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David Koch's key operative, Tim Phillips, is moving to merge the religious right with the Tea Party movement -- just in time for the presidential race.
April 15, 2011
Jesus, it seems, is a fiscal conservative. Make that a tax-cut-loving, labor-union-busting, supply-side fiscal conservative. How else to explain the presence of Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-funded Tea Party astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, as a presenter at the Awakening conference sponsored by the religious-right group, Freedom Federation?
Now effectively in the employ of the libertarian David Koch, who founded Americans for Prosperity and chairs the board of its foundation, Phillips has deep ties to the evangelical Right, most notably with Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Rev. Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, who now heads a new entity, the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed and Phillips go way back; the two were partners in Century Strategies, the political consulting group through which Reed played a role in the Jack Abramoff bribery scandal. Now, it seems Phillips is partnered with Reed and other Religious Right leaders in a much greater conquest: a merger of the Religious Right and the ostensibly secular Tea Party movement to create an electoral juggernaut that will determine the outcome of the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
It’s not new for Religious Right leaders to embrace conservative economics. Back in the 1990s, Ralph Reed, then at the Christian Coalition's helm, endorsed Newt Gingrich’s "Contract with America," calling taxes a “family values” issue. Reed shrewdly calculated that the Religious Right would gain more influence within the Republican Party if it set its sights beyond a focus on abortion and gay rights. Now Reed is back in the game with his Faith and Freedom Coalition, a kind of hybrid Religious Right/Tea Party get-out-the-vote operation.
Reed, who promises to mobilize a massive conservative evangelical vote in 2012, has been organizing in Iowa, whose party caucuses mark the opening of the presidential campaign season, for more than a year. According to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, the Faith and Freedom Coalition has a database of 20 million evangelical voters. Last month, Reed's FFC hosted the first major Iowa gathering of a motley group of GOP presidential contenders, each eager to appeal to both religious and economic conservatives.
But there’s something more at work here than just good coalition politics. Movement strategists, such as Reed and Phillips, want to fully co-opt or merge the Religious Right, its organizing infrastructure, and its activists into the Tea Party wing of the GOP. So conservative Christian voters are being told that a radically limited federal government is God’s idea, and that right-wing economic policies are mandated by the Bible. That could be effective in places like Iowa, with its crucial early presidential caucus, where conservative voters are mobilized through evangelical churches and home-schooling groups. According to Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times, “There is no comparable network for fiscal-minded or moderate Republicans.” Not even the impressive organizing prowess of Americans for Prosperity can match it.
This political strategy – claiming a biblical foundation for the anti-government agenda of the Tea Party and its corporate backers – was on full display last weekend at the Lynchburg, Va., campus of Liberty University, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, where the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference took place. In a video message, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a heroine in both movements and possible presidential candidate, hit all the Religious Right and Tea Party high points: abortion, gays, “anti-family” health care reform, and the “immoral” and “fundamentally evil” national debt. She praised Iowa voters for rejecting three state supreme court judges in a protest against the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples in the state.
From an Article by Alex Brant-Zawadzki and Dawn Teo posted
May 31, 2011
The Tea Party movement has gained national prominence for leading organized protests against big government. But the movement itself is far from a cohesive
group of supporters. No less than eight separate and sometimes competing organizations make up the Tea Party
And though it purports to be a grassroots movement, wealthy and politically-connected individuals have been
feeding the phenomenon, according to research by Huffington Post Eyes&Ears citizen reporters.
During the spring's Tax Day Tea Parties and the summer's ubiquitous town-hall protests, unity was on display as a disparate group
of protesters took aim at the Obama administration and the federal government. But once the fervor cooled down, some of the movement's
best-known affiliates began feuding. The Tea Party Patriots and several regional organizations publicly accused the Tea Party Express of Astroturfing, claiming
that it was directed by Republican strategists, and even ousted and sued one of its own founders for associating with the Express.
Though they may be wracked by infighting, the two groups have plenty in common when it comes to their funding base, their partnerships
and their links to Republican strategists. Both claim to be new grassroots organizations, spawned out of frustration over the bailouts.
Yet neither group really fits the dictionary definition of grassroots -- "involving the common people, especially contrasted with... an elite" -- due to their ties to the wealthy and
Rick Santelli's infamous CNBC rant in February that ignited the Tea Party movement was also
used as a call to action by many previously existing groups. Of those, the three most prominent are
Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity and the American Liberty
threeclaim to be grassroots. All three are primary sponsors of both Tea Party
factions (Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express), and all three have been sponsored by organizations supported by David and Charles Koch, the
billionaire brothers who co-own America's
largest privately held company as of 2008, Koch Industries.
It would take several books to provide a comprehensive documentation of every aspect of the origins of the Tea Party movement. There are so many different entities
involved, so many individuals and organizations with widely varying agendas that it can be hard to fully comprehend. However, there are a core group of organizers who provided
much of the inspiration for and support to the movement in its earliest days. This is a comprehensive chronicle of how the modern-day Tea Parties came about, from whence they came
and what came of them.
Blogger Eric Odom organizes what he calls the Conservative Leadership Conference (CLC). Speakers include
several future players in the Tea Party movement, including
former Republican House
Majority Leader Dick Armey of FreedomWorks, Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth of Citizens United, Erick Erickson
of RedState.org, "Blue Collar Muse" blogger Ken Marrero, Chris Simcox of the Minuteman Project, Paul Jacob of Sam
Adams Alliance and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Immediately after the conference, Odom is hired as
New Media Director by Sam Adams Alliance.
The CLC holds a straw poll. The winner is Congressman Ron Paul.
On the 234th anniversary of the real Boston Tea Party, Paul's presidential campaign supporters hold the first
modern Tea Party, re-enacting the Boston Tea Party by dumping tea into Boston Harbor. The event, one of Paul's
so-called "money bombs," raises 6 million dollars in one day.
ChicagoTeaParty.com is registered by Zack Christenson, a
producer for right-wing talk show host Milt Rosenberg on WGN
Odom is a panelist at the Defending the American Dream
Summit, organized by Americans for Prosperity.
The Libertarian Party of Illinois creates a Meetup group and
Facebook group to discuss the Tea Party concept and how to
best promote it. The original organizers include Dave Brady,
Mike Folgelsanger, Chris Jenner, Josh Hanson and John
Kramer. According to LP-IL Public Relations Director Kent
McMillen, Eric Odom is also involved in these initial
Eric Odom leaves Sam Adams Alliance, according to
Wikipedia. The Sunshine Review, a sort of conservative
Wikipedia created by Sam Adams Alliance, claims Odom worked
with SAA throughout 2008.
LP-IP's Yahoo group first discusses a Chicago Tea Party.
LP-IP's Chris Jenner ponders soliciting aid and support
for the Tea Party concept from organizations like Sam Adams
Alliance and Illinois Policy Institute.
Keli Carender (Liberty Belle) starts her blog,
Carender posts on her blog the suggestion to "choose a
day" to protest, so that "like-minded people" will be able
to find each other.
Sam Adams Alliance announces that Eric Odom will be
taking over the organization's network of conservative
bloggers, Blogivists.com. The blog post mentions that Odom
"continues to work closely with SAA as a consultant on many
of our endeavors."
FedUpUSA.org suggests sending tea bags to members of
Brendan Steinhauser calls Mary Rakovich and asks if she
would organize a protest to take place the following day for
Obama's town hall in Ft Myers. Steinhauser posted the
protest on the FreedomWorks and FreeRepublic websites with
both his name and Rakovich's names as the contacts; he also
sends a notice to Michelle Malkin who posted it onto her
LP-IL creates Tea Party Chicago Facebook page .
10:06 AM Carender posts on Redistributing Knowledge blog
asking if others in Seattle want to have a local protest.
12:52 PM Carender posts on Redistributing Knowledge blog
that the protest is on.
The first wall post appears on Libertarian Party of
Illinois's Chicago Tea Party Facebook page.
Melanie Morgan, Chair of Move America Forward, storms the
office of Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) to complain about
stimulus bills; Jim Robinson, founder of FreeRepublic.com,
goes along with a video camera.
The first comment is posted to Carender's blog seeking
other like-minded folks in Seattle
Carender appears on local Fox News show, hosted by Kirby
Wilbur (Hamsher points out: Wilbur is on the board of Young
America's Foundation, which "produces CPAC"); Carender makes
no mention in her blog of the appearance.
Steven Beren (who works for Internet marketing firm;
former GOP '08 candidate against Jim McDermott and will
later be named as a speaker at Carender's Seattle protest)
starts promoting the protest on The Conservative
Michelle Malkin posts on her blog promoting the Seattle
"Porkulus" tea party protest and suggests Coloradans should
organize similar event (Malkin moved to Colorado in November
Carender hosts her anti-spending protest in Seattle -
Malkin called it a "Porkulus" protest.
Michelle Malkin uses the term "tea party" promoting
protests everywhere "from the Boston Tea Party to your
neighborhood pork protest." In same post, Malkin announces a
Colorado protest on the next day; Instapundit links to
Malkin and says people are also organizing these protests in
Nashville and New York City.
Denver Metro Young Republicans blog that Americans for
Prosperity "will be holding a protest on the Colorado
Capitol steps tomorrow (Tuesday) from 12:15-2:00." David
Koch is Chair of Board at Americans for Prosperity, Tim
Phillips is president.
According to a now-deleted Playboy investigative article,
written by two Russian-American investigative reporters
(Mark Ames and Yasha Levine), SAA erased text on a webpage
seeking interns. The text said that applicants "could also
apply through the "Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program"
through the Institute for Humane Studies." Institute for
Humane Studies is supported by money from Koch Family
Foundation. These organizations are all symbiotic; Eric
O'Keefe serves on SAA Board and previously served Board of
Institute for Humane Studies and Club for Growth; Joseph
Lehman serves on SAA Board and previously was VP of
Communications at Cato Institute; John Tillman was President
of Americans for Limited Government then President of SAA
and is currently CEO of Illinois Policy Institute, etc.
Odom announced on the RootsHQ2009.com blog that he landed
Saul Anuzis as a speaker; Anuzis is the current Chair of the
Michigan Republican Party and is a former candidate for
Chair of the RNC; Odom refers to him as "someone with deep
RNC ties who not only understands technology and the online
realm" and who immerses himself in these realms "on a daily
Coloradans host a "Porkulus Protest" in Denver during an
Obama visit; According to email from Jon Caldera at
Independent Institute, it is organized by Independence
Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and "other groups
Malkin announces a protest for the next day when Obama
will be in town.
Malkin announces another "anti-porkulus" protest (still
no mention of "tea party") will happen on Sat-21st in
Overland Park, Kansas
Grosserode is a member of Fair Tax Kansas City
Malkin and Glenn Reynolds promote the Kansas protest on
Rick Santelli's infamously "spontaneous" rant during live
trading broadcast on CNBC launches the Tea Party movement.
The Drudge Report posts the clip immediately.
Odom registers TaxDayTeaParty.com and Americans for
Prosperity registers TaxPayerTeaParty.com.
Nationwide Tea Party Coalition (NTPC) is formed by three
organizations: Smart Girl Politics (SGP), DontGo Movement
(an Odom project), and Top Conservatives on Twitter (tcot).
Currently tcot's website says, "A note on Tea Parties: TCOT
strongly supports the Tea Party movement, but does not
endorse or have any connection as an organization with any
particular Tea Party group." Uh Huh.
A new Facebook group spun from Santelli's rant calls for
tea parties across the country. Phil Kerpen of Americans for
Prosperity created the group; its
administrators are Odom and Steinhauser. It links to
TaxPayerTeaParty.com, a site registered to Americans for
FreedomWorks posts "How to Organize Your Own Tea Party" -
a one-page, point-by-point, how-to guide.
Top Conservatives on Twitter, founded by Michael Patrick
Leahy and powered by Rob Neppell, announces 'simultaneous
local tea parties around the country, beginning in Chicago,
and including Washington DC, Fayetteville NC, San Diego CA,
Omaha Nebraska, and dozens of other locations.'"
11:15 PM - Zack Christenson tweets, "We're getting huge
traffic to www.chicagoteaparty.com, the full site should be
Zack Christenson tweets, "@seanhackbarth we're getting a
massive amount of e-mail addresses. It's great to see."
Tea Party organizers from across country hold another
conference call, during which Leahy tweets, "Central
information website is
The Atlantic reports, "Pajamas Media has started running
online ads (spotted on conservative blog Hot Air today),
simultaneously encouraging readers to organize their own tea
parties and promoting Pajamas Media's coverage of them."
The Wall Street Journal reports, "The day after Mr. Obama
formally laid out his policy goals in his first address to
Congress, the former chief executive of HCA Inc. unveiled a
20 million campaign to pressure Democrats to enact
health-care legislation based on free-market principles."
The first "Tea Parties" are held, organized by a
coalition comprised of Sam Adams Alliance, FreedomWorks and
Americans for Prosperity. Chicago protest features speakers
from Sam Adams Alliance and Illinois Policy Institute.
John Hendrix, a Tampa-based consultant, organizes a
protest which he tells Talking Points Memo was "completely
spontaneous"; during the same conversation he says he got
the idea for the event from Tom Gaitens, a Florida Field
Coordinator with FreedomWorks; "He sent an email out to his
network of contacts to see who could help." According to
Steinhauser, FreedomWorks raised 99% of the money to pay for
the stage, sound and equipment, and we also did most of the
planning and organizing." Gaitens manages the Tea Party
Rick Santelli writes, "First of all let me be clear that
I have NO affiliation or association with any of the
websites or related tea party movements that have popped up
as a result of my comments on February 19th, or to the best
of my knowledge any of the people who organized the websites
A post on the Playboy website accusing Santelli of
pre-planning his rant and coordinating with tea party
organizers is posted, then quickly pulled down from the
site. The post was written by two self-described "veteran
Russian reporters" who say they "spent years watching the
Kremlin use fake grassroots movements to influence and
control the political landscape." "To us," they said, "the
uncanny speed and direction the movement took and the
players involved in promoting it had a strangely forced
quality to it. If it seemed scripted, that's because it
Christenson tells NYT reporter that the name
"ChicagoTeaParty.com" is a coincidence and that it was
planned to be used for "a roving cocktail party" for
conservatives and libertarians in Chicago.
Megan McArdle, a writer for The Atlantic who lives with
FreedomWorks employee Peter Suderman, writes about the
vanished Playboy investigation and posts the entire text of
the story online.
Glenn Beck announces his 9/12 Project, based around what
he calls the "9 principles and 12 values" which he believes
all of America embodied on September 12, 2001, the day after
the World Trade Center attacks.
SGP tweets, "There is and will be information available
to the party organizers for the event. Talking points, etc
will be as well. #sgpchat"
SGP tweets, "Smart Girl Politics is proud to have Newt
Gingrich join the Tea Party Coalition http://poprl.com/dXd
along with Dontgo and TCOT. #teaparty"
While discussing his 9/12 Project with radio listeners,
Glenn Beck says, "But really hope this is a meeting place
where you can find solutions and you can present solutions
and you can meet together and you can say, look, we're going
to do this project, we're going to do a march on Washington
and it's going to be on this day, and you can try to put it
all together as long as it's all framed with those
principles and values, then I'd be with you. I'd be for you.
The minute it gets out of -- the minute it becomes a
movement for power and a movement for political clout or a
movement for anything else other than those principles and
those values, I'm in. The minute it -- or I'm out the minute
it becomes about that. I'm in as long as it becomes about
Gingrich's organization, American Solutions, endorses Tea
Parties and officially joins NTPC (source)
by this time at least these people had joined NTPC:
Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, GOPUSA, Americans for Tax
Stacy Mott tweeted asking people
to sign up for mobile updates, "Get Mobile and IM
#teaparty updates. Sign up here http://poprl.com/fZM or Text
keyword "teaparty" to 69302."
Odom registers AmericanLibertyAlliance.com
Allen Fuller, Odom's partner at Flat Creek Management
LLC, registers AfterTheTeaParty.com, which advertises
training from American Majority, a project of Sam Adams
Glenn Beck plays a video on his show touting the tea
parties. Julia Hayden of the San Antonio Tea Party calls it
"the tipping point"
Hannity announces he will broadcast live from a Tea Party
in Atlanta. The event is organized by Jenny Beth Martin, now
National Co-Chair of Tea Party Patriots.
