Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Tea Party: Koch Brothers Play-Toy

   Those of us who happen to be Progressives have been telling you that the Tea Party movement is not a citizen-backed movement, but that it is in fact a corporate whore of the Koch brothers, and THIS pretty much makes it official.

The peer-reviewed study appearing in the academic journal, Tobacco Control and titled, 'To quarterback behind the scenes, third party efforts': the tobacco industry and the Tea Party, shows that the group Citizens for a Sound Economy launched a Tea Party movement website,, that went live in 2002.

According to the website, who broke this story earlier today, CSE was founded in 1984 by the infamous Koch Brothers, David and Charles Koch in 1984. David Koch sat on the board of CSE for many years and the group's first president, Richard Fink, went on to become a senior VP at Koch Industries.

The common public understanding of the origins of the Tea Party is that it is a popular grassroots uprising that began with anti-tax protests in 2009.

Here's a screenshot of the archived U.S. Tea Party site, as it appeared online on Sept. 13, 2002:


The site is described as, "In 2002, our U.S. Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online, and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated." There is also "Patriot Guest book" available for visitors to voice their support and write a message for CSE and the U.S. Tea Party movement.

The US Tea Party site is no longer online and appears to have been taken down sometime in mid-2011. A DNS registry search, finds that the web address is currently owned by Freedomworks, an organization heavily involved in Tea Party organizing today.

Originally posted to KGrandia on Mon Feb 11, 2013



Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Funnies: Shutdown Edition

"They said today that the government shutdown will not interfere with NASA's next mission to Mars. Isn't that ironic? We can go to Mars but we can't go to the Statue of Liberty." –Jay Leno

"What the difference between the government and Motel 6? Motel 6 can afford to keep the lights on." –Jay Leno
"This shutdown is so bad, Harry Reid was forced to take a part-time job as an extra on The Walking Dead." –Jay Leno

"During a press conference yesterday, President Obama said that Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling because there aren't any other quote 'rabbits in our hat.' Plus, they're still tired from their last trick, where they made thousands of jobs disappear." –Jimmy Fallon

"Despite the shutdown, the congressional gym in Washington, D.C., remains open. The congressional gym is like any other gym except the customers are the dumbbells." –Craig Ferguson

"A new survey found that 9 percent of Americans have considered giving up their U.S. citizenship because of the constant arguing in Washington. Today, even Obama was like, 'Are you SURE I wasn't born in Kenya?'" –Jimmy Fallon

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Republicans Are Too Expensive – In Jobs and Dollars – For America

by Richard Eskow 

Published on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by Campaign for America's

Journalists are understandably captivated by the government shutdown and the looming confrontation over the debt ceiling. Those are certainly dramatic stories. But another, quieter drama has been playing out for years in homes and communities across the country, as millions of jobs and trillions in wealth have been lost to Republican economic folly.

Now the Republicans are doing their best to make things even worse. Their budget stance offends many Americans’ sense of morality, since they’re asking poor and middle-class Americans to subsidize the luxuries of the wealthy and the profits of powerful corporations.

But in the end the country may reject their ideology for an even simpler reason: We can’t afford it anymore.

Millions Left Behind

The story begins with the financial crisis and recession of 2008. Reports say that the incoming Obama administration reduced its proposed stimulus because it thought Republicans would reject the actual level of spending needed to rescue the economy. The resulting stimulus package saved or created millions of jobs, but the country remained in the grip of an ongoing recession that limited both job creation and wage growth. Further stimulus spending became politically unfeasible after Republicans won the House in 2010.

The result? Wealth inequality has become worse since the crisis. The top 1 percent of American earners saw their income increase by a staggering 32 percent in 2012, even as millions of others remained mired in an ongoing de facto depression. For the first time since they began tracking the numbers a century ago, the wealthiest 10 percent of the country captured more than half its total income.

It didn’t have to be this way. A number of jobs proposals were put forward that would have helped the “99 percent” obtain more jobs and strengthen its wage base, including the Economic Policy Institute’s “American Jobs Plan” and our own “Citizens’ Commission on Jobs, Deficits and America’s Economic Future” (from the Institute for America’s Future).

