No, they’re not. They’re really, really, REALLY not.

image

Steven D over at Booman’s place drew my attention to a New York Times piece on the Tea Party that makes me want to pour a quart of gin into a half-empty container of raspberry sorbet and call it breakfast:

The Tea Party movement is as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government.

No. No. No. A thousand, a million, a kajillion, a ding-dong-dillion times fucking NO.

As Steven D points out, the article goes on to detail Tea Party group ties with a pro-pollution, anti-workers’ rights foreign paper company and the movement’s big business funding. So why maintain the fiction that the rebranded BushCo dead-enders in patriot drag are “deeply skeptical” of big business?

Well, there are a couple of possibilities: 1) the Times is deathly afraid of being labeled with the horrible, horrible “L” word that NewsCorp has so effectively affixed to its hide that it might as well change its masthead to read “The LIBERAL New York Times.”

Or, 2) The New York Times is a giant media conglomerate and thus has just as much a vested interest in seeing the “populist” movement succeed in shoveling tax breaks to corporations while dismantling workers’ rights as the shady Indonesian paper company and the Koch brothers.

If even our embarrassingly dumb electorate has stopped buying shit in Shinola tins, perhaps it’s time for our embarrassingly dumb media to experience the same epiphany.

Posted by Betty Cracker on 03/31/11 at 08:10 AM • Permalink

Categories: NewsPoliticsBushCoNuttersTeabaggeryOur Stupid Media

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I vote for 1 and 2.

And I wish to subscribe to your Breakfast Concepts newsletter - your ideas in this area intrigue me.

You beat me to it, Betty—thank you.  I was just tearing my hair out about this.

The odd thing is that there’s some OK reporting when you dig into the article.  The teabagger in question is obviously a Randroid who’s been involved in pro-business groups for years. He once conducted a “grassroots” pro-genetically-modified-foods campaign involving petition signatures that (as the reporter learned) were occasionally from dead people, or people who had no idea they’d signed the petition.

So the reporter’s reporting chops are not terrible.  It’s the interpretation that makes me want to sigh and weep.

That’s what struck me too, Steve: All the information is right there—fat cat funding, shady business ties, etc., and yet that absurd sentence was included. It’s almost as if the marketing department took over the editorial function to insert subliminal messages. From what reporter friends tell me, that’s not exactly far-fetched these days in some newsrooms.

Hi guys,
you have to try to understand that a short time ago conservatives basically kicked out a huge number of Republicans because the Republicans were only paying mild lip service to the conservative agenda.

The Tea Party came into existence on the grassroots level because conservatives have become so disenchanted with the Republican Party.  The Tea Party is to the Republican Party what the New Left was to the Democratic Party.

As Republicans we used to believe in big business. As conservatives we see that what seems to be half our jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries because the companies can get the job done cheaper in the third world.  There has been a huge exodus from Republicanism with its crony capitalism, and seeing big business almost with the jaundiced eye that it sees big government.

While it could be true that some of the funding organizations have ties to some spurious sources, the average Tea Party believer (not member) is there because of disgust with government and big business.

You see, Republicans have been deceived. We used to believe that because we were capitalistic and big business was capitalistic that that made us de facto allies.

But with globalism we have discovered that big business does not support American workers, despite the great job that Americans do. Any third world country that offers to take on a project will cause the bean counters to hand off entire American divisions while Americans are left holding a pink slip and wondering why they bothered to get all that education.

The upshot is that there is a lot of distrust for government and big business in the Tea Party movement. You see, big business started using capitalism and government against American workers rather than in support of American workers.

You can’t trust either one of them as far as you can throw them. Mostly government and big business, whether Democrat or Republican, simply shake hands on deals that accrue profits to the plutocrats and taxes to the socialists and leave the average guy and gal twisting in the wind.

The upshot is that there is a lot of distrust for government and big business in the Tea Party movement.

Amherst, please cite one shred of evidence that any Tea Party-supported politician opposes the trade policies that screw American workers and has an agenda that is not 100% pro-plutocrat. If Tea Party believers hold the sentiments you describe, why are they willing to serve as useful idiots for the likes of the Koch Brothers?

