The Right Wants A Crisis: Armageddon America Would Suit Them Just Fine!
The men behind the religious right make a comeback with the Tea Party movement.
Glenn Beck will tell you that this weekend's march of right-wing activists on Washington was six months in the making.
Don't believe a word of it. Try 40 years.
As disgruntled white taxpayers joined conspiracy theorists, gun enthusiasts, state-sovereignty activists and outright racists on Pennsylvania Avenue, the long-time leaders of the American right, whose pedigrees go back to the 1964 presidential campaign of Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., no doubt witnessed a day they thought might never come.
Never before has the right taken to the streets in such numbers. (Estimates range between 50,000 and 100,000 attending the post-mach rally at the U.S. Capitol building.) Marching has long been the province of the left, most notably in the civil rights movement. But the election of the nation's first African-American president, a moderate liberal, in a time of economic crisis, yielded right-wing leaders the gold of backlash.
While the foot-soldiers of the Tea Party movement give it a more secular appearance than its recent predecessors, the movement is the right's replacement for a religious right that has weakened since 2004, when it helped win a second term for George W. Bush. The tactics, however, are the same: just as the religious right subverts the Christian faith in the service of its authoritarian, business-friendly goals, so, too, does the Tea Party movement subvert the American civic religion -- that faith characterized by love of country, invocation of the Founders and veneration of the Constitution.
At the dawn of the cultural evolution of the 1960s, a handful of right-wing activists and intellectuals banded together to form a philosophical movement that became known as the New Right. These were the people who won Barry Goldwater the Republican presidential nomination, only to see their candidate meet disastrous results in his race against Democrat Lyndon Johnson of Texas. But the right is never truly defeated; its leaders are patient, and they learn from their errors. When they're out of power, they stay busy, building institutions and mailing lists, all the while waiting for their moment to strike.
And so, in 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency, largely thanks to the tireless efforts of New Right leaders.
Out of their tiny numbers, they went on from the Goldwater campaign to found the religious right, a textbook example of ground-level organizing that led to a national electoral victory with the election of Reagan. And they are at it again.
On September 11, the day before Saturday's big march, I joined 100 right-wing activists for a fundraising workshop presided over by Richard Viguerie, who, together with Howard Phillips and the late Paul Weyrich, launched the religious right when they convinced who the late Rev. Jerry Falwell to lead an organization called the Moral Majority. Mobilizing congregants of fundamentalist Protestant churches, these three men -- two Catholics, and a Jewish convert to an unorthodox and authoritarian subset of Protestantism -- mobilized Southern Baptists and Methodists around the issue of abortion, a symbol of the perceived disempowerment of men in the wake of the women's liberation movement.
When the right enjoys success, it is almost always does so by appropriating the techniques of the left. For their organizing model, Viguerie and Phillips used the playbook written by Morris Dees, who organized the 1972 presidential campaign of the anti-war candidate George McGovern, unexpectedly winning him the Democratic nomination (although, in the general election, McGovern met a fate that matched Goldwater's). Dees went on to found the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks the activities of militias and hate groups.
Today, Viguerie has branched out, helping to build a broader coalition in the form of the Tea Party movement, which joins together the various interest groups of the right in the politics of resentment against the perceived loss of power by white men symbolized by the election of Barack Obama.
Much of the Tea Party movement's messaging comes from the virtual one-man clearing house that is Howard Phillips. Since his early days in the Nixon administration, Phillips has led a campaign to "defund the left" -- efforts to keep federal dollars following to organizations that are traditionally identified with liberalism.
The right's current campaign against Planned Parenthood is its best-known example. Although no federal dollars go to Planned Parenthood to pay for abortions, right-wing politicians and activist contend they do in the form of subsidies that pay for gynecological care and breast-health services for women who cannot afford to see private doctors.