Joe Wierzbicki of Our Country Deserves Better PAC sends
out a memo to PAC leadership suggesting a Tea Party Express
bus tour, despite acknowledging that "we are not only NOT
part of the political establishment or conservative
establishment, but we are also sadly not currently a part of
the "Tea party" establishment (i.e. Michelle Malkin, Eric
Odom...Smart Girl Politics, Top Conservatives on Twitter,
FreedomWorks, Newt Gingrich...). We can probably pull off a
phenomenally successful tour without these big-ego
establishment types, provided that we do a good job in
getting the word out..." Previously, Our Country Deserves
Better had run ads praising Sarah Palin for "serving the
American people with a servant's heart," and attacked Obama
with ads such as one which called to mind the "hateful
sermons" of Obama's former Pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Dick Armey tweets, "Glad we're working with
http://TaxDayTeaParty.com , great site! I'll be at the
Atlanta tea party on the 15th. #teaparty #tcot #taxes"
Odom refuses an alleged request from RNC Chairman Michael
Steele to speak at the April 15 Tea Party in Chicago.
Steele's office says the request was never made. Rather than
simply responding to Steele's staff, Odom posted the
response on the blog of the DontGo movement, the website for
which has since come down.
Dave Brady of LP-IL writes a piece on
IndependentPoliticalReport.com entitled, "Libertarian Party
of Illinois: We Gave Rick Santelli The Idea For The Tax Day
Tea Parties." He writes, "This all is kind of frustrating
because LP Illinois gets no credit for this project. Eric
Odom, a member of LP Illinois, and our original group,
created his own website and Facebook group and aligned
directly with Santelli." Odom responds in the comment
section. Rather than refute or even acknowledge the
allegation, Odom simply says, "We need to knock it off with
the 'who gets credit' nonsense and go take our government
Fox News Channel begins advertising their upcoming
coverage of the Tax Day Tea Parties. All told, they run more
than 107 commercials during first-run shows
Judson Phillips, a Nashville DUI attorney, registers
Eric Odom writes a blog post claiming that the Tax Day
Tea Parties were organized by "regular Americans in protest
of government spending and extreme taxation" and not
affiliated with a political party or special interest agenda
. Dontgomovement.com now offline, but the post is quoted on
Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
sends an email blast to his supporters reminding them to
attend the tea parties the following week and providing them
with a "Toolkit" of talking points
Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks gives Fox News the following
statement, "We'd like to say we are one of the main driving
forces, but we are not THE driving force behind the
protests. We're mainly helping activists get in touch with
each other." and said the FreedomWorks model is akin to the
American Majority launches AfterTheTeaParty.com
Fox News Channel runs 58 commercials during first-run
shows advertising their upcoming coverage of the Tax Day Tea
Parties between 14th and 15th.
Dick Armey appears on Hannity on behalf of Tea Parties
FreedomWorks registers 912dc.org to promote a march on
Washington DC on September 12. Sponsors include
Grassfire.org, Tea Party Patriots, American Liberty
Alliance, Our Country Deserves Better PAC, Club for Growth,
Smart Girl Politics, Tea Party Nation, Americans for Tax
Reform and the Heartland Institute.
Tax Day Tea Parties are held across the country.
FreedomWorks announces that it would host its "March on
Washington" on Sept 12 2009
Dick Armey tweeted, "I just learned that over 1,000
people have already signed up on http://www.912dc.org for
the Tea Party in September."
SGP announces (on Twitter) partnership with TPP
On MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olberman says of Odom, "The
tea party movement, the TP-ers, now criticized by the
administrator of TaxDayTeaParty.com? He says the protest has
been taken away from the grassroots. Too centralized, too
many chiefs, and not enough guys dressed up as natives in
Boston Harbor?" "I find the tea party effort," writes Eric
Odom, "in a very disconcerting position at the moment."
...The genius is Eric Odom, describing himself as, quote,
"the guy who both developed the site and concept for the
According to Odom, there are now 800 local organizers.
In an email to tea party supporters, Odom lists
"socialized healthcare" at the top of a list of the areas
where he thinks the tea party campaign "can actually
influence the outcome"
The Washington Post reports, "In a 28-page memo
circulated among lawmakers this week, prominent GOP pollster
Frank Luntz urged Republicans to be "on the side of reform"
and warned against direct attacks on the popular president.
Instead, Luntz wrote, Republicans should warn about a
"takeover" by "Washington bureaucrats" who would force
patients to "stand in line" for care."
The article continues that in regards to opposition to
health care reform, "Conservatives for Patients' Rights
spent about 600,000 a month on ads in March and April but is
ratcheting up its buy for May to more than 1 million." CPR
is run by Rick Scott, the ex-CEO of Columbia/HCA, the
largest private operator of health care facilities in
America. Under Scott's stewardship, Columbia/HCA committed
extensive Medicare fraud by overbilling state and federal
health plans. When caught, the company pleaded guilty and
settled the case for1.7 billion in fines, the largest health
care fraud settlement in U.S. history.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) hosts a town hall in Fairfield
County, Connecticut. Bob MacGuffie attends the event, which
turns into a Tea Party protest. MacGuffie later authors a
memo to be distributed across the country detailing the
successful tactics used at the protest. According to the
memo, about 150 people were in attendance, about 30 of whom
were tea partiers.
Mark Williams, co-chair of Tea Party Express, posts a
blog entry referring to Obama as a half-black racist. He has
also referred to the President as an "Indonesian Muslim
turned welfare thug."
Sen. Mike Enzi on health care reform: "We need to slow
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) publicly urged Democrats to slow
down health care reform timeline, not to pass a bill before
FreedomWorks sends out an anti-reform Health Care Recess
Rally training kit.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): "I think we can stop it in the
Senate...We cannot afford to lose the health care battle."
Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) holds a town hall meeting which
"devolved into a shouting match" -- tea partiers disrupt the
meeting with screams and shouting every time the public
option is mentioned, shutting down any conversation about
public option. There were roughly 400 attendees. Maffei told
Syracuse.com, "[t]his has been a problem going on a little
bit with our public meetings. It just makes me think we can
do a better job with the format."
"Many of them are not even from the congressional
district, but we're not going to check driver's licenses and
ask people if they live in the district. It's very, very
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): "I take pride with being an
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issues a press release saying
of health care reform, "It needs to slow down."
Sal Russo of Tea Party Express emails the groups's
leadership to discuss holding a fundraiser to collect
$200,000. $50,000 would go towards a luxury pleasure cruise,
and TPE would "pocket the $150,000 in profit."
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): "I think the first thing [on
health reform] is, slow down guys."
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): "Maybe we could put something
underneath that and say: 'Slow Down' or maybe in the
language of my State 'Whoa.'"
GOP picks Dede Scozzafava to be the Republican candidate
for New York's 23rd Congressional district.
Sen. Claire McCaskill: "We welcome protesters. Our policy
is to meet with representatives of any protesting group, at
whatever office they are protesting. On Friday, our office
was short staffed (four were
attending community events and meeting with people in the St
Louis area), and the protestors were frustrated with our
inability to meet with them when they arrived. They began
banging on windows and doors and ringing the buzzer, so that
the two staffers in the office could not focus on the
phones, that were ringing constantly. They asked the police
to help calm the situation, and when one of our staff got
back to the office at around noon she met with
representatives of the group, and we have scheduled another
meeting with the group. My apologies if anyone was offended.
We have protesters often (both from the left and right!) and
we try to be welcoming. I'm very sorry that we were not able
to handle this better on Friday."
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) suspends his town hall meetings
after protesters disrupted one of his town halls in Long
Island, and police were called to escort Bishop to his car
for his own safety.
Conservatives for Patients' Rights and the PR firm behind
the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth send an email to a Tea
Party Patriots listserv (Tea Party Patriots Health Care
Reform Committee) with a spreadsheet of more than 100
upcoming Congressional town halls from late July into
September. Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo later
writes, "The email from CPR to tea baggers suggests that,
though conservatives portray the tea bagger disruptions as
symptoms of a populist rebellion roiling unprompted through
key districts around the country,
they have to a great extent been orchestrated by anti-health
care reform groups financed by industry."
Odom registers RecessRally.com, a site to help organize
protests during Congress's August recess. Sponsors include
American Liberty Alliance; American Liberty Tour; American
Majority; Americans for Limited Government; Americans for
Prosperity; Let Freedom Ring; Nationwide Tea Party
Coalition; NetRightNation; Patients First, Sam Adams
Alliance, and Tea Party Patriots. Each group is an offshoot,
partner or affiliate of another under the RecessRally.com
umbrella. American Majority and American Liberty Alliance
(Odom's organization) are both derivatives of Sam Adams
Alliance, which itself shares an address with Americans for
Limited Government. The American Liberty Tour is a project
of the American Liberty Alliance, Americans for Limited
Government, and Sam Adams Alliance. NetRightNation is also a
project of Americans for Limited Government. The National
Tea Party Coalition site is registered to Michael Patrick
Leahy of #TCOT, part of the "original organizing crew" of
TaxDayTeaParty.com along with Tea Party Patriots co-founder
Amy Kremer. Patients First is a project of Americans for
Americans for Prosperity's "Patients First" launches its
"Hands Off My Healthcare" bus tour in Richmond Virginia.
Kickoff organized by Ben Marchi, AFP State Director.
Sen. Claire McCaskill's Chief of Staff holds a town hall
moderated by Americans for Prosperity Missouri. (video). Tea
partiers are given the first hour to speak, then the floor
is opened to everyone.
Signs are not allowed at the event. Attendees who brought
signs are told they would have to throw them away or take
them back to their cars for storage. One woman brought a
Rosa Parks sign, which McCaskill told her to dispose of. The
woman put the sign down, but a man walked up to the woman
and destroyed the sign. The man is ultimately arrested.
American Liberty Alliance launches RecessRally.com
The Hill quotes an anonymous influential lobbyist who
claimed a key strategy of defeating Obama's reforms is to
"create delays" and when negotiations break down, to seize
the "opportunity to outright kill a proposal."
Congress breaks for the August Recess.
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) had scheduled time at a
restaurant to hold one-on-one meetings with constituents,
but when he arrives 150 people are in attendance. Murphy
changed the style of the meeting to a Q&A after many
protesters angrily demanded that the format be changed. He
did the same at a meeting later in the day.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). Tea partiers shouted the Pledge
of Allegiance at Levin as he left the event.
At a rally in Pueblo, Colorado, organized by Patients
First, a project of Americans for Prosperity, a speaker
falsely tells the crowd that the President's health care
reform would mandate physician-assisted suicide. In
reference to the end-of-life counseling offered by the bill,
he says, "Adolf Hitler issued six million end of life
orders--he called his program the final solution. I kind of
wonder what we're going to call ours."
American Liberty Alliance is incorporated, roughly five
months after Odom registered AmericanLibertyAlliance.com and
began accepting donations.
Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins acts as a cheerleader for
a Tea Party protest in Las Cruces, New Mexico during On The
Record with Greta Van Susteren.
Congress returns from recess
The 9/12 March on Washington brings tens of thousands of
people to the nation's capitol. Steinhauser of FreedomWorks
has asserted that he pulled permits for the event back in
March and that Glenn Beck had little to do with the event
aside from promoting it in the preceding weeks, telling
HuffPost, "Beck's involvement was very little, other than
some promotion." According to sources in the Tea Party
movement, Glenn Beck did not appear to address the crowd
because he would not receive a $100,000 speaking fee.
Estimates of crowd size run from 60,000 to 2,000,000
participants. (actually according to park authorities the
estimated crowd size was 34,000)
In a blog posting on the American Future Fund's website,
former Communications Director Tim Albrecht writes, "AFF
Political Action will continue to educate the American
public. The tea parties and town halls were no fluke --
those also took work and did not magically appear.
Amy Kremer is removed from the board of Tea Party
Patriots, of which she is a founding member, due to her
willingness to associate with Tea Party Express.
American Liberty Alliance sends out a fundraising email
describing itself as a "newbie, grassroots organization."
LOL LOL LOL
David Weigel reports in the Washington Independent that
"Tea Party Patriots and the American Liberty Alliance see
the Tea Party Express as a sham organization."
Kremer is referred to as a member of Tea Party Express
Nationwide Tea Party Coalition issues a release
condemning the GOP's support of Dede Scozzafava in a race
for New York's 23rd Congressional District. They prefer Doug
Hoffman, the first so-called Tea Party candidate and an avid
supporter of Glenn Beck
Tea Party Express launches its second bus tour.
The GOP stops supporting Scozzafava and instead supports
Scozzafava abruptly quits the NY-23 race and endorses the
Democratic candidate, Bill Owens
In the NY-23 special election, Hoffman and Scozzafava,
who is still on the ballot despite having pulled out of the
race, effectively split the conservative vote, handing
victory to Owens. Some areas of the district have not been
represented by a Democrat since Reconstruction.
Odom emails the TaxDayTeaParty.com listserv that the
government "has openly declared war against the people of
this great country."
Odom rejoins the Republican party, telling his followers,
"I know many of my fellow Tea Party activists are going to
hate me for this, but it's time to face reality. The
Republican Party must be our vessel in 2010," adding later,
"As a libertarian who voted for Bob Barr in 2008, I find it
very difficult to state this in a public manner, but I will
now be joining the Republican Party."
To clarify his earlier bellicose language at the behest
of wary supporters, Odom posts on TaxDayTeaParty.com, " I
have suggested on several occasions that we as a movement
need to view this as a war, and I truly believe that to be
the case. As I've mentioned before, our government has
looked the camera in the eye and openly declared war on our
way of life... As an American, I recognize this as an act
against my life and liberty. I recognize this as a
declaration of war against me."
Glenn Beck announces an ambitious plan to turn his media
megaphone into a community organizing pulpit. He already has
a list of "9/12 candidates" and an "In or Out in 2010"
challenge, which calls for candidates who do not subscribe
to Beck's ideology to be voted out of office.
Odom posts a blog on 73Wire.com inviting people to the
Patriot Caucus, an event to be held in April at Valley Forge
in Virginia. The conference is to include "intensive
training, debate panels, deliberations and much more." The
Caucus never happens. There are still several event pages
for the non-conference online.
Odom announces the Patriot Caucus to his different email
lists (Tax Day Tea Party, American Liberty Alliance, Liberty
Dick Armey and Michael Steele hold a joint conference
call. The two say Congress "flipped the bird" at the
American people. Michael Steele tells listeners "the fix is
in" as far as health care is concerned. The event is
criticized as an example of the GOP's continued efforts to
co-opt the Tea Party movement and vice-versa, as the Tea
Party's plan is to infiltrate and eventually take over the
A press release appears on RhodesNews.com announcing a
National Strike on January 20, "in commemoration of
President Obama's 366th day in office." The event's
co-organizer and blogmaster, Ken Cook, is also National Vice
Chair of the Patriot Caucus. The strike receives
superlatively minimal coverage outside HuffPost.
Odom emails his various lists, alerting members to the
upcoming election in New York's 23rd Congressional district
and pledging the support of bloggers and other activists.
Tea Party Express announces its support of Scott Brown,
the Republican candidate in the Massachusetts special
election to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.
Scott Brown defeats Democrat Martha Coakley, winning Ted
Kennedy's old Senate seat for Republicans. He is widely
hailed as the first "Tea Party" candidate. After Brown voted
to block a GOP filibuster on a 15 billion jobs bill, tea
partiers cried foul, calling him a Benedict Arnold, a
R.I.N.O. (Republican in Name Only) and a sellout. This year,
Brown did not attend an April 14th Tea Party in Boston.
Sarah Palin spoke at the event. Brown's spokesman said the
Senator was too busy with Senate business.
The National Strike does not happen. In fact it hasn't
been mentioned for weeks.
Tea Party Nation hosts what it calls the National Tea
Party Convention. Tickets cost $350 for either the
convention or the keynote speech, delivered by Sarah Palin,
who was paid $100,000 speaking fee. To attend both the
convention and the speech costs $550. Tea Party Express
makes an appearance. It becomes apparent that The Tea Party
is all about money going into the pockets of Republican
The GOP takes down the webpage TeaParty.GOP.com, which
offered a service to send bags of tea with the Republican
elephant logo on them to Washington D.C., after outraged Tea
Partiers accuse the GOP of trying to take advantage of and
co-opt the Tea Party. Again.
The Conservative Political Action Conference holds a
straw poll. The winner is Congressman Ron Paul.
AND TIME MARCHES ON!
The below sections detail each of the Tea Party
movement's disparate parts. Click through the links below
for full reports on each organization:
a nationwide coalition of Tea
Party groups and is the de facto face of the
movement. The major organizations behind
the Tea Party Patriots are
(pictured), American Solutions for Winning the
FreedomWorks. The Tea Party Patriots considers
the Tea Party Express to be Astroturf, claiming
that it is directed by Republican strategists,
although its founder Amy Kremer recently
switched sides from the Tea Party Patriots to
the Tea Party Express.
