Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts tagged Tea Party

Last night, 60 Minutes featured a segment on American infrastructure entitled Falling Apart.   This sobering look at roads, bridges, sewer, water, air, and port infrastructure should scare everyone.  The American Society of Civil Engineers gives America a D- on it’s infrastructure report card.  The question posed by the report is how did we get to this and how will it be fixed?

While politicians skirt the issue of paying for renovations while tragedy looms begs a question.  When the Recovery Act was being debated in 2009, at the midst of the Great Recession, with millions of Americans out of work, with interest rates at record lows, and a country full of crumbling infrastructure why did Republicans fight to make the infrastructure spending smaller and tax cuts bigger?

Sure, they succeeded in mitigating the positive impact of the stimulus and slowed the recovery but the bridges and roads remain underfunded and dangerous.  If you take the time to watch the segment, take a moment and ask who to blame for the lives affected by the next bridge collapse.

Infrastructure map

Mother Jones current issue is carrying Koch vs Koch: The Brutal Battle That Tore Apart America’s Most Powerful Family.

Politicians, as one of Charles’ advisers once put it, are stage actors working off a script produced by the nation’s intellectual class. Some of the intellectual seeds planted by the Kochs and their comrades would germinate into one of the past decade’s most influential political movements: Though the intensely private brothers downplay any connection, they helped to provide the key financing and organizational support that allowed the tea party to blossom into a formidable force—one that paralyzed Congress and ignited a civil war within the GOP. After backing a constellation of conservatives, from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to South Carolina’s Jim DeMint, Charles and David mounted their most audacious political effort to date in the 2012 presidential campaign, when their fundraising network unleashed an estimated $400 million via a web of conservative advocacy groups.

Just as their father, a founding member of the John Birch Society, had once decried the country’s descent toward communism during the Kennedy era, the brothers saw America veering toward socialism under President Obama. Charles, entering his late 70s, had not only failed to see American society transformed into his libertarian ideal; with this new administration, things seemed to be moving in the exact opposite direction. Now he and David, along with other allies, would wage what he described as the “mother of all wars” to defeat Obama and hand Republicans ironclad congressional majorities.

Yet for all the attention the Kochs—including the “other brothers,” Frederick and Bill—have received, America knows little about who they really are. Charles and David have gained a reputation as cartoonish robber barons, powerful political puppeteers who with one hand choreographed the moves of Republican politicians and with the other commanded the tea party army. And like all caricatures, this one bears only a faint resemblance to reality.

As with America’s other great dynasties, the Kochs’ legacy (corporate, philanthropic, political, cultural) is far more expansive than most people realize, and it will be felt long into the future. Already, the four brothers have become some of the most influential, celebrated, and despised members of their generation. Understanding what shaped them, what drove them, and what set them upon one another requires traveling back to a time when the battles involved little more than a pair of boxing gloves.

Yahoo News is carrying this interview with the directors of the new film “Citizen Koch.”  You may remember this film from an earlier post on this blog pointing out that PBS had refused to air this film due to the influence of Koch Brother donations.

While the Kochs have been players in conservative politics for decades, Deal and Lessin show how their reach was greatly expanded with the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which unleashed an unrestricted flow of corporate dollars to political campaigns.

Riding the wave of the Court’s ruling, Deal and Lessin said, the Koch brothers began reaching into their coffers to fund the budding tea party.

“They did a lot of funding early on in seeding these tea party movements,” Tia Lessin said of the Koch brothers. “A lot of people, I think, have been duped, and they don’t realize that the big money of the Kochs is behind a lot of these small patriot gatherings around the country.”

In These Times invites you to Meet The Missing Workers.  As legislators like Blaine Lemmingmeyer ignore their constituents and take their marching orders from the Koch Brothers they leave millions of Americans to fend for their themselves in an economy their ideology created.  These Americans are veterans, taxpayers, and citizens that are the future of this country.

Back in 1990, George Grasmann earned more than $50,000 a year as a systems engineer. For a time, he rented a comfortable, spacious house outside Tampa, Fla. Today, he lives on less than $13,000 a year in part of a rented garage.

Grasmann’s tech career ended with a layoff in 2000, after which he shifted to taking any short-term job he could find. He lost his last job, with a pest control firm, in 2009. Since then, he says that he has sent out 1,500 applications for jobs with no success. Federal extension of unemployment assistance helped him survive and fueled his job search until he exhausted the full 99 weeks (an option no longer open to the unemployed, since Congressional Republicans repeatedly blocked renewal of extended benefits—although a new Senate extension deal awaits House approval).

Grasmann pawned personal belongings and ran through his retirement savings. He relied on food stamps until last year, when Republican-initiated changes made him ineligible. He was denied Social Security disability, but eventually the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ruled that his severe arthritic pain and other health problems justified disability payments, which constitute his only income.

Who would treat their fellow citizens this way?

