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Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

Ah, nostalgia

Posted by Charles II on October 20, 2013

Andrés Cala, Consortium News:

In Galicia, an area in Spain’s northwest, the mayor of another town under Popular Party rule proudly showcases in his office a picture of fascist dictator Francisco Franco. The mayor also plays the fascist anthem to anyone who will listen. Yet, he has faced no official reprimand.

And earlier this month, a small town near Madrid, also governed by the Popular Party (or PP), allowed a fascist group to put up a stand in a public school exhibiting Franco-era and Nazi memorabilia. Officials later apologized and said that they weren’t aware of the stand.

Though anecdotal, these incidents fit with a rising public nostalgia for the Franco era in Spain and are symptomatic of a broader resurgence of extreme right-wing ideology in Europe and globally.

Another point of concern is that nationalist, populist and fascist movements have historically found fertile ground during times of economic pain… mainstream democratic parties have seen their legitimacy questioned and their political support drained.

In Spain – and to a lesser extent in some other European countries – the immediate danger is not so much from a handful of incipient reactionary movements, but rather from the underlying official permissiveness from more mainstream conservative parties, like the Popular Party, bordering on patronage.

Some elected Popular Party officials and party militants are openly making the Nazi salute, proudly displaying fascist flags and other memorabilia, and posting pro-Franco messages on social media sites.

Amid the Popular Party’s recent political success, with its latest high-water mark the gaining of an absolute majority in parliament, many of the party’s stalwarts have reminisced about the Franco era as a prosperous time, though it wasn’t.

Secessionist plans from Catalonia, Spain’s economic motor, have served to unite nationalist forces and radical fascist groups, but the most forceful opposition to Catalonian separation is coming from the right wing of the Popular Party, led by former Prime Minister Jose María Aznar. (emphasis added)

Cala goes on to add that this is a Europe-wide, if not a worldwide phenomenon, with France’s Marine Le Pen’s French National Front, Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, and Progress Party leading the way into the abyss. Spain isn’t quite that far down the road… but the tolerance of the Popular Party for fascist expressions could end up mainstreaming it.

When will people learn that reaction doesn’t–almost by definition, can’t– solve problems?

Posted, with an addition about how the proper response to the rise of ultranationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and outright fascism is an extension and affirmation of human rights, at Daily Kos

Posted in Europe, fascism, history, Tea Party | 1 Comment »

Why the handling of the IRS story makes me angry

Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2013

We see so many wrong things being done on a daily basis that it’s rare anymore when I get angry. But the story of how Tea Party groups received an apology from the IRS for mishandling of their applications for 501(c)4 status has really upset me. In trying to sort out why this and not so many other things, I composed this letter to Jed Lewison of Daily Kos for his take on the story:

Jed, I have been trying to figure out why your post made me angry. Not at you, please understand.

It’s not that I disagree with you that it’s wrong for the IRS to target people over their political beliefs. It is wrong. But this story is part of a much larger story of selective leniency to right-wing groups and of serious harassment of left-wing groups that stretches back to Nixon. It’s the fact that the rest of us are rendered seemingly invisible by the focus on the Tea Party groups that makes me angry.

Yes, in this case, a policy decision was made that imposed an undue burden on an entire class of people. It’s wrong. People who get Food Stamps or Medicaid would have something to say about that… people who have to get drug-tested or suffer insults from talk radio and suspicion from case workers for the crime of being disabled or unemployed could say a lot about undue burdens.

But let’s think a little bit about this. The Tea Party groups had an undue burden being imposed to make it harder for them to receive a subsidy from the federal government–ironically, the same Federal government for which they have no use.

Were these groups audited? Harassed? Put out of business?

No. They just didn’t get tax-exempt status as quickly as they should have.

Indeed, many left-wing groups have suffered genuine targeting. Mother Jones magazine was almost put out of business by the IRS. All Saints Episcopal Church almost lost its tax exempt status over preaching an anti-war sermon from the pulpit. And, while these cases can be dismissed as one-offs if viewed in isolation, they form a pattern of harassment that goes back to Nixon, if not much farther.

Indeed, what makes the Tea Party story notable is that it represents an exception to the undue leniency granted to most right-wing groups. How many right-wing churches run with impunity as political operations, endorsing or smearing candidates? How many examples of Crossroads GPS and ALECs exist, organizations which are really lobbying shops or PR firms? How eager to please was the IRS when it came to Newt Gingrich’s “charitable” organizations?

