- Tea Party.org calls itself "a grassroots movement
(for making Americans aware of) any issue that challenges the security,
sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, the United
States of America. From our founding, the Tea Party is the voice of the
true owners of the United States, WE THE PEOPLE."
- More below about these PEOPLE, and their deep-pocketed
ability to manipulate minds effectively with considerable right wing media
- Another web site headlines "Tea Party Patriots,
Official Home of the American Tea Party Movement, A community committed
to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and
the Constitution upon which we were founded!"
- Its mission statement aims at "excessive government
spending and taxation," stressing "three core values of Fiscal
Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets,"
largely veiled terms to mean whatever its backers endorse, including incorrectly
connecting tea to America's revolution.
- Blaming taxation without representation and Britain's
1773 Tea Act as the cause is a red herring. It granted the East India Company
monopoly rights on colony tea imports at a lower than smuggled in price,
but retained an unpopular tax. Determined to prevent cargo deliveries,
Samuel Adams and others boarded three docked ships, dumping 342 chests
of tea into Boston Harbor. In fact, it was symbolism only, nothing else,
unrelated to revolutionary furor over control of the nation's money.
- In 1691, three years before the Bank of England's creation,
Massachusetts created its own paper money. Other colonies followed, called
scrip, backed by the full faith and credit of each state, enabling inflation-free
growth for 25 years without taxes - what could happen today if freed from
- It worked then by using money to achieve growth, not
issuing too much, and recycling it back to the states in the form of principal
and interest on government-issued loans.
- However, colony-based British merchants and financiers
objected to Parliament. Enough so that in 1751, King George II banned new
paper money issuance to force colonists to borrow it from UK bankers. In
addition, the Bank of England got Parliament to pass a Currency Act, making
it illegal for colonies henceforth to issue their own. As a result, prosperity
became poverty because the money supply halved, leaving too little to pay
for goods and services.
- According to Benjamin Franklin:
- "the poverty caused by the bad influence of the
English bankers on the Parliament" got colonists angry enough to spark
war. "The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and
other matters (if) England (hadn't taken their money), which created unemployment
- Tea Party adherents need a name change, instead of tea,
a theme around controlling our own money, as mandated by the Constitution's
Article 1, Section 8, saying only "Congress shall have Power to coin
Money, (and) regulate the Value thereof," not bankers and complicit
Fed officials they manipulate and control.
- Promoted as grassroots activism, the party gained national
recognition in media-hyped mid-2009 congressional town hall protests against
Obamacare, banker and other bailouts, fiscal excess, and bogus claims about
Obama's socialist agenda.
- Then last February, its Nashville, TN national convention
increased its prominence, highlighting an agenda to shift America further
to the right on the pretext of popular opposition to big government and
fiscal irresponsibility. As a result, hardline extremists mostly attracted
middle income Americans facing lost jobs, homes, and economic uncertainty
at a time they should have shifted left, not right. Instead of blaming
big government, a groundswell for addressing popular needs should be demanded.
- It didn't. Demagogues took advantage and aroused millions,
aided by daily Fox News support and its lunatic fringe hosts. Among them,
Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and others rage against big government, hyping
an extremist agenda, spreading fear, and growing ranks of adherents, largely
mindless that their best interests are compromised, not helped.
- Deep Pocket Tea Party Backers
- Sourcewatch.org tracked its funders, quoting an August
30, 2010 Jane Mayer New Yorker article citing David and Charles Koch, billionaire
owners of Koch Industries, a privately owned energy conglomerate with interests
in manufacturing, ranching, finance, and numerous other ventures. In 2008,
Forbes called it America's second largest private company after Cargill
with annual revenues approaching $100 billion. According to Mayer:
- "The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections
represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to 'educate,'
fund, and organize Tea Party protesters, they have helped turn their private
agenda into a mass movement."