The local groups it
represents may include grassroots activists, but
the coalition's backers and organizers are among
the nation's most powerful strategists,
operatives and financiers.
lists two major heavyweights among its partners:
helmed by former Republican House Majority
Leader Dick Armey, and
American Solutions for
Winning the Future,
a 527 group created by former Republican Speaker
of the House Newt Gingrich. The
American Liberty Alliance
is another listed partner.
It makes sense that the
American Liberty Alliance
would support the Tea Party Patriots as well as
American Solutions for Winning the Future.
After all, the
American Liberty Alliance is simply an outgrowth
of the #DontGo movement,
a right-wing online advocacy group that worked
in conjunction with American Solutions for
Winning the Future in 2008 to lobby in favor of
off-shore oil drilling.
Both #DontGo and
American Liberty Alliance were founded by Eric
Odom, an online activist and a self-proclaimed
founder of the Tea Party movement.
One of Odom's fellow Tea Party activists, Amy
Kremer, is the founder of the Tea Party
after involving herself in the rival
Tea Party Express,
Kremer was ousted from the Tea Party Patriots,
which considers the Tea Party Express to be an
Astroturf group under the direction of
The Tea Party Patriots'
email listserv is managed by FreedomWorks
The summer of 2010 the
listserv distributed a
from a group called Right Principles outlining
the best practices
for protesters to disrupt Congressional
representatives' town hall meetings during the
August recess. It
included such advice as, "You
need to rock the boat early in the Rep's
presentation. Watch for an opportunity to yell
something out and challenge the Rep's statements
early," as well as, "The goal is to rattle him,
get him off his prepared script and agenda."
The Tea Party Patriots
listserv also distributed a
containing a list of over 100 congressional town
halls from late July into September. The list
was released by Conservatives for Patients'
Rights, a group run by
Rick Scott, the ex-CEO of Columbia/HCA, the
largest private operator of health care
facilities in America.
stewardship, Columbia/HCA committed
extensive Medicare fraud
by overbilling state and federal health plans.
When caught, the
company pleaded guilty and settled the case for
$1.7 billion in fines, the largest health care
fraud settlement in U.S. history.
American Solutions for
Winning the Future is a 527 group that's been on
the scene since 2007. Last
year ASWF fought to expand offshore drilling
with a campaign dubbed "Drill, Baby, Drill."
The campaign was
supported by members of Congress and Eric Odom,
a Sam Adams Alliance staffer who publicized the
movement on Twitter via the #DontGo hashtag as
well as through a now-defunct website.
Last year Gingrich
on behalf of the coal
industry, advocating for
tax breaks for coal
companies. Such acts
directly benefited Peabody Coal, the world's
largest private-sector coal company, which has
donated at least $500,000 to ASWF in 2008 and
(and has been indirectly
responsible over the last 25 years with many
many deaths of coal miners who worked in their
unsafe mines. they have been fined more
than any other coal company)
is the front group behind the Tea
Party protests. It is run by former Republican
Majority Leader Dick Armey and draws its origins
from the think-tank Citizens for a Sound
Economy, founded by
The summer of 2010 FreedomWorks supported the efforts
of both the Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party
formed in 2004 through the union of Citizens for
a Sound Economy and Empower America, two
conservative think tanks. A year before that
merger, an ugly schism within CSE produced
another splinter group,
Americans for Prosperity.
founded Citizens for a Sound Economy and went on
to start Americans for Prosperity, while
FreedomWorks became more of an independent
offspring. Koch is the billionaire co-owner of
Koch Industries, the largest privately-held oil
company in America.
Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning
the Future has been on the scene since 2007.
Last year, the organization fought to
expand offshore drilling.
The campaign was dubbed "Drill Here, Drill Now"
but is better known as "Drill, Baby, Drill."
American Solutions for Winning the Future and an
online movement known as #DontGo both began
their pro-drilling campaigns
around the same time,
in August of last year. Gingrich and American
for coal and advocated for tax breaks for coal
companies. Such acts directly benefited Peabody,
the world's largest private-sector coal company,
donated at least $500,000
in 2008 and 2009.
currently headed by former US House Majority
Leader Dick Armey, has advocated for corporate
interests since its inception. In December of
2005, Armey appeared on CNBC to lobby for a
company known as RX Outreach, which is run by a
company called Express Scripts, a mail-order
prescription drug program for the poor. A week
later FreedomWorks put out a press release
praising RX Outreach.
It was later revealed that
FreedomWorks worked with Express Scripts's
public relations firm and that Express Scripts
planned to donate money to FreedomWorks, which
critics charge may call into question the
group's tax-exempt status.
from his job at lobbying firm DLA Piper, when it
was suggested that his ardent opposition to
health insurance reform might be influenced by
such as Metropolitan Health Networks, a "leading
provider of health care services to people with
Medicare in Florida", drug manufacturer
Sanofi-Aventis and the American Council of Life
#DontGo are credited with initially
taking the reins
of the Tea Party movement.
was founded by Eric Odom and Allen Fuller in
Chicago in the summer of 2008. Odom eventually
dubbed himself the executive director of
American Liberty Alliance, shortly after he
began organizing Tea Parties in February. Though
FreedomWorks only appears on the Tea Party
Patriots website, it supported both the
Tea Party Patriots
Tea Party Express
this past summer. FreedomWorks's Florida
Outreach Director Tom Gaitens
the Tea Party Patriots email list.
journalists actually did their job, did some
journalism and reporting, and talked to
local organizers, they'd see that this is a
grassroots movement... If Paul Krugman
doesn't want to believe me, that's fine. But
this came from the ground up.
Yet on February
9, 2009, two months prior to that statement and
ten days before Rick Santelli's rant,
Steinhauser set up a pre-Tea Party. He
contacted Mary Rakovich
of Florida, who had attended a FreedomWorks
training session, and recommended that she
organize a protest
in response to President Obama's visit to Ft.
Myers. FreedomWorks staffers
called local supporters
across the country within hours of Rick
Santelli's Feb. 19 rant on CNBC, asking if they
were willing to organize a Tea Party.
FreedomWorks hosted the first event with
$20,000, four staff members and a volunteer
Grass Roots? NOT!!! (Watch
"Do Not Drunk Dial Freedomworks" below)
people think of the Tea Party movement, what
comes to mind are the Tea Party Express rallies
that received extensive coverage over the summer
from FOX News. Tea Party Express began as a bus
tour set up by
Our Country Deserves
Better PAC, a
political action committee formed in 2008 to
oppose then-presidential candidate Obama. The
tour was intended to drum up opposition to
health care reform, and was soon followed by a
second tour, dramatically titled "Tea Party
Express II: Countdown to Judgment Day".
Americans for Prosperity
as a sponsor, as well as
and Our Country Deserves Better PAC. Tea Party
Express has come under fire for Astroturfing by
rival groups such as the
Tea Party Patriots
who claim it is directed by Republican
strategists. Tea Party Express has even been
dubbed "The Astroturf Express" by leaders of Tea
Party Patriots. This appears to be primarily
because of the group's association with Our
Country Deserves Better PAC, which is closely
affiliated with the
Russo Marsh & Associates.
of the firm include the California Republican
Party and disgraced Florida congressman Mark
Our Country Deserves
Better PAC is helmed by former California State
Assemblyman and failed Congressional candidate
Lloyd Marcus, another Tea Party Express partner,
is listed as a spokesman for the organization.
Its chief strategist, Sal Russo, is a famous GOP
operative who got his start working for Ronald
and is now the principal of Russo Marsh &
Associates. Joe Wierzbicki, PAC coordinator, is
also a principal of the GOP-affiliated public
Russo Marsh & Rogers
Grassfire.org, another Tea Party Express
sponsor, has been promoted in the past by
Shirley and Banister
The firm's clients include Aetna, Cigna and the
Republican National Committee. Shirley is
infamous for his work on the Willie Horton ad, a
vicious piece of race-baiting that helped sink
Democrat Mike Dukakis's 1988 presidential
is the most moneyed and well-connected group
engaging in widespread, on-the-ground
organizing for the Tea Party movement. The
group fields staff in several states who
helped organize the original protests in
February, again on Tax Day, and throughout
the summer. Americans for Prosperity was
founded by David Koch (left) of Koch
Industries, America's 2nd largest privately
are the result of a 2005 split between
feuding factions of Citizens for a Sound
Economy. Americans for Prosperity is still
The founder of Americans for Prosperity and
chairman of the Americans for Prosperity
Foundation, David Koch, the co-owner of oil
conglomerate Koch Industries, is the
19th richest man
in the world. Americans for Prosperity's
director, Art Pope, has donated so much
money to the North Carolina Republican Party
that it named its headquarters after him.
Prosperity's propensity for fueling negative
hysteria over health care reform and the
Obama administration prompted MSNBC's Rachel
Maddow to call the group
that gets fat on Americans' fears."
In the fall
of 2008, at least two
for Americans for Prosperity published
nearly identical anti-EPA op-eds, each one
even including the same misspelling. In
June, Americans for Prosperity sent Joe the
Plumber around the country on the
"Save My Ballot"
bus tour lobbying against the Employee Free
Prosperity is also behind Patients First,
which made a name for itself this summer
with its "Hands Off My Health Care"
Events on the tour featured speakers who
compared President Obama to Joseph Stalin,
Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe and Adolf Hitler.
conference in October hosted by Americans
for Prosperity, Koch claimed to have
the Tea Party movement:
like today bring to reality the vision
of our board of directors, when we
founded this organization five years
ago," Koch told the audience. "We
envisioned a mass movement, a
state-based one, but national in scope,
of hundreds of thousands of American
citizens from all walks of life standing
up and fighting for the economic
freedoms that made our nation the most
prosperous society in history."
president of Americans for Prosperity,
formerly worked at Century Strategies with
hired Century to
Abramoff's casino interests.
Prosperity was a strong proponent of ending
the ban on offshore drilling during the 2008
presidential campaign while taking large
donations from Exxon/Mobil, as revealed by
Rachel Maddow. On August 6, Phillips told
that Americans for Prosperity is "happy to
take corporate money."
Billionaire David Koch Pays For 40 Buses
To Haul In Protesters:
Astroturf In Action
billionaire David Koch, worked closely
with Rep. Michele Bachmann
orchestrate the anti-health reform
As ThinkProgress reported, AFP has been
encouraging right-wing activists to
board their buses —
free of charge
— to attend the
While AFP does not disclose all of its
corporate donors, foundations controlled
by David and Charles Koch provide
millions in yearly funding, and David
continues to chair the AFP foundation
AFP’s annual convention.
ThinkProgress found at least a dozen AFP
staffers standing at their designated
bus drop off point near the Capitol,
handing out signs, directions, talking
points, petitions, and donuts to
protesters. Many of the people who work
at AFP are longtime Republican
the AFP Virginia director who previously
worked for the National Republican
Congressional Committee and for Rep. Tom
Delay (R-TX). Victor Zapanta produced
this video report of AFP staffers
talking about their exploits at the
STAFFERS: We have 25 buses just from
Pennsylvania, New Jersey we probably
have 5 or 6 from Maryland.
AFP STAFFERS: We have
about 40 buses coming.
Koch’s AFP has a long history of
marshaling “grassroots” support for GOP
objectives. In the early 1990s, AFP,
then known as Citizens for a Sound
with then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) to
organize angry crowds following the
Clintons as they touted their health
reform bill. Industry money from health
insurance, telecommunications, oil, and
has flowed freely
to AFP over the years to help AFP
promote an agenda of boosting the rich,
stripping consumer safeguards, and
maintaining corporate monopolies.
Phillip Morris rented out AFP from the
Koch family, contributing millions to
the organization in exchange for AFP
to tobacco regulations.
AFP’s daily activities are managed by
an infamous astroturf lobbyist who built
a career using Christian front groups to
wage stealth campaigns. For example, his
under the radar
to promote energy deregulation for Enron
and helping Jack Abramoff clients
continue forced abortion sweatshops in
the Northern Mariana Islands.
media report on the true driver of
today’s rally? Or will they leave David
Koch out of the equation, despite his
Update This afternoon on the House
GOP's live webcast, Rep. Bob Latta
(R-OH) praised the anti-health
reform protesters for arriving to
the Capitol without any assistance
paying for the buses. He also said
no central organization was
orchestrating the effort:
LATTA: Some stakes took over 20
buses [...] You know, they're
paid for them?
all paid for themselves. You
know, these people came down on
( LOL LOL
The Lies these people tell -
They are grass roots like
turnips taste like
ALA is the brainchild of
Eric Odom, one of
founders of the Tea
Among its leaders
are former employees
of the Sam Adams
Alliance and former
became a driving
force behind the
summer's Tea Party
health care reform.
The American Liberty
Alliance grew out of
a website designed
to help direct
people to their
local tea parties in
Odom has been
organizing via the
Internet for years.
Liberty Alliance, he
was the new media
director for the
Sam Adams Alliance
group that says it
is dedicated to
economic freedom and
Now Odom is tapping
within the alliance
to orchestrate a
a network of
bloggers with an
email list thousands
to Odom from SAA; a
in preparation for
Tax Day 2010; and
which Odom calls "a
Huffington Post of
This summer, the
the American Liberty
tour ferrying Joe
the Plumber, among
others, around the
country to stimulate
opposition to health
care reform as well
as to offer citizens
training and large
itself as a
project of the
Government and the
Sam Adams Alliance."
The tour held events
in conjunction with
Glenn Beck's 9/12
Beck has effectively
co-opted much of the
energy of the
movement and is seen
as one of its
along with former
In a blog post now
to have been a part
of the "original
and the Tea Party
movement in February
2009 with his
Patrick Leahy of
Tea Party Patriots
founder Amy Kremer,
and Stacey Mott of
Smart Girl Politics.
story is disputed
by one of his fellow
wrote on April 14th
(the eve of Tax Day)
that the Libertarian
Party of Illinois
(LP-IL) started a
Tea Party group on
Facebook back in
2008 and that Odom
was simply a member
of that original
group. LP-IL Chair
Dave Brady said:
This all is kind
Illinois gets no
credit for this
Odom, a member
of LP Illinois,
and our original
his own website
We have kept our
date of this
The first post on
the wall of the
party's Boston Tea
Facebook page (found
is dated Feb. 11,
eight days before
CNBC reporter Rick
inspired many of the
ensuing tea parties.
extensive history in
online and offline
Liberty Alliance in
fundraising email as
Alliance used to
list its leadership
on its website.
Along with Odom,
partner in the twin
firms Flat Creek
policy analyst for
the House Republican
founder of the
Michigan chapter of
Marrero, who founded
the #DontGo movement
with Odom; and Ali
and president of
Akbar, who has
served as the
plenty of Republican
venture) were both
designed by Republic
that creates content
lists him as the
chairman of American
fails to list both
the Sam Adams
as clients, though
it does include
other Odom projects
such as #DontGo.
Republic Modern also
old Sam Adams
Despite its frequent
Alliance is not a
According to its
is not a 501c3,
501c4 or a PAC.
We are not
registered as a
we do not raise
funds as such.
focus is on
on our network
of sites. We
are seen as
"gifts" to our
network and are
Alliance has invited
its members to
contribute on at
least 33 separate
occasions since Aug.
10 alone. Neither
emails nor the
Alliance is a
On Aug. 23, however,
in the process
of filing for
which will allow
us to become
As of yet, American
Liberty Alliance is
not registered as a
The AAA has its origins in the libertarian group Americans for Limited Government. It is behind many elements of the Tea Party movement; and its allies in the game include American Majority, the American Liberty Alliance and the American Liberty Tour. The Sam Adams Alliance has ties to the largest privately-held oil company in America, Koch Industries.
Above is a video satirizing health care reform that was sent to the Sam Adams Alliance email list in August.
Samuel Adams was the brewer and patriot who, in 1773, ginned up a mob of Bostonians dressed as Native Americans which conducted history's original Tea Party. The president of Sam Adams Alliance is John Tsarpalas, former executive director of the Illinois State Republican party. Eric O'Keefe, SAA's chairman and CEO, is a former executive director of the National Libertarian Party. He once worked for Citizens for Congressional Reform (pdf), a project of David Koch's Citizens for a Sound Economy. Along with noted Libertarian financier Howard Rich, O'Keefe sits on the board of directors of Americans for Limited Government.