These programs would have created jobs and strengthened the economy for everyone, while also enhancing education and funding urgently needed repairs to the nation’s infrastructure. We still need those investments, and they would still create jobs.

Wrong Way Out

Unfortunately, spending cuts, not job creation, became the main topic of Washington debate. This misguided fixation became much worse after Republicans recaptured the House in 2010, leading to the 2011 budget showdown and the disastrous cuts that followed.

How damaging were those cuts? Economist Adam Hersh estimated what the jobs figures might have been without the destructive austerity cuts agreed upon after the last showdown with the GOP. U.S. employers would have added more than 260,000 jobs last month, according to Hersh, and the unemployment rate would have fallen below 6 percent. The economy would have added 8.2 million jobs since the end of 2010, 2.4 million jobs than it actually did.

And that’s without stimulus spending, solely by avoiding the austerity cuts demanded by Republicans in the last budget confrontation. Add in needed spending on jobs and growth and we would be experiencing a full recovery.

The Ghosts of Republicans Past

Republicans have passed one extremist budget after another since winning the House in 2010. Those budgets, with cuts in the $1.2 trillion range, would have led to catastrophic double-dip recession and major additional job loss had they passed the Senate and been signed into law.

The GOP’s budgets would have also had an enormous disruptive effect on society, with cuts to a bewilderingly wide range of programs: Emergency storm warnings. The Small Business Administration. State and local law enforcement.

But even without their extreme budgets, the nation is haunted by the ghosts of past Republican choices. Their 2011 confrontation with the other branches of government cost Americans an estimated $2.4 trillion in household wealth. And while some of that has since been restored, their current actions could cost even more.

Geographically, large chunks of the nation are still mired in unemployment. As economist Heidi Shierholz notes, “There has been very little improvement in the hires rate since its low of the recession in June 2009, four years ago.” That’s when the hires rate fell dramatically. It has yet to recover. And as Shierholz also explains, “there has been no sustained improvement whatsoever in the hires rate for two years.”

Shierholz also observed that, even after four years of recovery, “we’re just a fifth of the way out of the hole left by the Great Recession.” And yet, instead of debating ways to repair the damage, Republicans are determined to do more harm than ever.

The List of Demands

Democrats have already agreed to the Republicans’ original economic demand: an extension of sequestration’s spending cuts. Those cuts have cost the nation an estimated 900,000 jobs. But that’s not enough for the GOP. Their most famous demand this time around is a delay in implementing Obamacare, although that’s by no means their only demand.

Republicans have also demanded a jobs-crushing “balanced budget amendment” and trillions in additional spending cuts. Some of their other ideas are both socially harsh and potentially very damaging to the economy: Environmental deregulation could lead to another costly spill like BP’s in the Gulf of Mexico. Financial deregulation could rob Americans of their savings and lead to another recession, or worse. (Past deregulation on Wall Street cost the U.S. economy an estimated $12.8 trillion, according to a study by Better Markets.)

Even the GOP’s call for food stamp cuts will cost people their jobs and reduce the national wealth, by leaving impoverished families even less to spend on the basics of life. (A compendium of House Republican demands can be found here.)

Confrontation’s Costs

According to conservative estimates the Republican shutdown is costing the economy $1.6 billion per week, a figure which doesn’t include the ripple effect in lost investment and growth. Those ripples could be seen Gallup’s consumer confidence figures, which last week took their biggest plunge since Lehman Brothers collapsed and triggered the 2008 global crisis.

Consumer confidence is what drives consumer spending in goods and services – the kind of spending that creates jobs. Last week’s plunge means the Republican shutdown is almost certainly losing American jobs already.In addition, the stock market continues to take a hit as investors worry about economic uncertainty.

And today Republican brinksmanship has pushed the yield for Treasury bonds to their highest point since the height of the crisis in 2008 – which, in plain English, means that investors are losing confidence in the government’s ability to repay its debts. That increases borrowing costs for the government (so much for Republicans’ professed concern for lowered spending), and for everyone else as well.

