‘Economic Elite’ Buy Shills (Craig Ladwig) – Lie to Hoosiers

(illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando)

MUNCIE, Indiana – According to a recent article from T. Craig Ladwig, executive director of Indiana Policy Review, Americans, and specifically Hoosiers, are learning the tricks of the “Political Elite” and will set them straight. Here is his quote exactly:

Because every couple of generations going back, say, to Richard II of England we catch up with the political elite — we figure out which walnut-shell covers the pea. It is neither guesswork nor any particular genius, merely the same trick being played one too many times on an intelligent and watchful mark.

As we’ve highlighted numerous times in Muncie Voice, we’ve not only identified the “walnut shells”, but we also have a good idea what “peas” they are covering. The “marks” are Hoosiers and Americans, but Craig Ladwig, isn’t pointing us in the right direction since he’s just another “walnut-shell” as director of Indiana Policy Review.

Craig claims the problem is our government, or what he calls the “Political Elite”. Most free market libertarians point to government as the problem and want to eliminate government. How do we know Craig represents the free market libertarians?

We’ve shared the true identity of the Indiana Policy Review in Muncie Voice, but Craig won’t admit who he really works for, and neither will Gannett newspapers in this state. They protect Craig’s identity because they endorse the same free market principles, so they’re intentionally misleading readers. We once gave Gannett editors and journalists a pass as simply being lazy, but it’s intentional. It took a simple internet search on Indiana Policy Review to find “Sourcewatch” saying:

But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large “donor-advised fund,” cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin’s Internal Revenue Service records). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust “the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement” in a February 2013 article.

Why is Craig Ladwig hiding donor names to his organization?

If you know who funds his organization, along with the State Policy Network, and ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation, then you’ll also know who is manipulating our government and buying negative attack ads on local broadcasting networks. Voters should have the right to know if some billionaire living in Minnesota is buying political ads for candidates running in Indiana.

They don’t want us to know, because if we knew how the shell game worked, we wouldn’t bother playing.

Craig Ladwig points to the “government” and the “Political Elite” as the problem, but his own organization is funded in a veil of secrecy from right-wing donors – billionaires and corporations who give money to the State Policy Network and Indiana Policy Review to pay for Craig’s salary. Craig, in turn, writes right-wing propaganda and sends the articles to Gannett newspapers for publishing as fact.

With just a little research, you’ll discover the same billionaires funding Craig’s organization, also have ties with the handful of “billionaire donors” to FreedomWorks, the organization behind the Tea Party movement across the country.

As you can see, we are the marks in this Elitist game of misinformation and “sleight of hand” shell games. Craig is merely a paid shill.

Interestingly, in Craig Ladwig’s recent article, he provides us with a link to a research paper titled, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and the Average Citizen“. Craig couldn’t have read the research paper because the scholars point to the real problem with American politics.

Here is a quote from the abstract written by Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern:

Our theoretical traditions in the study of American politics – which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, and two types of interest group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism – offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

So, the scholars tell us what they’ll be researching and how these different groups impact politics in this country – not one word about “Political Elites” which Craig has said is “the problem”.

The scholars also tell us on “page 2” of the 42 page research paper the conclusion of their findings. Craig Ladwig didn’t have to read the entire research paper to find their conclusion. It says in plain English:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

Who are these “Economic Elites” with substantial impact on U.S. government policy?

The scholars write:

A landmark work in this tradition is G. William Domhoff’s detailed account of how elites (working through foundations, think-tanks, and an “opinion-shaping apparatus,” as well as through the lobbyists and politicians they finance) may dominate key issues in U.S. policy making despite the existence of democratic elections.

In plain English, the scholars call out the billionaires (Economic Elite) who use shills like Craig Ladwig to “shape opinions” of Hoosiers. Hoosiers are told falsely by Craig that “government is the problem”,  when the truth is, it’s the “Economic Elites” who influence government and they own the newspapers and fund the institutes and donate to the foundations, etc., etc.

Yes, Craig Ladwig and his Indiana Policy Review, along with Gannett owned newspapers (The StarPress in Muncie, Indiana) is part of the “opinion-shaping apparatus” used by “Economic Elite’s” to manipulate U.S. and Indiana policies. In other words, they convince Hoosiers to elect Tea Party politicians like Senator Dan Coats, US Rep. Luke Messer, and Governor Mike Pence. The corporate owned media uses Craig’s credentials to convince Americans, or in this case, Hoosiers, to vote against their best interest.

Is it any wonder our supermajority of republicans in Indianapolis are corporatizing our public schools, pushing through union killing ‘Right to Work’ legislation, and why Indiana leads the country in low corporate taxes, low regulations, yet our water, air and ground are polluted. It’s NOT a coincidence.

They want you to think the grand Ole Tea Party members are fighting “Big Government Dictators” and “Government Tyranny” and “Liberal Media”, but it’s a lie.

