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09-07-2010, 07:03 AM
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PDA National News RSS Feed5 Ways the Tea Party Agenda Screws Tea Party Supporters
By Adele M. Stan
September 3, 2010

Published by AlterNet.

If people could be counted on to vote in their own best interests, there would be no Tea Party movement, for if the economic agenda embraced by Tea Partiers--a vastly pro-corporation, government-killing plan--Tea Partiers would find themselves among the people most hurt by it.

To hear Tea Party activists tell it, they seek to save future generations from the crushing demands of big government. Yet the agenda they advocate, dictated by the big-money players behind the muscular interest groups that keep the movement growing, will likely render the Tea Partiers themselves the economically squeezed subjects of a corporate state, one in which the elderly will be left to scrounge for crumbs, small businesses will be crushed by lack of capital, and their own ground-level online organizing supplanted by the networks built by giant, corporate-funded astroturf groups.
As George Lakoff and Drew Westen remind us, people don't vote on the facts: they vote on emotion, according to Westen, and their notion of morality, according to Lakoff. The resentment of Tea Partiers toward liberals, East Coast elites, the poor and people who don't look like them has been effectively marshaled in service of a "free market" ideology cleverly packaged as "freedom." Never mind that free markets are anything but free for ordinary people. The packaging strikes the necessary emotional and moral chords: Free markets = freedom = liberty = endowed by the Creator, as written in the Declaration of Independence by the founders. It's the perfect exploitation of the worldview of conservative middle-class white people--all in the service of enriching the super-rich at the expense of their unwitting, patriotic ground troops.

Casting themselves as an organic uprising in opposition to a federal government they see as the greatest threat to their freedom, Tea Party supporters conveniently look past the likely consequences of the no-holds-barred, anti-regulatory aims of Rupert Murdoch and David Koch, the billionaires whose dollars grease the skids on which the Tea Party movement rides. Murdoch leads News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the movement's evangelists. Koch is a principal in Koch Industries, the second largest privately held corporation in the U.S., and heir to its fortunes.

The billionaires give the activists lots of entertainment to distract them from this reality, especially in the form of sideshows, such as Glenn Beck's travesty at the Lincoln Memorial, designed to fan the flames of racial resentment while making Tea Partiers feel holy about it. At other times, the demonization or infantilization of the nation's first black president serves up the same charge of adrenaline to the fearful, angry throngs who seek to blame their troubles on anyone other than the corporatist manipulators in whom they've placed their trust.

How else to explain the embrace of the billionaires' agenda by the middle-aged, middle-class folks of the Tea Party movement--the very ones likely to find themselves screwed by it? Here we examine five positions advanced by Tea Party leaders, and what they would mean for Tea Party supporters.

1. Ending Social Security. Rep. Michele Bachmann, doyenne of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, has outlined a plan for an abrupt phase-out of Social Security. Speaking before an audience of Tea Party supporters at the RightOnline conference convened in July, Bachmann referred to Social Security and Medicare as "welfare" that had seen its day. The event was convened in Las Vegas by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, whose board is chaired by David Koch. There, more than 1,000 Tea Partiers--the majority of whom are over the age of 45--sat in rapt silence as Bachmann outlined a plan to end Social Security for all those who will be under the age of 65 at the time her potential dream Congress enacts the legislation.

The growth of the federal debt and deficit require a drastic cutback in federal spending, Bachmann said. "Spending comes first, so we have to cut it first," she explained, speaking of her plan to devastate Social Security. "And in my opinion, it'll take us about a long weekend to get that done, and then we'll be fine."

For those between the ages of 55 and 65 at the time Bachmann's Kill Social Security Plan hypothetically passes into law, there would be a means-tested program for "those who truly need it--the truly disadvantaged, those who truly can't go forward." For everybody else, there would be unspecified "alternatives and adjustments." Those under the age of 55 would apparently be squat out of luck, regardless of how truly disadvantaged they are. From the assembled Tea Partiers, not a discouraging word was heard, even as Bachmann outlined a plan to essentially rob them of the money they've been putting into the system all their lives.

