I just watched one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen on TV in years. It was the South Carolina Tea Party Convention on CSPAN. Who knew that CSPAN had better comedies on it than the Comedy Channel? Many Tea Party leaders from around the country got 10 minutes each to speak. They all said pretty much the same thing. That was that we need lower taxes and to keep immigrants out. They also pointed out that President Obama is a foreigner, Moslem, Marxist anti-Christ. Each one praised their god Ronald Reagan. Their speeches would have been better with that dueling banjo music from “Deliverance.”
The saddest part of the convention was when Hispanic Tea Party leaders spoke. The Hispanic speakers talked about how the GOP and Tea Party have to not be against Hispanic immigration but embrace it. These speakers admitted the biggest number of Hispanics vote for democrats but they could be persuaded to vote for republicans. I guess you’d have to white wash (pun intended) that the GOP is the angry white man’s party. Since Hispanics come here for jobs you’d have to ignore the facts that the GOP doesn’t believe in raising the minimum wage, joining a union for better working conditions and is for shortening or eliminating unemployment compensation and other safety nets.
The speakers suggested conservatives tell Hispanic immigrants about Ronald Reagan and how wonderful our country would be again if we could elect someone like him. These speakers said Tea Party members should be proud to say they are the people who elected Reagan. That would require many Latin Americans to have amnesia. They would have to forget how Reagan supported, trained and armed the death squads of so many brutal Latin American dictators that undemocratically controlled their countries. They’d have to forget the 100’s of thousands of environmentalists, union organizers, human rights activists, nuns, priests, bishops, and freedom fighters tortured, raped, “disappeared” and found in mass graves throughout their Latin American countries. I did note when these Hispanic Tea Party leaders spoke they got very little applause from the audience.
Most of the white speakers expressed their love of former South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint a leading member in the Tea Party movement. They also expressed how the Tea Party was a grassroots movement. They spoke against big money campaign donors, lobbyists, unions, green jobs, climate change and entitlements. They talked about being for fair trade and the dangers of being in debt to China. That really made me laugh as Jim DeMint was the only South Carolina house member to vote for normalizing trade relations with China, arguing for free trade between the countries. He also was a crucial swing vote on a free trade bill regarding Caribbean countries. Many South Carolina textile jobs were lost to China and that industry opposed DeMint in his House and Senate races. DeMint has said he doesn’t think gays or single mothers who live with their boyfriends should be allowed to teach school.
We’ve all seen the teabaggers who love their Social Security and wave those “Government keep your hands off my Social Security” signs. To the holders of those signs I’d say DeMint wanted to privatize Social Security. To those Hispanic Tea Party members I’d ask did you know Sen. DeMint voted for that silly racist law to make English the official language of the US? For those teabaggers that hate lobbyists, big buck campaign contributions and corporations buying politicians I’d ask, did you know DeMint is now president of the Heritage Foundation? Heritage is a conservative think tank with contributors like billionaires Charles and David Koch. Former Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards — who was one of the Heritage Foundation’s original three trustees when it was founded in 1973, said “I think that what DeMint’s doing is going to undermine the credibility of the Heritage Foundation, because people will see it as just another advocacy or lobbying group for, you know, the far right.”
In 2010 DeMint helped set up Heritage Action for America better known as “Heritage Action.” It has been called “perhaps now the most influential lobby group among Congressional Republicans.” Though the Tea Party supposed dislikes lobby groups they had a speaker from Heritage Action at this Tea Party South Carolina convention. After all, the Koch brothers and big tobacco planned and funded the Tea Party a decade before it became the “grass-roots” party it thinks it is today. The tobacco “scientist” that said smoking was safe are the scientists who now work for right-wing groups dismissing climate change.
Grace-Marie Turner who started the Galen Institute also spoke at the convention. Galen calls itself a non-profit organization on health care. They say they want to promote consumer choice, individual freedom and competition in the health sector. Human Events magazine called Galen the “only the free-market think tank solely dedicated to…putting individuals rather than corporate or government bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions.” That makes me laugh because the Galen Institute reportedly receives funding from the pharmaceutical and medical industries.
David Schwartz from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was also a speaker. They promote conservative economic policies and promote organizing citizens to support those policies. It was founded with the support of David H. and Charles Koch. David H. Koch is its chairman. It one of the most powerful conservative organizations in politics and was a major player in the 2010 Republican takeover of Congress. AFP spent over 40 million on rallies and phone banks in that election. In August 2011, AFP “sent absentee voter applications instructing voters to return the paperwork two days late in at least two recall elections.” AFP spent $122 million on the 2012 US presidential election.
Trevor Loudoun from New Zealand spoke for quite a well. He was vice president of New Zealand’s far right-wing ACT party from 2006-2008. The crowd loved the fact he has written four books all calling President Obama a communist. Trevor is actually the Joe McCarthy of New Zealand because Trevor calls everyone he hates a communist. He sees academics, environmentalists, labor unionists, peace activists, black radicals, and ‘religious’ leftists, as “menace[s] to liberty.” He longs for the days of military might under Ronnie Reagan. I guess he forgot about that silly assault on Grenada and Reagan’s “cut and run” after terrorists killed 241 marines in an explosion in Lebanon. Mr. Loudoun thinks the US should spend huge amounts to build up our military and then go to war with Russia and China. How does all that crazy war talk and military expense jive with the Tea party’s rhetoric about balancing the budget? While the teabaggers talk of balance budgets they forget that under their god Reagan the US debt, skyrocketing from $700 billion to $3 trillion. While they talk of no tax hikes they conveniently forget that Reagan raised taxes 11 times.
Trevor Loudon declared that the unions in the United States are communists and that they are running all of President Obama’s decisions. I wondered which concession laden powerless union that was. Was it the UAW that has established a second tier that pays half of what older workers make? Would it be the USWA that has overridden the vote of locals unions who stood up and voted against awful concessionary contracts? Would it be the IUE that established second and third wage tiers wages (and almost had a fourth tier pass) at Delphi?
I do agree with the Tea Party that corporate welfare needs to end. I don’t think they realize that corporations own their movement. I don’t even think they understood that speakers they invited from Heritage Action, Galen Institute and Americans for Prosperity are just lobby groups owned by corporations. I think these teabaggers are just a bunch of uninformed angry rednecks that will jump in bed with any organization that fosters their hate and preaches that greed is human nature and godly. These teabaggers consider themselves real Americans and patriots. Yet, they have hate filled New Zealanders, Cuban exiles and corporate globalist speak at their convention. They have developed a twisted view of the US from watching Aussie Rupert Murdock’s FOX NEWS. They really are some of the funniest comedy characters I have seen on TV in a long while. On the other hand I wouldn’t miss them if their hate filled show was cancelled. A Gallop poll released in December said that 51% of Americans viewed the Tea Party unfavorably and only 30% favorably. I hope that means their freak clown carnival show will soon be over.
R.I.P. Pete Seeger. ‘This land is Your Land”
Here is a crazy quote from a Tea party member: “They were doing what they thought was right for their country.” ~ Ohio GOP House candidate and Tea Party favorite Rich Iott, defending Nazi soldiers who served in the 5th SS Wiking Panzer Division, whom he frequently dressed up as while taking part in a Nazi re-enactment group (CNN interview, Oct. 11, 2011)