficial agent in Washington. From 1971 to 1973, Coors contributed funds to organizations that were not as effective as Coors and Weyrich envisioned. They established Analysis and Research, Inc. in Washington, D.C. as a political research entity. And the group failed to attract other supporters. It is also worth noting that during this time Weyrich and Coors began making appointments and set up political contacts on Capitol Hill for Franz Joseph Strauss, Bavarian head of state who helped émigré Nazi collaborators. Certainly no strangers to extreme right neo-fascists is he. (grin)
However, in 1973 a "perfect storm" occurred. Joseph Coors provided Weyrich with seed money to further their far-right interest and started an organization called The Heritage Foundation out of Analysis and Research, Inc. While Weyrich would serve only the first year as president of Heritage, it would go on to be the most influential of the Right-Wings "think-tanks" and many have talked quite a bit about Heritage becoming basically the "shadow government" often alluded to during the Reagan administration. What is important is that through Heritage, funding outreach would ramp-up and within a year, attracted the interest and finical backing of the heir of the over $600 million dollar Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation... the legacy left to our previously talked about... Richard "Dickie" Mellon Scaife. This in turn lead to attracting other major conservative donors and Scaife would take over the major funding of Heritage, escalating to the tune of well over $5 million a year.
After a year at Heritage and with funding from Coors, in 1974, Weyrich left his post as President of the Heritage Foundation to found the "Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress" later to become the Free Congress Foundation which he still heads today. Weyrich immediately brought in Richard Viguerie to became the organization's direct mail fundraiser. The purpose of the CSFC initially was to influence the electoral process through fundraising schemes, circulation of propaganda, recruitment of conservative candidates, and grassroots organizing.
In 1976 Richard Viguerie and CSFC were Orrin Hatch's fundraisers and he received funding and support from key right-wing groups, soliciting their affiliation, as well as being backed and supported by Joseph Coors which allowed and proved the organizational skills of CSFC. Viguerie's direct mail methods allowed them to bypass the media, and go directly into the homes of targeted conservative groups. Viguerie had watched conservative groups like the John Birch Society, with its open expressions of racism and anti-Semitism, fail after tapping out their limited base and reaching over-ambitiously for power. The most logical candidates for targeting, he understood, were evangelical churches, which had the potential to surpass organized labor (and fracturing part off and absorbing it) and could conceivably become the most powerful interest group in American politics. While they had limited flirtations and sporadic success in taping religious evangelicals that changed in 1977 when they hit liquid sunshine in the form of mother, celebrity singer, former Miss America, and spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Growers...Anita Bryant.
In a 1977 fund-raising letter targeting the evangelicals and filled with passages underlined in red, she wrote: "Dear friend: I don't hate the homosexuals! But as a mother, I must protect my children from their evil influence. When the homosexuals burn the holy Bible in public, how can I stand by silently?" Like those of a host of her antigay successors, Bryant's fund-raising appeals would fail to identify which gays had burned a Bible or where, but it tapped into the most primal buttons people have, sex and protecting children.
The antigay group, Save Our Children, Inc. was started and the tactics would establish the tone and strategy of the gay rights battles for the Religious-RightTM whihc would carry on long after Bryant's well-publicized divorce destroyed her "moral" credibility, and dropped out of politics. In response to passage of a 1977 Dade County, Florida, ordinance protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination, Save Our Children, fronted by Bryant launched an initiative drive to overturn it. After her ballot initiative passed by an almost 2 to 1 margin in the conservative bible-belt of the south, Weyrich and crew "saw the light" at how to tap the base they were looking for.
Now they needed to marry the money with the message that they found the model for which worked at driving scared voters to the ballot box and also prompted them to write the checks and pass the plate. Now Weyrich needed a way to rally the "Christian Soldiers" to battle with a threat that homosexuals were at the gates and ready to molest their children.
They also needed a way to start plugging in Christian evangelical groups into their model of a fear-based voting bloc, fighting the new boogeyman, which they also saw as a way to replace the communists which didn't resonate any longer as an insidious threat to the home and children. This new threat, which Save Our Children proved worked, was now the social issue equivalent of Sputnik.
So, in 1979 Weyrich formed the Religious Roundtable under Ed McAteer as the far-right counterpart to the National Council of Churches. They later arranged a meeting with Jerry Falwell, and Howard Phillips, to set Falwell up as media spokesman for the organization they had devised...
...The Moral Majority.
Weyrich also provided the organization's first executive director, Robert Billings.