Davis blames the Tea Party and its corporate backers for destroying “everything I have worked for [over] the past 40 years. I feel like the media and certain parts of the government are ignoring the problem of unemployed Americans, and we are being shoved into some sort of ‘under community’ with no way out.”

Since George Grasmann isn’t the type of man to give up, what does he think should be done?

Indeed, the decline of labor market participation bolsters the case for a large-scale job-creation plan from federal, state and local governments, as well as the Federal Reserve. This could benefit both the jobless and jobholders. Without millions of desperate job seekers—and millions more “missing workers” in reserve—the balance of power would tip toward workers. The lowest-paid could bargain to earn more, thus reducing inequality, as economists Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein argue in their new book, Getting Back To Full Employment.

Perhaps most importantly, a stimulus would help people like Grasmann and Davis come in from the cold. “It is hard to avoid feeling like a used-up relic with not enough sense to just go away,” Grasmann writes in an e-mail. “I counter it with the idea that I was put here for a reason. For all I know my purpose is being fulfilled by telling this story to anyone who will listen.”

 

 

This site is paid for and operated by Democrats.  That said, here is an editorial from Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation on a subject that we both agree on - The insanity of “Free Trade” agreements.  While we agree on TPP,  Mr. Phillips tends to gloss over the overwhelming support of Republicans for NAFTA (90%) and overstate the support of Democrats.  Nonetheless, his analysis of the Korean Free Trade Agreement is spot on…

Most people would expect Obama, in the middle of a fight over the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to be trumpeting the successes of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

There is a reason for Obama’s silence.

In the first two years of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, U.S. exports to Korea fell by $3.1 billion. Meanwhile, imports from Korea increased by $8.7 billion. Studies show that, instead of increasing employment in America, approximately 60,000 jobs have been lost thanks to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

The U.S. has entered into a number of these so-called free trade agreements, starting with the NAFTA agreement in the early ‘90s. The results are predictable. Every time, America’s trade deficit goes up and American employment goes down.

Photo: Good question. </p><br /><br />
<p>Thanks to The Bitchy Pundit.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren takes the tea party philosophy to the stovetop and reduces it to a syrup with no substance in this speech from the Senate floor.

I’d love to hear Claire talk like this.

Kim Messick of Salon continues his analysis of the radicalization of the Republican Party in The Conservative Crackup: How The Republican Party Lost It’s Mind.  If you like political history you will like this.

Now, in 2013, we have the politics that 50 years of this process have created. The Democratic Party has fewer conservatives than it once did, but is still a broadly coalitional party with liberal and moderate elements. It controls the coasts, has strength in the industrial Midwest, and is making inroads in the upper, more urbanized South and in Florida. It confronts a Republican Party almost wholly dependent on the interior states of the old Confederacy. (The party continues to win in the mountain and prairie West, but the region is too sparsely populated to provide any real electoral heft.) Because of its demographic weakness, it is more beholden than ever to the intensity of its most extreme voters. This has engendered a death spiral in which it must take increasingly radical positions to drive these voters to the polls, positions that in turn alienate ever larger segments of the population, making these core voters even more crucial — and so on. We have a name these days for the electoral residue produced by this series of increasingly rigorous purifications. We call it “the Tea Party.”

The relentless radicalization of the Republican Party since 1964 is the most important single event in the political history of the United States since the New Deal. It has significantly shaped the course of our government and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But this means it has also shaped the individual life of every citizen— the complex amalgam of possibilities and opportunities available (or not) to each of us. The conservative visionaries of the ‘50s and ‘60s wanted a new world. We’re all living in it now.

 

 

The Funny Times has a hilarious cartoon in this month’s edition – What Government Can Do.   It illustrates the bogus tea party argument and their depiction of the Tea Party is priceless.  Enjoy.

Kos writes:

Oh, [right-wingers] desperately wanted Norway’s attacks to be the handiwork of jihadists so they could continue justifying the trillions of dollars and countless lives wasted on our overseas adventures.

Then, it turned out the terrorist was a white Christian conservative, and poof! They lost interest. I mean, how dare you smear an entire group of people based on the actions of just one bad apple?

Then those same conservatives shifted into damage control mode when it also turned out that the terrorist was hugely inspired by the tea party. From his manifesto:

We, the European Revolutionary Conservatives know very well that it will take many years, even decades before we successfully manage to consolidate to a degree where we can seize political and military power in the first Western European country. In the US, the Tea party movement is one of the first physical, political manifestations which indicate that there is a great storm coming. The creation of similar conservative organizations, even the creation of revolutionary conservative movements … is about to materialize. The cultural Marxists are losing their momentum to our advantage.

What gets missed in the discussion is that Islamic terrorism, Christian terrorism and anti-government terrorism are all examples of right-wing terrorism. There is just no modern equivalent on the left. Today’s terror and intimidation, whether it be bombs or bullying, is coming entirely from the fundamentalist right. There is only disagreement on whose god is the right god but the genesis of their maniacal inspiration is drawn from the exact same authoritarian wellspring.

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