All Articles Tagged "tea party"
The economy is not President Obama’s biggest problem. The nation’s sluggish economy and lack of jobs are merely a symptom of the GOP’s reckless, all out assault on the American people. Part of that assault is purposely keeping unemployment high in order to keep the people miserable, hungry, and divided until the next election. Many progressive and independent thinkers clearly recognize this glaring fact, yet, Obama seems to be completely oblivious to it, or at the very least, failing to educate the American people regarding what is going on.
Our current condition is a part of the GOP’s “final solution” to an unwavering agenda that they’ve pursued since the days of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They are determined to reverse “the New Deal,” and the poor and middle-class safety net provided therein.
The New Deal was a series of programs instituted by President Roosevelt between 1933 and 1936 during the Great Depression. The programs were designed to bring relief to the poor and middle class, help the economy to recover from the depression, and reform the behavior of the wheelers and dealers who caused the depression in the first place. So naturally, the wheelers and dealers were dead set against the programs then, just as they continue to be today.
Two of the programs that the corporatists hated most was the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act – again, two of the very same programs that are under attack today. Corporatists were against these programs from their very inception for exactly the same reasons they’re intensely hostile to them now – they serve to loosen the corporate yoke from around the throats of poor and middle-class workers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act guaranteed a minimum wage for workers, established a 40-hour workweek and time-and-a-half for overtime. The act also prohibited “oppressive child labor.” Prior to the FLSA, companies could force workers to work for as many hours as they saw fit, without having to pay overtime, and they were allowed to pay the workers whatever crumbs they decided to throw their way. And since there was no such thing as social security, and families also had to support elderly family members, instead of sending their children of eight and nine years-old to school, they were forced to send them to work on oppressive and often life-threatening jobs in coal mines and such just so the family could survive.
These are the conditions that the GOP is in a fierce battle to hoist upon poor and middle-class American workers again. Hyperbole? I don’t think so. Reversing the New Deal has been a primary goal of the Republican Party for over 70 years now, but New Deal programs, like the FLSA and Social Security, have been so popular with the American people that they’ve been politically untouchable. Clear evidence of that is the heat the Republicans received after it was revealed earlier this year that the GOP budget proposal included “modifying” social security and medicare – even the Tea Party turned on them. Thereafter, the huge Tea Party rallies that we saw last year all but disappeared. At this point the only thing that’s holding the Tea Party coalition together is corporate promotion. But in spite of the millions of dollars of corporate funds being poured into it, the movement has gone from a mighty roar to a whimper, at best.
(LA Times) — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) came out swinging against Republicans in Congress on Saturday as she addressed the unemployed during a forum in Inglewood. The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California’s jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%. California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%. Waters vowed to push Congress to focus on creating more jobs. “I’m not afraid of anybody,” said Waters. “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the ‘tea party’ can go straight to hell.”
By L. N. Rock
The anger and hostility between the NAACP and the so-called Tea Party movement started back in 2010, at its annual convention in St. Louis; the NAACP passed a resolution denouncing the “racist element” within the tea party movement.
The 2010 resolution said the Tea Party members have used “racial epithets,” have verbally abused black members of Congress and threatened them, and protestors have engaged in “explicitly racist behavior” and “displayed signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically.” At the time, Ben Jealous head of the NAACP, specifically pointed to signs at rallies portraying President Obama as a witch doctor, and to claims made by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., that Tea Party protestors opposing health care reform hurled racial slurs at them.
Then in October of 2010, The NAACP, organized (a poorly organized and poorly attended protest) march in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 2nd, billed as the next step in building momentum against the Tea Party. Since the failure of the march, the NAACP has been largely quiet about the Tea Party, and has been trying to rebuild its name as a relevant player in 2011.
Black American Tea Party loyalists held their first rally outside the 102nd NAACP National Convention in Downtown Los Angeles to challenge the racism allegations against the so-called Tea Party movement. The Black Tea Party members denounced the NAACP as “morally bankrupt.” Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, organizer of the South Central L.A. Tea Party, and no stranger to name calling had some choice words for the NAACP:
“The NAACP is a partisan tool of the Obama Administration. For decades, this group has supported left-wing polices which have created dependency, destroyed black families, and hurt race relations.”