They’re right to be concerned. Republicans now seem poised to fire the biggest cannon of all: a debt default. As Bloomberg News reports, that move is seen as “a catastrophe dwarfing Lehman’s fall.” The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that a U.S. default would “seriously damage” the global economy. It “would have major consequences,” said the IMF’s chief economist, adding: “… it could well be that what is now a recovery would turn into a recession, or even worse.” (emphasis ours)

The only people dismissing the harmful effects of a default are the ones who have been wrong all along.


Democrats haven’t been blameless. The President spent far too much time echoing the Republicans’ deficit-fixated austerity rhetoric. Senate Democrats could have been tougher. The party could have done more to explain why we need investment in jobs and growth, and how the GOP’s financial agenda hurts most Americans.

But those sins seem trivial when compared to the harm Republicans have done, and continue to do, to the national economy. That’s the real economic story, and it should be told every day until the GOP is reined in and the nation is restored to economic health.

The Republicans’ extremism is morally out of step with Americans. Democrats need to stand firm against it and explain the real story to the American people. But what may hurt Republicans most in the end is cold economic reality. The Republican Right is just too expensive for America.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

On the Sabotage of Democracy

by Bill Moyers

Published on Monday, October 7, 2013 by Moyers & Company

BILL MOYERS: And now to the people who refuse to let democracy work. The people who hate government so much they’ve shut it down. Unable to abide by the results of democracy when they don’t win, they turned on it.

Republicans have now lost three successive elections to control the Senate and they’ve lost the last two presidential elections. Nonetheless, they fought tooth and nail to kill President Obama’s health care initiative. They lost that fight, but with the corporate wing of Democrats, they managed to bend it toward private interests.

So we should be clear on this, Obamacare, as it’s known, is deeply flawed. Big subsidies to the health insurance industry. A bonanza for lobbyists. No public option. And as The New York Times reported this week, “Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law.” Largely because states controlled by Republicans refuse to expand Medicaid.

As far as our bought and paid for legislative process goes, Obama’s initiative made it through the sausage factory. Yet even after both the House and Senate approved it, the president signed it, and the Supreme Court upheld it, the Republicans keep insisting on calling the law a “bill,” thumbing their noses and refusing to accept that it is enacted legislation.

Now they’re fighting to prevent it from being implemented. Here was their order of the day on Thursday from the popular right wing blog

“Congressmen, this is about shutting down Obamacare. Democrats keep talking about our refusal to compromise. They don’t realize our compromise is defunding Obamacare. We actually want to repeal it. This is it. Our endgame is to leave the whole thing shut down until the President defunds Obamacare. And if he does not defund Obamacare, we leave the whole thing shut down.”

Once upon a time when I was a young man working on Capitol Hill, it was commonplace that when a bill became law, everybody was unhappy with it. But you didn’t bring down the government just because it wasn’t perfect. You argue and fight and vote and then, due process having been at least raggedly served, on to the next fight.

That was a long time ago. Long before the Tea Party minority, armed with huge sums of secret money from rich donors, sucked the last bit of soul from the Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln. They became delusional. Then rabid. Like this:

SENATOR STEVE KING: If Obamacare is ever implemented and enforced, we will never recover from it. It is an unconstitutional takings of God-given American liberty.

BILL MOYERS: That’s false, of course. Just like those right-wing talking points that keep grinding through the propaganda mills of Fox News:

AINSLEY EARHARDT on Fox and Friends: Thanks to Obamacare, doctors will be forced to ask patients about their sex life, even if it has nothing to do with the medical treatment that they are seeking at the time.

BILL MOYERS: Not true.

MICHELLE MALKIN on Fox and Friends: That healthcare plan puts a discount on the lives of elderly people and would result in the redistribution of health away from the elderly and the infirm to other special favored interests and patients.

BILL MOYERS: Again, not true. Nor is this, from the multi-millionaire fabulist Rush Limbaugh:

RUSH LIMBAUGH from the Rush Limbaugh Show: What we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. Obamacare is just a massive tax increase, that all it is.

BILL MOYERS: That’s just a tiny sample of the lies and misinformation perpetrated by the right with the song and dance compliance of its richly paid mouthpieces. Sarah Palin set the bar for truth at about ankle height with those fictitious “death panels” that she still insists will decide our rendezvous with the Grim Reaper.