The targeting of former White-House adviser Van Jones, hired to develop policy on green jobs, represents a new round in the right's new "defund the left" front. Phil Kerpen, policy director for the right-wing astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, saw the campaign against Jones, by his own account, as one way to stop the flow of federal dollars for the creation of green jobs, which he contends will serve only liberal groups, ranging from labor unions to environmental justice organizations.
At last year's Constitution Day gathering of Phillips' Conservative Caucus organization, the themes that today define many of the themes flogged daily on FOX NewsChannel were on full display: the false charge that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and purported evidence of Obama's alleged socialist roots.
Countless signs on display at the 912 march on Washington made reference to Obama's alleged socialism, or even communism.
When I interviewed Phillips just days before the 2008 presidential election, he told me he had just gotten off the phone with Jerome Corsi, the primary advance man for the birther conspiracy. Corsi was in Hawaii, looking for fodder for his claims, and was checking in regularly with Phillips.
Phillips served as mentor to Randall Terry, who, though not technically part of the Tea Party movement, seeks to tap that same vein of rage in service of his cause, which is to end abortion by any means necessary. And it's no coincidence that Randall Terry's comeback coincides with the rise of a retooled right wing.
Terry's followers, demonstrating the disruption techniques later employed at town-hall meetings on health-care reform, interrupted the Senate nomination hearing for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Terry himself shouted down former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean at a Virginia town-hall meeting about health care. A recent e-mail blast from Terry promises organized disruptions of congressional hearings on health-care reform legislation, a technique famously used by the women of Code Pink.
Phillips, during our 2008 chat, called Terry "a dear friend." (In 1998, Terry ran for the a congressional seat on the ticket of a third party founded, and then led, by Phillips -- the U.S. Taxpayers Party, which has since evolved into the Constitution Party.)
For his part, Viguerie, on Friday, advised the Tea Partiers to launch their own candidates for Congress in the 2010 elections, and to use primary challenges to put incumbents of both parties on notice, pushing them further to the right. Known as Reagan's "postmaster general" for his prodigious direct-mail fundraising activities on Reagan's behalf, Viguerie offered an energetic presentation on the nuts and bolts of both direct-mail and internet fundraising.
I signed up for Viguerie's workshop via ResistNet, a project of Grassfire, another astroturfing group, one that caters to the fringier elements of the right-wing coalition. On the Grassfire Web site, one will find the endorsements of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. Both appeared on the podium at the post-march rally on Friday sponsored by FreedomWorks, the astroturf group led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Tex.
Are you beginning to get the picture?
Whenever the right appears to fall in on itself, as it did with the collapse of the Moral Majority, it begins rebuilding on a broader base. In his fundraising workshop, Viguerie stressed the importance of building coalitions.
After the Moral Majority fell apart, the men behind the scenes rebuilt the religious right with more muscle by building on the media empire of the Rev. Pat Robertson, which was not limited to Christian fundamentalists, but encompassed denominations outside the Protestant establishment, including Pentacostals and charismatics.
When the Christian Coalition became unglued, the Family Research Council, a network of state-based policy groups with a heavily right-wing Christian bent, picked up the slack. The Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, does not limit its mission to matters of morality, but also
embraces a range of wanders into the territory of economic issues.
Now, with 30 percent of Americans defining themselves as "spiritual but not religious," according to a recent Newsweekpoll, the organized right has branched out once again, giving its latest incarnation, in the form of the Tea Party movement, a more secular face -- a good move at a time when the population is more distressed about economic than cultural issues.
After the 2008 election, liberal pundits declared the religious right dead, as if its primary focus eve was religion. It was not: its primary focus is, and always was, power -- power that ultimately serves the interests of Big Business via the goal of defunding and disempowering those forces that argue for regulation and a social safety net -- in other words, the forces that enact the ideals of liberals and progressives.