Rev. Peterson also made the following allegations.
NAACP spreading lies about the Tea Party. NAACP has made numerous false allegations of “racism” against Tea Party groups, but has yet to provide a shred of evidence backing up their baseless claims.
The NAACP is a partisan tool of the Obama administration. The group blindly supports Barack Obama’s out-of-control federal spending and bailouts.
The NAACP has remained silent on black on black violence. And they refuse to address recent news of black thugs attacking whites and flash mob crimes across the country—but NAACP President Benjamin Jealous says he’s “deeply concerned” with the lack of black news anchors on Television.
The NAACP has aligned itself with the United Federation of Teachers to block 22 of the worst performing schools in New York City from being shut down. More at hinterlandgazette.com
Black conservatives are really taking big media heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement—and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. As an example, as reported by The Root, Charles Butler, a black, Chicago-based conservative talk show host, has been in shouting matches and called a traitor to his race because of his affiliation with the largely white Tea Party movement.
I’m not sure how the Black Tea Party organization can be successful at engaging the NAACP in a conversation when they are having issues working within their own organization. It will be interesting to see how the so-called Black Tea Party confronts the NAACP in the future. It should make for interesting entertainment, seeing that both groups are more interested in showboating and grandstanding.
L. N. Rock is a management consultant, Democratic strategist, and 2008 credentialed blogger at the Democratic National Convention. He blogs at African American Pundit
Salon.com has analyzed the make up of the Tea Party Caucus in the House and discovered that it is overwhelmingly Southern and white. Even though the media focuses on Midwesterners like Michele Bachmann, or high-profile blacks like Herman Cain when portraying Tea Party members, most of the officials elected from this group represent a thin slice of radical Southern politics. The Tea Party is not a spontaneous outgrowth of current economic frustrations that spans a cross-section of political sources.
When looking closely at the caucus members, where they are from, and their tactics, it becomes easy to recognize the same right Southern extremists that have been on the scene for decades — if not centuries. They just have a new brand, with the same outlook.
Under the “new” guise of the Tea Party, radical Christian conservatives today are using the obstructionist ploys first used by their predecessors — such as starting the Civil War to resist the end of slavery. More recently, they have crippled the country over the debt ceiling by threatening to cause a world economic collapse. The resulting bill was just signed by Obama into law is rife with the cuts to entitlements, while preserving defense spending — exactly what radical Southern extremists constantly cry for.
This faction was willing to risk destroying the credit of the United States to get its way. Apparently, this is part of a very old pattern at work. Salon.com breaks down their cunning:
Contradicting the mainstream media narrative that the Tea Party is a new populist movement that formed spontaneously in reaction to government bailouts or the Obama administration, the facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label. The threat of Southern Tea Party representatives and their sidekicks from the Midwest and elsewhere to destroy America’s credit rating unless the federal government agrees to enact Dixie’s economic agenda of preserving defense spending while slashing entitlements is simply the latest act of aggression by the Solid South. [...]
From the earliest years of the American republic, white Southern conservatives when they have lost elections and found themselves in the political minority have sought to extort concession from national majorities by paralyzing or threatening to destroy the United States.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 asserted the alleged right of states to “nullify” any federal law that state lawmakers considered unconstitutional. This obstructionist mentality led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when South Carolina refused to enforce federal tariffs. Civil War was averted only when President Andrew Jackson, a Southerner himself, forced the nullifiers to back down.
Through this example, and unveiling the details of the Civil War they eventually did cause, Salon makes a very good case for the idea that the Tea Party is really a relaunched band of Southern radicals. Steeped in Confederate nostalgia, this group is fueled by religion and willing to hurt the general population to get what it wants for their brethren.
Sounds like terrorism.
