This Tea-Party is Nothing like 1773.

On December 16, 1773, a group of fired-up colonists in Boston went down to Griffins Wharf, boarded 3 Vessels, and spent the next 3 hours tossing 342 chests of British Tea overboard into The Atlantic Ocean. There were anywhere from 30 to 130 men involved, some disguised as Mohawk Indians. Part of the reason for the Tea-Party dumping was due to the fact that the colonists had no representation in the British Parliment, which felt it wasn’t neccessary because they “owned” the Colonies, and could levy whatever duties and taxes it wanted. It was a little more complicated than that, as it always is, but that’s the summary of what happened.

Can someone please tell me how this has any relationship to the so-called “Tea-Party” following?

Having grown up in Massachusetts, I have a hard time believing the good citizens of Boston, circa 1773 would be happy that that some 237 years later, their heroic act of defiance against the British  would be hijacked by an almost exclusively white, male, right-wing off-shoot of what we would call  Conservative Republicans. Now, let’s give these folks their due. They would tell you it’s not all white people. That’s true. Only about 89% are white. And yes, they aren’t all racists, or calling for violence or the overthrow of our duly elected officials. But here is where I part ways with these people. The problem, as I see it, is that the Tea-Party has been acting as a magnet, attracting idealogue extremists of all kinds, who set-up shop under their umbrella.  This of course is the classic turn-your-head, tacit-approval that I’m speaking of. While on the one hand they claim to be a non-discriminitory party, they allow the unhinged-fringe to set up shop at their gatherings. There is no way to have any dialogue or reasonable debate with these dangerous loose-cannons. Some are rooted in racism against our president, others in religious or lifestyle racism. Their back-wards and often angry outbursts are seen everyday on the news. And to be fair, these types of people have been around at least since the original Tea-Party. Unfortunately, many of these far-right lunatics become emboldened and feel that their un-hinged, often violent rhetoric is justified, thru the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

Recently, I spoke with a couple of people who were proud Tea-Party members. They claimed their party is made up of hard-working, decent Americans who, among other things, are fed-up with all the money the Government is spending. They claim they are not racist, are inclusive of others,and that there are other people besides just white folks who are members.  They went on to say that it takes a lot of courage for black members to join, so some of them don’t want to be seen in public for fear of being attacked, either verbally or physically. One member even tried to tell me that during the Tea-Party rally in Washington, D.C. last March, there were 1.2 to 2 million people in attendance, including himself. He went on to claim the BBC took photos from the air proving there were at least a million people in attendance, and that it was purposely being downplayed by the mainstream media. After some research of my own, I found Boston University professor and crowd estimate expert (yes, they actually have those!) Farouk El-Baz, who estimated peak attendance at 75,000. Figures for the Metro train ridership that day show 87,000 more riders than average.  There were also reports that NO aerial photos were taken, and that the ones shown were of different rallies. Additional research by me could not find any aerial photos as well. I asked him what his ethnicity was, and he was, hold-on, here it comes, a white male! Big surprise….He then went on to say he met 15 blacks, 11 hispanics and 5 Gay people. (Not sure how he knew they were gay, unless they were carrying signs or kissing in public). Sort of reminded me of Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. Remember what he said about the diversity of  his staff ?   “We have a black, 2 cripples and a Jew”. I said wow, out of the millions of people you claim were there, including you, and you met only 31 people of other ethnic backgrounds or lifestyles ? That’s your proof of being inclusive?

So, after listening to them, this was my response: I said that if the Tea-Party wants to have any semblance of respect, or believe that what they say has even a morsel of truth to it, then they need to come out publicly with a document or statement, that basically says they denounce all forms of racial intolerance, whether it’s skin prejudice, intolerance of religious or other lifestyle choices. They should say that any extremist views towards that end, or advocating violence are not welcome, and should be made to leave if they show up. They should ask for all people of all backgrounds who believe in their ideals to join. They should publicly ask that all members respect their duly elected President, even if they disagree with his policies. They should state that all Americans are equal, and must be afforded the same respect and rights. Otherwise they will continue to be on the outer fringes of politics, and will be seen as nothing more than a mob of angry, sore losers. This is the only way they would be seen as more inclusive of all Americans.