Shortly before online activist Eric Odom helped kick-start the Tea Party movement, he was new media director for Sam Adams Alliance. This put him in charge of (among other things) setting up websites, coordinating Facebook groups, managingTwitteraccounts and other social networking tasks. Odom's first known acts as a Tea Partier were to set up the OfficialChicagoTeaParty.com site and Facebook pages within hours of Rick Santelli's February rant, then spreading word through Twitter, initially utilizing #TCOT, a Twitter list and hashtag for Top Conservatives on Twitter.
Both Odom and another former Sam Adams Alliance staffer, Ken Marrero, are now leaders of American Liberty Alliance. Odom is executive director and Marrero is director of grassroots outreach and coalitions. Marrero was a regional new media specialist with Sam Adams Alliance. In July 2008 he described Sam Adams Alliance as "an outgrowth of, I think, visions and dreams from some people who started at Americans for Limited Government."
John Tillman served as president and director of Americans for Limited Government during its start-up phase as well. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Tillman grew Americans for Limited Government "from a single, part-time employee in May of 2004 to a staff of approximately 25 that had a significant impact on political activity in 13 states in 2006."
Tillman is also president and CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. Within hours of Rick Santelli's rant, Kristina Rasmussen, who had just been hired as the Executive Vice President by the Illinois Policy Institute that morning, helped kick start the Chicago Tea Party by participating in a February 19 conference call to plan the event. Rasmussen, who was then the Director of Government Affairs at National Taxpayers Union, was the second speaker on the call. Tillman also serves on Sam Adams Alliance's board of directors and was president and COO of Sam Adams Alliance during its start up phase.
Odom formed American Liberty Alliance in March of this year through a combination of the gift of Sam Adams Alliance's blogivists.com, a conservative blog hosting hub, and the #DontGo movement, founded by Odom in 2008 to support offshore drilling.
American Liberty Alliance is not the only Sam Adams Alliance affiliate in this fight, however. American Majority, a self-described "political training institute", is a "concept" of Sam Adams Alliance, which in turn describes itself as AM's "sponsor". American Majority staff includes former George W Bush speechwriter Ned Ryun, regional field director for Bush/Cheney '04 Lonny Leitner, former Republican state legislator Shari Weber, and former director of operations at the Oklahoma Republican Party, Matt Pinnell.
American Majority also got involved this summer on Sam Adams Alliance's American Liberty Tour, offering organizer trainings prior to each tour event. The Tour itself was billed as a project of American Liberty Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance and Americans for Limited Government.
Long before Sam Adams Alliance's recent website redesign, they altered an internship recruitment page that connected Sam Adams Alliance to Koch Industries: "Interested parties can apply for a Sam Adams Alliance internship through the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program administered by the Institute for Humane Studies and the State Policy Network." The internship is still listed on the IHS website. Charles Koch founded the IHS. The internship page existed up until the site's ongoing redesign, but recently the Koch reference was absent from the Sam Adams Alliance website. An article in Playboy Magazine, taken down almost as soon as it was posted, claimed the Koch reference was scrubbed on Feb. 16. Three days later, Santelli's supposedly-spontaneous rant kick-started the Tea Party movement, enabled by Odom's on-line assistance.
The AFF is a shadowy organization, the staff of which are connected to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the Bush/Gore 2000 Florida recount effort, and the infamous Willie Horton ad in 1988. The Fund was involved in supporting the Chicago Tea Party since day one, and is currently fighting to expand limits on robocalling.
The American Future Fund describes itself as a "multi-state issues advocacy group designed to effectively communicate conservative and free market ideals." It appears to be a coalition of high-powered conservative political operatives who were among the first supporters of the Tea Party phenomenon and is already one of the first Tea Party groups to begin taking concrete steps toward the 2010 elections by working to ease robo-calling restrictions.
Founded in 2007, the Fund's address of incorporation matches an address for the law firm of Holzmann Vogel PLLC. The firm's managing partner, Jill Holtzman-Vogel, is former chief counsel to the Republican National Committee and acted as counsel to the 2000 Bush/Cheney campaign in the Florida recount. Currently she serves as a Virginia State Senator. The firm has so far refused to comment on its associations with the Fund.
On February 19, the same day that Rick Santelli's infamous MSNBC ignited the Tea Party movement, the Fund put up a petition on its website for those interested in attending the Chicago Tea Party. The site asks, "Would YOU join us in Chicago for a new, "Boston Tea Party?" IF WE GET ENOUGH SIGNATURES, IT WILL HAPPEN!" The Fund's other known involvement in the Tea Party movement was to help FreedomWorks distribute preparatory materials for the summer's town hall protests. The Fund also emailed its "tens of thousands" of members to help direct them to the town hall meetings.
Recess Rally is yet another website developed by conservative website guru Eric Odom (pictured). It provided a state-by-state listing of the addresses of each member of Congress with the option to list events targeting specific representatives. Most of the August Tea Party protests during the August Congressional recess were organized on RecessRally.com.
Tea Partiers are famous for their raucous protests during the August Congressional recess. They screamed, yelled, stomped and railed against health care reform via town hall meetings and protests across the country.
One of the hallmarks of astroturfing is the coordinated creation of many small, interdependent groups who publicly support each other. RecessRally.com, which was the driving force behind the organization of the August anti-health care reform rallies, used to tout the grassroots nature of the protests, listing its 15 sponsors: American Liberty Alliance; American Liberty Tour; American Majority; Americans for Limited Government; Americans for Prosperity; Let Freedom Ring; Michelle Malkin; Nationwide Tea Party Coalition; NetRightNation; Patients First; RedState blog, Sam Adams Alliance, Smart Girl Politics, and Tea Party Patriots. In reality, the groups were tightly coordinated and fewer than half of those 15 'sponsors' are independent from one another.
Each individual group appears to be an offshoot, partner or affiliate of at least one other project under the RecessRally.com umbrella. American Majority and American Liberty Alliance (Odom's organization) are both derivatives of Sam Adams Alliance. The American Liberty Tour advertised itself as "a collaborative project of the American Liberty Alliance, Americans for Limited Government, and the Sam Adams Alliance." NetRightNation is also a project of Americans for Limited Government. The national Tea Party Coalition site is registered to Michael Patrick Leahy of #TCOT, part of the "original organizing crew" of TaxDayTeaParty.com along with Tea Party Patriots co-founder Amy Kremer. Patients First is a project of Americans for Prosperity.
Patients First, which shares the same street address as Americans for Prosperity, was responsible for the summer's "Hands Off My Health Care" bus tours featuring buses with a giant bloody hand on the side. Its tour events have played host to some of the infamous rallies where official speakers compared Obama to Hitler. At an August tour rally in Pueblo, Colorado, speaker Mark Harrison addressed the crowd:
"Part of end-of-life counseling can be an end-of-life order... What does that mean? End of life. Another word for that is 'death'. Order. What's another word for that? A sentence. Now, you folks review with me a little bit; as I recall, Stalin in the 1920s issued about 20 million end-of-life orders for his fellow Russians. Pol Pot did it during the Vietnam War - he issued about two million end-of-life orders. It's being done in Africa today; Mugabe is doing it every day. Adolf Hitler issued six million end-of-life orders. He called his program the Final Solution. I kind of wonder what we're going to call ours."
Various members of the RecessRally.com coalition also belong to the upper echelons of politics and industry.
FreedomWorks is helmed by Dick Armey, former Republican House Majority Leader, and traces its routes back to Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group founded by David Koch of Koch Industries. Koch is the 9th-richest man in America and Koch Industries is the largest privately-held oil company in America. Americans for Prosperity, once part of Citizens for a Sound Economy, was also founded by David Koch who also serves as chairman of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Together the two groups (FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have been the most active supporters of the Tea Party movement.
Howard Rich, a New York real estate mogul who has funneled millions of dollars into anti-big-government efforts (and now also anti-ACORN), is chairman of Americans for Limited Government. He also sits on the boards of the Cato Institute (along with Koch) and the Club for Growth.
Rich has been one of the primary financial backers of libertarian efforts such as Proposition 90 in California, which would have severely limited the ability of the state government to collect new taxes. One of Rich's associates, former executive director of the National Libertarian Party Eric O'Keefe, has served on the boards of Americans for Limited Government, the Club for Growth, and the Institute for Humane Studies. He also worked for Citizens for Congressional Reform, (pdf) a project of Koch's Citizens for a Sound Economy. He also happens to be chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance.
John Tillman serves on Sam Adams Alliance's board of directors along with O'Keefe. Tillman also served as president and COO of Sam Adams Alliance during its "start-up phase". Before working at Sam Adams Alliance, Tillman served as president and director of Americans for Limited Government, also during its start-up phase.
Some of the organizations affiliated with RecessRally.com also have a history of media-driven campaigns for conservative causes.
Let Freedom Ring, for instance, is helmed by Colin Hanna, a Philadelphia-based former commissioner. According to its website:
Let Freedom Ring was formed to counter the attacks of anti-conservative groups on patriotic candidates as well as attacks on the important issues of our day - those that affect the core of our society: the family, marriage, the economy, energy, abortion, health care and foreign policy, to name just a few. We also work to keep our constituents and the media informed about what our founding fathers' intentions were and how history shapes laws and our culture today.
Hanna is the man behind a grisly ad featuring planes hitting the World Trade Center in order to drum up support for the Iraq War. The group also worked on a documentary about the faith of George W. Bush, Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Zell Miller. Let Freedom Ring is supported by, among others, John Templeton Jr., the wealthy son of a famous investor. Templeton co-chaired the Faith and Values Steering Committee for Republican candidate Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign and supported Proposition 8 in California, banning gay marriage.
The backers of these groups have known and worked with each other for years. Including many political elites from right-wing American politics, the connections behind RecessRally.com seem to demonstrate less a spontaneous groundswell of government opposition than a synchronization of populist outrage with old-school conservative campaign strategy.
The Tea Party concept first gained widespread attention from the media on February 19 when Rick Santelli ranted about government spending on CNBC. Subsequently, coverage by FOX News, conservative talk show hosts, and right-leaning bloggers helped push the Tea Parties to political prominence.
Some conservative American media personalities have developed a symbiotic relationship with the Tea Party movement. Right-leaning political commentators promote the Tea Parties, generating more anger and passion among their listeners, which in turn generates more fans and listeners, boosting ratings.
The Tea Party concept first gained widespread notice on February 19 after Rick Santelli's infamous rant live on CNBC. Within a few hours, Eric Odom had rolled out a professional website to coordinate Tea Party protests -- with a week's notice -- on February 27 in cities across the country.
Just days later, with the help of major conservative media figures and well-funded "activist" organizations, Odom posted specific logistical information for dozens of Tea Party rallies to take place the following week. The day after the initial February Tea Parties, Odom was ready with TaxDayTeaParty.com to coordinate the nationwide protests on April 15. He and other like-minded Tea Partiers launched full swing into a mass media campaign to promote the Tax Day Tea Parties. Odom appeared on a FOX News panel on April 14.
Long after the rallies died down, the Tea Party phenomenon surfaced in the headlines again during the NY-23 fiasco in which moderate Republican Congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava was forced to drop out of the race after far-right Tea Party activists descended on the sleepy upstate New York district. The Tea Partiers demanded that Scozzafava (deemed a RINO, Republican In Name Only) be scuttled in favor of more conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, a Tea Party favorite. Hoffman was even dubbed the "Tea Party Candidate," especiallybyFOXNation, a website launched in March "where all Americans are encouraged to share, discuss, and debate" what they watch on FOX News. The story has earned so much media coverage that "Scozzafava" has become a verb (as in, will other candidates be Scozzafava'd in 2010?), and NY23 has gone from a little-noticed congressional district to become one of the most-recognizable political arenas in the country.
Prominent bloggers Michelle Malkin, RedState and SmartGirlPolitics have been forthright about their involvement with the Tea Party movement, openly promoting and participating in Tea Party events. SmartGirlPolitics was an original sponsor of the Tax Day Tea Parties. Michelle Malkin was openly promoting Tea Party protests before they were named Tea Parties. Erick Erickson of RedState has been an advocate for and speaker at Tea Party events.
Eric Odom, the political strategist who set up websites to organize anti-bailout Tax Day Tea Parties in February, again in April, and throughout the summer, is a self-described political web strategist who runs at least a half-dozen conservative blog sites. In September, Odom launched what he calls a "movement-minded news portal" and "a Huffington Post of our own." In his own words, Odom aims to turn 73wire.com into "the gathering spot for all the news" for their "side" of the issues. Odom was also a key organizer of RootsHQ2009, the conservative political new media conference (the right-side version of NetRootsNation).
Of the three major cable news networks, FOX provided the heaviest coverage of Tea Party events. From the early events on, FOX News lionized Tea Party organizers and protesters as "patriots" and "real Americans" who were "standing up" to "big brother."
Coverage of the Tea Party Express bus tour was especially intense. Griff Jenkins, who was embedded by FOX on the Tea Party Express bus tour, literally acted as a cheerleader at Tea Party events. His involvement in and enthusiasm for the Tea Parties was such that Greta Van Susteren felt the need to clarify his role for viewers:
Let me get this straight, Griff, so that the viewers understand. You aren't on this bus; you're following and reporting on what's going on, right? Am I right on that? You're not on this bus?
Jenkins responded that he was not on the bus -- yet. Sean Hannity probably put it best:
A group of conservative House Republicans led by Rep.
Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) today hailed the formation of
the congressional Tea Party Caucus, claiming that it
will serve as a platform for dialogue between Congress
and the grassroots movement that has shaken up American
politics over the last year.
Speaking at a press conference following the group's
first meeting, Bachmann told reporters that the caucus
will try to advance the principles of the Tea Party's
members, who she said believe "that we are taxed enough
already, that the federal government should not spend
more money than it takes in and that Congress should act
within the constitutional limitations that are given to
us by the Founding Fathers."
The Minnesota congresswoman emphasized that the
caucus would not be setting the Tea Party's agenda or
directing its operations. "We are not the mouthpiece of
the Tea Party, we are not taking the Tea Party and
controlling it from Washington," she said. "I am not the
head of the Tea Party nor or any of these members of
Congress the head of the Tea Party movement. The people
are the head of the Tea Party movement," Bachmann said.
While Bachmann's remarks contained little of the
damning rhetoric that has become commonplace among Tea
Party supporters both in Congress and elsewhere, the
lawmakers who followed her were quick to hurl a variety
of accusations at President Obama and congressional
Paul Broun (R-Ga.) accused Democrats in Congress and
President Obama of engaging in "fiscal irresponsibility"
and implied that the current government has ignored the
Constitution and is denying Americans their freedom.
John Culberson (R-Texas) dialed up the rhetoric,
declaring that the Tea Party would "sweep out these
extremists that are governing the Congress in November."
Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) went so far as to accuse
liberals of infiltrating protests against the sweeping
health care bill passed earlier this year. "There were
plants all the way through crowd," he said of one
demonstration. "In fact, I got cussed by one when I got
to the end of the street. I didn't come running to the
media, whining and crying."
A document circulated prior to the press event
indicates there are, as of today, 28 members of the
caucus, many of whom are lighting rods for media
controversy. Among the members are Joe Barton (R-Texas),
who just last month was strong-armed into retracting an
apology to BP and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), now famous for
yelling "You lie!" at President Obama during an address
to a joint session of Congress on health care.
Speaking with the Huffington Post after the press
conference, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), himself a
regular fixture in the press for his numerous
controversial statements, said he expects the Tea Party
caucus to "grow and it will be more energetic and
dynamic than it is today."
The group sought to counter recent accusations by the
NAACP and others that the Tea Party advances racist
principles. The press event featured a diverse array of
Americans speaking in favor of the group's mission,
including an African-American mother of five and several
immigrants from Latin America, all rejecting claims that
the Tea Party movement is racially prejudiced.
Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) claimed the presence of
minorities at the event should "dispel an awful lot of
the rumors about racism," and noted that "there are all
races involved, all ethnic groups. They speak for
[UPDATE 3:45 pm: According to the
FrumForum, several of the lawmakers claimed by
Bachmann's office to have joined the caucus
Congressman John Mica's (FL-7) office told FrumForum
that their member had not joined the Tea Party
caucus. When asked if their boss had joined the
caucus, Rep. John Fleming's (LA-4) office told
FrumForum: "I don't believe that's the case."
Rep. Gary Miller's (CA-42) office told FrumForum:
"We actually don't know" if the member had joined
the new caucus.
Other offices said that they were taken off guard
by the announcement of the caucus membership list.