I wrote yesterday that the GOP was holding America’s credit rating hostage to get what it wanted. Today, I realize that perhaps not the entire GOP is to blame. Tea Party members specifically took the U.S. to the brink of financial collapse to attain the harsh spending cuts that will disproportionately effect the poor. This is very similar to a lone bomber destroying himself on a crowded city bus to make an abstract point. While the cause of the violence is unrelated to them, the victims will suffer horribly all the same.
It’s unclear how senior citizens struggling to pay their medical bills will help our flat economy. But the slashing of federal spending has become such a dogmatic point of rhetoric for Tea Party members, it is dubious that they know either. The only thing that is clear is that they have won this battle through fear, intimidation, and the threat of destruction even if that destruction had been absolute.
The Tea Party might as well announce its Jihad on political fairness and economic equality in this country. Will Obama ever be able to pass sound fiscal policies with these domestic terrorists in the House? It is hard to act with intelligence when facing an opponent willing to commit social suicide.
Watching Capitol Hill these days is like watching a neo-modern remake of “Gangs of New York,” the rhetoric flying back and forth as forceful and as bloody as the make-shift, handmade daggers, knives and other kitchen utensils defining the nasty Irish immigrant gang fights during the Civil War. It’s not as bad in Congress as it was prior to the Civil War, but its ugly enough to cause some pause and nostalgia on the part of historians and careful students of the most devastating war in our country’s history.
That conflict was defined as much by geography as it was by party or ideology. Where you were from said a great bit about how you would vote or what stand you would take. What we’re not talking about and making sense of in the current breakdown of institutional sanity is the same thing: geography. A closer look at the reviled Tea Party Caucus – whom even red-faced geriatric and 2008 loser Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) lashed out at the other day – reveals what’s going on.
The uncomfortable fact is that the rednecks are calling all the shots. A quick examination of the 60 official Members of the Tea Party Congress clears that up: most from very rural and exurban states like Alabama, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, etc. These are the folks currently setting the tone and direction of debate on a number of critical policy issues.
That’s odd considering they represent 11% of the entire U.S. Congress, including both House and Senate chambers. But, at this stage, they are running the show.
In Congress, some ran farms and ranches or unsuccessful small local businesses; others are very well-to-do and wealthy, and are in a position of proving to their less endowed constituents that, yes, they are down with “the people” (one reason behind constant references to old, dusty documents like the Constitution). Stuff can’t move unless some rural hickness representing a Congressional district of “guns and religion” – as then-Candidate Obama surmised – says it can. These are folks coming from states or locations where only 16 percent of the population resides – telling the other 84 percent of us, mostly from cities, what to do.
It’s not that they want default, or fewer social programs or a total collapse in basic functions of government services. It’s that they are from places where they don’t know exactly what that is. Where purchase of a shiny, new pick-up truck is considered a major symbol of upward mobility and dial-up Internet is still a norm in some parts. There are fewer government services – which is odd considering these are populations that need it most – leading to a perspective and culture that ridicules and resents those who do have that “luxury.” We need not get into the wretched racial details and segregationist history which is popularly cited.
Not to say these folks are backwards. Simply put, they just don’t know. And, the attitude is that if they can manage surviving with less then so can the rest of us.
The other 84 percent of the U.S. population which is centered in and around urban metropolitan areas is too pre-occupied with the latest digital tablet trends, plucking away at smartphones and getting into the newest club to even notice. That could explain why much of the Northeastern U.S. has lost much of its political clout. Clout, instead, appears to be shifting South and Southwest thanks to population shifts.
Charles D. Ellison is Chief Political Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune, author of the critically-acclaimed urban political thriller TANTRUM and a nationally recognized, frequently featured expert on politics.
It’s fairly easy these days to dismiss Michelle Bachmann as a serious Presidential contender. After all, folks who run for President should, at the least, have their facts straight on basic U.S. history. She should know the fundamental contours of the slavery debate; getting caught signing on to a conservative group pledge which praised it shows a certain ignorance on detail.