The CFSC became the the Free Congress Foundation and began to get substantial funding from not only its previous benefactors, but through the moral majority fundraising.
In 1983, to back up and bolster the previously unsubstantiated claims of the evangelical groups the FCF began looking for "researchers" to fund and create literature to back up the wild accusations which were creating hysteria and expanding their power base with the outbreak and spread of AIDS (this before HIV was even discovered). Such "researchers" as Paul Cameron were lauded and drove to create "ex-gay" organizations and propoganda. This also being while Reagan was in office with an energized voting block delivered by the Moral Majority and in order to solidify his base, Regan would refuse to mobilize and publicly address the growing pandemic, partly to appease and solidify his anti-gay core voting block since as Governor, he was not willing to sign-on to Bryant's attempts at expanding the "Save Our Children" campaign when they tried to ovetrurn legislation in California friendly to gays on libertarian grounds.
Paul Cameron was later kicked out of the American Medical Association in 1983 for fraudulent "research" on homosexuality in which his wild claims, based on inaccurate re-working of legitimate studies by other researchers, where underttaken in the association with and were funded, published and disseminated with FCF backing.
Also in 1983 Free Congress Foundation's "Senior Contributing Scholar," Father Enrique Rueda a far-right radical Catholic priest, wrote "The Homosexual Network." under the sponsorship and direction of Weyrich and the Free Congress Foundation.
This work by Rueda, is the first claim and publication of "The Gay Rights Platform" in which he actively works to instill fear in the reader through anti-gay opinions and manipulation of the truth and citing numerous uncorroborated sources and claims. To get a tenor of what he writes he opinions, "once you understand the agenda of the homosexual movement, you will probably perceive it as a terrible threat--to ourselves, our children, our communities, our country."
"The Homosexual Network" which has since had an updated version and is the genesis of the numerous claims that gays are seeing to undermine both the church and to gain access to and "normalize" adult-child sexual relations. It is also the source of the oft touted but rarely credited, the wholly unsubstantiated claim that the gay-rights movement held a convention in early 70s (in a Methodist Church) which called for the repeal of age-of-consent laws. No corroborating sources have ever been shown to back up many of the claims made by Father Rueda.
Then in 1987 the Free Congress Foundation developed an updated version of "The Homosexual Network" which they now called "Gays, AIDS and You," which also covered the AIDS crisis. In this book, re-written with Michael Schwartz, the reader is told: "For the homosexual movement is nothing less than an attack on our traditional pro-family values. And now this movement is using the AIDS crisis to pursue its political agenda. This in turn, threatens not only our values but our lives..." and "They are loved by God as much as anyone else. This we believe while affirming the disordered nature of their sexual condition and the evil nature of the act is this condition leads to, and while fully committed to the proposition that homosexuals should NOT be entitled to special treatment under the law. That would be tantamount to rewarding evil."
He further accuses the gay/lesbian community of using AIDS to pursue its political agenda. He recommends that this gay threat to America be fought actively in schools, churches, economic institutions, the media, and professional organizations.
In the hysteria not too long ago surrounding the sex-abuse scandals within the Roman Catholic Church, the original work by Rueda, once again reemerged in "I told you so" commentary and op-ed articles in on far-right websites, all traced back to the FCFs own self-produced work.
After the Moral Majority began to run into litigation, funding scandals and organizational missteps, the FCF found a very stable and massive new benefactor a certain foundation in Wisconsin that made radio parts... the Allen-Bradley Foundation the once very local philanthropic organization tied with the John Birch Societies formation.
By 1985 things changed dramatically for the Allen-Bradley Foundation, when the Allen-Bradley Company was sold to Rockwell International, a leading defense and aerospace conglomerate, for a whopping $1.7 billion. The Foundation benefited heavily from the sale, seeing its assets shoot up overnight from around $14 million to more than $290 million, catapulting it into the ranks of the country's largest foundations. At that point its name was changed to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, to publicly separate it from the company. Flush with new money and an understanding that they were now poised to play a more national role, foundation trustees decided it was time to hire a professional to run the organization. They found their man in New York at the John M. Olin Foundation.
With this move they had professional leadership in administering the operational aspects of the foundation, which is now reported to be the largest, it's conspiratorial roots have still left its imprint on the sort of "research" which it was helping disseminate.