Amherst—I wish all conservatives (and liberals, for that matter) wrote as politely and reasonably as you did.  I don’t think “big business” has ever been a conservative ally (the Ludlow Massacre happened almost 100 years ago, and most of the victims were poor, God-fearing Catholics).  Plutocrats couldn’t care less about culture-war issues, which don’t really affect them (Alessandra Stanley could, after all, rent a womb while going skiing in Vail, then hire a nanny to take care of the results), so they will say what needs to be said in that department, while pushing for policies that pad their bank accounts.

The “Tea Party” label has largely been co-opted by corporate interests, but although we mostly disagree on social issues, we may have some common ground on economic ones.

Comment by sean on 03/31/11 at 02:03 PM

Sean, I am very grateful to you. You are the first person to have anything nice to say about me since I began posting on rumproast. Compliments do not come often and so are all the more appreciated.

I think that you are correct in respect to your view that big business was never really the friend of the working man. (I believe Hayek said that civilization begins when people discover that they can exploit workers.) At the same time I believe there was a different sensibility in the country before multinational corporations became commonplace. 

Naturally, the legacy of injustice one can lay at the feet of big business and government is too lengthy to enumerate here.

Betty, the new Congress has barely been seated for 3 months.  All I know about are some conversations taking place between politicians and conservative activists. One conversation involves a discussion about the idea of corporate American limiting its hiring to people in the United States for tax concessions that might keep corporations from moving to another country.  Another conversation was sparked because of Donald Trump’s idea that taxes could be levied on incoming Chinese products so as to be sufficiently punitive to encourage manufacturing the products back in the US again.

Of course this is all conversation at this point, and the Republican field of potential presidential candidates has yet to even announce. I expect we’ll see more conversation about this when they begin to advance their campaign agendas.

At this juncture, conservatives are ready to kick the new guys out if they do not perform. In fact, I would say that one of the opportunities liberals have is to discourage performance by Republican legislators. Because for us politicians are just heads to be changed if they don’t show serious good faith in carrying out the reasons we elected them.

I once had a professor who said that a problem with American politics was that we had a rationalistic economic policy and romantic political policy.  conservatives have lost the romantic associations we used to attach to politicians. Now we want them to measure up.

The average Tea Party sympathizer knows about the Koch brothers about to the extent that a Democrat in Tulsa sitting down with his lunch pail knows about George Soros.

Amherst, I’m not doubting that you sincerely believe that, but do you have a link to any accounts of a discussion between Tea Party activists and Republican politicians about reigning in corporate abuse of American workers?

Have any of the politicians who represent the Tea Party movement (Bachmann, Rand Paul, Steve King, etc.) ever said anything about getting corporations to stop screwing American workers? Even one time in all their voluminous correspondence, online policy platforms, speeches, etc.?

I’ve got to tell you, I follow the Tea Party movement pretty closely, both as a constituent of politicians who are Tea Party favorites and as a snarky liberal who peruses Tea Party sites and message boards for dumb things to laugh at. And not once—not one single time—have I ever seen anything that criticizes corporate treatment of American workers. Ever.

@Betty—Bachmann, Paul, and King are tools, but I don’t think Amherst deserves a beat-down here.  Give him/her a chance.

Beating him down? Me? Um, I’m afraid this is me being polite, Sean. I didn’t even swear! ;-)

Indeed, and the soap did not leave the dish ;-).  I just think that Amherst is being civil, and it’s worth being civil in return.

I enjoy snarking at mindless ideologues (Jonah as much as Lambert), but I also enjoy civil conversation between the left and the right.  We may never agree, but if we at least respect each other, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Why yes, sean, Amherst lies very politely. His writing is free of profanity, but it is still obscene.

Spare us, Allan.  I prefer to try to find common ground.

I’m sorry, Amherst, but the teabaggers I know are willfully-ignorant out and out racist dipwads. You may write wonderfully about responsibility and fiscal discipline and anger at government, but from my very personal experience with a whole boatload of these clowns is that they hate when government does something for brown people, poor people or anyone else they don’t consider “real Americans.”

