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Exposing the Tea Party

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I posted two opinion articles on the Tea Party today.  The first by Sarah Posner in The Guardian entitled, The Tea Party's religious roots exposed, focuses on the make-up of the Tea Party supporters. Citing poll data, Posner notes that "nearly half of respondents who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement are also part of the religious right, and of the 81% of Tea Partiers who identify as Christian, 57% consider themselves part of the religious right." While the Tea Party alliance with Republicans is well known, less evident is their ties with the Constitution Party.

    Quoting Posner: "The Constitution party's platform declares, among other matters of Christian governance: "The goal of the Constitution party is to restore American jurisprudence to its biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its constitutional boundaries." Sharron Angle, the Nevada senate candidate and Tea Party favourite, once belonged to the Constitution party's state affiliate. The Constitution party was founded by conservative icon and Christian reconstructionist Howard Phillips. Christian reconstructionists – who have informed the religious right, its political leadership, the home-schooling movement, and now the Tea Party – believe that the federal government has exceeded its God-ordained authority. They believe that it is in fact "tyrannical". And some believe it needs to be challenged, or even overthrown."

    Okay, these comprise a large number of the Tea Party supporters.  But how did they get their start and who is bank rolling them?  The answer to that question lies in the second article by George Monbiot, also of the Guardian.  His article, The Tea Party Movement: Deluded and Inspired by Billionaires is reprinted in Common Dreams. Moniot writes, "We now have powerful evidence that the movement was established and has been guided with the help of money from billionaires and big business. Much of this money, as well as much of the strategy and staffing, were provided by two brothers who run what they call "the biggest company you've never heard of". These brothers are of course David and Charles Koch.

    Referencing a clip from a new film, Astro (Turf) Wars by Taki Oldham:  The film shows David Koch addressing the Defending American Dream Summit, "Five years ago," he explains, "my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start Americans for Prosperity. It's beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organisation."

    For those not aware, Americans for Prosperity is one of several groups set up by the Kochs to promote their politics and is a major funder of the Tea Party movement.

    The Oldham film also makes use of interviews conducted by the New Yorker magazine of former Koch brother consultants: "The Koch brothers gave the money that founded [the Tea Party]," one of them explained. "It's like they put the seeds in the ground. Then the rainstorm comes, and the frogs come out of the mud – and they're our candidates!" Another observed that the Kochs are smart. "This rightwing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves."

    Read the two articles at the above links.  I'll certinaly want to watch Oldham's film as well.
  • Denton, TX
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    Yeah, it's funny how "Taxed Enough Already" is some how code for "Creationism should be taught in public schools".....


    I posted a blog on this the other day also... I think the name of it was God's own Tea Party.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Yeah, I found it....God's Own Tea Party.  What's interesting is that it is published in the Washington Times, a very conservative newspaper. The author, Jim Picht has very conservative values on government size and taxes, but is highly critical of the Tea Party gettiing off message and focusing more on religious "family values."  Picht says, "The Constitution is quite clear, though, that the government has no business sticking its nose in my religious practice (the moral doomsayers tell me that sacrificial virgins are pretty scarce these days anyway) and even less promoting yours."

    I would add, however, that Jim Picht should also spend time investigating the source of the funding for the Tea Party.  I share the view with many recognized journalists that the Tea Party supporters are just pawns in a bigger game played by the Koch brothers and other super rich oligarchs that seek to twist the narrative, control the agenda and manipulate the populace opinion. They are succeeding, and the populace will rue the day they actually elected these incompetent people into office.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The plutocrats controlling both the Republican Party and the Tea Party are very, very smart.  They have effectively been able to divide the middle class using divisive issues such as abortion, DADT, and gay marriage.  There are other issues of course...illegal immigration, questioning Obama's patriotism, his birth place and his faith.  Those religious based social issues have served the Republican Party well as they have provided a large base of people to augment the plutocrat minority.  As Kaboom has stated in his papers, those Southern Christian fundamentalists used to be a part of the Democratic Party until Lydon Johnson abandoned them for Civil Rights legislation.

