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Today my high school daughter received an invitation by mail to attend The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University for six days this June. I thought, hmmm, isn't GMU known for its Koch funded think tanks?  Yep, checked with Desmogblog:

Koch and George Mason University
Funding and Connections
Since 1985, George Mason University (GMU), and its associated institutes and centers, has received more funding from the Koch Family Charitable Foundations than any other organization--a total of $29,604,354.  The George Mason University Foundation has received the most funding, $20,297,143, while the Institute for Humane Studies has been directly given $3,111,457, the Mercatus Center $1,442,000, and George Mason University itself has received $4,753,754.

The three page invitation from GMU  has vague  descriptive adjectives of the Summer Institute and of GMU, but no set itinerary of summer classes, educational goals , or who will be instructors. GMU is described as setting the gold standard, having a dynamic culture, and having teaching excellence. Students will also have "access to the most sought after internships and employers in the country."  

The "curriculum" listed for the Summer Youth Institute states: "Students attending the Summit are guided and mentored by GMU resident faculty who are esteemed professors in environmental  sciences, conservation and policy." Personally I am not familiar with GMU, but a comment on one of the articles on GMU and the Kochs hinted that few liberal professors are left at GMU, if any. The other detail under curriculum lists only three speakers the Summit has had speak in the past, two are soon to be resigning Obama officials, Nancy Sutley of CEQ and Dr. Marcia McNutt of USGS. But on the other hand, Charles Koch has a history of running "mentorships" through GMU. Reading the descriptions of the Koch's past history of running internships through GMU, I can only highly suspect that the Youth Summit at George Mason University will be more an attempt at indoctrination in libertarian views than truely educational and enlightening.

No, my daughter will not be attending the Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University this summer.


The Institute for Humane Studies

The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) was founded by F.A. Harper in 1961 and has been associated with George Mason University since 1985....

According to SourceWatch, the IHS acts as "a libertarian talent scout, identifying, developing, and supporting the brightest young libertarians it can find who are intent on a leveraged scholarly, or intellectual, career path."  In addition to the funding it receives from the Koch Family Foundations, the Institute for Humane Studies also receives donations from conservative foundations such as the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

IHS Internships

Charles Koch is the chairman of the Institute for Humane Studies.  Every year the IHS hosts the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program which offers an internship in public policy.  The internship is a ten-week program that includes an opening seminar, the internship, and a closing seminar.  The opening seminar involves lectures on public policy analysis, classical liberalism, and "persuasive communication."

The internship entails working at a public policy think tank, either at the state or national level.  Placement organizations include the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center, the National Center for Policy Analysis, and the Institute for Justice.  Policy interns may tackle a number of issues including environmental policy.

The Institute for Humane Studies also offers a journalism internship for which it seeks "writers for liberty."  No formal training in journalism is required and the internship offers a choice of three program areas: investigative, print, and broadcast.

The internship starts with a week-long seminar on journalism and free society, followed by a placement at different locations.  Previous placements for print journalist interns have included the Pittsburgh-Tribune--owned by Richard Scaife, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the conservative movement in the U.S.  Placements for interns in broadcast journalism have included FOX News


Also along this theme of GMU and political bias,  the Washington Post also had a piece yesterday on how the GMU overseeing board is heavily Republican:

Study: George Mason Board of Visitors members donated heavily to Republicans
January 9 at 5:00 am
Each of the public universities in Virginia is overseen by a Board of Visitors, which hires the university president and sets school policy. The governor appoints the members of the board to four-year terms, so perhaps it’s not too surprising that the current 16 members at George Mason University in Fairfax, appointed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, donated almost $469,000 to Republican political candidates in the last four years, and slightly less than $9,500 to Democratic candidates, a new report in George Mason’s Fourth Estate student publication shows.
Additional Desmogblog info:  
In addition to financial ties, Koch also has personnel involved with the university.  Richard Fink, the vice president of Koch Industries, Inc., and the former president of the Charles G. Koch Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, serves on the board of directors of the Mercatus Center.  Fink's connection to George Mason University is strong.  Besides teaching at the university from 1980-1986, Fink has also served on a number of boards at the university including the Institute for Humane Studies and the Center for the Study of Public Choice, the Board of Visitors, and the Student Affairs Committee.
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Comment Preferences

  •  thank you for this info. I find it especially (8+ / 0-)

    frightening what they are doing to Florida State's Econ Dept as well.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:06:14 AM PST

    •  The Florida School for Women aka FSU will always (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kkjohnson, Redfire

      be in the shadow of the real University of Florida.

      OK, that's a gratuitus dig from a UF fan, but letting the Kochs have so much power to introduce failed, dishonest, ideological policies and theories into what could otherwise be a fine rigorous program tarnishes the reputation of the school much worse that all of their football scandals put together (and the UF football program is not so pure either).  It's a real dis-service to their students.

      And that they are doing it for the money darkens the stain and shame even deeper.

      FSU students deserve better.

      The republicons moan, the republicons bitch. Our rich are too poor and our poor are too rich. Ferguson Foont

      by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 02:32:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good detective work , hope you will stay (6+ / 0-)

    on this and that others will help push back if in fact it is a greenwashing  effort as it appears.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:10:19 AM PST

  •  I am wondering if the Summit is more sinister than (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, gregsullmich, Nattiq, NancyWH

    indoctrination. Perhaps it is more an attempt to take budding environmental activists and damper their enthusiasm. Or squash it entirely.