You write as a disillusioned conservative, as well you may be, I know many, but to claim that the tea parties in any form are anything other than a group of hateful, simple-minded bigots isn’t going to fly.

This site is frequented by a whole host of people who are frustrated and fed up with government, but we were like that last week and last year and in 1998 as well. The teabaggers are exactly what they show themselves to be, a very white, very angry group of numbskulls who believe the President is a Muslim/Kenyan/Commie/Marxist/Fascist and that any act, any law, any program developed and put into law by anyone other than their hero—Dumbass Bush— is in and of itself an attack on our nation.

Their words don’t lie; their signs don’t lie; their emails and missives don’t lie, they proudly wave their flags of intolerance and I consider them enemies of my country, and therefore my enemy.

@Betty: No doubt about it—the line you and Steven D cited serves absolutely no legitimate purpose in McIntire’s article.

An honest transitional graf would have read something like this:

Tariff-free Asian paper may seem an unlikely cause for a nonprofit Tea Party group—but only if you haven’t been paying any attention to what the Tea Party actually is or the behind-the-scenes powers that have quietly shaped and directed the “movement” since before it even had a name.

Oh, forgive me. I didn’t realize this was Take a Tea Partier to Lunch Day.

Dingdang it, George Soros isn’t trying to strip workers of collective bargaining rights, and he STILL hasn’t gotten my check in the mail.  George!  Better hop to it.  This liberal media machine ain’t gonna run itself, you know.

False equivalence is so very utterly false.

@HB, if I weren’t already gay married…

Thanks, Asiangrrl—I had my plumber’s snake ready to go after Amherst on that one, but I see you already took care of it.

You are the first person to have anything nice to say about me since I began posting on rumproast.

See? Rumproast is just like Shrek—a magical Disney place where even a ridiculous, annoying concern troll who doesn’t believe his own lame shtick can find true love.

I’ve seen a few firebaggers and PUMAs advance the theory that the Tea Party has an economic justice component and that therefore common cause could be made. Generally, it’s in the context of telling liberals and/or Obama supporters to stop calling the teabaggers out for their leaders’ and members’ overt racism and stupidity.

Like I said, I haven’t seen any evidence that the Tea Party gives a flying crap about corporate abuse of US workers. All evidence points to the contrary as Tea Party-supported politicians bust unions and shovel largess to multinational corporations. Hell, that dimwit Rick Santelli, whose rant allegedly started the whole thing, gave his speech on a trading floor (the scene of the crime!) and blamed our fiscal woes on “losers’ mortgages” instead of the Wall Street fat cats who actually drove the economy over a cliff.

You can’t make common cause unless you can arrive at a consensus reality. You can’t make common cause with people who are so wholly detached from reality that they believe that this country is in the toilet because of anchor babies and Kenyan anti-Colonialism and timid, corporate-friendly health care reform. You can’t make common cause with folks who aren’t troubled by the fact that we’re at Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality. You can’t make common cause with people who don’t recognize the problem with the fact that the 30% share of US taxes that corporations used to pay has effectively dropped below 7%, the gap having been nicked from the shrinking middle class.

There’s only one major party that even pretends to give a shit about the treatment of American workers. There’s only one party whose leader even pays lip service to the notion that corporations that ship jobs overseas shouldn’t receive tax breaks. And it ain’t the Republicans. If there is a truly economic populist element to the Tea Party, it’s past time they wised up to the fact they’re being played for fools.

Spare us, Allan.  I prefer to try to find common ground.

Very laudable. I believe a number of us did try that, though when someone claims as an opener that Palin’s a “credible politician,” it stretches bipartisanship a mite.

Despite Amherst’s claims that “You are the first person to have anything nice to say about me since I began posting on rumproast,” his initial comments were welcomed by many of us, who took him at face value. The fact is, since then all he’s come up with is boilerplate, and often off topic (not a grievous sin in itself, but if you start a red herring hunt, it’s only polite to see it through, otherwise it’s just an attempt at derailing). So, like anyone else who turns up here and does that, he gets called on it, often with the customary dose of snark.