"It's news to me," said Steve Taylor, press
secretary to congressman Todd Akin (MO-2), when
asked whether Rep. Akin had joined the Tea Party
Caucus. He also seemed unaware that Bachmann's
office would release a list of members: "I, as press
secretary, was not aware of this list. The press
shop... was not consulted about this press release."
"I'm not sure if anyone was told [that Rep.
Bachmann would release a list]," said Dave Yonkman,
Press Secretary to Rep. Hoekstra.
Members of the Tea Party Caucus
Jul 21 - Here is a list of those Members of Congress who
have officially joined the Tea Party Caucus: (Updated at 5:45pm ET on 7/21/10 - 50 Members Total)
Todd Akin (MO-2)
Rodney Alexander (LA-5)
Michele Bachmann (MN-6)
Joe Barton (TX-6)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6)
Gus Bilirakis (FL-9)
Rob Bishop (UT-1)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Paul Broun (GA-10)
Dan Burton (IN-5)
John Carter (TX-31)
John Culberson (TX-7)
John Fleming (LA-4)
Trent Franks (AZ-2)
Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Louie Gohmert (TX-1)
Tom Graves (GA-9)
Pete Hoekstra (MI-2)
Walter Jones (NC-3)
Steve King (IA-5)
Doug Lamborn (CO-5)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Tom McClintock (CA-4)
Gary Miller (CA-42)
Jerry Moran (KS-1)
Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
Mike Pence (IN-6)
Tom Price (GA-6)
Denny Rehberg (MT)
Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Adrian Smith (NE-3)
Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Cliff Stearns (FL-6)
Todd Tiahrt (KS-4)
Joe Wilson (SC-2)
Kathleen Parker and Joe Klein: Tea Party fringe groups
are a national security threat; FOX and the Becks are
Excerpts from an article on crooksandliars.com by
John Amato Sunday Apr 18, 2010
It's getting boring watching the Main Stream Media
try to fit the teabaggers in a particular category that
makes them feel comfortable. I saw a shift towards the
more realistic on
Well, they can be very dangerous. Dr. Tiller
was just murdered, but since the nut didn't identify
himself with the tea party movement, he's not being
drawn into the conversation. But he should, because
right wing violent speech helped produce him.
At least Joe Klein calls out FOX News for their
culpability in stirring the pot of hatred which can be
looked at as basically seditious.
Klein: We've had movements like this throughout
history....the difference now is a television
network, I'm going to call it FOX. The presence of
FOX, which allows its commentators like Sean
Hannity, like Glenn Beck to rouse the tea party.
Sean Hannity was in an event this week where the tea
party was raising money to have people sit in the
same stands with him. And the biggest difference in
the past when there were right wing movements
started we had ...the responsible Republican party
would slap it down and there is no responsible
leadership in the Republican party now.
Norah is sort of confused because she sees soccer
moms at tea party rallies who are just worried about the
deficit, but then she remarks there are these militia
groups, these hate groups who believe Obama is coming
after their guns.
Klein: I did a little bit of research...I looked
up the definition of sedition, which is
conduct or language inciting rebellion against the
authority of the state
and a lot of these statements-- especially coming
from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent,
Sarah Palin--are right up close to being sedition.
John Heilemann agrees with Klein and calls out
Limbaugh for using the word "regime" to describe the
Obama White House.
David Neiwert and I have been writing about this
topic for a long time and I'm glad the MSM is
finally recognizing the truth even if it's taken a
really long time for them. When
we finally release our new
you'll see the evidence in a nice, neat package that
will blow your mind. The Tea Party movement is
bringing the hidden far right fringe out in the open
with the help of FOX News and these people are
Remember, conservatives can never say or do anything
wrong. And there is never an end to how far right one
can go. Klein makes the observation that violence might
change that perspective, but the jury is still out.
But words matter, as we never tire of saying. And
these are especially sensitive times, given our
first African American president and unavoidable
fears about the worst-case scenario. If Jodie Foster
could bestir the imagination of Hinckley, a Sarah
Palin in the Internet age could move regiments.
Such fears are not unfounded. I hear daily from
dissatisfied Americans who feel their duty is not
only to protest but to fight if necessary. Here is
one recent example, in response to a column I had
written about America's true centrist nature:
"Sorry, honey, but we don't need the squishy
middle right now. We need the hyper patriots,
the combat vets ready to defend the constitution
with arms if necessary."
The distance between such thinking and recent
examples of overt hostility seems too little. In
this space, the unthinkable becomes plausible. [..]
The only palatable answer is what conservatives
say they love best: self-control and personal
responsibility. When someone spews obscenities,
shout them down. When politicians and pundits use
inflammatory language, condemn them.
When you choose to remain silent, consider
yourself complicit in whatever transpires.
Hutaree: How Glenn Beck and Fox News spread the
Posted April 06, 2010
Reading last week's disturbing news accounts about the
arrest of nine alleged members of a Christian militia known as
the Hutaree, a group whose members were reportedly planning to kill
cops in order to spark a wider, armed revolt against the U.S.
government, I noticed
this nugget [emphasis added]:
FBI agents moved quickly against Hutaree because its members
were planning an attack sometime in April,
My hunch is the self-described "warriors" of the Hutaree
probably circled April 19 on their calendars for any cop-killing
fantasy they might have planned to pull off. Why April 19? That was
the day, 17 years ago, when the FBI staged its final failed assault
on cult leader David Koresh's heavily armed compound in Waco, Texas.
It was on April 19, 1993, following a
51-day siege, that Koresh's fanatical followers, rather than
surrendering to authorities, staged mass suicides (and, in some
cases, executions) as the compound burned to the ground.
Precisely two years later, on April 19, 1995, right-wing
zealot Timothy McVeigh commemorated the Waco inferno by declaring
war on the federal government and blowing up his rented Ryder truck
outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown
Oklahoma City. McVeigh's act of far-right radical terrorism sheared
the north side off the Murrah Building, killing 168 people and
injuring hundreds more. ("I reached the decision to go on the
offensive -- to put a check on government abuse of power," McVeigh
April 19 remains an almost
mythical date among dedicated government haters. It's a date
that lives in infamy as proof of the dark consequences of when a
tyrannical government (run by Democrats) turns on its own.
So yeah, as the Hutaree gun nuts allegedly plotted in the
woods of Michigan on the best way to kill cops, pieced together
their seditious plans to wage war on the U.S. government, and
planned their upcoming confrontation with the Antichrist, I'm
guessing the landmark militia day of April 19 loomed large.
For anyone who thought the dark, Waco-fueled chapter of
domestic extremism in this country was behind us, the Hutaree
arrests were a jarring reminder that, with the election of another
Democratic president, the violent militia message is back.
And it's stronger than ever.
Not only have the number of radical-right extremist groups
exploded in the wake of President Obama's election (more
than 500 today, as compared to
just 200 during the 1990s), but these militia members now have a
proud sponsor in the person of Fox News' Glenn Beck, who has done
more than any other person to amplify and mainstream the movement's
hateful and foreboding
anti-government message. Beck continues to give a voice, and
national platform, to the same deranged, hard-core militia haters
and self-style "patriots" who hounded the new, young Democratic
president in the early 1990s in the wake of Waco.
On TV and the radio, Beck rarely bothers to mention the
militia movement by name. Instead, he's simply co-opted their
rhetoric as his own. He's acted as a crucial
transmitter, warning about Obama
fronting his own private "army," and
urging followers to "start food storage."
The truth is that the daylight separating the radical,
anti-government militia movement from self-styled mainstream
conservatives is growing dimmer by the day. Like the fact-free Obama
birthers, the militia remains a radical subset that today's right
wing refuses to part ways with. That sad fact was highlighted when
scores of far-right media voices initially downplayed the Hutaree
arrests last week, or even defended the militia members and --
disturbingly reminiscent of Waco -- cast the FBI and the federal
government as the over-reaching bad guys.
And at Fox News, it's not just Beck. The cable "news"
militia-flavored message (beware gun-toting IRS
agents!) has been as simple as it's been
relentless: Obama is destroying this country and he's doing
it intentionally. It's not that people disagree with Obama and
don't like what they call his "liberal" policies as applied to the
economy and health care reform, etc. Instead, the conflict is much
more dire. Obama is not just misguided in this political and
legislative agenda. Instead, Obama is the
incarnation of evil (the
Antichrist?), and his driving hatred for America, as well as for
democracy, runs so deep that he ran for president in order to
destroy the United States from within.
Right on cue last week, Rush Limbaugh, who serves as sort of a
militia godfather theses days, issued
this back-against-the-wall warning: "Our country is being
overthrown from within."
That's exactly what militias were saying about Clinton back in
the 1990s, as historian David Bennett recently
"I love my country but I fear my government,"
one bumper sticker proclaimed in the 1990s. A small North
Carolina group of "Christian" constitutional literalists
proposed to "resist the coming New World Order"
by "removing treasonous politicians and corrupt judges." As
today, they feared a liberal "tyrant" in the White House. At a
gun rights rally in Michigan in 1995, a T-shirt called President
Clinton a "Socialist-Marxist Comma-Nazi"
Folks, we're witnessing a militia rerun. Except this time,
thanks to the likes of Beck and Fox News, the unwanted repeat is
being broadcast nationwide.
Actually, today's hysterical warnings are probably even more
extreme than the last time a Democrat sat in the Oval Office. What's
disturbing is that instead of having to trade copies of
The Turner Diaries, relying on grassroots fax networks, or
traveling to gun shows to hear that kind of incendiary
insurrectionist rhetoric (i.e. the president must be stopped!),
haters can just turn on the highest-rated cable news channel.
In a way, I wonder why militiamen bother to form groups
anymore if Fox News is willing to embrace and broadcast their
New World Order rants on a daily basis? The militia flourished
on the fringes in the 1990s, in part, because those on the far-right
felt like their government-hating message was being ignored. But
today it's celebrated and broadcast nationally. Talkers
like Beck have trumped the militia movement. They've completely
co-opted the message and made the groups increasingly irrelevant as
Fox News cuts out the middleman -- the militia groups -- and hijacks
their insurrectionist, government-hating rhetoric.
Don't think there's a larger connection? Just look at the
initial reaction when news broke about the Hutaree arrests. The
knee-jerk response from some right-wing bloggers to either defend
the militia members, or at least raise all kinds of doubts and
partisan suspicions about the law enforcement raids, told us all we
needed to know about where their true allegiances lie. Meaning,
conservative voices immediately telegraphed their support from the
persecuted militiamen and clearly suggested they were being used as
pawns in an Obama government abuse of power.
Blogger Pamela Geller
complained that the FBI raids were "nuts." Glenn Beck's radio
guest host Chris Baker
decried the Hutaree arrests as "nothing more than attack on
faith and free speech." And Washington Times columnist and
frequent Fox News talker Monica Crowley
likened Hutaree members to proud patriots, as she squarely
placed the blame on the government for squelching the militia's
right to dissent:
The Democrats handle dissent by isolating it, smearing it
and delegitimizing it in order to crush it. The warning should
be clear: If you have small-government, traditional values, you
may be considered by your own leadership to be an enemy of the
Keep in mind that both Geller and Crowley conveniently forgot
to inform readers that the militia members had been arraigned on
charges of plotting to kill cops. Apparently that fact no
longer moves the needle in today's right-wing media, which has
severed its traditional ties with the law-and-order movement and
instead today pledges its allegiance to whoever hates the government
-- and Democrats -- the most.
Other conservative media voices rushed in to downplay the
Hutaree news last week. At Lucianne Goldberg's site, the wannabe cop
portrayed as "dimwits that [sic] couldn't recognize a decent
deer hunt." A New York Post editorial
dismissed the armed Christian "warriors" as "a few guys in the
woods with guns." And when not
mocking the FBI's raid and
raising doubts about the need for arrests, the right-wing blog
Confederate Yankee referred to the Hutaree not as an anti-government
militia group, but as a religious "cult." (Nice try.)
Still others took a third path, suggesting politics were
behind the militia crackdown. For instance, this was what
Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds instinctively
wrote about the Hutaree raid:
THE TIMING APPEARS CONVENIENT
Reynolds, along with other right-wing bloggers,
suggested the arrests were politically motivated; that the raid
was perhaps part of a government-wide conspiracy to spotlight
conservatives in a negative light and stymie dissent. Rather than
immediately denouncing anti-government extremists who may have
been plotting to kill cops, Reynolds played up the partisan
angle, suggesting the timing of the raid was a bit too "convenient."
(Of course it was convenient, but not in the way Reynolds
meant: The FBI claimed the extremists were poised to strike this
month, so naturally that wanted to act before then.)
And oh, by the way, at Tea Party Patriots: Official Home of
the American Tea Party Movement, this was the
headline that immediately went up after the first bulletins
about the militia raids were posted:
That's right, some Tea Party leaders instinctively tagged the
Hutaree compound as one of their own as it came under attack from
federal law enforcement officials. And can you blame them? Today's
right-wing, Obama-hating rhetoric -- as amplified by Glenn Beck and
much of the GOP Noise Machine -- is indistinguishable from
the militia message.
That frightening kinship is obvious for everyone to see and
A good chunk of the Tea Party Movement's High Command is
made up of former leaders and active members of border
Excerpts from an article an alternet.org by Yasha
Levine on June 7, 2011
In May 2009, I profiled a nutty 71-year-old border
vigilante named Glenn Spencer, who had converted his
ranch on the Arizona-Mexico border into a hi-tech
militarized security zone packed with infrared cameras,
aerial drones and motion detectors. His goal was to
demonstrate to the feds how easy it was to stop illegal
border-crossers, and he blew through his life savings to
prove it. But Spencer’s reputation as a white
supremacist and nativist meant no one heard his message
in Washington; CNN’s Lou Dobbs was about the only
mainstream media figure who took him seriously.
When I left his ranch back in 2009, I was sure that
Spencer had reached the end of his line. His project had
failed; Obama was heralding in a liberal future; the old
geezer had nothing else waiting in the wings and nothing
to look forward to, except spending his retirement in an
isolated double-wide trailer.
So it was surprising to learn that Spencer was a big
player in the Tea Party scene. Suddenly, no one in
Arizona cared about his past associations with
white supremacists. Instead, they were very keen on
hearing his anti-immigration solutions. All of a sudden
Spencer found himself hanging out with Arizona state
senators, hosting GOP political events, speaking at
rallies and rubbing shoulders with the creme de la
creme of Arizona’s Tea Party beau monde.
He was not only back in the game, he’s bigger than ever.
Yes, sir, Glenn Spencer got a new lease on life. And
he owes it all to the good graces of those two
enterprising brothers who founded and funded the Tea
Party that rescued Spencer from doom: GOP kingpins
Charles and David Koch. Thanks to their funding of the
Tea Party movement, scores of washed-up white power
activists like Spencer were brought back from the dead
and reincarnated as proud patriots dedicated to
defending the Holy Trinity of the American Republic:
Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited
Government, and the Free Markets.
A surprisingly thorough—and curiously
ignored—investigation by the Institute for Research &
Education on Human Rights, found that a good chunk of
the Tea Party movement’s High Command is made up of
former leaders and active members of various border
vigilante groups. For some reason the Minutemen, a loose
collection of groups infamous for running armed patrols
and bagging illegal crossers at the Mexican border, were
present in particularly large numbers. Not only did the
two leaders of the Minutemen Project segue directly into
the Tea Party Movement via the TeaParty.org Web
site, but the event organizer for the Tea Party
Express—that’s the one that did those bus tours with
Sarah Palin—worked as a former spokesperson for the
Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
A member of that group was recently sentenced to
death for the murder of a 9-year-old girl. With at least
another dozen examples like these, one thing’s clear:
border vigilantes didn’t just join up with the Tea Party
movement. In many cases, they are the Tea Party
movement. And that includes Glenn Spencer.
Journalist David Holthouse, writing in Media Matters,
described Spencer’s new life at the center of Arizona’s
ultra-racist Tea Party GOP:
Last August, more than 600 right-wing activists
gathered for a Tea Party Nation rally on private
land near the U.S.-Mexico border in Cochise County,
Arizona. Fluttering in the desert breeze were
hundreds of tiny American flags attached to a border
fence of 15-foot-tall rusty poles.
Rally speakers included Tea Party candidates for
the US Senate and House of Representatives, as well
as marquee names from Arizona’s anti-immigration
movement. The headliner was Fox News favorite
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the swaggering
lawman whose ski-maskeddeputies terrorize suspected
“illegals” in controversial round-ups, and whose
idea of a good photo op is the forced march of
shackled Latino immigrants down a city street.
Arpaio shared the stage with Arizona State Sen.
