Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Josh Marshall has the rundown on the real story behind the astroturf organization USA Next. Marshall describes the organization as a lobbying group for whichever group is willing to pony up the funds. The group claims to represent the interests of seniors, but much of their funding has come from pharmaceutical groups and others. A recent example was their lobbying to open ANWAR to drilling after receiving a significant donation from and Alaskan group, Arctic Power.

The current President of USA Next, Charlie Jarvis, is a former executive vice president of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family recently gained some notoriety for its criticism of Spongebob Squarepants, The cartoon sponge came under fire for allegedly helping to encouraging a gay agenda Said Dobson in his newsletter, "The video itself is innocent enough and does not mention anything overtly sexual. Rather, it features the children’s cartoon characters singing and dancing along to the popular disco hit "We Are Family." But while the video is harmless on its own, I believe the agenda behind it is sinister."

Jarvis's move to USA Next may explain their most recent attack on the AARP. Run on the American Spectator's website, the ad accused the AARP's real agenda was not supporting the troops, but encouraging gay marriage. The ad has since been removed since it went up Sunday or Monday, but many copies of it have made it around the web and MSNBC ran it in a newscast Monday night.

- Murphy

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