This is an ideal moment to tell the story of how the reaction to this IRS abuse represents the exorbitant privilege that conservative, white groups get, even as left groups and people of color face undue burdens all the time. To my amazement, not one commentator on the liberal/left seems to have taken the opportunity.

I’m not the one to write this story. But surely someone should. How about you?

Have we Americans become so blind and hypocritical that half of this nation has become completely invisible, even to itself?


Adding other examples of left-wing groups audited or denied tax benefits:
1. Emerge America.
2. Greenpeace
3. The NAACP
4. United Church of Christ

Posted in abuse of power, Tea Party | Comments Off on Why the handling of the IRS story makes me angry

So, Koch-funded Astroturf deserves the charitable exemption

Posted by Charles II on May 10, 2013

It’s not good when the IRS singles out anybody for heightened scrutiny. But I have to roll my eyes when I see this, Fredreka Schouten and Gregory Korte, USAT:

The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for subjecting Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny during the 2012 election, but denied any political motive.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews. Her remarks came at an American Bar Association gathering.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong.

We have a situation in this country where blatantly political organizations get tax-exempt status. The American Crossroads spin-off Crossroads GPS, funded by billionaires like Bob Perry, gets 501(c)4 status, meaning that their fund-raising doesn’t get taxed (most donations are not tax exempt, however). If they were called what they are, lobbying/PR organizations, they would have to pay taxes. So they are being subsidized.

If the practice was “initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati,” then presumably it had very minor effects. I’d like to see just how much harassment left-wing groups have received, since historically we know that it is considerable. Like, say, the NAACP. Or All Saints Episcopal. And don’t let’s get started on Nixon.

So, IRS, leave the d–n Tea Party alone… to the same extent that you leave their ideological opposites alone.

CNBC is flogging this story. Expect it to be everywhere soon.
Predictably, Kossacks swallow the bait without reflecting very long or hard….

When are Democrats/liberals going to start thinking before they start apologizing?

Posted in taxes, Tea Party, working the refs | 2 Comments »

Failing upward

Posted by Charles II on December 10, 2012

More tea, anyone?

Jean Devon of Mudflats:

She ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and lost. Then she took one of the most beloved and successful non-profits on the planet, set it on fire, and shoved it out to sea like a viking funeral pyre, before resigning in disgrace. Then she wrote a book with the painfully prosaic title “Planned Bullyhood,” in which she called members of Planned Parenthood ”a bunch of schoolyard thugs.” So, what’s next for Karen Handel, disgraced and ostracized former head of the Susan G. Komen foundation?

She’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate, of course.

The good news is that Karen Handel, formerly of the pink ribbon (Susan G. Komen) brand would be running against Saxby Chambliss, whose one accomplishment in life consists of having slandered a wounded vet, Max Cleland, as soft on terror.

Posted in Tea Party | 1 Comment »

Thanks for connecting the last remaining dot

Posted by Charles II on March 22, 2012

Lucia Graves, HuffPo

After months of investigations into Solyndra and other Department of Energy loans failed to produce a smoking gun, one Republican lawmaker let slip why House Republicans have kept up the charge.

In an interview following yet another hearing in which Energy Secretary Steven Chu testified about the Department’s loan guarantee program, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) appeared to admit that Republicans’ ongoing probes of the program — from which the bankrupt California-based solar company Solyndra and others benefited — are largely a play to win votes in November.

“Our staff will continue to dig into it and see,” Jordan told Environment & Energy Daily. “But what I hope happens is we stop doing these kind of things … this whole cronyism approach to the marketplace.

“Ultimately, we’ll stop it on Election Day, hopefully. And bringing attention to these things helps the voters and citizens of the country make the kind of decision that I hope helps them as they evaluate who they are going to vote for in November.”

“I think leadership doesn’t want to be seen as using the gavels here for political purposes,” [Cong. Steve] King [R-Tea Party, who is running the Fast and Furious spanking of the Department of Injustice] told The Hill in an interview. “I think there’s a bit of an aversion to that. Me? I have no reservations about that. This is politics.”

I’m certainly not shocked that they are engaged in politics in Washington. I am disappointed that so many Americans can’t figure this out.

Posted in Congress, Congressional hearings, Republicans acting badly, Tea Party | 3 Comments »

Another great kidder from the Tea Party

Posted by Charles II on December 20, 2011

From the Puffington Host:

Jules Manson, a failed Tea Party candidate for local office in California, recently called for the assassination of President Obama and his daughters in a racial epithet-ridden Facebook screed.