Want to know what their response was?

-“We don’t need to comply with any affirmative action rules.”                 Huh?

Doesn’t that say it all?  I rest my case.

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Former Policymakers Admit GOP Ruined Economy

I find it interesting that 2 former Republican Policymakers finally had a “light-bulb” moment, and admitted what many of us knew already- namely, that it was The Republican Party, it’s Presidents and Policymakers who are responsible for the economic and fiscal disaster we have been put into. I speak of former Fed-Chief Alan Greenspan and David Stockton, former Office of  Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan. First, Mr. Greenspan. On NBC’s “Meet The Press”,  he went into detail about comments he had made earlier with PBS’s Judy Woodruff. “I’m very much in favor of tax cuts but not with borrowed money and the problem that we have gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money,” he said. “And at the end of the day that proves disastrous. My view is I don’t think we can play subtle policy here.” This is Mr. Greenspans response to the much-hyped Conservative Republican lie that tax-cuts, essentially for the wealthiest families in America, would pay for themselves by generating revenues and creating productivity. Mr. Greenspan, who was the previous Fed-Chairman for 18 years, continued, saying  the push by congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts without offsetting the costs elsewhere could end up being “disastrous” for the economy. In my previous post I had spoken about the Republicans ridiculous claims of being fiscally responsible, and it seems that my assumptions were, in fact, correct.

I work really hard to try and present the facts as they are, not as I’d like them to be. And, yes, I do personalize them with my own sayings and feelings about how much others, typically Republicans, Conservatives, Tea-Party folks, etc. would have you believe their twisted, spun, edited comments are the real truth.  But hey, it’s my Blog, and I tell it like it is. Look, anyone who regularly watches Fox Noise and it’s smearing, racist, lying opinions disguised as actual news already has no basis in reality, so it’s not difficult for them to continually saddle-up to the trough for another drink of the Kool-Aid. I’ll have more to say about that in my next blog. I’m glad Mr. Greenspan has decided to speak out about this looming deficit disaster now. I only hope that this battle becomes fully engaged by the Democrats, and that they are able to stay on message about this, and convince the majority of Americans that allowing the wealthiest Americans to return to the Clinton-era tax bracket, which for them would amount to a very-small 3% increase, would be the fiscally correct thing to do. For the Republicans to continually squak about the deficit, over and over like a broken record, then use that as a ruse to stall and hold congress for weeks from passing a much-needed lifeline of  unemployement benefits for the middle-class, is political posturing at it’s worst. But in the bizarro-world that they operate in, they spout flat-out lies that allowing these budget busting tax breaks to expire will hurt the economy and job creation. I say Bullshit, and anyone who has paid any attention at all to this would come to the same conclusion. Frankly, I’m fed up with the rich folks getting special treatment, while the rest of us just get the shaft. Mr. Greenspans assumptions are not conjecture or wild-guesses. His prognosis for continued slow-growth and anemic job gains are based in fact, unlike the Republicans, who are still living in some Alice in Wonderland fantasy, where simply because they say it, and Fox noise cheerleads it, it’s so. They refuse to see the Brontosaurus stomping around the room, even when people affiliated with their own party, tell them that, yes, this gargantuan tax break for the wealthy is a bad idea.

And in another moment of clarity, Mr. David Stockman, who was President Ronald Reagans Director of Office and Budget Management, has written an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times condemning the Republican Party and proving that they are responsible for ruining our economy with bad policy and mis-management going back to the Nixon administration. His article, called “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse” goes into detail explaining exactly how the Republicans have made a complete mockery of their own ideals. Furthermore, Mr. Stockton proves how the modern Republican Party has been responsible for, and turning a blind-eye to, 4 deformations of the national economy that have nearly ruined us. Below, I am going to excerpt some of his remarks, but I encourage anyone reading this to follow this link and read it in it’s entirety.  Here it is: www.nytimes.com/08/08/2010/opinion/01stockman.html