Sure, it’s amusing to watch the House Tea Party Caucus chair and self-appointed queen of the Conservative movement occasionally fumble on some key policy facts. We’re all a bit amazed that she’s leading the manic charge of partisan Republicans who believe it’ll be all good if the federal government defaults on its loans next week. We clown her and stare in pure befuddlement at her notion of Obama Administration “scare tactics” on debt-ceiling default, especially when regular folks get harassed, FICA scores plummet and phones blow up just for avoiding a small credit card bill. And, right now, we’re pointing at reports of intense Bachmann migraines on the campaign trail and staff turnover on Capitol Hill as proof of a sociopath.
But, we keep poking fun and joining in the Bachmann diatribes at our own peril.
Dismissing highly successful Republican career politicians like Congresswoman Bachmann and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as “wing nuts” and purveyors of conservative insanity defeats the need to seriously examine why they ended up here in the first place. Black political commentators and so-called bloggers who think they know politics, footnoting for a moment here, are especially bad with this. There is incessant drinking of the Democratic talking point Kool Aid spiked with doses of Daily Show and Keith Olbermann nostalgia. While it’s all good to every now and then poke a funny bone or two in the pursuit of a laugh to cure moments of depression, it can’t be done at the expense of a solid analysis on the person in question.
Despite knee-slapping gaffes and bouts with incoherence, Bachmann is a pure political genius. Sure, maybe in a megalomaniacal way, but we shouldn’t discount her. It would be wise to make a distinction between went-to-college or have-a-PhD smart and being political mastermind smart. One need only look at her very fast-track political trajectory that spans the past decade – from State Senator to Congresswoman to now fundraising GOP superstar and de facto national head of the party’s extreme wing in less than 5 years.
We need to pay attention to that so we’re not ambushed when she puts plans in motion. Bachmann’s run for President may appear quixotic by conventional standards, but she’s raising mounds of cheddar in the process, testament to a vigorous field operation and many followers at her feet. But, she’s not stupid: even she understands the practical calculus and the long shot nature of her Presidential bid. Still, she forges ahead because it serves a larger purpose.
Ever since candidate Barack Obama in 2008, keen and wily political animals on both sides of the aisle realize the power of an unorthodox campaign and where that can take you. While she might not end up as the GOP nominee, there is the off-chance she can leverage primary trail power into becoming a running mate.
But, even if that doesn’t work, there is a more realistic route that Bachman is taking at the moment: capturing full power in the House of Representatives. Still smarting from the rank-and-file establishment Republican diss of her leadership aspirations, Bachmann has been playing the Tea Party Caucus card rather well, coordinating her small contingent of fanatics into a powerful voting bloc that has repeatedly derailed any chance at compromise over the debt ceiling debate.
It’s a clever move worth watching more closely. Bachmann has set herself up for a win-win with eyes on taking the House Speakership away from current occupant John Boehner (R-OH). Either she appoints her own man or she takes it for herself. In the end, she’ll still be where she likes it: in charge and talked about.
Charles D. Ellison is Chief Political Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune, author of the critically-acclaimed urban political thriller TANTRUM and a nationally recognized, frequently featured expert on politics.
(Slate) — “I’ve been unemployed or underemployed since September 2006,” said Benito Diaz. “The only thing I’ve done since then is part-time jobs, not even in what I used to work in. Frustrating is not the word. Yeah, so, the most important thing to me is the issue of jobs.” There are seven of us sitting around Diaz, listening and nodding. This was the sharing portion of the meeting, when everyone got three minutes to talk about how the economy was affecting them and the poor schlubs they knew. When we were done, according to our briefing papers, we were scheduled to talk about “the time in your life when you felt most proud of your community of America.” And after that, we were supposed to make some lists. We were making history, maybe, sitting at one of the inaugural get-togethers of the American Dream movement, aka the Rebuild the Dream movement, aka the insanely ambitious project that Van Jones has been talking about ever since Glenn Beck and some bloggers succeeding in bouncing him out of the White House. This get-together, in a Quaker meeting house in Washington’s Dupont Circle, started at 4 p.m. on Saturday and went on for two hours. It was one of about 1,600* such parties happening around the country last weekend, and one of 10 within a short bike or car ride from my house.