The post, originally about his opposition to the recent passage of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a measure allowing the indefinite detention of suspected foreign terrorists, referred to the president as a “monkey.” Then it got much worse.

“Assassinate the f—– n—– and his monkey children,” Manson commented on his own post, according to a screen shot captured by Your Black Politics blog.

Manson, an avid Ron Paul supporter and libertarian…[announced his plans to run as a fake Democrat]

No, he’s not a senior Tea Partier. But where does this rage against Obama–for that matter, against Democrats– come from? For all I complain about Obama, he’s more competent and less venal than his predecessor. Low bar, I know. But where were these people when Bush was blowing up the economy, turning the US into an authoritarian state, and entangling us in the longest wars in American history?

Helping him swing the axe against the root of the Tree of Liberty, of course.

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, Tea Party | 4 Comments »

“Tax-Cutter” Pawlenty Raised Taxes for 90% of Minnesotans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2011

The Cons tried to deny it, but to no avail — Tim Pawlenty raised taxes for nine out of ten Minnesotans:

Between 2002, the year before Pawlenty took office, and 2008, the wealthiest Minnesotans – the top 10 percent – saw their effective state and local sales tax rate decline slightly. Meanwhile, lower earners generally saw their rates increase slightly.

And Pawlenty’s policies played a role in that shift. For example, he supported cuts to Local Government Aid, which prompted some local governments to raise property taxes for many Minnesotans. That increase largely hit middle-and-lower income earners, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. A new cigarette fee backed by Pawlenty also changed effective tax rates.

But something else happened during Pawlenty’s time in office: The richest Minnesotans got richer, in part due to unusually high capital gains income. So, while taxes may have increased for everyone in the state, in terms of percent of income, those changes were less dramatic for the state’s wealthiest.

The rich got richer, the rest of us got shafted, and Pawlenty never did actually “fix” the deficit he’d played a key role in creating back when he ran the Minnesota House in the late 1990s. Funny how that works.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, Minnesota, taxes, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | Comments Off on “Tax-Cutter” Pawlenty Raised Taxes for 90% of Minnesotans

Koch Tea Partiers: More Racist, Bigoted, Authoritarian Than Most Americans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 10, 2011

Because we still get people every so often claiming “The Tea Partiers aren’t racists so stop calling them that!”, here’s a little reality check for y’all from last year from the University of Washington, courtesy of Blue Texan:

The tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race,”said Christopher Parker, a UW assistant professor of political science who directed the survey.

It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

Indeed, strong support for the tea party movement results in a 45 percent decline in support for health care reform compared with those who oppose the tea party. “While it’s clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it’s also clear from the data that people who want limited government don’t want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,”Parker said.

Of course, as BT also pointed out, teabaggers love government spending, so long as it’s just for them.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, bigotry, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, Tea Party | 1 Comment »

Missing From GOP Justice Prosser’s Website: His Ties To Scott Walker

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2011

Where's the endorsement from the man Prosser promised to "compliment"?

How toxic are the electoral cooties attached to Scott Walker? David Prosser, the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, studiously avoids mentioning Walker — or even explicitly talking up his own Republican affiliation the way you’d expect a known Tea Party fan to do — anywhere on his campaign website for the upcoming April 5 contest between him and Democratic challenger JoAnn Kloppenberg. (See the above screenshot of his endorsements page. Notice the absence of Walker’s name?) This despite the fact that he was a former GOP Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, and is a person known for his intense Republican and pro-Walker partisanship, as this Blogging Blue piece from December shows:

A couple of weeks ago the campaign manager for the reelection campaign of Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser announced Prosser would “[protect] the conservative judicial majority and [act] as a common sense compliment to both the new administration and legislature,” and as first reported last week by Mike McCabe on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Big Money Blog, Justice Prosser has allegedly made “promises” (or threats, depending on your perspective) to veer far to the right both during and after the election if attacked by the “left” during the campaign.