SARAH PALIN on Cashin' In: Of course there are death panels in there, but the important thing to remember is that’s just one aspect of this atrocious, unaffordable, cumbersome, burdensome, evil policy of Obama’s and that is Obamacare.

BILL MOYERS: Despite what they say, Obamacare is only one of their targets. Before they will allow the government to reopen, they demand employers be enabled to deny birth control coverage to female employees. They demand Obama cave on the Keystone pipeline. They demand the watchdogs over corporate pollution be muzzled, and the big, bad regulators of Wall Street sent home. Their ransom list goes on and on. The debt ceiling is next. They would have the government default on its obligations and responsibilities.

When the president refused to buckle to their extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the Union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn the place down, sink the ship of state, and sow economic chaos to get their way. This says it all, they even shuttered the Statue of Liberty.

Watching all this from London, the noted commentator Martin Wolf, of the capitalist friendly Financial Times, says “America flirts with self-destruction.”

This man is the biggest flirt of all, Newt Gingrich. It was Newt Gingrich who twenty years ago spearheaded the right-wing’s virulent crusade against the norms of democratic government. As Speaker of the House he twice brought about shutdowns of the federal government once, believe it or not, because he felt snubbed after riding on Air Force One with President Clinton and had to leave by the backdoor.

It was also Newt Gingrich, speaker Gingrich, who was caught lying to congressional investigators looking into charges of his ethical wrongdoing. His colleagues voted overwhelmingly, 395 to 28, to reprimand him. Pressure from his own party then prompted him to resign.

Yet even after his flame out, even after his recent bizarre race for the presidency bankrolled with money from admiring oligarchs, even after new allegations about his secret fundraising for right-wing candidates, Gingrich remains the darling of a fawning amnesic media.

NEWT GINGRICH on Crossfire: I’m Newt Gingrich on the right.

BILL MOYERS: On the other day he issued a call to arms to his fellow bomb-throwers, “…don’t cave on shutdown.”

At least let’s name this for what it is, sabotage of the democratic process. Secession by another means. And let’s be clear about where such reckless ambition leads. As surely as night must follow day, the alternative to democracy is worse.

         © 2013 Public Affairs Television, Inc

    Journalist Bill Moyers is the host of the new show Moyers & Company, a weekly series of smart talk and new ideas aimed at helping viewers make sense of our tumultuous times through the insight of America’s strongest thinkers.. His previous shows on PBS included NOW with Bill Moyers and Bill Moyers Journal.

Monday, October 07, 2013

We Triple-Dog Dare You, Mr. Boehner

  By Barbara Morrill

On Sunday, Speaker of the House John Boehner made an astonishing claim:

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... I take it from your answer that you're not prepared to schedule a clean bill on government funding.

BOEHNER: There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR.

Baloney. There are more than enough Republicans who have said they would vote for a clean continuing resolution that would immediately end the disastrous Republican shutdown of the government. And the only thing keeping that from happening is John Boehner's cowardly refusal to buck the tea party wing of his caucus.

So we double dare you. We double-dog dare you. In fact, we triple-dog dare you. Lick the frozen pole and prove your tongue won't stick.

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Mon Oct 07, 2013

Sunday, October 06, 2013

John Boehner: Idiot At Large

   This Republican piece of crap needs to just go home and then stay home.

  The Democrats claim that there are enough votes in the House to pass a clean bill to get the government up and running if only Boner would let the bill come to the floor for a vote on it. John says that a clean bill would not pass the vote and that he is sure of it. Put it to a vote asshole, and then we’ll see.

   The problem with John is that he is a bought and paid for shill of big business and the Tea Party, which just happens to be his daddy when it comes to telling him what to do. In case you have not noticed, Boehner has a habit of bending over for Sen. Cruz when it comes to G.O.P. policy.

   Boehner also knows that his career is over, so why not fuck everyone that he can while heading to the exit door? He is no doubt the worst speaker of the House who has ever existed.

   Let a clean bill come to the floor, chicken-shit and we’ll see if it passes.