Mr. Ladwig has literally been hired by the Koch brothers to lie to Hoosiers. The sheep are being led into the barn so they can be properly sheared. And, the poor sheep happily do it with a smile.

Could we be wrong?

The Northwestern and Princeton researchers elaborate:

Most recently, Jeffrey Winters has posited a comparative theory of “Oligarchy,” in which the wealthiest citizens– even in a “civil oligarchy” like the United States – dominate policy concerning crucial issues of wealth- and income-protection.

Further into the paper, they write:

Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all.

They follow this punch in the gut with:

By contrast, ‘Economic Elites’ are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy.

Are you starting to see how Craig Ladwig wrongly “shapes opinions” from his perch at the Indiana Policy Review?

The ‘Economic Elite’ Koch brothers, who advocate for free-market policies, don’t come out and tell us what they want to do. They build elaborate “trust and foundation systems” to hide their monetary involvement. Then they go about funding “think-tanks” like the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Indiana Policy Review to convince voters their enemy is the government – or “The Tyrannical Obama and His Elite Liberal Media Machine”.

Now you know why Rep. John Boehner (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R) were proud of shutting down the government. In their minds, they dealt a blow to the “Mighty Liberal Beast”. However, their proposed beast only exists in their small minds – it’s a hoax. It backfired on them, but the Tea Party continues to support such nonsense.

On page 24, Gilens and Page write:

Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policy-making is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

Sadly, Craig Ladwig, from the Koch funded Indiana Policy Review, tells us his false interpretation of the Princeton and Northwestern study when he writes:

“And this one is not just another shell game. It ratchets us backward toward a system in which kings (governments), parliaments or judges decide year by year what is legal, regardless of constitution or case-law. It is the default setting of history and rules almost every other democracy.”

No Craig, the “kings” aren’t our “(governments)”, but the “kings” are the “Economic Elites” (Oligarchy) who influence the politicians to write policies which benefit them directly.

It’s hard to believe we are looking at the same research study.

However, the role of Indiana Policy Review and Gannett isn’t to inform us, it’s to carry out the will of the “Economic Elites” who influence policies. Craig Ladwig is paid directly by the “Economic Elites” to misinform Hoosiers – so much for its “think-tank” status.

Going back to the beginning of our article, if you don’t properly name the problem, how can you possibly offer a solution?

It doesn’t stop Mr. Ladwig, he fires away in exactly the direction you’d expect when he writes:

The solution, the counter to what the Princeton study described as helplessness, will require moxie but we’ve got plenty. A friend of this foundation, the author and director Dinesh D’Souza, has described our situation perfectly: “George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan — we don’t have them, but we have us.”

For those who have forgotten, Dinesh D’Souza is a conservative author/filmmaker who has commented that “African-Americans are better off today because their ancestors were removed from Africa and forced to work as slaves in America”. More recently, he claimed, “”The Common Thread” between Ferguson and the Islāmic State is “Perceived Injustice”.”

Yes, he actually considers the killing of an unarmed black kid coupled with a bungling police reaction as a “perceived injustice”.

I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t be bragging about Dinesh D’Souza being a “fan of your foundation” – according to Wikipedia, D’Souza’s ethics goes beyond questionable to criminal:

In January 2014, D’Souza was indicted on charges of making illegal political contributions to a 2012 United States Senate campaign. On May 20, 2014, D’Souza pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to a charge of using “straw donors” to make illegal political campaign donations. The charge carries a sentence of 10 to 16 months according to the plea agreement reached between D’Souza and federal prosecutors.

The Indiana Policy Review has some interesting fans – maybe Tony Bennett and Rep. Eric Saunders are also fans.

Are you following the trail of propaganda?

While the Koch brother’s (Economic Elites) paid shill (Craig Ladwig) from the Indiana Policy Review (think-tank), tells Hoosiers we should lend our support to other Koch paid shills (like Cecil Bohannon of Ball State) to rid our government of everybody to the left of Tea Party Libertarians (free market advocates who will support low taxes and no government regulation for the ‘Economic Elite’), what does the actual Princeton and Northwestern researchers conclude in their study?

We bet you can guess at this point – an entirely different conclusion than Craig Ladwig.

The modern-day “kings” aren’t Barrack Obama or Harry Reid or Mike Pence…the “kings” are our ‘Economic Elite’ like the Koch brothers who spend millions of dollars to influence political races, so they can have policies and laws tailored for their large international corporations.

Or, according to Martin Gilens from Princeton and Benjamin Page from Northwestern:

What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

For some people, this analysis would be cause to give up the fight, and just let the Elite have our country. However, Americans don’t have a history of giving up and quitting. We are fighters!

Robert Reich read the same research paper from Gilens and Page and interpreted the report exactly as Muncie Voice did. Then, he wrote the following assessment – we’ll close with his remarks:

The only way back toward a democracy and economy that work for the majority is for most of us to get politically active once again, becoming organized and mobilized. We have to establish a new countervailing power. The monied interests are doing what they do best – making money. The rest of us need to do what we can do best – use our voices, our vigor and our votes.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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