But when we do try to treat him seriously and dial back the snark, what happens?

Witness his recent contributions to Betty’s recent “Walker all over you” thread. Amherst opens by insisting:

I also believe that conservatives get to define conservatism and liberals get to define liberalism.  As a conservative, I do not get to tell you what a liberal is.  Nor do you get to define what a conservative is as you are not one, and therefore do not have the qualifications necessary to advance the definition.

He then goes on to insist that the “anarchists” responsible for some of the disturbances around last weekend’s London demo can’t be anarchists:

Today I saw a headline talking about the riots in Great Britain.

The lurid banner shouted that anarchists riot for government benefits.

Obviously, the least amount of literacy would allow people to understand that anarchists do not seek government benefits.  If you go all the way to the left, you get some kind of communist command central authority—if you go all the way to the right, you get some kind of anarchist fantasy of utopia like ‘Little House on the Prairie’.

In fact, a liberal MP received criticism when he publicly endorsed these ‘anarchists’ who were tearing up London in hope of retrieving some government subsidy.  Real anarchists would want to simply tear everything down to get rid of it, not as an appeal for more assistance from centralized government.  Actual anarchists might be a little bit more like American militia groups who mostly want to get centralized authority out of their hair.  Anarchy is about people who want to live off the grid. In fact, they wish there wasn’t a grid.

So only conservatives get to define conservatism, only liberals get to define liberalism—but wait!—Amherst must be an anarchist, because Amherst gets to define what anarchism is!

And when I engage him on this—with all the civility due to someone who I presume has mistaken the Labour Party leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition for a “liberal” (I presume that’s who he meant, but it’s a stab in the dark as Amherst never hung around to clarify) and has also attributed to Ed Miliband public endorsement of the activities of said “anarchists,” when Miliband was in fact addressing the massive (nonviolent) rally which took place before the disturbances and at a different location—what response is there from Amherst?

Crickets.

I see nothing of a “beatdown” in Betty’s remarks above. Did she call him names or describe him unflatteringly? Nope. She addressed his points and disagreed with him. Twiddle your thumbs as you await a meaningful rejoinder.

Over at TPM, there’s video (3:17) of one of their reporter’s interviews with several participants at a recent Tea Party rally in Washington DC.  The video has also been uploaded onto Youtube (link).

If these folks are representative of the Tea Party “movement”, I see no basis for a discussion with them.  Based on what those rally participants consider to be facts and valid evidence, I wouldn’t even know where to start in initiating a discussion.

And if these folks are not representative of the Tea Party movement, I’m gonna need directions to those who are. And to whomever makes a claim that one group or another is representative of these folks - whether the claimant be Amherst or anyone else - I’m afraid I’m going to need to see such claims backed up by reputable sourcing.

I’ve linked to this before - it’s a post by Medea Benjamin of Code Pink*, where she described what I would call some pretty good journalism done by her folks, in interviewing participants at a similar TP rally that took place about a year ago.

The TPM interviews, the Code Pink interviews, and a number of others on the intertubes and traditional media, seem to paint the same picture of these folks, and it’s not a pretty picture.  More importantly, it’s a picture that shows these folks to be ignorant - perhaps willfully so - and mean-spirited.  And as Betty and I and others here have commiserated about in the past, we have these critters in our own families, so it’s not as though we have to depend entirely on the Lamestream Media to know what they are about. They are often quite lovely in person, especially when they’ve known you for much of your life.  But they can become nasty and small-minded at the drop of a dime, especially when discussing The Others.

The only Tea Partiers I can (now) only vaguely recall as being somewhat intellectually consistent were those present (IIRC) in the earliest pre-Santelli days of the “movement”, originating in GWB’s final months when the first bank bailout was passed. Back then, Ron Paul’s minions were represented at a high proportion in the movement.  Well, them days ended a loooong time ago, once the Bushtards and associated wingnut haterz saw the early TP movement as a means to get the stink of the Bush years off of themselves.  It didn’t work, and these self-relabeled wingnuts have only succeeded in crapping up whatever positive cred the original TP movement may have once had.**

*for the record, I personally place Code Pink in the same category as Mr. Howler: NBODA (Nuts But Occasionally Dead-on Accurate). Also too, these days I don’t think in terms of “good journalists”, but in terms of “good journalism”, the latter being something anyone is capable of, within the limits of their resources vis-à-vis the constraints imposed by the issue being covered.

