All Articles Tagged "tea party"

Tea Party to Black Lawmaker: We're No Lynch Mob

September 1st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Indianapolis Star) — U.S. Rep. Andre Carson is being called upon by many aligned with the tea party movement to apologize for comments he made recently which suggested those in the group want to see blacks “hanging on a tree.”  Speaking recently at a Congressional Black Caucus event in Miami, Fla., Carson said: “Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me — hanging on a tree.”  Emery McClendon, an African-American from Fort Wayne who is among the most popular speakers at tea party events both in Indiana and nationally, said Carson should apologize.

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Government Sponsored Diversity Causes Segregation in School District

August 25th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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by Cynthia Wright

The Wake County School District in Raleigh, North Carolina is still making headlines due to its proposed plan to restructure the school zones. The thoughts fueling the actions didn’t happen overnight, since those that believed there should be a needed “shift” in diversity goals happened to become involved with the school board. It also doesn’t help matters much that the seats of the board are comprised mostly of Tea Party supported Republicans – who have a less-than credible track record when it comes to anything involving diversity or those in poorer communities.

In 1954, when Brown v. Board of Education was passed, it symbolized that diversity and quality education should go together – in this modern age, Wake County is attempting to refute that entire sentiment.

When talks of “rezoning” the schools were first introduced late last year, it sparked a discussion, examining whether the issue was about racial equality or more about certain families wanting their children to attend schools closer to their homes.

“This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s – my life is integrated, If we had a school that was, like, 80 percent high-poverty, the public would see the challenges, the need to make it successful. Right now, we have diluted the problem, so we can ignore it,” Board member John Tedesco explained to the Washington Post.

Even though the controversy is still brewing, Superintendent Tony Tata and his staff have spent the better part of the year (with an end date in October) trying to develop a plan that will be as “fair” as possible for the district’s students enrolled in the 2012-13 school year.

The developing plan that Tata is proposing states that parents will be able to choose from several nearby schools, along with one magnet and one “achievement” school.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well with everyone on the board. Board Chairman Ron Margiotta has come out against the plan due to its heavy reliance on achievement schools as a way to even out the educational opportunity for all students. “I have a problem with setting aside any seats for achievement. It’s substituting achievement for race, or economics. It’s sad if we say that every school in the county is not an achievement school. Some of the schools in my district are non-achieving, and I want to know why.”

At the same time, no one has bothered investigate why certain schools are performing better than others, relying on the separation of schools by socioeconomic class won’t address the problem. At the end of the day, the students that are going to be impacted by the policies being developed are those in the poorer communities – which, are primarily made up of minorities that can’t afford quality housing. With 10% of the population living in poverty, no one appears to be advocating extensively for those that will be affected the most and it is rather difficult to believe that anyone on the board truly will. Leaving some to believe that unless the board’s political and racial makeup changes (5 of the seats are up for reelection) Wake County government-sponsored diversity will soon be completely in the past.

Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.

Congressional Black Caucus Decides To Give The Tea Party A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

August 23rd, 2011 - By TheEditor
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by Cynthia Wright

With the recent Gallup Poll showing that President Obama has slowly began to lose support within the black community – the Congressional Black Caucus hasn’t been shy with their distaste for Obama’s political direction. Adding fuel to the fire, the CBC seems to be taking up their frustrations with the source of its discourse – the Tea Party.

Even though Obama’s approval rating has decreased to 81% from the 95% earlier in his term, some heavy players in the CBC are urging Obama to finally make moves when it comes to his 2008 campaign promises.

Maryland US Representative, Elijah Cummings admits that he is not the only one in the Caucus to feel frustrated by the President’s recent actions.

“When he came in, he talked about hope, he talked about jobs, he has talked about fairness, he has talked about addressing Wall Street effectively and efficiently, and trying to make a difference,” Cummings told CNN’s State of the Union talk show on Sunday.

It also didn’t help matters much with Obama appearing to coddle the Tea Party during the government cutbacks.

Since unemployment in the black community is at approximately 16% (with no alleviation in sight) – many in the CBC are tired of waiting for Obama to fight back. That mentality has caused the 43-lawmaker team to go up against the Tea Party to make their opinions known.

“The Tea Party discovered something. That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States. They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank,” US Representative Maxine Waters told onlookers at a CBC job fair in Atlanta, Georgia.

During another summit in California, Waters again lashed out towards the group.

“I’m not afraid of anybody. 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.”

Of course, such comments didn’t go unnoticed by the group for that long. Soon after Waters comments spread a prominent Tea Party group, the ‘Tea Party Patriots’ quickly came to its defense.

“…now an elected Democratic representative says that we can ‘go straight to hell. The president and all leaders of the Democratic Party, who have called for civility in the past, are neglecting to censure their own. Is civility only required from their opponents? Perhaps it’s time for a new-NEW era of civility. … The president’s silence on these latest violations of civility has been deafening, but not surprising.”

Even with all this, it is hard paint the Tea Party as the victim, being that they made it their mission to “destroy” the current government and how some view it. Are they really surprised that there is push back or are they surprised about whom is doing so? Especially now, since the CBC is refusing to sit idly by and do nothing – only time will tell how this all will pan out.


Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.

The Economy is Not Obama’s Biggest Problem – It’s The Republican Sabotage of America

August 23rd, 2011 - By TheEditor
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by Eric L. Wattree

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.

Maxine Waters: ‘The Tea Party Can Go Straight to Hell’

August 22nd, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(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.”

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Black Tea Party Grandstanding vs. NAACP Showboating

August 8th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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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

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

Is the Tea Party Just the New Face of Right Southern Extremism?

August 2nd, 2011 - By TheEditor
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South Carolina Tea PartyBy Alexis Garrett Stodghill 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. 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.



Why Are The Rednecks in Congress Calling All The Shots?

July 28th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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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.

Stop Clowning Michelle Bachmann

July 25th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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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.

Van Jones: Something in the Tea

July 19th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(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.

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