By Jay Anderson
We thought 2012 was going to be the year of Palin. After quitting her governorship just two years into the job, Palin was supposed to buckle down, educate herself, and lay the groundwork for world domination (i.e., defeating Obama). Of course, a strange thing called money intervened. Palin is clearly too busy cashing in on her fame to worry about something so trivial as becoming leader of the free world. Palin’s gaffe-a-minute style is guaranteed blog fodder, so it’s sad that she more than likely won’t be running after all. Thankfully, an equally deranged substitute exists: official GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Her scramble-brained nonsense is better than any refudiation Palin has ever done. Here’s just a sampling of her crazy, in which she soundly trumps all competitors, even if she lags behind in the polls.
The Founding Fathers ‘Worked Tirelessly’ to End Slavery — NOT!
There’s revisionist history, and there’s “dude, are you serious?” While on the campaign trail, Bachmann made this dubious claim: “[W]e also know that the very founders that wrote [the Constitution] worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” For the record Michele — NO THEY DIDN’T. Several of the founding fathers famously owned slaves. This statement would almost be funny — if she hadn’t said it with a completely straight face. And if Bachmann wasn’t at or near the top of the polls in many states right now.
As of late, the Left end of the political blogosphere has been all abuzz about a grassroots group started by Van Jones. Jones is most remembered as a former activist, Green Czar, and the second (Rev. Jeremiah Wright being the first) in a long line of black and brown people thrown under the bus by Obama. I haven’t heard this much hoopla about an organization since another black man, equally as vacuous, promised change we could believe in back in 2008.
Seeing as how there’s been no substantive change in the status quo since Obama took office, thus ripping open a gaping leadership chasm on the Left, I’m not surprised that liberals have chosen another black man as the embodiment of their political ambitions. The problem is that, yet again, they’ve got the wrong black man. At this point, I’m unsure if those on the Left who supported Obama and now support Van Jones are activists or L.A.P.D. patrol squads.
I mean, how many times can they pick the wrong black guy based on a murky, but generally agreed upon, standard that he fit the description? In the lead-up to the kick-off of Van Jones’ Rebuild the Dream launch, Jones tweaked his predecessor’s motto a bit, boldly announcing that “it’s not ‘Yes He Can’, it’s ‘Yes We Can’, thereby shifting the responsibility of governance from Obama to the American people. This was the first Van Jones assertion to get my spidey senses tingling. Because no matter which side of the aisle you come out on, we should all agree that the responsibility of governing rests with the people we elected; members of Congress and the President.
The people made their choice at the ballot box, now it’s up to our elected officials to carry out their end of the bargain. If not, then what are they doing on Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue anyway? If they are not responsible for translating their campaign promises into legislation, then we’d all be better off setting up tent cities in Washington D.C. and coalescing around a direct democratic model.
Van Jones’ call to action – that we are responsible for our own governance – is weak. It’s weak because it is a thinly veiled ruse to drum up support for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Only a week after NetRoots attendees voiced their displeasure with Obama’s tepid approach at executive leadership, Van Jones kicks off his “we’re the problem and the solution” outfit and expects us to believe that it’s the natural outgrowth of activism? I don’t buy it. I think Van Jones’ leadership role in this organization is payback from the White House for his willingness to exit without incident after he was summarily fired without cause. I know one thing for certain: The role of Van Jones is that of gatekeeper, not activist. He’s part of the power ecosystem now.
In exchange for bowing to Glenn Beck, he’s been awarded a platform. A platform that allows him to redirect the broad dissatisfaction that liberals have with Obama to the Tea Party.Van Jones doesn’t desire to usher in real transformation of our political system anymore than our President does. They have power. Why would they seek to alter or diminish it? And our battle is not with ourselves but those with real power. Our battle is not with a handful of Tea Partiers who hold seats in the House and Senate, but with a group of Democrats who hold a majority in the Senate and one Democrat who occupies the Oval Office.