**for the record #2 - I don’t have much use for the Ron Paul crowd. But I’ll give them a bit of credit by grading them on a curve, in the same way Jon Stewart “complimented” Bill O’Reilly once by noting he was the best of the sorry lot over at Fox News (Stewart to O’Reilly): You’re the thinnest kid in fat camp.

Comment by meepmeep09 on 04/01/11 at 02:09 PM

Oh, thank goodness that’s you, meep.

I saw a very long, new post, and figured it was amherst come back for another round of bridge-buildingselling.

Betty, I just wanted to find time to say that I don’t think that you are being mean to me.

Sean, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you coming to my defense.  And you clearly are on the Democratic side of the political spectrum, and as a consequence it is beyond me why anyone on the left would feel cause to criticize you.  However, I’ve seen this kind of behavior on the right as well.  It is a part of group think and regrettably is endemic to the human condition and not the province of a political slant.

Betty, the conversation about conservatives objecting to outsourcing is one half of an issue. The other half is the idea that visas should be limited that allow citizens from other countries to immigrate to our country and take jobs that American citizens in need could fill.

What I have reported to you is based on my conversations with other conservatives and Tea Party supporters, some of whom have one-to-one private face time with congressmen. Although I do not know of a legislative component of the former, a friend tells me that there was a subcommittee hearing in the last day or two in respect to looking at H1-B visas. I don’t have time to dig out the information about this, but if you wanted to badly enough you could find it.

Most of my comments do not involve self-appointed, national spokesmen for the Tea Parties or official political spokesmen for labor unions.  As a conservative myself, I have conversations with ordinary people who also are conservatives.  Mine is a grassroots inquiry.

YAFB, you are correct.  I am more of an anarchist than you are.  As a conservative, I believe in local control and low taxation.  So I suppose you could say that I come down slightly on the anarchy side rather than the socialism side.

I see you managed to find the labor MP I referred to without my help, as I knew you could.  You certainly don’t need an American to tell you what is splashed on half the papers in the UK.  Perhaps you would argue that he is not a liberal. Frankly, my friend, I will let you fight that one out with conservative voters in the UK. I’m sure you’re a very nice guy, as every Scot I’ve met has been, and I appreciate that you have taken an interest in our political system.  I hope you continue your interest, and perhaps someday I will find Scottish politics to be an interesting subject.

For the record, I like Betty.  I also like Mrs. Polly. I don’t think Alan is as bad a guy as he makes out (Allen, I have been underperforming for as many years as you have.) and frankly, at the risk of being thought demented, I like Strange.  I have to admit that I was a little concerned about Strange the other day when he posted a thread that consisted entirely of a huge robot chasing some guy around the room.

Because only two people posted about this enigmatic video, I almost felt a need to say something simply to support his efforts. However, I think you will all appreciate that although it takes a certain amount of courage on my part to post comments in such a hostile environment, I simply found myself with a failure of nerve when I considered trying to make something political out of that giant robot chasing some poor, hapless humanoid around the room.

I don’t follow politics as much as I used to. I actually worked really hard on some issues, and here are a some things I’ve learned that apply to all of us.

a. Unless you are addressing a politician, a staffer, or a lobbyist, it is absolutely irrelevant what you say. Screaming at other people in the living room or on the Internet never makes it to the Potomac.

b. Politics ultimately are just passing, transient phenomena that have not ultimate ontological foundation.

c. If the issue is not big enough to make the major papers or talk shows, it is purposeless politically, but sometimes makes for interesting conversations.
d. Turtles and alligators both live longer than humanoids, so we all might as well relax because we are not going to be here very long.

Although I do not share the world view of Rumproast, I enjoy the site.  I think most of you are simply far center-left, with a great sense of humor, a lot of creativity, and a bad attitude.  My candidate for the funniest post recently was the one about Cindy McCain. I thought it was hilarious, and I bet Cindy would have thought it was funny as well.