- Conservative economist/historian Bruce Bartlett said
earlier libertarians were "all chiefs and no Indians." As a result,
they attracted few adherents. Tea Party furor changed things, letting "everyone
suddenly see that for the first time there are Indians out there - people
who can provide real ideological power," and with right-wing media-hyped
support, it resonates and grows. The Kochs took advantage, "shap(ing)
and control(ling) and channel(ling) the populist uprising into their own
- According to Sourcewatch, Party strength also comes "from
millions of dollars from conservative foundations," funded by "wealthy
US families and their business interests." Most prominent are Americans
for Prosperity (AP) and FreedomWorks (FW - chaired by former Republican
House majority leader Dick Armey), promoting the same hard right agenda
as Koch, other backers, and Tea Party leaders.
- In April 2009, ThinkProgress.org said AP and FW were
the principal Tea Party organizers, describing them as "well-funded
lobbyist-run think tanks," providing the logistics and major efforts
nationally. Media Matters said David Koch co-founded Citizens for a Sound
Economy (CSE), FreedomWorks' predecessor.
- For its part, Koch Industries denies FW and Tea Party
ties, saying only that it "value(s) free speech and believe(s) it
is good to have more Americans engaged in key policy issues." Koch
admitted it funds AFP.
- The Fox Effect
- Media power means everything, the best efforts falling
flat without it. Fox provides plenty, sustained from the outset by its
extremist faithful, featuring "frequently aired segments imploring
its audience to get involved with tea-party protests across the country,"
according to Media Matters' Karl Frisch.
- Worse still, Fox hosts Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, Greta
Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, and perhaps others participated live at various
protests. Fox literally serves as the movement's official mouthpiece, including
at "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties," promoting tax cuts for the rich,
masquerading as universal benefits. Moreover, involved groups claim spontaneous
activism for success, but according to The Atlantic's Chris Good:
- Its "organizational landscape (includes) three national-level
conservative groups (running things), all with slightly different agendas."
They stress a "bottom-up affair and that its grassroots cred is real....Conservative
bloggers, talk show hosts, and other media figures have attached themselves
to the movement in peripheral capacities."
- Major publications also through coverage. For example,
The New York Times called it "a diffuse American grass-roots group
that taps into antigovernment sentiments," saying it "burst onto
the streets a year ago," belying its top-down control.
- Covering its corporate-controlled February national convention,
the Washington Post said "millions of Americans (are) just like"
attendees, suggesting spontaneity about a well planned and organized movement.
- On October 10, Washington Post writers Jon Cohen and
Dan Balz headlined, "Beyond the tea party: What Americans really think
of government," saying:
- The 2010 election's "overarching theme (is over)
how big the government should be and how far it should reach into people's
lives....a nationwide report card (barely gives Washington) passing grades....Today,
more than four in 10 people give the government a D or F."
- "I think the less the government governs us, the
better we do," suggested mass numbers feel like the "stay-at-home
mother" quoted. She believes America is going "socialist,"
when, in fact, it's swung sharpley to the right, Obama going Bush one better,
yet disguising it as populism, or a variant thereof. However, credit perceptions,
economic hard times, public angst, its gullibility, big money support,
and media hype for growing Tea Party success.
- In a photo essay titled, "Signs of the Tea-Party
Protests," Time magazine highlighted it, showing mass, sign-waving,
Tea Party Express gatherings, saying:
- "Some of the demonstrators came on their own, but
many were affiliated with or inspired by the Tea Party Express, a cross-country
tour that stopped in more than 30 cities, organizing rallies in protest
of 'out-of-control spending, bailouts and the growth in the size and power
of government.' "
- Unexplained was a deep-pocketed, well planned PR blitz,
complete with mass media coverage, especially by Fox News. Also, other
events, including Americans for Prosperity's Hot Air Balloon Tour, its
Patients First Bus Tour, and the American Energy Alliance's American Energy
Express, as well as nationwide momentum-building rallies ahead of the November
election. Party backers hope key victories will solidify a powerful political
force, run top-down by and for elitists, not deluded grassroots supporters,
fooled again like so many previous times.
- As a result, once again, expect November 2 voters to
throw out the bums for new ones. The cycle keeps repeating, "the bewildered
herd" mindless that they only have themselves to blame, getting the
best democracy big money can buy.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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