    Now as the Christian right is solid part of the Republican Party and the Tea Party, their social and religious philosphies by necessity have to be integrated with the plutocrat's agenda that supports their free market capitalism philosophy that favors the super rich. It is a delicate rope to walk, but the Republicans seem to be pulling it off if opinion polls are right.  And one way they do it is to tap their other base...the corporate money bags to buy the election with false and misleading attack ads saturating your TV screens that appeal to their other base. Much of this is so utterly unintellectual that one can only cringe and wonder about the mentality of the people that would believe that crap. 

    I have mentioned Bob Altemeyer's book, The Authoritarians in an other forum posting.  I am lifting one of his paragraphs that I found appropriate for this discussion but also provocative:

    Mark Noll, an evangelical history professor at evangelical Wheaton College, begins his book, The  Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, with a pithy thought: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Noll observes that “American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been so for several generations.” He points out that evangelicals support dozens of theological seminaries, scores of colleges, and hundreds of radio stations, but not a single research university. “In the United States he writes, it is simply impossible to be, with integrity, both evangelical and intellectual.” “Modern American evangelicals have failed notably in sustaining serious intellectual life."

    And that in my opinion is why some of the least intellectual TV political ads in history are effective. Thoughts? Agree or disagree? Why?

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    As Nixon believed, Men vote more out of fear ,  than approval for the candidates they pick.   Fear and loathing: the prime movers of American life. 


    I've been a watching a lot of Dylan Ratigan lately, he fits my definition of a progressive conservative...as does Karl Denninger, an original  'founder' of the Tea Party.

    Oh, any by the way Frank....hell of a job reporting on all this....you're a dangerous weapon in the democratic backfield..a true reasonable man of the people.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Yes, absolutely...fear and loathing, but also anger or rage, both real and manufactured. The real Republican base, the plutocrats...those corporatists, free market capitalists, the super rich, the elitist thinkers that will do anything to hold onto their wealth, use front organizations to put out false messages that play on fear, anger and hate.  Organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove's American Crossroads, the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, Dick Armey's Freedomworks and a host of others are not just putting out false ads that focus on economic issues but also ads that appeal to the Christian evangelical community. It is important for the plutocrats to keep their Christian evangelical base energized to vote, so pandering to them is an essential part of the campaign. 

    It is the number one reason why John McCain was pressured to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate...not because of her intellectual ability or her grasp of civics, but rather because her Pentacostal views accomodate that segment of the party. The political power base of the Christian right is the Council for National Policy, a forum for conservative Christians seeking to strengthen the political right in the United States. Notable CNP members include James Dobson, Erik Prince (The Blackwater owner), Tony Perkins, Rev Sun Mying Moon, John Ashcroft, Oliver North, the late Jerry Falwell and a whole host of others who choose to remain anonymous. Their views are the Republican Party views...no choice in that matter.

    The fear factor does enter into the evangelical thinking as they fear liberalism and secular government.  Living in Colorado Springs I see it every day.  Republicans running for office here obediently list their church affiliation as one of their first qualifications.  That's what distinguished George Bush from John Kerry. The Christian base here felt that the born again Christian Bush had more empathy for their agenda than the Catholic John Kerry. Economic issues be damned.  In effect they were largely one issue voters...faith based initiatives drove their agenda in 2004 as they are driving it now 2010. They are responsible for the proposed Amendment 62 on our ballot that would give full legal rights to "humans" from the "beginning of biological development.".  That amendment alone will energize the Christian right in Colorado to come out in droves...maybe 99 percent.  That's why it's on the ballot for voters. It's a slick strategy that could get Ken Buck elected as our Senator unless us liberals also come out in droves to defeat Amendment 62.

    I also like Dylan Ratigan and listen to him regularly, but sometimes I think he is overly critical of Obama and not critical enough of the Republicans that are blocking Obama's agenda. But his take on Wall Street is right on.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    ALERT:

    Jesus fucking Christ......have you seen this...