According to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in April, 46 percent of Tea Party supporters fall into the 45-64 age group. (Untouched by the Bachmann plan would be the 29 percent of Tea Party supporters the poll cited as being over the age of 64.) The same survey revealed that among 47 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters, either they or a member of their household was receiving Social Security retirement benefits. When asked whether the outlay for programs such as Social Security and Medicare are worth the taxpayer expense, 62 percent said they were.

What to do with all those freed-up dollars? Why not give them back to the corporations and wealthy individuals who bankroll the Tea Party movement? Segueing out of her nuking of the social safety net for the nation's elderly -- and stealing the payroll taxes of all those Americans who paid into Social Security over the course of their lifetimes but would never see a dime of their contributions come back to them under her plan -- Bachmann launched into a pitch for a corporatist agenda that began with her call for a roll-back of the corporate tax from its current 34 percent to 9 percent, which, according to Bachmann, would make it "one of the lowest in the industrialized world."

Actually, make that possibly the lowest in the world (excluding the handful of mostly broken nations that have none), never mind "industrialized." I mean, even Kazakhstan and Burkina Faso have higher corporate tax rates than 9 percent. And India, where all the good jobs are said to be going? Try 43 percent.

Bachmann also called for zeroing out the estate tax--even for the very wealthiest Americans--and repeal of the Sarbanes-Oxley law, a bill passed in the wake of the Enron scandal that sets standards for corporate accountability. What would that mean for Americans under the age of 64 whose retirement savings would be entirely invested in the private sector after the demolishing of Social Security? That the same kinds of accounting tricks and corruption that destroyed the retirement savings of thousands in the Enron caper would become standard operating procedure. Sorry, Tea Partiers--you're screwed.

2. Ending Medicare: See No. #1, Ending Social Security. "Within seven [years], Medicare is dead, bankrupt, broke--broke," Bachmann told the Tea Partiers. Her solution? End it for everybody but "the truly needy and the truly disabled." (I shudder to think what constitutes "truly needy" in the Bachmann moral universe.) Her solution? You can buy your own health insurance policy on the private market with pre-tax dollars. Sure, you're 70 years old: How much do you think an insurance company is going to charge you for your coverage? Pre-taxed or not, you're going to need a whole lotta dollars to make that one work for you.

But Bachmann's fans likely found comfort in her sunny optimism. "It is possible for every American to be able to retire a millionaire," Bachmann told the Tea Partiers. "It's entirely possible to do that if you plan early and you put away money--and there are alternatives that we can put forward." Just what those "alternatives" might be were left to the audience's imagination.

3. Opposition to Internet Freedom (aka Net Neutrality). Earlier this month, news media, ranging from mainstream to righty to lefty, breathlessly reported that leaders of 35 "Tea Party" groups signed a letter to the the Federal Communications Commission in opposition to any efforts made by the FCC to "regulate the Internet." At issue is Internet freedom and potential regulations that could prevent Internet providers from saddling small-time Web sites unable to pay for an added jolt of Web juice with slower loading speeds for their sites than, say, big-money players like Google. (This is the crux of the issue in the Google-Verizon deal.) Now, Tea Party supporters fancy themselves to be rugged individualists, dedicated to the preservation of individual freedoms. But it wasn't until the big-money groups that bankroll the national organizing of the Tea Party movement began garnering opposition to Internet freedom that you began to see any of those quaint, homely signs carried at Tea Party rallies dedicated to the subject.

Tea Party activists pride themselves on their movement's apparent leaderless state, reveling in the homegrown, local character of ground-level Tea Party groups, which often organize on hastily organized listservs and homemade local Web sites. But should they succeed in halting the FCC's net neutrality plan, they may find themselves with no decent option for Web-based organizing other than the big networking sites built by the national money groups that form the Tea Party Inc. uberstructure. So much for self-agency.

And what of those "35 Tea Party groups" whose leaders signed that letter to the FCC? Well, 24 of those entities are either part of or affiliated with Americans For Prosperity. Among the signatories was AFP president Tim Phillips, as well as the directors of 22 state chapters of Americans For Prosperity--each counted as a separate "Tea Party group." In addition, the signature of AFP policy director Phil Kerpen (who is also a columnist for Murdoch's FoxNation) appears with the affiliation, "director, NoInternetTakeover.com." Also present was Linda Hansen, who leads the Wisconsin Prosperity Network and is the author of a "worker education" program that is a project of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, and promoted by John Fund and Stephen Moore of Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal.