And it is not dead; it has simply had a makeover. The remnant of the religious right has been folded into this new coalition, which emphasizes the resentments of white people who feel economically and culturally threatened, while occasionally referencing the evangelical fervor that marks the latter-day religious right. The figure of Sarah Palin -- the gun-toting, sovereignty-floating, Obama-Swift-boating Christian charismatic who took the right by storm as the running mate of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.
At a conference sponsored last month by Americans for Prosperity, one speaker urged Tea Party movement members to take up positions in their local political parties, and to run for local office. This is exactly the model used by Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition executive director, when he promised in 1990 to take the country, "precinct by precinct." He did not succeed immediately; Bill Clinton would win another term before the election of the born-again George Bush (who proved a disappointment to the religious right). By that time, Reed had moved on from the Coalition to consult for the Bush campaign.
Reed's consulting firm, Century Strategies, found him partnered in business with a man named Tim Phillips, who today runs Americans for Prosperity, who told me in an interview that his expertise is in mobilizing grass-roots activists. Last month, Reeddebuted his new organization, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, at an anti-health-care reform rally sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.
Make no mistake; the Tea Party movement is the new religious right. The megaphone of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network and James Dobson's Focus on the Family media empire has been replaced by FOX News Channel and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
Different day; same stuff -- only stronger.
The Boston Globe reports that "House and Senate lawmakers are deeply divided over whether to give Governor Deval Patrick the authority to appoint an interim U.S. senator to the late Edward M. Kennedy's seat, even as top Democrats ramp up their lobbying for a measure that could come up for a vote as early as Thursday."
It Really Doesn’t Matter Because What He’s Offering Is Baucus Bull Shit!
By DAVID ESPO (AP) – 28 Minutes Ago
WASHINGTON — Caught off guard, congressional Democrats are grappling with President Barack Obama's unexpected call for immediate access to insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as richer Medicare drug benefits than envisioned in early versions of health care legislation.
Additionally, Obama's pledge in last week's prime-time speech to hold the overall cost of legislation to about $900 billion over a decade has spread concern among House Democrats, who have long contemplated a costlier measure.
Yet another late complication, according to several Democrats, is the president's statement that he will not sign a bill "if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period. And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize."
The $900 billion target is "very difficult," Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday. "This is reducing coverage for poor and working people."
Rangel spoke of other "restrictions the president has given in his speech," commenting after senior House Democrats pressed top administration officials in a private meeting for an explanation of Obama's $900 billion price tag.
Obama outlined his conditions in last week's speech and an accompanying fact sheet posted on the White House Web site as Democrats point toward votes in the House and Senate this fall.
After months of bipartisan negotiations on a health care overhaul bill, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday made it official that he's moving ahead without Republican support. He told reporters he intends to unveil a detailed outline of legislation on Wednesday and convene the committee next week to vote on it.
Despite numerous gestures to Republicans, Baucus fell short in his quest to assemble a coalition of senators from both parties behind his plan.
Baucus' proposal is certain to shun the liberals' call for the government to sell insurance, and rely instead on co-ops to offer coverage in competition with private industry. His approach includes a requirement for individuals to buy insurance, with financial penalties for those who don't. Rather than a mandate for larger businesses to provide coverage for employees, they would be required to defray the cost of any government subsidies their employees would qualify for.
"I expect by the time we finally vote in the committee, there will be Republican support," Baucus said, but other Democrats said they believed Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, may be the only one of the panel's 10 GOP members to vote for the package. Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming have also been involved in the marathon negotiations, but both have raised late objections.
Liberals, too, expressed their unhappiness.
"The way it is now there is no way I can vote for the package," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said on a conference call with reporters.
Grassley applauded Baucus' effort at bipartisanship, but complained that Senate Democratic leaders and the White House had imposed an artificial deadline on the negotiators and that Democratic leaders "haven't made a commitment to back a broad bipartisan bill through the entire process."
"It looks like we're being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage that we set forth when this process began," Grassley said in a statement.