    Rand Paul supporters stomping on the head of a female liberal activist?  NO I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP

    Watch:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/25/rand-paul-supporter-stomps-head_n_773857.html


    Absolutely horrible....I've lost my appetite for lunch... Fuck them.  Fuck all of them.  That could have been my mother or my sister...and when you fuck them...me being a liberal or not....all bets are off.  Bring that shit to me, man!  Bring that shit to me!
  • Democrat
    Saylorsburg, PA
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    here's what i think of the tea party

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGnyPA2lOno
  • Democrat
    Parker, AZ
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    I've always believed there are two facets of the tea potty, number one being the astroturfed useful idiot hick brigade sported by the corporatist scum Koch Brothers who shill for corporate America, and then the Libertarian pro free market progressive-ish Ron Paul types. I think given the fact that a lot of Older Americans who tend to vote "conservative" and hold Judeo-Christian views, were apart of the Christian right in the early nineties, and actually believe in the nonsense of the culture war, they will easily find a home in the tea party given the relative similarity of views. Though I tend to separate these neocons from the Ron Paul types
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    I don't really see a problem with the Tea Party.  Seem like decent average Americans to me.  What's the problem?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Renaldo, I started compiling a list of reasons of what I find wrong with the Tea Party movement, and then I came upon this list compiled in the Hoffstrizz blog entitled 10 Reasons Why I Hate the Tea Party.  I could probably add a few to the list, but I'll just let it go for now.  It's a good start.

    I'll pick out the last four from the list to stimulate your thinking, but I encourage you to read all ten at the Hoffstrizz blog above.

    7. Obama hatred is irrational
    Obama is not an elite, he is not responsible for the debt...it's not about reasonable objections or concerns with the Obama administration.  It's about the hatred.

    8. Any political movement which is based only in objection to another, isn't a movement at all, it's just anger.
    This is not a transformative moment in American politics.  This is just the Know-Nothing Party 2010 edition.  These people are angry over broad changes in American demographics, in the global economy, and in Western culture as a whole.  And these issues are extraordinarily difficult to understand.  For anybody.  These people know they are angry, and they know they are justified in their anger, but these issues are beyond them, beyond any of us really, and so they get reduced to a single word: Obama.

    9. They Are Working Against Their Own Interests
    Why a supposedly grassroots movement is financed and controlled by the obscenely wealthy, by the likes of the Koch Brothers (together the third richest American) or Rupert Murdoch.

    10. They Are Driving the Country to Fascism in the Name of Preventing Fascism
    The Tea Party is not resisting fascism, it is encouraging it.
  • Independent
    Colchester, VT
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    I Believe in the Tea Party...Unlike those who swallow everybit of the Kool-aid (both Dem and Repub) I can think for myself and though I can agree with some from both angles of a topic...I stand on my own thoughts.

    This is what the Tea Party is mainly...in disagreement with Frank (who I have read many of his posts and respect his views)...

    The Tea Party is a Political Movement...their main point is that this country needs to straighten out its fisical responsibilities.  We need a balanced budget.  We may disagree on how to do this, BUT it needs to be done somehow.  If you cannot see that then you have more problems than just your hatred for those you politically disagree with.  Stop swallowing all the Kool-aid.

    Frank talks about their hatred for Obama...tell me what is so different from the Lefts hatred for Bush...?  I'm not saying Bush was right 100% of the time, but neither is Obama.  Look at it this way...when Former President Bush wanted to raise the Debt ceiling, then Senator Obama voted against that saying it showed a "Lack of Leadership" and those on the left piled on the hatred.  In retrospect President Obama now says he regretted that action he took.  Why did he not say "Former President Bush, I am sorry for what I said.   You were trying to be presidental while I was being political."  Now lets jump to now...Here is President Obama now asking Congress to raise the Debt Ceiling...Is this HIS LACK OF LEADERSHIP...?   Where are all the Bush haters now....why are you not jumping on President Obama for doing what Bush did....?  Hypocrite...?   You rail against Former President Bush for his spending deficits...(Bush increased the National Debt from $5.7 Trillion to $10.6 Trillion in eight years...President Obama has raised the debt to $14.1 Trillion dollars...an increase of 3.5 Trillion in only 2 years....at this rate...President Obama will raise our National Debt by $7 Trillion dollars in his first 4 years...THAT IS WHAT CREATED THE TEA PARTY...