Furthermore, Prosser’s partisan conservative Republican credentials, already burnished by an appearance at a Tea Party event last year (and do I even have to mention that Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are Koch fronts?), were reinforced just last month by the fact that the Club for Growth, an arch-conservative group which has been funded in part by and linked to the Koch brothers since its founding in 1999, carpet-bombed the Wisconsin airwaves with an unbelievably lavish amount of ads for Prosser during the primary campaign for his seat on the court:

Through the primary election, more than half a million dollars — $591,000 — was spent overall on TV air time. Club for Growth, spending approximately $408,000, accounted for about 69 percent of all television advertising in the primary. It spent more than twice as much for ads supporting Prosser than was spent on TV by the incumbent’s challengers, combined. Club for Growth didn’t only ring up a higher total than the challengers, it paid more per advertisement: Club for Growth paid an average of about $400 for each of its ads, while Winnig paid less than $200 per ad, and Kloppenburg less than $150 per ad — indicating that Club for Growth’s ads were disproportionately placed in larger markets or during programming with larger audiences than the ads placed by Prosser’s challengers.

And yes, the Club for Growth is currently carpet-bombing the Wisconsin airwaves again, this time with ads backing the anti-worker stance of Scott Walker, Prosser’s fellow Kochhead.

Meanwhile, it turns out that it’s not just Prosser’s website that’s being kept free of his hardcore conservative and Koch associations — association that he shares with ideological twin Scott Walker. A YouTube video of him being interviewed by Kim and Steve of the Northwoods Patriots, a local branch of the Tea Party Patriots (which, of course, was and still likely is being run by Koch front group FreedomWorks) has been pulled by its poster from YouTube, not long after its existence was highlighted by a progressive Wisconsin blogger, the Brew City Brawler.

(Crossposted at MyFDL.)

Posted in Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Tea Party | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

A corporate coup d’etat in Michigan

Posted by Charles II on March 9, 2011

From DemocracyNow:

NAOMI KLEIN: … in Michigan, there is a bill that’s already passed the House. It’s on the verge of passing the Senate. And I’ll just read you some excerpts from it. It says that in the case of an economic crisis, that the governor has the authority to authorize the emergency manager—this is somebody who would be appointed—to reject, modify or terminate the terms of an existing contract or collective bargaining agreement, authorize the emergency manager for a municipal government—OK, so we’re not—we’re talking about towns, municipalities across the state—to disincorporate. So, an appointed official with the ability to dissolve an elected body, when they want to.

AMY GOODMAN: A municipal government.

NAOMI KLEIN: A municipal government. And it says specifically, “or dissolve the municipal government.” So we’ve seen this happening with school boards, saying, “OK, this is a failing school board. We’re taking over. We’re dissolving it. We’re canceling the contracts.” …So it starts with the school boards, and then it’s whole towns, whole cities, that could be subject to just being dissolved because there’s an economic crisis breaking collective bargaining agreements. It also specifies that—this bill specifies that an emergency manager can be an individual or a firm. Or a firm. So, the person who would be put in charge of this so-called failing town or municipality could actually be a corporation.

AMY GOODMAN: Whose government they dissolve, a company takes over.

NAOMI KLEIN: A company takes over. So, they have created, if this passes, the possibility for privatization of a whole town by fiat. And this is actually a trend in the contracting out of public services, where you do now have whole towns, like Sandy Springs in Georgia, run by private companies. It’s very lucrative. Why not? You start with just the water contract or the electricity contract, but eventually, why not privatize the whole town? So—

AMY GOODMAN: And what happens then? Where does democracy fit into that picture?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, this is an assault on democracy. It’s a frontal assault on democracy. It’s a kind of a corporate coup d’état at the municipal level.

I do not understand why most blogs are not covering this with great detail. The balance of powers in our Constitution is carefully ordered as a bulwark against the seizure of power by tyrants. States, for example, cannot suddenly declare that they will elect 10 Senators instead of 2. The federal government cannot, except under the conditions of most dire crisis, take control of state functions such as policing the streets. Just so, localities have powers that only a tyrant would wish to tamper with. States cannot order local school boards to close a particular school or to set property taxes at a certain level.

But tyrants are what have bloomed forth from the Republican Party. They are using an artificially created crisis to try to take away rights that were won with blood. They cannot persuade people of the rightness of their causes (such as school privatization) by demonstrating that their ways work better–because, simply, their methods do not work better–so they will now force their methods onto local governments.

Are Michiganders up to resisting this power grab?

Early results are not promising. It’s up at DK (thank you, Jocava), but only a few hundred people are even protesting in Lansing, and it’s not clear they even understand that what is being done is more than an assault on a single right, such as collective bargaining, but represents an attack against the foundations of what make a free people.

Posted in abuse of power, capitalism as cancer, Constitutional crisis, Tea Party | 9 Comments »

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