He cited Republican concerns over cost, taxpayer funding for abortion services, medical malpractice and subsidies for illegal immigrants in any health care bill.
"We've been clear from the start that we're willing to stay at the table," Grassley added. "There's no reason not to keep working until we get it right."
Whatever the difficulties, Democrats appeared to gain precious political ground with word that the Massachusetts Legislature could begin voting this week on legislation permitting Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim replacement for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. That would give Democrats a 60th seat in the Senate, and help them overcome any filibuster mounted by Republicans.
Obama's decision to detail terms for health care legislation came after months of public deference to lawmakers.
Neither the bill making its way to the House floor nor two companion measures in the Senate included an interim program to assure coverage for consumers with pre-existing medical conditions. Instead, the bills would have waited until 2013, when numerous consumer protections are envisioned.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the six-member bipartisan group of senators was working at the last minute to meet the president's request. Another official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it involved creation of a high-risk insurance pool, beginning in 2010.
No details were available about costs, either to the consumer or the government.
In the House, a spokesman for the Ways and Means Committee said legislation does not include Obama's request for immediate availability of insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions. But lawmakers "are currently drafting a provision for inclusion in the final bill," the spokesman, Matthew Beck, added in an e-mail.
Officials in both houses said fulfilling Obama's request on Medicare prescription drug benefits would be considerably more difficult, citing the cost.
Nearly a week after Obama's speech, White House aides have not released key details of Obama's various other proposals, including their cost.
Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Charles Babington and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington and Glen Johnson in Boston contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
14sep2009Author: Jack Turner
So-Called 9/12 Protest Confused With The Black Family Reunion ...
So they get off the bus with their signs of Impeach Obama and they walk right into a crowd of 500 black people wearing Obama shirts, or traditional african wear and they went from Impeach obama to O shit. they looked lost than a Mug ...
Jack & Jill Politics - http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/
Big hat tip to JJP community member Piepiepie (great name, btw. it includes three of my favorite things) for linking us to this post by Max Fisher at The Atlantic
In it, Fisher explains what a little research on the part of many reporters might have cleared up a lot sooner.
What no one has noted is that two-thirds of the National Mall was filled by an entirely separate event on Saturday that had nothing to do with protesting the president. September 12 just happened to be the24th-annual Black Family Reunion, which ran from 7th Street all the way to the Washington Monument.
Not even the most biased observer could have mistaken these people for anti-Obama protesters. So why did so many pundits conflate the cheery Black Family Reunion with the angry tea-party protesters? The answer, I think, is that they either weren’t there or didn’t bother to leave the protest’s zenith on the Capitol steps. It’s an institutional hazard of covering protests that reporters seek out the center of the action and don’t budge, giving them great anecdotes from individual attendees but little sense of the event’s overall scope. Similarly, it’s easy for bloggers to just read after-action reports or browse a few photos before drawing conclusions. But these are both risky strategies for covering big events, and it’s easy to see why people are so confused about Saturday’s attendance figures.
I’m not trying to get into a precise tit-for-tat on crowd size. Fisher says “2/3 of the mall was Black Family Reunion” where as The Washington Post describes the BFR as “a much smaller event” than the 9/12 protests. My point is that Fisher’s is the first report to offer some palatable explanation for confusion over the crowd size. Also it’s just hilarious to think of Black Family Reunion attendees being all riled up and anti-Obama.
And now, your moment of Zen. This brother is clearly a libertarian, “real” American upset that socialist Obama has made his America unrecognizable. It’s so clear!
BTW, if anyone was at the Black Family Reunion this year, share your comments and stories of what it was like. I haven’t been since I lived in DC a long time ago, like last millenium.