Mr. Stockman asserts that “If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion.” he goes on to explain that Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky)siren call claiming that the wealthiest Americans cannot afford a modest 3% increase by allowing the Tax cuts to expire as “unseemly.” Continuing his assertions of Mr. McConnell, he says because of his stand, “Mr. McConnell puts the lie to the Republican pretense that its new monetarist and supply-side doctrines are rooted in its traditional financial philosophy.” He continues, spealing about what the Republican Party once was all about, but sadly, is no more. ” Republicans used to believe that prosperity depended upon the regular balancing of accounts — in government, in international trade, on the ledgers of central banks and in the financial affairs of private households and businesses, too. But the new catechism, as practiced by Republican policymakers for decades now, has amounted to little more than money printing and deficit finance.” These have made a “mockery” of tradional Republican ideals, and led to both the Wall Street and other institutional financial meltdowns.

This has roots dating to 1971, when President Nixon was persuaded by Milton Friedman to take the U.S. off the Gold-Standard, defaulting on the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement for us to balance our accounts with the world. Once relieved of the need for fixed monetary exchanges, the rest of the worlds leaders were also now free to cheapen their monies and disregard their neighbors as such. Over time, this has balloned the U.S.’s “current cumulative combined shortfall on our trade in goods, services and income — to  nearly $8 trillion. That’s borrowed prosperity on an epic scale.”

Furthermore, he puts the blame squarely in Republican’s lap, stating “The second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. In 1970 it was just 40 percent of gross domestic product, or about $425 billion. When it reaches $18 trillion, it will be 40 times greater than in 1970. This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.” We all remember Dick Cheney chanting this during the Bush Administration. Other problems soley created by Republicans were: 1.) “.”The delusion that the economy will outgrow the deficit if plied with enough tax cuts.”  2.) “The vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector. Here, Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation.” This is what happened on Wall Street and with the Banks, which could have never survived this if the Fed hadn’t given them discounted money and Fed guarantees to cover their bad bets, so they felt no need to avoid bad risk and speculation.

Finally, since George Bush took office, real income for Americans declined an average of $2200.00 per year. High-value jobs in technology and information declined as well, from 77 million to 68 million, or about 12%. But, to Mr. Bush’s credit, we had a gain in low-paying, mostly part-time positions in bars, nursing homes and hotels. Kudos to you, Georgie boy!

So, if you’re still with me here, to wrap this all up for you, Mr. Stockton  says “It is not surprising, then, that during the last bubble (from 2002 to 2006) the top 1 percent of Americans — paid mainly from the Wall Street casino — received two-thirds of the gain in national income, while the bottom 90 percent — mainly dependent on Main Street’s shrinking economy — got only 12 percent. This growing wealth gap is not the market’s fault. It’s the decaying fruit of bad economic policy.”  Republican Policy……

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or an economist, or a Fed-Chief to realize what has happened to our economy. The Republicans would be happy to keep you fearful of the present administration, and ignorant or mindlessly forgetful of the previous one. The Grand Obstructionist Party has nothing new to offer us, except old, backwards ways of thinking and doing. And the fact that people such as Alan Greenspan and David Stockton have both come out and stated that the Republican ideas of un-paid tax cuts to the wealthy, cumulative poor policies by Republican administrations, and continued, fantastical, pie-in-the-sky claims of fiscal responsibility have ruined our economy and wreaked havoc with our financial sector, allowing big business and the wealthy to manipulate and steal not only our money(yours, mine & ours), but good, high-paying jobs, which in turn has lead to a loss of stability, security and a good standard of living for you and your families.

So, what to do? I guess the simpilest answer would be to choke the life out the Republican Party with their own bad medicine. Hold them accountable for their own fraudulent actions, that hurt all of us. Get angry. Get involved. Register to vote. Talk to your neighbors. Get informed. Don’t let them try and fool you. Last, but most importantly,Vote them out, Vote Them Out, VOTE THEM OUT!!!