Others signatories aren't leaders of Tea Party groups at all, but heads of the old corporatist, anti-government groups such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and David Keene of the American Conservative Union. There are even a couple of stalwarts of the old New Right: Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum and Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute.

Bottom line for Tea Partiers: deviate from the AFP/Ayn Rand line on any issue, and you could see your little homemade Web site begin to load verrrry slowwwly.

4. De-Funding Public Education. While it's common knowledge that Tea Partiers hate all things government (except their personal Social Security checks and Medicare reimbursements), they hold a special contempt for public school teachers. This stems from a number of causes, but mostly from the fact that teachers are unionized government workers who have authority over one's children for a good chunk of the day. The very fact of their unionization implies a different value system from that of the Tea Partiers, who fear that value system having an influence on their children. Teachers tend to be more liberal than the general population. And to the worker wed to the private enterprise system, a teacher's deal can look pretty sweet by comparison: It generally comes with a pension, tenure and the prospect of early retirement.

That's why even candidates like Sharron Angle, the GOP/Tea Party contender for Nevada's U.S. Senate seat, can call for the elimination of the Department of Education and still be taken seriously by the Tea Party faithful. And that's why calling the federal jobs bill passed last month a "teacher bailout" was an effective means of summoning Tea Party opposition to the bill that provided $26 billion in aid to cash-strapped states to maintain all manner of services and programs, including money to prevent some 300,000 teacher lay-offs.

For the billionaires of Tea Party Inc., gutting public education...

Gayle in MD
09-07-2010, 07:53 AM
The Republican Party has demonized teachers, deemed college professors as radical, and even communistic, regularly bashes homosexuals, AND women, whom they have deemed as not worth saving, lest a fetus could die, and not worthy of their own right to make decisions about their own bodies, even after they have been raped.

Republicans provide subsidies for corproations who out-source American jobs, and welfare for multi-billion dollar polluting pigs, who trash our environment.

Republicans always grow the void between the very rich, and the Middle Class, and they learned absolutely zero from The Great Depression, which was preceeded by too few people, owning too much wealth, and too many people, sharing the ridiculous "Trickle down crumbs," Thank You idiot Reagan!

No unions to protect our workers, Thanks Republicans!

No concerns for the ill and dying? Thanks Republicans!

Not since The Great Depression, have we witnessed the vast void between the amount of wealth owned by the wealthy, and the crumbs shared by the rest.

The Republican Party's failed economic policies, destroyed this country, and every element of the American Dream.

If they gain control, every pressing issue, from Global Warmiing, and the greed of Big Oil, including their careless operations, which lead to massive oil spills, more deregulation, a trashed environement, our dying oceans, massive extinction of so many animals, the rising rates of many cancers, the rising rate of infants born with learning disabilities, crippling birth defects, all linked to pollution from corporate pigs, trashing the earth, protected by the Republican Party, the folly of much of the "Rand" loving Libertarians, none of these issues will be addressed.

The damages prosecuted against this country by Republicans, and their radical pundits, is immeasurable.

America, cannot afford to remain in a filthy, Republican oil drenched economy, while China, and others, pass us up in the clean fuel arena.

No society can flourish when only the top three percent are able to get by, make personal progress, and the same old Republican policies, more tax cuts for the very segment of society who sock their money away, rather than spend it, will bury us.

Republicans are against the very changes wee need, in order to remain leaders in the global economy. Addressing fosile fuels, and global warming, will be the lynchpin of the future economies of the world.

Republicans have been borrowing from China in order to launch wars, and give the wealthiest massive tax cuts, subsidies to corporate polluters, tax evaders, and Health Care for profit.

Ronald Reagan is the Grand Daddy of every policy which paved the way for America's demise, and Bush finished it off, but good!