Russell Pearce, the chief architect of Arizona’s
infamous Senate Bill 1070.
“We have an invasion going on that’s going to
destroy this Republic,” Pearce said.
“USA!” came the chanted reply. “USA!”
Grinning on the sidelines behind mirrored
sunglasses was Glenn Spencer, the leader of the
border vigilante group American Border Patrol and
the owner of the Tea Party Nation rally site.
Spencer’s founding of American Border Patrol in
2002 pre-dated the first Minuteman “civilian border
patrols” by three years. Before his ranchland became
a Tea Party rallying point it served as both meeting
grounds and temporary housing for high-ranking
members of various border vigilante factions.
Minuteman American Defense leader Shawna Forde lived
on the property in an RV owned by Spencer in the
summer of 2008.
In June 2009, about two months after I visited
Spencer’s American Border Patrol, the FBI and a SWAT
team tracked Shawna
Forde, a 41-year-old female member of the Minutemen
Civil Defense Corps (that’s the one connected to Palin’s
Tea Party Express), to Spencer’s property. She was wanted
for the murder of a Hispanic man and his 9-year-old
daughter in a bungled robbery meant to finance her
group’s militant anti-immigrant operations, and was
arrested at a roadblock as she left the ranch. Spencer
claimed he had no idea of Forde’s involvement in the
murders, and that he’d broken off all contact with her
and the Minutemen, saying that she arrived without
advance warning and
only stayed for 20 minutes.
Whatever Spencer’s relationship with Shawna Forde,
the fact that a fellow vigilante accused of murdering
a child was arrested on his property should have
made Spencer persona non grata to any public
figure. But no one cared about the girl’s murder, or
Spencer’s connection to it. On the contrary, Spencer
hosted a Tea Party Republican soiree on his
ranch/hideout, in the summer of 2010, while Forde’s
trial was going on. And he continued to host political
events on the property even after Forde was sentenced
to death in February 2011.
According to Media Matters’ Holthouse, Spencer not
only isn’t shunned, he’s now a sought-after speaker on
the Tea Party lecture circuit:
Spencer informed Media Matters that he travels
almost weekly to speak at Tea Party events, and that
his ranch, the onetime vigilante outpost where Forde
took shelter, is now a Tea Party rallying point.
“Plans are for Tea Party groups to come to the ranch
every week from now on,” he said. “They are really
fired up over the border issue.”
Despite his association with Forde and his
well-documented history of bigoted ranting and
“reconquista” conspiracy mongering, Spencer is a
rising star in the Tea Party movement.
The last leg of the trip was to American Border
Patrol where we met and visited with Glenn Spencer,
president of ABP. Ten years ago, Mr. Spencer moved
to the border area from California. For years he had
wanted to do something about illegal aliens. He
worked hard in California to get legislation passed.
When finally the voters approved an
SB1070-look-alike bill, Governor Davis would not
Once he was settled in his new home in Arizona,
Glenn built a small, remote-controlled plane with
cameras mounted on it. From his headquarters, Glenn
can fly the plane along the entire Arizona border,
from east to west. He has been able to inform the
Border Patrol where illegals are crossing the border
and help them to know where to go to capture them.
At one point, he was offered $40,000 to stop calling
the border patrol so the drug runners could pass
through his property without a problem, but he
refused. Shortly thereafter, two of his vehicles
Just across the border from Glenn Spencer’s
property (on the Mexico side) is a ranch that was
once owned by John Wayne. It is now owned by a drug
cartel. In fact, vast amounts of land along the
border are being bought up by the cartels.
America is losing her sovereignty. Borders define
the customs, culture, traditions, language, and
government of the people who live there. American’s
unique form of government based on God-given rights
and personal responsibilities has created our
standard of living.
So here you have Arizona’s Tea Partiers, who are
supposed to be all about small government and protecting
civil liberties, embracing a nutter who fantasizes about
the total militarization of America’s borders, including
increased land and aerial video surveillance, expanded
police powers, police checkpoints, and racial
profiling—not to mention a fence running the whole
length of the border with Mexico. But none of them care
about Spencer’s white supremacist history, or that he
pals around with child murderers. The fact that
Arizona’s politicians don’t consider Spencer a massive
political liability that could be exploited by an
opponent is a major sign of how extreme and racist the
Tea Party has become–and how far right they’ve pushed
the “center” of this country.
In the Arizona Tea Party, overt and violent racism is
no longer stigmatized. On the contrary, it’s a badge of
honor, a sign of purity of purpose and unwavering
conviction to the Cause. And why shouldn’t it be? The
Tea Party movement was launched by oligarchs in order to
defend said oligarchs. And there might be no oligarchy
preservation technique that is as effective
and time-tested as whipping up ethnic and racial hatred
between two groups of uppity peasants.
According to Glenn Spencer, illegal immigration is
part of a clandestine war against the U.S., a slow
invasion planned at the highest levels of the Mexican
government to recapture California, Texas, and much of
the Southwest to reestablish the mythical Aztec empire
of Aztlan. Spencer lays the blame
for a host of contemporary
social ills—everything from LA’s Rodney King riots
to meth addiction—on Mexico’s attempt to
destabilize America. Any fool can see that a country of
God-fearing, family-oriented Protestants is much to
harder to invade and occupy than one one that’s full of
rioting crackheads. He’s even produced several
documentaries outlining “La Reconquista,” which he sells
through his Web site.
“What really got me, though, was the Rodney King
riots,” Spencer told
a journalist from the Los Angeles Weekly in
2005. “I watched as TV helicopters zoomed in on the
people who were tearing down my old neighborhood. They
weren’t black. They were Hispanic. They were Mexicans.”
Lou Dobbs outlines
the conquest of Aztlan conspiracy theory for CNN
Spencer’s right. There is a conspiracy to flood
America with illegal immigrants, but it’s not being
hatched by the Mexican government, which can’t even
control its own territory. He and his anti-immigration
vigilante buddies have no problem criticizing the
federal government and blaming the Jew-controlled
liberal media for aiding and abetting the Mexican
invasion, but they’re too racist and wrapped up in
right-wing propaganda to pay much attention to the real
culprit: multi-billion dollar corporations, which have
come to rely on a constant stream of cheap, disposable
labor to keep their profit margins high and their
“Illegal immigration” is not an immigration issue at
all. It’s a labor issue. And the way you go about
stopping much of the illegal immigration into this
country is not by building fences or by bagging Mexicans
at the border, but by enforcing existing labor and
employment laws in a few key industries dominated by
There are an estimated 6 to 8 million undocumented
workers in America;
nearly 40 percent of them slave on corporate farms
and in slaughterhouses,
while 20 percent build houses on Wall Street’s
behalf (at least during the housing boom). For the
business you can’t offshore to China, illegal labor
provides the next best alternative. Call it the
“domestic offshoring solution.”
A 2007 report by the the Institute for Agriculture
and Trade Policy shows just how reliant some
corporations have become on imported serf labor:
In the United States, agribusiness has been one
of the main beneficiaries of new immigrants, who are
usually non-union and work for low wages. For
example, Swift & Company had to shut down 100
percent of its beef production and 77 percent of its
pork production following the high-proﬁle
immigration raids earlier this year that resulted in
the arrest of 1,282 workers. In February 2007,
Smithﬁeld Packing Co., the largest U.S. hog
processer, had to shut down its North Carolina plant
after hundreds of workers left their jobs or refused
to come to work to protest a crackdown on
Agribusinesses are particularly agressive about
securing a cheap labor supply. If they don’t have enough
illegal labor to meet their demands domestically, some
companies routinely send out headhunting/smuggling
expeditions to bring fresh, exploitable workers directly
to them. According to a 2001 Department of Justice
indictment against a bunch of executives at Tyson Foods,
a publicly traded corporation with revenues of nearly
$30 billion in 2010, smuggling
illegal immigrants and providing them with forged
documents is part of a plant manager’s job
Investigation of Tyson Foods, Inc. Leads to 36 Count
Indictment for Conspiracy to Smuggle Illegal Aliens
for Corporate Profit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – – Michael Chertoff, Assistant
Attorney General for the Criminal Division announced
today that a federal grand jury in Chattanooga,
Tennessee returned a thirty-six count indictment
against executives and managers of Tyson Foods,
Inc., the world’s largest producer, processor, and
marketer of poultry-based food products, for
conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens to Tyson Foods
processing facilities in the United States for
The thirty-six count indictment unsealed today in
United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Tennessee, is the result of a
two-and-one-half year undercover investigation
conducted by the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) into the business practices of Tyson
Foods. Tyson Foods executives and managers are
accused in the indictment of conspiring to import
and transport illegal alien workers from the
Southwest border to Tyson plants throughout the
United States. Fifteen Tyson Foods plants in nine
states have been implicated in this conspiracy to
defraud the United States government.
According to the indictment, Tyson Foods
cultivated a corporate culture in which the hiring
of illegal alien workers was condoned in order to
meet production goals and cut costs to maximize
profits. The indictment describes a scheme by which
the defendants requested delivery of illegal aliens
to work at Tyson plants in the United States and
aided and abetted them in obtaining false documents
so they could work at Tyson poultry processing
plants “under the false pretense of being legally
A judge threw out most of the charges against Tyson’s
execs, and a jury acquitted them of whatever
impossible-to-prove charges the judge allowed to
proceed. Tyson was sued again for a different illegal
immigrant hiring scheme two years later. A judge ruled
in Tyson’s favor in that case as well. Like most
companies profiting off illegal labor, Tyson avoided
getting pinched by the feds. But every year there are
handful of companies actually that do get caught and
fined. In 1998, food
processing giant ConAgra paid $223,000 after an INS
investigation exposed its the company's practice of
knowingly hiring illegal aliens at one of its plants in
Kentucky. In 2009, a company called House
of Raeford Farms was fined $1.5 million for
employing 300 illegal immigrants at a farm it owned
in South Carolina. In 2006, Golden State Fence Co. agreed
to pay a $4.7 million fine for hiring undocumented
workers from 1999 to 2005—a period during which the
company's profits shot up from from $60 million to $150
million, and in the same period that it was constructing
a 14-mile border fence in San Diego.
But most companies that depend on illegal labor to
have charges like this stick, or can escape with paying
fines. Why do you think former Arkansas governor Mike
Huckabee, who should be as much of a race-baiting
Mexican-basher as Colorado’s Tom Tancredo, is such a
gung-ho proponent of illegal immigration? Because Tyson
Foods is headquartered in Arkansas.
Huckabee Promotes Open Door' Policy at
LULAC Convention Posted on 29 June 2005
LITTLE ROCK – In a impassioned speech before
hundreds of influential Hispanic civil rights
leaders from across the nation, Gov. Mike
Huckabee told a captive audience Wednesday that
America is great because it has always opened it
doors up to people seeking a better way of life.
…“I have tried to govern that way and it stands
to reason that I really do believe that what
made this great country so great and so unique
is that it has always been a place for people to
run to – and not run from.
“I would hope that no matter who we are, or
where we are from, that America should always be
a place that opens its arms, opens it heart,
opens its spirit to people who come because they
want the best for their families,” Huckabee said
as the largely Hispanic audience gave him a
Huckabee was the keynote speaker, along with
Tyson Foods Inc. Chairman and CEO John Tyson, at
a noon luncheon of the League of United Latin
American Citizens, which is holding its 76th
annual convention in Little Rock.
…Although he never actually talked about the
U.S. or Arkansas immigration policy, Huckabee
made it very clear where he stood on the issue…
“Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may
be in the minority,” Huckabee said jokingly as
the crowd roared in laughter.
Gosh. What an open minded, multi-racial guy Huckabee
turned out to be. And deep down inside, regardless of
what they say in public, most Republicans and Democrats
are just as open-minded as he is, and are all for doing
whatever they can to keep the flow of undocumented
workers into America unimpeded. Perhaps the biggest
recent influx of illegal immigrants from down south was
caused by NAFTA, which put millions of farmers out of
work by flooding Mexico with cheap, subsidized crops
from America. Guess where many of them went? According
to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, they
went up north in pursuit of the American dream:
Agricultural employment in Mexico was at about
8.1 million in the early 1990s efore NAFTA and the
1996 Farm Bill. In 2006, it had only 6 million
employed—a loss of more than 2 million
agriculture-related jobs. The loss of agricultural
jobs was consistent with a major shift from Mexico’s
rural countryside to both U.S. and Mexican urban
cities. NAFTA and the 1996 Farm Bill accelerated
…Although Mexican farmers have been particularly
hard hit by NAFTA and the 1996 Farm Bill, U.S.
family farmers have faced the same low prices and
increased market power from a few agribusiness
companies. From 1992 to 2002, the U.S. lost over
200,000 farmers, as farms got fewer and larger. Within
the U.S. Farm Bill, the same policies that would
beneﬁt family farmers in the U.S. (fair prices,
greater market competition) would also beneﬁt
farmers in Mexico.
Now many of these farmers have gone to the U.S.
looking for jobs, only to find themselves under attack
by people like Glenn Spencer, who don’t realize that the
real enemy is their right-wing pro-corporate
ideology. That’s the big prank the oligarchy is playing
on racist blue-collar Americans.
born January 20, 2009, are
American protesters with little to no understanding of
Alright, the elephant with giant balls in the room. A
"teabagger" is defined as: a man who dips his testicles into
the mouth of another person (as if dipping a tea bag into
Despite the fact that calling them "dicks" seems gratuitous in
its reference to the male anatomy, never has their dickishness
been more evident than when they came out in droves on September
12, 2009, opposing government-run health care, higher taxes,
current fashion trends, bailouts, increases in the government's
power, shirts with sleeves, and all logical thought. These
Teabaggers have taken part in a "grassroots" campaign that has
covered the nation in spontaneous protests since tax day 2009.
And by "grassroots," I mean "nationally organized and supported
by Fox News."
This is a misinformed, right-wing corporate media consumer who
often fails to understand that BOTH major parties
represent a corrupt plutocracy that steals from the
middle class by taxing labor and profiting from
corporate tax subsidies.
A teabagger also often fails to acknowledge that George
W. Bush and his neo-conservative minions perpetrated one
of the boldest and most egregious executive power grabs
in the history of the United States. Furthermore,
teabaggers mistakenly continue to blame a newly elected
President Obama for all that ails the United States of
America, based on a grossly flawed perception of reality
(including latent racial prejudice) and despite the fact
the U.S. economy collapsed on the previous
Teabaggers are also known to base their misguided,
right-wing-media-inspired beliefs about President Obama
on stupid conspiracy theories about totalitarian
takeovers, FEMA camps, etc., despite the fact these very
same theories have been circulating around on the
Internet for years, and were originally ascribed to
neo-conservative cabalists at a time when Barack Obama
had not even entered NationalPolitics. Teabaggers also
are known to be particularly paranoid, xenophobic and
intolerant, especially with regard to immigrants and
anyone who isn't white.
Additionally, teabaggers generally echo stupid myths
about entitlement spending (it actually only accounts
for about 1% of federal budget spending), have no idea
that most poor people in America are not lazy, actually
do work and don't want to be on welfare, and have no
idea what socialism actually means or that socialist
reform in this country is actually what allowed a middle
class to flourish and ultimately make the U.S. one of
the most prosperous nations in human history.
Furthermore, teabaggers incorrectly equate socialism
with Stalinism, think a system that rewards greed
(capitalism) is the divine preference (despite Gospel
evidence to the contrary), and are shameless champions
of a misguided belief in American exceptionalism.
Teabaggers also fail to recognize the inherently
unpatriotic nature of their failed every-man-for-himself
ideology that ultimately vilifies anyone who supports
public policy aimed at reaching out to fellow Americans
in need. They celebrate an exploitative corporatocracy
(holy creator of jobs, blah blah blah) while denigrating
the little guy for being "weak."
Interestingly, teabaggers uphold an immoral, morbidly
obese, twice divorced, draft-dodging, college dropout
and known drug addict as their de facto leader, and are
even known to advocate burning books. Of course,
teabaggers fail to recognize the blatant hypocrisy
within the GOP and tend to oversimplify all political
debate and social issues, much like their
pseudo-intellectual, fat-ass leader.
Finally, incredibly, teabaggers fail to recognize the
hysterical double entendre associated with their proudly
adopted teabag moniker.
Every village has its idiots, of course, but it's sad
when citizens of any nation allow themselves to be
whipped into a frenzy en masse by a state-run propaganda
machine masquerading as a legitimate, fair, balanced and
independent news organization. Teabaggers are right to
believe the future of the U.S.A. is in jeopardy, but
sadly they have not yet correctly identified the real
enemy. Perhaps when teabaggers finally grow up and
mature into thinking adults, they will see the
right-leaning power establishment for the oppressive and
cunning beast that it is.