In their September 13 editions, several major newspapers gave coverage of a September 12 "March on Washington" by conservative activists more prominent placement than they had an October 26, 2002, protest in Washington, D.C., against the Iraq war -- which reportedly featured a similar or greater turnout.The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times featured articles about the September 12 protest on their front pages, after the Post had provided only a photo of the Iraq war protest on its front page while printing its article on C1 and the Times had provided its only coverage of the Iraq war protest on page A17; The New York Times and Houston Chronicle both put photos of the September 12 protests on their front pages after providing no front-page coverage of the 2002 Iraq war protest.
Major newspapers give 9-12 march better placement than 2002 anti-war protest
Wash. Post put article about 2009 conservative protest on paper's front page after largely relegating 2002 protest to Metro section. From page A1 of the September 13 edition of The Washington Post:
Click to have your eyes opened! http://mediamatters.org/research/200909150037
by THE REVEREND on SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
Humans will lie about almost anything…..check that….Humans will lie about anything. I'm not sure whether the human habit of lying can be attributed to evolution or not. Perhaps we have been programmed over 15,000 years or so to deceive other humans for self-preservation purposes.
Whatever the reason…..dishonesty, lying, deception….have always been human traits.
In the 90's, the last time we had a Democratic president, rich conservatives took it upon themselves to orchestrate a mass media lying and smearing campaign against Bill Clinton. Clinton, according to those widely circulated lies, was a drug runner, a murderer, a real estate scammer and a serial rapist. None of those lies were true but they were continually repeated by the liars and then, by those who believed, or wanted to believe the lies.
One year after Justice Scalia appointed George W. Bush president, the lies and deceptions by Dick Cheney and his band of PNAC warmongering crusaders led to the senseless murders of 4400 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Corporate media, with very few exceptions, helped Cheney spread those lies. The lies were spread from the "liberal" NY Times' Judith Miller directly to the late Tim Russert's Meet the Press on "liberal" NBC……the network that Mary Matalin, Cheney's political advisor, said was the best for getting Cheney's "message" out.
Cheney's lies and deceptions worked. Iraq posed no threat to the U.S., wasn't involved with 9-11, and had no ties to Islamic extremists. Iraq had been decimated from a decade of U.S flyover bombings and painful sanctions. Yet, the corporate media's wholesale spreading of Cheney's lies coupled with America's still fresh emotions of vengeance from 9-11, led this country into what is still considered a disaster today inside Iraq.
Believing in lies often leads to dire consequences. Such is Iraq.
Now with Cheney gone, except for appearances on corporate-whore teevee, incoherent sore-loser Tea Partiers, like the arrival of the Holy Ghost in the book of Acts, have had the deceptive-working power of Dick Cheney wash over them like flames of fire. Tea Partiers, or 9-12'ers if you prefer, though not as polished a group as their Dark Master, have been as successful as The Dick was in deceiving the overall public.
I wonder how many needless deaths will happen this time.
The Twelvers lie about virtually everything. They lie about an already partially socialized America becoming "socialist." They lie about Obama's desire to kill the elderly. They lie about Democratic health care legislation covering undocumenteds. They lie about Obamacare mandating tax dollars to be used for abortion. They lie about Obama's citizenship. They deceptively compare Obama with Hitler, Castro, Mao, and Stalin. They falsely assert that they "want their country back", when their country hasn't gone anywhere.
They even lie about how many Twelvers showed up in D.C. last Saturday.
Tea Partiers, now imbued with the Evil Lying Spirit of Richard Cheney, carry on their Dark Father's tradition of lying in order to get what they want. Cheney wanted to attack and occupy Iraq. Twelvers want health care reform killed and the presidency of Barack Obama, like Clinton in the 90's, marginalized.
In both cases, corporate-whore main media was johnny-on-the-spot in helping to spread the lies. In 2002, in excess of 100,000 anti-Iraq war protestors gathered in D.C. The Washington Post, you know, that "liberal" rag, covered that rather large protest this way….
The Washington Post put the story not on the front page, but in the Metro section with, as the paper's ombudsman later lamented, "a couple of ho-hum photographs that captured the protest's fringe elements."