YAFB, you are correct.  I am more of an anarchist than you are.  As a conservative, I believe in local control and low taxation.  So I suppose you could say that I come down slightly on the anarchy side rather than the socialism side.

I see you managed to find the labor MP I referred to without my help, as I knew you could.  You certainly don’t need an American to tell you what is splashed on half the papers in the UK.  Perhaps you would argue that he is not a liberal. Frankly, my friend, I will let you fight that one out with conservative voters in the UK. I’m sure you’re a very nice guy, as every Scot I’ve met has been, and I appreciate that you have taken an interest in our political system.  I hope you continue your interest, and perhaps someday I will find Scottish politics to be an interesting subject.

(a) I’d maybe play “more anarchist than thou” with you, but I wasn’t interested in that game even during my early university years when I frequented the Anarchist Society of the time. I see you have now moderated your definition of “anarchy” to include someone who does engage with the existing system. Maybe that’s progress.
(b) It’s Labour, not “labor.”
(c) In British politics, “liberal” has specific meanings relatively untainted by American connotations. In the general context,
any serviceable dictionary can provide you with its innocuous everyday senses. In terms of UK politics, we once had a Liberal Party (in its time, before the advent of Labour, the only mainstream rival to the Tories). Those days are no more, but the offspring Liberal Democrats (somebody fan Amherst till he recovers) live on, hence arguing with conservatives, or indeed Conservatives, over here that Miliband was or wasn’t “liberal” would give rise to more mystification than illumination (”‘Liberal’ in the United Kingdom is customarily used to describe political beliefs in the classical liberal tradition of the old Liberal Party, rooted in a belief in freedom of the individual. It is also used as a short hand to describe policies of the modern Liberal Democrats.”)
(d) I’m not Scottish.
(e) Nor is Ed Miliband, nor the British Labour Party, of which he is leader.

Other than that, nicely played.

Perhaps you would argue that he is not a liberal. Frankly, my friend, I will let you fight that one out with conservative voters in the UK.

Oh, and Amherst—since you say you don’t follow Scottish British politics (except for the jazzy headlines in the Mail, of course), something occurred to me. You do know that the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are currently the coalition that governs the UK, don’t you? And a right hash they’re making of it, too.

You’re welcome.

The Mechanical Man video was just a cool cinematic curiosity, which items we occasionally post as a cultural service.

I simply found myself with a failure of nerve when I considered trying to make something political out of that giant robot chasing some poor, hapless humanoid around the room.

And you call yourself a “Conservative”? You’re practically obligated to call out the obvious “big government” metaphor in that clip.

Strange, actually the big government metaphor did occur to me.  I admire the fact that you would call it to my attention.

The most interesting discussion I have seen about similar metaphors was Joesph Campbell’s reflections about the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars. 

He pointed out that Darth Vader was very powerful, but he was also mechanical.  He was, in fact, the government agent who was living out his life based on instructions, dogma, and edicts rather than his own personal comprehension and integration of life.

Campbell said that when Darth Vader was unmasked he had a strangely undeveloped face and countenance because his powerful exterior was all crust, a shield that did as much to conceal the weakness within as it did to project power without.

Amherst, that was a very large number of words in response to Betty when it would have been far more efficient to simply say:

No, Betty, I have no links to document the claims that I am making. I’m just telling you what I claim people are telling me, and you should take my word for it because I’m a real boy, and not a sockpuppet.

Yeah, toward the end, Joseph Campbell was really grasping for trivial Pop Culture artifacts to deconstruct symbolically.

Incidentally, the Mechanical Man clip actually symbolizes Conservatives’ fears of enjoying homosexual intercourse, but the Judges have ruled that they will accept “Big Government” as a correct answer.

Gay robot sex! Now there’s a fetish!

Actually, George Lucas was inspired to make Star Wars after reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

(Still, I love the graduate school snark on Campbell. My favorite foolish pejorative used to be “Yeats is only thought to be a great poet because he anthologizes well.”

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