    What is truely funny is the Obama Stimulus Program...They say it was to try to save the economy...sounds like the "TRICKLE DOWN THEORY" that everyone on the left said was a failure under Former President Reagan...

    Is there anyone on the left who sees this irony....?...or have you been blinded by the Kool-aid...?

    Let us also not forget that the only time that we did have a yearly balanced budget/surplus was under President Clinton with both the House and the senate under Republican control!...We have never had a controlled budget when all three branches were under the same Party's control (Presidency, House and Senate)...we never had it when the Dems controlled both the House and Senate...The only time we had a balanaced budget was when the House and Senate were under Republican Control..

    This is what the Tea Party Is...we may disagree on how to do it, but we must do it...

     

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Paul, I don't have to drink Kool-aid.  All I have to do is watch what the Tea Party Republicans are doing in Congress and in our governorships and state legislatures across the country.  When I go to the website of the Tea Party Patriots I read their short mission statement:

    The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.

    Likewise the Tea Party Nation website claims to be a user-driven
 group of like-minded people who desire our God-given individual
 freedoms written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited 
Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure 
Borders and our Country.

    On the surface these seem like legitimate goals to discuss and debate.  I don't think you'll find very many Americans that would openly criticize those goals as not being worthy of debate.  It's when you start digging in and finding out what the Tea Party is really doing that you sometimes wonder what happened to their focus.

    In the recent budget showdown in the House, the contentious issue that went right down to the last few minutes before a government shutdown was not the spending issues, but rather taking away the rights of women by defunding Planned Parenthood.  It was the Tea Party House members that refused to compromise, and in fact Boehner had to rely on Democratic Party support to get the bill passed.

    It would appear to me that at least part of the Tea Party has been taken over by the Christian right that want to use the Tea Party to get their "God-driven" agenda passed.

    On the other side, the Koch brothers are funding the Tea Party to get their anti-environmental agenda on the front burner.  The science of Climate Change is challenged without engaging in scientific arguments.  Indeed one Tea Party state official in Montana introduced legislation to make it a law that global warming is natural.  How crazy is that?

    And where in either of those Tea Party mission statements is the viscious campaign against unions.  Governor Walker, a Tea Party darling, showed his true colors in the fake David Koch phone call. He's a stooge of the Koch brothers and their agenda.

    Also Rupert Murdoch who provides a platform for his pundits to bash the unions across the nation using the Tea Party as cover.

    And then there is Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation who is just one of many Tea Partiers on the Obama birther bandwagon.  I'm sorry but I don't respect anyone that indulges in those kind of falsehoods for political gain. Kudos to Republican Governor Brewer of Arizona for vetoing their crazy birther bill that would have accepted a circumcision certificate as a proof of citizenship, but not the original birth certificate.  Sheesh...that's not a Tea Party even she can believe in.

    I could go on and on...I have tried to figure out the Tea Party again and again.  There may have been some commendable motives at one time, but that agenda has devolved into a lot of crazy stuff driven by a rag tag bunch of malcontents that engage in platitudes but are incapable of rational, intellectual debate.

    I would be happy to engage in an intellectual discussion on the issues of budgets, debt and debt ceilings, but I wouldn't find those debaters amongst the birthers and anti-choicers....or the anti-science patsies of the Koch brothers.

    Oh and not forgetting the Constitution.  My understanding of our Democracy is majority rules.  The Tea Party are not in the majority and their attempts to force their ideologies on others goes against their own mission statements.
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    Hi Chuck Roast:  Welcome aboard. Hope this is not the Titanic. Seems to be a nice group in here, with a lot of opinion pieces. Hope this forum will take off and gather lots of new members. We have noted that the Koch Bros finance the Tea Party, just like their Daddy (Fred C. Koch) financed the old John Birch Society.,
    (way back from 1958). It's amazing how much politics seems to be genetic. (ha)
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    The Tea Party has created an atmosphere so toxic to democracy, it is like a trojan horse in our midst. We can not have any decent conversation (or vote) on any topic without crazy nonsense spewing forth from their mouths. Like "2nd amendment solutions" or "we came unarmed this time" being accepted as normal political discourse. In the past, those people would have been arrested on the spot & put into jail.