Teabagger: We don't care that George Bush tripled the
deficit and lied us into a war. The new administration
only cut taxes for 90% of the population... fascists.
Let's go throw some Lipton tea bags into a fountain!
The Teabaggers' name originates from their membership in the Tea Party,
which in itself is a reference to the Boston Tea Party. Their protests have
sought to evoke images, slogans, and themes of the American Revolution,
including "No Taxation Without Representation," which they feel is applicable to
today's issues, which is legit when one considers that they believe that Obama
is a Muslim ruling from Afghanistan.
Positions and Goals
A major point of contention among the Teabaggers is that those undeserving
of aid should not be rewarded with bailouts and free health care. They believe
these beneficiaries are taking advantage of people like the Teabaggers, who work
so hard and are so dedicated to contributing to the economy that they are free
to take off weeks of work to organize and attend these Tea Parties.
In regard to health care, the Teabaggers would prefer that
the administration not intervene and that it's not their
place to provide government programs. That said, it is safe
to assume that many of the Teabaggers currently receive
Medicare...a government program.
Activities Teabaggers enjoy
-Mailing bags of tea. In practice, this makes no sense. In theory, it
makes even less.
-Comparing Barack Obama to Hitler.
-Chanting "Freedom", not necessarily as a comment on their rights
(that'd be silly), but as a quote from "Braveheart."
-Getting riled up that the current administration is turning the
nation into Russia (our enemy from 20 years ago).
-Misspelling the word "Muslim"
The Teabaggers have a tried and true process when it comes to protesting:
Turn on Fox News to be told where to direct one's anger.
from the following options:
a) That Obama is Muslim (black).
b) That the current administration is a Communist regime.
c) That Obama was not born in America (because he's black).
d) That Jesus was not consulted in the President's decision making
e) That Obama is black.
Mail teabags to the appropriate representatives. And if the
delicious earl grey you've sent doesn't make it past
security, just send them the tag from the teabag. If you
wish to make tea afterward, contact your local
representative, who should be well stocked.
Find a nationally organized Tea Party, and then attend it
with the notion that it was a spur of the moment gathering
amongst protesters with similar values.
Tea Party Confessional
Here are excerpts from an article
which appeared in Playboy Magazine. It is
an anonymous confessional from a K Street consultant who
lifts the curtain on many of the politically crafty,
somewhat seedy underpinnings of the Tea Party movement. The
article has not received much attention. But its contents are illustrative and
fascinating. The consultant, who
doesn't identify for whom he actually works, paints a
picture of a movement that has strength in its legions of
followers outside the Beltway but harnesses its power from
the "black arts" of politicking.
Among the author's various claims are the following:
Tea Party strategists have "quietly
acquired Service Employees International Union shirts to
wear at Tea Party rallies," which he or she describes as
the equivalent of "handing out TSA uniforms in Kabul."
Sarah Palin isn't the leader of the movement. Big
Government's Andrew Breitbart is. "Breitbart is one of
them, except smarter, better connected and angrier;
compared with him, Palin is Las Vegas dinner theater.
That's why he is loved by Tea Partyers in a way Palin
can never hope to be loved."
Actual elected officials are bowing down to the Tea
Party throng in ever-growing numbers. Describing a
meeting he held with his finance team at the Richard
Nixon suite at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington
D.C. the consultant writes that members of Congress came
in and asked for a list of what to do. "The second
meeting drew 10 congressmen," the consultant writes. "There we sat, inside the Capitol Hill Club (which
shares the building that houses the Republican National
Committee), sharing ideas on how we can work together. The third meeting drew 17 congressmen."
Strategists deliberately try to stir up rage among
average Americans, calculating that it's much easier to
push a political movement if it's deeply frightened than
if it's entirely hopeful. "We're playing to the
reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we
look for key words and images to leverage the intense
rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives,"
the consultant writes. "In other words, I talk to the
same part of your brain that causes road rage."
Along these lines, the strategists behind the Tea
Party movement are using variable-print technology to
send out thank-you notes "from an imaginary Wall Street
executive to working-class taxpayers."
Story continues below
The Tea Party is distrusting if not
disdainful of the conspiracy theorists with which they
are often associated. The consultant writes that during
one candidate-interview process, two simple questions
are asked. "(1) Are you a birther? (2) Are you a
truther? If the answer is anything but "no" or "hell
no," the conversation ends right there. If the candidate
answers correctly, the conversation continues."
Because it's written without identification, the piece
has to be read with a measure of skepticism. That said, much
of what is written is grounded in reality. The Tea Party
movement described by the consultant doesn't come off as
inherently outlandish. In fact, there is a sense of
admiration in the prose.
"This cause is worthier and more real than anything I've
done in the past," the
"I'm all in."
But the piece certainly dispels the myth -- if it still
existed -- that the Tea Party is some sort of folksy
grassroots movement merely trying to add a modicum of sense
to today's corrupt political process. In fact, the movement
gets giddy pleasure from sticking it to institutional powers
but is quietly dependent on the type of politicking they
deplore, as even the author admits.
"[T]he worst thing I can say about the Tea Party I
work for is that it can make lots of noise but can't win
without professional help. I love the irony of helping
run this organization from the St. Regis Bar [one of
D.C.'s fanciest hotels]."
SEIU spokesperson Michelle Ringuette responds to news
that Tea Party protesters are dressing up in union t-shirts:
Every day all around this country, women and men who
work hard for a living are proud to put on purple to
symbolize their strength when they stand united. It
doesn't matter how many t-shirts the Tea Party puts on
to cover themselves up -- the Tea Party leaders' ugly
and anti-American rhetoric is out of sync with SEIU's
2.2 million nurses, janitors, child care providers and
other members who through their union want to win
justice for all working people.
The Tea Party Express
With all the baggin' it up they were doing, the Teabaggers needed
transportation. Starting in August 2009 and ending on September 12th, a cross
country bus convoy stopped to protest in 33 cities on its way to its final
Strike that, they ended up in Washington, DC. But
Arby's was stopped at on the way.
The expedition was coined the "Tea Party Express,"
beating out other names such as "Hypocrisy on Wheels" and
March on September 12th
The majority of the people were there for the grand opening of a new K-Mart,
but figured they might as well stay to call Obama "Hitler." The fact that they
were carrying "Jesus is King" signs is simply a coincidence.
there been so many fat white people and mustaches in one
location since the "Mullets '06" festival took Milwaukee by
Estimates of the number of attendees varied,
ranging from tens of thousands to one million. The fact that
there was such a discrepancy can be attributed to nobody
actually paying attention and protesters possibly claiming
that were "like a zillion people there."
Calling Obama names
The American Teabaggers have gotten in the habit of comparing Obama to Hitler
and are often seen carrying signs depicting the President's face with a little
mustache on his upper lip.
Like Hitler, Obama is an eloquent public speaker. Clearly
the ability to articulate in public equates one with the
murderer of 6 million Jews and the general personification
of evil. You know who else was a great public speaker? Steve
Allen. Or should I say "Steve Hitler." So was that guy you
saw give a great toast at a wedding. I bet you didn't
realize you were listening to Hitler.
"This ain't Russia!"
Teabaggers have taken issue with Obama's appointment of czars, which are
simply advisers on matters such as energy and drug prevention. These "czars"
have been a staple of American politics and the modern presidency for decades,
and while they date back to FDR's administration, they were prominent during
Republican poster boy/C-level actor Ronald Reagan's tenure.
of the Dicks George W. Bush had a harem of czars. These
A cybsersecurity czar - an adviser who told Bush not to
click on the email from "Big Dicks," no matter how much he
thought it was an email from himself.
A bird-flu czar
- an adviser who warned Bush not to shake the hands of dead
A war czar - just a guy who played Bush in the card game
loved by children just learning to count.
Urged by stand-up comedian Glenn Beck, the Teabaggers
have been outraged at the word "czar" and its Russian
origins, for they fear it further provides proof that the
nation is headed toward Communism. Aside from the sheer
ridiculousness of this belief, it's factually flawed. The
last Russian czar was Nicholas II. His reign came to end at
the hands of the Bolshevik Revolution, which implemented
Communism in Russia. Thus, Communism effectively killed off
Russia's tradition of czars. If anything, if these Teabaggers continue to protest the czars' existence, they
follow the path of the Bolsheviks, and eventually become the
A "teabagger" is defined as: a man who dips
his testicles into the mouth of another person (as if dipping a tea bag into hot
I am so grateful to
Andy Cobb for making this video, because I was giggling left
and right every time a Fox News anchor used the term "tea
bag" and had no outlet for my 13-year-old humor!
Don't know what I'm
talking about? Not your fault, you're probably not a
government-hating Fox-News watcher. Months ago when
CNBC's Rick Santelli went nuts on the floor of the
Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he called for a Chicago
"Tea Party" to protest the government "rewarding bad
behavior" with bank bailouts and mortgage relief.
People were psyched
at the prospect of reenacting the centuries-old
technique first used to protest unjust taxation, and
have planned "Tea Party" or "Tea Bag" protests across
the country for tax day, April 15.
A Tea Party leader acknowledged she
supports abolishing Social Security in an
appearance this week on "Larry King Live."
St. Louis Tea Party co-founder Dana
Loesch said she would "absolutely" eliminate
the program, which has existed since 1935.
Talk show host and Libertarian leader,
Wayne Allyn Root agreed: "At best I'd do
away with it, because I can find a better
way to spend and save my own $15,000."
More from the transcript of the "Larry King
Loesch: For the first time ever in
American history, just to exist in this
country, you have to purchase a product
now. You have to purchase insurance. And
they can try and make it go through the
King: No, no. Wait a minute. We had to
pay Social Security. That's a socialist
concept. Republicans voted against it --
Loesch: -- Oh I agree. It's
King: Would anyone turn away
Social Security now? Would you do away
Loesch: I would, yeah. Absolutely.
King: Would you do away with it,
Wayne? Would you do away with Social
Root: Well, I'd certainly like to.
At best, I'd do away with it because I
can find a better way to spend and save
my own $15,000.
Excerpts from an article on
Andy Ostroy NYC political analyst Posted:
March 30, 2010
As the controversial healthcare reform bill was being debated in
Washington two Sundays ago, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a black Democrat from
Missouri, claims he was spit on outside the Capitol by an enraged white
Tea Party protester. The accusation has sparked heated passions on both
sides, with Democrats condemning the vile behavior while Republicans
uniformly accuse Cleaver of lying. Right wing talking heads Sean Hannity
and others have spent hours of radio and TV time mitigating the
circumstances and denying the despicable act occurred. Tea Party groups
have even offered cash rewards for evidence of said spitting. One
conservative lightweight, Sirius Satellite Radio's Andrew Wilkow,
arrogantly barked "This did not happen," as if he was there and
witnessed the whole thing, and claimed it was more of a "say it
don't spray it" fluke in which a "spit-like" fluid came
out of the angry, screaming protester's mouth as the Congressman passed
him on the Capitol steps. Yes, my Republican friends, this is nothing
more than projectile drool, right?
Well, below is new video of the alleged spitting. I admit, it's
pretty hard to tell if the enraged Tea Bagger intentionally
spit on the Congressman. But some highly suspect circumstantial evidence
clearly exists: (1) Cleaver obviously is either a great physical actor
"spit-like" fluid definitely hit him in the face as he passed
the protester, causing his entire body to jerk away from the accused;
(2) the angry, visceral reaction from Cleaver to the protester clearly
signals that something very bad had just happened. Something
beyond simple partisan, anti-reform shouting; (3) notice how the
protester's hands are strategically cupped over his mouth, which would
conveniently conceal the act of spitting. Keep in mind that both men at
this point are perhaps two feet away from each other, which would mean
the rabid protester's vein-popping shouting at Cleaver would easily be
heard sans hand-cupping, and that such distance might also make the
"spray it" theory a bit of a stretch; (4) After he passes, Cleaver
begins to wipe something off his face in disgust. Again, great
Maybe, just maybe, this cretin actually did spit on
Cleaver. And to be sure, he clearly did something highly
offensive to the Congressman. Why can't Republicans then, out of simple
human decency, just acknowledge and condemn this unacceptable behavior?
They can't. It's simply not in their DNA. The vitriolic response from
the right over SpitGate is therefore no surprise. The rush to
unequivocally deny the occurrence, while simultaneously attacking
Cleaver's credibility, reputation and motives, is despicable and
Excerpts from an article by Bob
Ray Sanders in the Fort Worth Star Telegraph:
"I've seen those faces before.
More than I'd like to recall, I've heard the vile words coming
from their lips.
I have witnessed the hatred proclaimed on their crude signs
and demonstrated in their violent actions.
And I long ago grew weary of their political leaders wrapped
in the rhetoric of states' rights, interposition and the almighty
Oh, I know them, no matter what name or disguise they now
wear. I know them well.
They were in Little Rock in 1957 as nine black students had to
be escorted by U.S. troops to enroll at Central High School.
In 1962 these angry "patriots" were there when Gov. Ross
Barnett of Mississippi tried desperately to keep James Meredith from
registering at Ole Miss in Oxford.
They were present that day in 1963 when Gov. George Wallace
stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block the
entrance of two black students, and the day children and adults in
the streets of Birmingham came face to face with the viciousness of
Again in 1964 and 1965, as the Congress passed the Civil
Rights and Voting Rights acts, their defiant voices were heard.
The resistance was on display in 1967 when the Supreme Court
struck down laws in 17 states, including Texas, that prohibited
And now they're back, in full force, with a renewed contempt
for authority and a reinvigorated scorn for those they deem to be
On the eve of the vote in the House of Representatives to pass
health care reform, those voices yelled racial and anti-gay epithets
at members of Congress, with one demonstrator spitting on a black
It looked eerily like a scene from 1957 Little Rock or 1963
Birmingham, but these incidents occurred on the grounds of the U.S.
In the days after passage of the legislation, several
Democratic members of Congress received death threats. Some
Democratic offices were attacked by vandals.
The ugly American has reared his head again, spewing wrath at
those he thinks are turning his country into a socialist nation bent
on depriving him of liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
Rather than strongly admonish the contemptible speech and
despicable behavior, many Republican leaders and their conservative
media cheerleaders either are silent on the issue or, more sadly,
make excuses rationalizing their actions.
These leaders use analogies that employ words and images that
suggest violence: "bomb," "reload" and "fire," for example.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, on her Twitter
page, listed the names of 20 Democratic House members who voted for
the healthcare bill, using rifle scope cross-hairs to pinpoint their
home districts on a map.
The headline for the posting said, "Don't Retreat, Instead --
Some of the most disgusting language and symbols during the
healthcare debate were aimed at the president of the United States,
declaring him a diabolical liar whose true aim was to destroy
"The American people have long fuses," talk show host Glenn
Beck said the day after the bill's passage. "You can walk on us, lie
to us and cheat us for a long time. But our [breaking point] was
Rush Limbaugh screamed, "We need to defeat these bastards. We
need to wipe them out. Defeat the Democrats, every one of them that
voted for this bill."
The political discourse in this country has been foul for some
time, but since Barack Obama's election, it has become sickening.
Those who sought to defeat the healthcare bill in order to
bring down this presidency -- to make it Obama's "Waterloo" -- are
naturally distraught to have been out-maneuvered by a president and
a party for which they have no respect.
They have every right to campaign against him and the bill as
the midterm elections approach. But they should not stoop to the
vulgar politics of personal verbal attacks, violence and
I've been saying this for months, although I've held little
hope that things would change for the better.
The echoes and visions of the past simply will not go away.
Unmasked and undaunted, it seems the disgruntled masses will
not relent as they encourage each other to remain not just angry,
We shall continue to see their irate faces, encounter their
loud, disruptive voices and endure their hatred of those who simply
disagree with them.
from an article by Jim Wallis in the Sojourners on-line
Magazine on 5-27-2010
The insurgent Tea Party and its
Libertarian philosophy is a political
phenomenon, not a religious one. Like the
Democratic and Republican parties it seeks
to challenge, it is a secular movement, not
a Christian one. As with both major
political parties, people who regard
themselves as Christians may be involved in,
or sympathetic to, the new Tea Party; but
that doesn’t make it “Christian.” But like
the philosophies and policies of the major
political parties, the Tea Party can
legitimately be examined on the basis of
Christian principles -- and it should be.