The Post, representing the lies and deceptions of Dick Cheney over Iraq in 2002, couldn't possibly take 100,000+ protesters seriously…..their paper repeatedly had argued for attacking a country which did not threaten America.
However, if the protest is smaller and based on incoherent deceptions and lies, like the TeaBaggers in D.C. this past weekend…..then the "liberal" Washington Post strategically places those lies and deceptions on their front page….with pictures….
Tens of thousands of conservative protesters, many complaining that the nation is racing toward socialism, massed outside the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, angrily denouncing President Obama's health-care plan and other initiatives as threats to the Constitution.
100,000+ protesting the lies of Dick Cheney which resulted in 4400 U.S. soldier caskets and no definable benefit to America…..Metro section coverage. 60,000 protesters lying about any and everything Obama…..front page news.
I no longer believe that America is in a "battle for it's soul." I think that battle is over and the forces of light and truth have lost. The liars and deceivers have won out. Cheney lied and he got what he wanted….a U.S. quagmire in Iraq with thousands of dead Americans. The Twelvers lie and deceive and the whore media, just like with Iraq, assist them in getting what they want…..a watered down, feckless, piece of drug and insurance industry-friendly legislation which will only make our problem with high costs and availability even worse.
Update: Here is the picture used by my blog friend King in his post yesterday….
The picture is from the 1997 Promise Keepers rally…..not from last Saturday's TeaBagger gathering.
Humans will lie and deceive about anything.
Secret Meeting Of World's Richest People Held In New York
Buffett, Gates, Rockefeller, Turner, Winfrey, Bloomberg, Soros in media-blackout conference
By NIALL O'DOWD IrishCentral.Com Publisher
(Copyright 2009 IrishCentral LLC)
Photo gallery: Click here
The mysterious, media-blackout meeting was called by Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway; Bill Gates, co founder of Microsoft; and David Rockefeller Jr., chairman of Rockefeller Financial Services.
It was held in the President's Room at Rockefeller University In New York at 3 p.m. on that Tuesday afternoon.
How so many giant figures in American life managed to interrupt and coordinate their schedules on such short notice, and meet in total secrecy in the world’s media capital remains a mystery -- as does the ultimate outcome of the billionaires' conference.
In their letter of invitation, Gates, Buffett and Rockefeller cited the worldwide recession and the urgent need to plan for the future. They said they wanted to hear the views of a broad range of key leaders in the financial and philanthropic fields.
Each attendee was given 15 minutes to deliver a presentation on how they saw the future global economic climate, the future priorities for philanthropy, and what they felt the elite group should do.
According to one of the attendees, Gates was the most-impressive speaker of the day, with Turner the most-outspoken and Warren Buffet the most-insistent on his agenda for change.
Winfrey was said to be in a “listening mode."
Gates was worth an estimated $57B in 2008; more recently, Buffett clocked in at an estimated $37B -- making them the richest Americans.
Winfrey was once the world’s only black billionaire, and has extensive holdings in the entertainment and publishing industries, as well as being a leading philanthropist.
Other invitees included Eli and Edythe Broad, whose current fortune is estimated at $5.2B by Forbes Magazine; John Morgridge, former CEO of Cisco and his wife Tashia;Peter Peterson, senior chairman of the Blackstone Group; Julian Robertson, founder ofTiger Management Corp.; and Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"They were all there, the great and the good," a participant told IrishCentral.com.
Lincoln Mitchell: The Silence of the Republicans
By Lincoln Mitchell
... opponents as some kind of dangerous radical, was targeted by the anti-war movement because of her unwillingness to move ahead with efforts to impeach President Bush after she became speaker of the house following the Democrats' 2006 victory. .... Instead of spreading them around in all other pages, the tea-bagging, birther, death panel, Joe Wilson, MBachmann, SP, Cheney, etc. stories could be put here. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 12:55 PM on 09/14/2009 ...