These are the people we voted for and these are the people who abandoned us. Someone should tell Mr. Jones that most Democrats didn’t vote for the Tea Party in 2008 or 2010 and thus, aren’t looking to hold Tea Partiers responsible for pushing the progressive agenda.
But since our vote is our currency in this transactional enterprise known as politics, and since we did vote for Obama and a slew of other anemic Democrats, we are looking to Democrats to hold up their end of the bargain. If Rebuild the Dream aims to hold real people with real power accountable for real failures, then I’m game. But if the aim of the organization is to jedi mind trick us into believing that the Tea Party is the reason for our season of discontent, then spare me. And most certainly don’t insult me.
The democrats don’t need us to rally in order to get the job done. They need them. And until Van Jones and others can get onboard with that idea, I’ll pass on rebuilding the dream and opt instead for tearing down the status quo. This, of course, is the real job of activists.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and BreakingBrown.com.
At the Republican Leadership Conference held recently in New Orleans, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann called out President Obama, claiming that he has failed the black community. Citing the recently released jobless rate for blacks, which rests at 16.2%, observers note that these depression era levels of unemployment have not been seen since 1929.
The portrait for black unemployment is worse if specific segments of the community are considered. Joblessness for black males has risen to 17.5% since Obama was elected, while black teen unemployment has also increased from 36.3 to 41%. Bachmann used these statistics to attack the president in the area that many consider his greatest weakness — jobs — while appealing to African-Americans. She also played the race card in an attempt to dissuade Latino voters from supporting Obama in 2012. The Daily Mail reports:
‘The status quo certainly isn’t working for the African-American community, with 16 percent unemployment, or the Hispanic community, with nearly 12 percent unemployment,’ Ms Bachmann added, according to CNS.
‘It’s even worse for the youth: For Hispanic youth right now, 26 percent unemployment; for African-American youth, 40 percent unemployment.
‘This president has failed the Hispanic community. He has failed the African-American community. He has failed us all when it comes to jobs.’
The worrying figures emerged as leaders of a national Hispanic organization slammed Obama for skipping their annual conference for the third consecutive year.
Michele Bachmann might not have her statistics quite right, inflating numbers dramatically to promote herself, but overall she is correct. African-Americans have fared the worst during the recession, but President Obama has done very little to address our needs directly. Obama’s failure to create lasting prosperity for blacks does not prove that Bachmann is capable of doing any better. But her speech reminds us that his refusal to address our needs is worthy of deep consideration.
President Obama has shown more interest in luring Latino voters for the 2012 election, and seems eager to make up for the anger he caused by being a no-show. He recently made a historic visit to Puerto Rico, many theorize because 850,000 Puerto Ricans reside in Florida, a key state needed to win. The president also made a key move by naming a Latina, Katherine Archuleta, as the political director of the Obama re-election campaign. As the census has shown that Latino voters are becoming a larger urban voting block in areas that have been traditionally black, plans to woo this group make perfect sense.
Latino votes can make a difference, and they are up for grabs: equally available to Democrats or Republicans. So Obama is putting in the work to secure them.
By contrast, blacks are being taken for granted — again. Aside from President Obama’s recent attendance at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference, he has not made significant investments to show African-Americans that our votes matter. It is safe to guess that Obama assumes most blacks will vote for him because he’s one of us — regardless of the worsening unemployment rate for our community.
Many black leaders, ranging from Cornell West to Tavis Smiley, have called out President Obama, too, regarding this type of failure. It’s ironic that a white, female, ultra-conservative presidential candidate could have something in common with the loudest pro-black voices in the country. But they are unified in the observation that, to put it in an old fashioned way, President Obama has not done right by us.
If a member of the GOP can make that observation confidently, black people should be able to consider it, and act on it. We might support President Obama in 2012 because there is no other viable option, but we can and should remain vocally aware of his shortcomings. Latino voters count more than blacks now, because they are seen as having voting options. Would the needs of blacks be taken more seriously if we did, too?