  •  There is a diary here on Dkos (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkjohnson, atana, NancyWH, Sharon Wraight

    about this very type of thing.  I can't find it at the moment, but here is a link that the diary referenced.

    Essentially, these groups divide and conquer.  They group people into 4 distinct categories and try to divide them from each other.  

    The article is worth reading...

    The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy. -Charles de Montesquieu

    by dawgflyer13 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:37:35 AM PST

  •  The Cons are very much convinced that the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkjohnson, NancyWH, Josiah Bartlett

    idea comes first and action, if there is any, follows. This is consistent with their commitment to intent. Indeed, it's not unusual for there to be no follow-up and for them to take the intent for the act.
    Which accounted, for example, for George W. Bush's precipitous declaration of the success of his mission to bring Democracy to Iraq. As far as he was concerned, the deed was done, as soon as he had the idea.
    And GWB is not alone. ExxonMobil has been running ads about drilling for natural gas which starts with the assertion, "all it takes is the idea."
    Taking the intent for the act is obviously attractive to individuals whose practical talents are few. And, to a significant extent, the doers comply. That is, those who can do want to be helpful, so they implement the incompetents' ideas, almost without being asked, so it appears that the idea won.
    Makes sense. If someone is doing things for you, then it's not necessary to do anything oneself, but take credit.

    No matter the actual outcome, the invasion of Iraq was a success because George W. Bush declared it to be so. Self-centered people do not see the negative effects on other people because, like Chris Christie, they do not see other people. It's not that they're not empathetic; it's that they are not aware. And, they're not curious. So, it's to be expected that Christie would not inquire of Kelly what was going on.

    Anyway, if the idea rules, then it is obviously important that the right ideas be instilled. That's why the Cons are so keen on propaganda. If they can just instill the right ideas, they can rule the world. That people might be selfish, altruistic or indifferent doesn't occur to them. Those are entirely too many options to deal with. That they don't actually have much success doesn't bother them either because, again, it's the intent that counts. I suppose faith and intent are interchangeable, except for the religious implication of faith. The deity's intent is not very different from a person's intent. I'm not sure whether adopting a deity's intent for one's own is a sign of hubris or humility.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:37:39 AM PST

  •  NPR has quoted Mercatus Center "studies" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, kkjohnson

    many times.  This outfit is part of George Mason University and bought and paid for by the Kochs and suchlike.  NPR never seems to question Mercatus' credentials.

  •  The Kochs bought their own Econ department (5+ / 0-)

    at Florida State, why not buy a program in Environmental Sciences too?

    Economists of course are easy to buy, since so many of them regard markets as sacred precincts over which they are the high priests. But to create Koch-Science in Environment, Climate, Conservation Biology etc they have to cultivate the future faculty -- which seems to be the point of this effort.

    •  Koch attorney teaches in Georgetown's busi school (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kkjohnson, atana

      John Hasnas, tall guy, a real bully in discussion, uses his loud voice and height to intimidate people, spouts off a typical laundry list of free-market pablum, Koch talking-points. Ironically, Georgetown claims he teaches "ethics"! LOL That's funny!!!!! :-)  But oh-so-typical of second-tier business schools, and of academia which is unable to comprehend how the US right-wing has gamed it (ever since the Powell Memo). It's pathetic that Georgetown, which once prided itself on actual ethics (academic home of Father Drinan, Carroll Quigley, etc.), has fallen this low.

      Here's Hasnas' bio: Spot the dog-whistles?

      John Hasnas is an associate professor of business at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business and a visiting associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, where he teaches courses in ethics and law. Professor Hasnas is also the director of the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics, whose tripartite mission is to produce high-quality research on matters related to the ethics of market activity, improve ethics pedagogy, and educate the broader, non-academic community about ethical issues related to the functioning of markets. Professor Hasnas has held previous appointments as associate professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, visiting associate professor of law at Duke University School of Law and the Washington College of Law at American University, and Law and Humanities Fellow at Temple University School of Law. Professor Hasnas has also been a visiting scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington, DC and the Social Philosophy and Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Lafayette College, his J.D. and Ph.D. in Legal Philosophy from Duke University, and his LL.M. in Legal Education from Temple Law School. Between 1997 and 1999, Professor Hasnas served as assistant general counsel to Koch Industries, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas. His scholarship concerns ethics and white collar crime, jurisprudence, and legal history. His book Trapped: When Acting Ethically Is Against the Law is available from the Cato Institute.
  •  It is not the only way. You would not believe the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight, kkjohnson

    "free" curriculum material that social studies teachers are offered by conservative groups/think tanks.  As a department chair, I always try to check the political connections of groups offering textbooKs, DVDs, lesson plans, etc. before I pass on information to others in my department.  Since the Koch Bros have spent  "a lot of money in Wisconsin. We're going to spend more," it isn't really a surprise that most groups are connected to the Koch/Bradley financed cabal.

    Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    by ranton on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:56:49 PM PST

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