Michael S. Joyce, Bradley's the then newly minted president of the foundation, was a former high school teacher from an Irish Catholic Democratic Party family in Cleveland, Ohio. By 1972 he was voting for Richard Nixon and advancing in conservative circles. "His move to the political big time came in 1978," wrote Barbara Miner in the Spring, 1994 issue of the Milwaukee-based education newspaper Rethinking Schools, "when he went to New York to work for the Institute for Educational Affairs, a neoconservative organization started by right wing trailblazer Irving Kristol and William Simon, secretary of the treasury for Presidents Nixon and Ford. The following year Simon asked Joyce to head the Olin Foundation."
The New York-based John M. Olin Foundation grew out of a family manufacturing business in chemicals and munitions. It funds nationally influential right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Hoover Institute of War, Revolution and Peace. It also gives large sums of money to promote conservative programs in the country's most prestigious colleges and universities. After Joyce left to take charge of the Bradley Foundation, William Simon replaced him as president at Olin.
Joyce had the national connections that the Bradley Foundation was looking for. He had served on Ronald Reagan's presidential transition team in 1980 and in the following years on several Reagan-Bush advisory boards and task forces. According to a 1985 profile in the Milwaukee Business Journal, he is believed to have helped William Bennett get his job as Secretary of Education under Reagan. Bennett himself served as a Bradley board member from 1988-89 [The Bradley Legacy, by John Gurda]. Joyce and Bennett remain close. Says Bennett, "When I've needed his advice, he has returned my calls saying, 'This is Coach Joyce and this is what I want you to do'"[Barbara Miner, Rethinking Schools, Spring, 1994.]
When Bennett, Jack Kemp, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Lamar Alexander, and Vin Weber went on to found the national Republican advocacy group Empower America in 1993, the founding conference was held in Milwaukee. In 1986, Joyce was named in an Atlantic Monthly article as one of the three people most responsible for the triumph of the conservative political movement. About the same time, The Chicago Tribune said he may be the voice of the GOP's future.
Joyce's personal viewpoint is more than traditional, emphasizing a view of family, "kinship" and community drawn from the cultures of ancient Israel and Greece. "I'm not talking about the 1950's," Joyce once told an interviewer, "I'm talking about 1950 B.C." (Milwaukee Journal, (10/30/94.) Joyce brought a more focused, sophisticated view to Bradley's funding. Under his leadership, Bradley strategically funded the authors and writers who could set the terms for national debate on key issues of public policy, the think tanks that could develop specific programs, the activist organizations that could implement those programs, and the legal offices that could defend those programs in court, as well as carry out legal offensives against other targets.
"Mike is pretty close to being the central figure (within conservative foundations). The chairman of the board or whatever you want to call it," says Waldemar Nielsen, author of Golden Donors, a book on the foundation movement. By 1992, he was receiving $310,000 in salary and benefits as president of the Bradley Foundation (Barbara Miner, Rethinking Schools, Spring, 1994). By Dec. 31, 1995, the foundation's total assets were $461,601,000, and it was making annual grants in excess of $20 million. (From Bradley's 1995 annual report).
Bradley's influence increased considerably after the Republicans lost the White House and leading conservative figures lost their influential government positions. It was these three factors - the Rockwell windfall, the hiring of nationally-connected Joyce and the Republicans' loss of the presidency - that made the Bradley-sponsored network of institutes, conservative writers, and think tanks so important in continuing to influence the direction of public policy in the U.S. It is now the premier right-wing foundation in the country.
"The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation illustrates the power of a well-financed foundation with a clearly articulated political and ideological vision...it is one of the nation's largest supporters of conservative thought and activity" (Buying a Movement: Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics, by People for the American Way)
The New York Times reported in July 2001 that Michael Joyce was leaving the Bradley Foundation, and Richard Larry recently quit as the head of the Sarah Scaife Foundation. The biggest news in the article was that statement that the Olin Foundation plans to "put itself out of business."
But there may be less to this story than imagined: The story doesn't mention that Joyce, who is quoted extensively, has already mentioned that he was moving to create the Americans for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprise, an organization spearheading Bush's controversial faith-based initiative. And how much control did Larry really have, working for Richard Scaife?
Bradley is certainly not the only conservative foundation promoting right-wing causes. It works in concert with a number of others to develop, maintain and promote a right-wing intelligencia that can play a major role in the manipulation of public opinion and the formulation of public policy. In fact, the Olin, Sarah Scaife, Smith Richardson and Bradley foundations are often called the "Four Sisters" for their tendency to fund similar conservative projects, publications and institutions. But Bradley, with the largest assets of the conservative foundations, with its national connections and a sharply focused political agenda, plays a leading role in the conservative movement.