09-07-2010, 09:07 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The Republican Party has demonized teachers, deemed college professors as radical, and even communistic, regularly bashes homosexuals, AND women, whom they have deemed as not worth saving, lest a fetus could die, and not worthy of their own right to make decisions about their own bodies, even after they have been raped.

G. </div></div>

You really do like to lie and twist the facts to make your points, don't you. Many teachers are more interested in their union provided benefits than they are educating kids. That's a fact of life. Many college professors lean so far to the left that it is almost impossible for a student to get any education that doesn't follow the leftist agenda. That is another fact.

You (hardly a republican) are the one who constantly brings up the topic of homosexuality...usually using it as a tool to degrade those who do not agree with you politically.

Now, please tell me who is against abortion when the life of the mother is in danger? I know I haven't ever made that statement.
I also believe women have exclusive rights over their own body. It's the body of the child inside of them that I would like to see protected.
A woman certainly has the right to decline to participate in activities that might result in an unwanted pregnancy. Rape is an issue that can be addressed in short time with medications that are readily available (the morning after pill has now been joined by the "within a week" after pill.

There are options that do not require sucking a child out of thw womb.

Are you even capable of rational discussion, or have you always been prone to emotional arguments and extreme exageration?


09-07-2010, 11:03 AM
What do you know about teachers?
Oh, I forgot. You're a "pooltchr." /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smirk.gif

09-07-2010, 11:18 AM
'Are you even capable of rational discussion, or have you always been prone to emotional arguments and extreme exageration?"

Still calling people stupid, I see.

BTW, genius, there are two "g's" in "exaggeration." /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/shocked.gif

Gayle in MD
09-07-2010, 11:20 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: hondo</div><div class="ubbcode-body">What do you know about teachers?
Oh, I forgot. You're a "pooltchr." /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smirk.gif </div></div>

The right has no respect for any secter of the work force, unless it is a secter which is trashing the environment, or lying to the public, (The defended BP BP after their gross greed and lack of responsible business ethics, even after decades of their proven sloppy safety operations records had been exposed) Or spreading around hate for their own selfish financial purposes.

Education is the enemy of the right. If Americans get a good one, the right will have everything to lose, for without a bunch of uninformed sheep that they can exploit in the interest of their favored greedy corporate pigs, we might just save the Middle Class, which most of them are too stupid to even realize that they are post of, themselves..

Republican protectors of graft and greed, can more easily lead their Tea Party sheep around by the nose, if they are misinformed, and lack critical thinking skills.

Hence, as is their usual M.O., all teachers are demonized, just like all Muslims, must be demonized, and all Democratic Gays, with the courage to be open with the truth about who they are, while Republican gays who remain safely in the closet, while voting against their own fellow Gays, are never the subject of their attacks...

Critical thinking skills are not their forte. That's why it is pointless to read anything they write, because all of it is full of lies, not only about the poster, and what they have written in the past, but about the facts in general.

So often their statements prove their ginorance. They don't even know about recent finding from the RW Suspreme Court!

Reading isn't one of their favorite things to do, and there isn't anything accurate on Fux Noises, or Limpballs.... /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/crazy.gif


09-07-2010, 12:10 PM
Education is hardly the enemy of the right. In fact, considering how the left is continually rewriting history, it would seem that it is the left who are afraid that the public might become educated.


09-07-2010, 03:13 PM
Paul Parrot. AWK! What Dub said! AWK! What Dub said!

09-07-2010, 03:25 PM
Can I help it if he was correct????????


09-07-2010, 03:39 PM
That was just precious! But you already knew that!
Classic doublethink!

09-07-2010, 06:17 PM

That's funny.


09-07-2010, 10:38 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: hondo</div><div class="ubbcode-body">That was just precious! But you already knew that!
Classic doublethink! </div></div>

I'm actually starting to think that Larry is your hero. You certainly do like to repeat much of what he says, even going so far as to use his exact words.


09-08-2010, 02:37 AM
As to me, H is so used to taking factual and intellectual beatdowns that he thinks miming my words will somehow make his arguments valid. Sort of an internet Stockholm syndrome I guess.

As to H's recent fascination with the TPM, George Soros has declared war on the group and H/G are merely parroting the talking points of their evil puppet master.