Since the Tea Party is getting such
national attention, (we
)are going to begin a dialogue on
this question: Just how Christian is the Tea
Party Movement -- and the Libertarian
political philosophy that lies behind it?
Let me start the dialogue here. And please
Libertarianism is a political philosophy
that holds individual rights as its supreme
value and considers government the major
tends to be liberal on cultural and moral
issues and conservative on fiscal, economic,
and foreign policy. This “just leave me
alone and don’t spend my money” option is
growing quickly in American life, as we have
seen in the Tea Party movement.
has been an undercurrent in the Republican
Party for some time, and has been in the
news lately due to the primary election win
of Rand Paul as the Republican candidate for
a Senate seat in Kentucky.
Paul has spoken
like a true Libertarian, as evidenced by
some of his comments since that election
He cited the Civil Rights Act as an
example of government interference with the
rights of private business.
told an interviewer that he would have
tried to change the provision in the 1964
Civil Rights Act that made it illegal for
private businesses to discriminate on the
basis of race. He
answered a specific question about
desegregating lunch counters by countering,
“Does the owner of the restaurant own his
Or does the
government own his restaurant?”
A few days later, he spoke about the oil
spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Referring to the
Obama administration’s criticisms of BP,
Paul said, “I think that sounds really
un-American in his criticism of business.”
Is such a philosophy Christian? In
several major aspects of biblical ethics, I
would suggest that Libertarianism falls
1. The Libertarian enshrinement of
individual choice is not the pre-eminent
Emphasizing individual rights at the
expense of others violates the common good,
a central Christian teaching and tradition.
The Christian answer to the question “Are we
our brother’s keeper?” is decidedly “Yes.”
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment
is to love God and love our neighbor. Loving
your neighbor is a better Christian response
than telling your neighbor to leave you
alone. Both compassion and social justice
are fundamental Christian commitments, and
while the Christian community is responsible
for living out both, government is also held
accountable to the requirements of justice
and mercy. Both Christians on the Right and
the Left have raised questions about
Libertarian abandonment of the most
vulnerable -- whether that means unborn
lives or the poor.
Just look at the biblical prophets in
their condemnation of injustice to the poor,
and how they frequently follow those
statements by requiring the king (the
government) to act justly (a requirement
that applied both to the kings of Israel and
to foreign potentates). Jeremiah, speaking
of King Josiah, said, “He defended the cause
of the poor and needy, and so all went well"
(Jeremiah 22:16). Amos instructs the courts
(the government) to “Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts” (Amos 5:15).
The prophets hold kings, rulers, judges, and
employers accountable to the demands of
justice and mercy.
2. An anti-government ideology just isn’t
In Romans 13, the apostle Paul (not the
Kentucky Senate candidate) describes the
role and vocation of government; in addition
to the church, government also plays a role
in God’s plan and purposes.
Preserving the social order,
punishing evil and rewarding good, and
protecting the common good are all
prescribed; we are even instructed to pay
taxes for those purposes! Sorry, Tea Party.
debating the size and role of government is
always a fair and good discussion, and most
of us would prefer smart and effective to
“big” or “small” government.
Revelation 13 depicts the state as a
totalitarian beast -- a metaphor for Rome,
which was persecuting the Christians. This
passage serves as a clear warning about the
abuse of governmental power.
power-hungry government is clearly an
aberration and violation of the proper role
of government in protecting its citizens and
upholding the demands of fairness and
disparage government per se -- to see
government as the central problem in society
-- is simply not a biblical position.
3. The Libertarians’ supreme confidence
in the market is not consistent with a
biblical view of human nature and sin
The exclusive focus on government as the
central problem ignores the problems of
other social sectors, and in particular, the
regulation is the enemy, the market is set
free to pursue its own self-interest without
regard for public safety, the common good,
and the protection of the environment --
which Christians regard as God’s creation.
Libertarians seem to believe in the
myth of the sinless market and that the
self-interest of business owners or
corporations will serve the interests of
society; and if they don’t, it’s not
government’s role to correct it.
But such theorizing ignores the practical
issues that the public sector has to solve.
Should big oil
companies like BP simply be allowed to spew
oil into the ocean?
And is regulating
them really un-American?
Do we really want
nobody to inspect our meat, make sure our
kids’ toys are safe, or police the polluters
to keep our air clean?
Do we really want
owners of restaurants and hotels to be able
to decide whom they will or won’t serve, or
should liquor store owners also be able to
sell alcohol to our kids?
Given the reality
of sin in all human institutions, doesn’t a
political process that provides both
accountability and checks and balances make
both theological and practical sense?
C.S. Lewis once
said that we need democracy not because
people are essentially good, but because
they often are not.
accountability is essential to preventing
the market from becoming a beast of
corporate totalitarianism – just as it is
essential for the government.
priorities should determine ours, not the
priorities of the Chamber of Commerce.
4. The Libertarian preference for the
strong over the weak is decidedly
“Leave me alone to make my own choices and
spend my own money” is a political
philosophy that puts those who need help at
a real disadvantage.
And those who
need help are central to any Christian
evaluation of political philosophy.
“As you have done
to the least of these,” says Jesus, “You
have done to me.”
And “Blessed are
those who are just left alone” has still not
made the list of Beatitudes.
To anticipate the
Libertarian response, let me just say that
private charity is simply not enough to
satisfy the demands of either fairness or
justice, let alone compassion.
When the system
is designed to protect the privileges of the
already strong and make the weak even more
defenseless and vulnerable, something is
wrong with the system.
5. Finally, I am just going to say it.
There is something wrong with a political
movement like the Tea Party which is almost
that mean every member of the Tea Party is
But is an
undercurrent of white resentment part of the
Tea Party ethos, and would there even be a
Tea Party if the president of the United
States weren’t the first black man to occupy
that office? It’s
time we had some honest answers to that
question. And as far as I can tell,
Libertarianism has never been much of a
Need I say that
racism -- overt, implied, or even subtle --
is not a Christian virtue.
So that should get us started.
Let’s have the
dialogue about how Christian the Tea Party
Movement and its Libertarian philosophy
really are. Jump
By David Neiwert of
crooksandliars.com Tuesday Aug 11, 2009
The right-wing media have been aghast at the unpleasant realities being
all those shouters and disruptors at town-hall
forums -- namely, that
their anger is being ginned up by corporate interests using right-wing
populists to derail their political opponents; and that their ranks are
riddled with extremists.
And to the extent
that the critics of these protesters try to portray the scenes as
purely a product of corporate machinations, they have a point. There
is real anger out there, and the anti-reform interests are
successfully tapping into it.
But the anger
they're tapping into is not a new thing; in fact, it's been around a
long time. It's a larger anger at the federal government, stoked (as
we've seen in the health-care debate) by a combination of real
grievances and a pathological belief in explanations for those
grievances that are provably untrue, wrapped in paranoid conspiracy
theories about government officials and a conspiracist view of
In the 1990s, they
called themselves militias or "Patriots." Nowadays, they're
organizing around the so-called "tea parties" and now the
health-care town halls. These are the wellspring of the anger at
these meetings -- but this faction has a long history of being
motivated by anger anyway.
This is not to
downplay the vital role behind the scenes being played by ostensibly
mainstream conservative operations, fueled by corporate money.
Adele Stan at AlterNet
has a thoroughly devastating expose of the machinations behind the
protests, beginning with Dick Armey's FreedomWorks operation all the
way down to the Birther nutcases who are bubbling up at these shows.
Indeed, Stan gets
what the rest of the media are missing: Not only are business and
conservative interests ginning up these protests, but they're doing
so by empowering far-right extremists from the fringe.
been reporting steadily
on this phenomenon as
it's been happening.
Perhaps the best signifier of this empowerment and energizing of the
far right on the behalf of the mainstream right is the fact that
every single right-wing extremist organization and forum -- ranging
from far-right hate groups and white supremacists, such as
Stormfront.org, to "Patriot"/militia organizations such as the
Militia of Montana and the Constitution Party, to Bircherite
conspiracists like Ron Paul and his followers -- are avidly
advocating involvement in the "tea parties" and the health-care
folks, frankly, are beginning to talk openly of armed revolt. This
is something that used to be relegated strictly to the fringes of
the far right; now, it's being openly discussed at
which ran a poll with the following headline:
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
Is America on the verge of revolution?
That's right: Fully 95 percent of
WND's readership believes we're on the verge of revolution -- and
openly welcome it, with mildly varying rationales.
There is a
lot of anger out there. There's also a lot of fear. Both are
manifested, I think, in the video I found above at YouTube, titled,
"Are Red State Americans Ready for War?"
You can see the answer, set to the dulcet tones of "Redneck
Rampage." I've interspersed it with outtakes of news reports about
the ongoing ammo shortage out there in rural America.
It's true that
people like Beck and the rest of the Fox crew are an important cog
in the machinery that sets these protests in motion. But we also
need to be aware of just who they're setting in motion, because that
will have a profound effect on the outcome.
Excerpts from an article on the huffingtonpost.com
website by Judge H. Lee Sarokin
The Tea Party Express is
not a grass roots creation,
it is the production of Fox News
like American Idol and as recently
claimed, a concoction by a public relations firm to make
money. But no matter its origins, it seems to have coalesced
around some basic concepts. It opposes taxes and waste and
fraud in government -- particularly the federal government,
and my response to that is: Who doesn't? We would all be
members if those were the only goals.
But high taxes, increased deficits, fraud and waste
were rampant during the Bush years, it is the health care
legislation which apparently has caused so many to dip their
tea bags in boiling water and shout cries of Nazism and the
coming of Hitler to America in the guise of our president.
Let us examine this creeping socialism morphing into
communism, then fascism and eventually Nazism. The goal of
the health care legislation was to provide insurance and, in
turn, health care to those who have been denied it for
reasons of health or lack of funds. It is meant to provide
affordable and competent health care for all and by doing so
include the poor, the sick, the young and the elderly, who
were formerly excluded. Forgive me, but I have some
difficulty in equating universal care for the poor and the
sick with the extermination of 6 million Jews. I have a
sense that Jesus given the chance would have voted
in favor of health care legislation and not stood with the
Tea Party on this issue.
When I hear of the fear of creeping socialism, I
wonder what it is that the tea-baggers would eliminate?
Is it our armed forces, our national bridges and highways,
Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, FDIC deposit
insurance, the FBI, the CIA, our federal courts, the
G.I.Bill, our national forests and parks, our child labor
laws, the FDA and all of the other government agencies that
seek to protect the public from dangerous products or
Sure, we would all like government agencies to run
efficiently and without waste, but we shouldn't close them
down because they don't. We should eliminate the waste and
the pork not the worthy goals.
Right now, I do not think anyone knows whether this
legislation will increase or decrease costs or the deficit.
But when opponents insist that this is a government run
program (which it is not), they point to other government
agencies or entities to prove the likelihood of failure. My
favorite analogy is the U.S. Post Office. Yes, because of
the advent of e-mail, the Post Office is in financial
difficulty. But if the Post Office is an example of a
failure then I hope we suffer many more. All I know is that
during my entire lifetime I could mail a letter and it would
magically be delivered to someone else's home or office
anywhere in the United States within a few days. According
The United States Postal Service employs
some 656,000 workers, making it the second-largest
civilian employer in the United States (excluding the
federal government) following only Wal-Mart. Each day
the United States Postal Service delivers some 660
million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million
delivery points. The USPS operates 32,741 post offices
and locations in the US. USPS operates the largest
civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated
260,000 vehicles. If that represents government failure,
I hope the auto industry adopts the model.
Finally, I suspect that Jesus would not approve of the
hate and incitement that is being spewed at these rallies.
To the Michelle Bachmans, Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks and
Rush Limbaughs and others who fuel this hatred, we
remind you on this anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing, that
there are other Timothy McVeighs out there
listening to you putting elected officials in "the
cross-hairs", callings them "gangsters", "Nazis", "fascists"
"Hitler", "socialists", flaunting your weapons, forming
militias, and challenging the President's birth. In the
words of Rev. Wright whom you so often like to quote, some
day these vile comments "will come home to roost", and it is
you who will be responsible for the consequences. Jesus
would not approve or join your club.
that the Republican National Committee was "paying for signs and
political buttons used by Tea Party groups" for today's "Code
Red" protests against health care reform.
The items, paid for by the RNC, were on full display at a
Friday press conference of Tea Party activists in
Washington. At the afternoon event at the Capitol Hill
Suites, activists in town for the "Take the Town Halls to
Washington" project passed out the red-white-and-blue
buttons and signs emblazoned with the words "Listen to Me!"
As Pappas pointed out, the RNC's involvement here was a
bit of a thorny issue, given that the Tea Partiers haven't been
quick to allow themselves to be subsumed within the greater
Republican establishment. But if you see the signs today, you
might end up missing the connection to the RNC entirely. That's
because the RNC took the unusual step of covering up its
David Weigel of the Washington
that a black sticker has been placed over the RNC's label at the
bottom center of the signs. Apparently, this is a cunning enough
stratagem to keep protesters from discovering the RNC's
she was not receiving regular prenatal care and was not properly treated
when she got sick. She ended up in an emergency room with double pneumonia
that developed into septic shock, had a heart attack, a brain bleed and a
stroke. The baby died and Jennifer died a few weeks later.
Midge Hough was heckled by anti-reform
crowd members. "You can laugh at me, that's okay," she said, crying. "But I
lost two people, and I know you think that's funny, that's okay."
A local Tea Party organizer falsely
claimed that the couple had made up the story and tried to justify the town
hall behavior, according to the
Catherina Wojtowicz, of Chicago's Mount
Greenwood community, an organizer for a Tea Party splinter group, Chicago Tea
Party Patriots, falsely claimed that the Houghs fabricated their story. In an
e-mail, she called them operatives of President Barack Obama who "go from event
to event and (cry) the same story." [...]
The audience, Wojtowicz later
explained, was exasperated by stories of isolated tragedies that cloud
debate over the health care bill itself.
Excerpts from an article posted on
Mark on March 8, 2011.
ongoing conflict in Wisconsin between an
intransigent, union-busting governor and the
representatives of average, working Americans is
trending consistently toward the position of the
people. Despite millions of dollars of Koch
Industries lobbying funds, the Republicans and
union bashers are, in their own words,
“If we lose in Wisconsin then
Republican Governors across America will
take the lesson that they should give in and
capitulate, and all the progress we have
seen from the tea party movement will be
Indeed. Both sides of this debate
recognize the impact that the conclusion will
have on similar debates across the country. It’s
interesting that TPE is so concerned about a
defeat in Wisconsin that they believe it will
undo “all the progress” they’ve made.
But what is even more interesting is that they
are directing this concern to only Republican
That focus is something that I have been
addressing for months, and that the media needs
to acknowledge: There Is No Tea
When will they get this through their
barnacle-encrusted skulls? There are no Tea
Party candidates; no Tea Party policies; no Tea
Party voters. They are all Republicans. They run
as Republicans and vote for Republicans. To
pretend that it is something distinct is
delusional. And this isn’t just me talking,
Republican Party spokesmen:
John Boehner, House Minority
Leader: There really is no
difference between what Republicans believe
in and what the tea party activists believe
Tea Party spokesmen:
Mark Skoda, Tea Party Leader:
This movement is beginning to mature … not
as a third party but a force to be reckoned
with in the traditional party structure.
Carl Cameron, Fox News:
They plan to establish separate spin off
political action committees to fund raise
for candidates who back Tea Party goals and
the official Republican National Committee
See? Everybody agrees that there is no Tea
Party. It is journalistic fraud to persist with
the charade. This is especially true of Tea
Party Express, which was created by the
Republican consulting firm of Russo/Marsh. Sal
Russo runs TPE as a revenue center for his firm,
funneling most of their donations right back
into his wallet. And for some inexplicable
reason this is the corrupt, phony Tea Party clan
This is madness. If the press treats the
Tea Party as a separate entity and gives them a
voice distinct from their Republican source,
they are in effect giving the GOP twice as much
exposure as the Democrats. To be fair and
balanced they would have to regard
or the SEIU as a separate party and hire their
spokespeople as news analysts and feature their
responses to official GOP dogma – in addition to
that of actual Democrats. I don’t see that
In the meantime, the Tea Party is growing
noticeably more desperate. Their latest
fundraising appeal is evidence of how seriously
they take their declining popularity in
Wisconsin and the impact of that nationwide.
They have never really been a popular movement
as most polls have pegged their support in the
teens with pluralities having no opinion. And
their views have been shown to be
Don't tell me that nontroversy doesn't
matter. With nearly as many Americans approving
of Palin as Obama, nontroversy really,
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