Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tea Party Movie Gets Ready for Screenings Nationwide

The recent election of Republican Scott Brown to the United States Senate has upset the political establishment in Washington and established the tea party movement as a legitimate grassroots force in American politics. Now, the newly updated film trailer proclaims Tea Party: The Documentary Film is driving momentum as the “story of 2009 and the must see film for 2010”. It is being viewed as a key to understanding the winning message of a movement whose core tenets - Constitutionally limited government, fiscal and personal responsibility and free markets - are transcending partisan divides. The National Tea Party Convention will show the film on Thursday, February 4th at 9PM to a Nashville, Tennessee audience of over 600 convention-goers including keynote speaker Sarah Palin and several Hollywood celebrities. The film will also be shown as a part of the CPAC conference in Washington, DC on Friday, February 19 at 10:00PM. Grassroots activists who are featured in the film are planning to attend. The film will be shown in locations nationwide on Saturday, February 27 on the one year anniversary date of the movement...read more

Wash Post Quotes Bogus Tea Party Leader

The piece, titled "Republicans woo 'tea party' members, but face activists' distrust of GOP," tells of RNC Chairman Michael Steele's attempt to bring this outrage movement into the Big Tent. Sounds like the kind of story that would feature lots of voices from the Tea Party. There's one. The only representative of the Tea Party movement quoted by reporter Philip Rucker is one Dale Robertson, owner of TeaParty.org, who claims to represent 6 million people. Robertson serves as the face of the "distrust" that the Post tries to portray in the piece. Rucker writes, "Robertson said he has reached out repeatedly to Steele but has been rebuffed. 'He hasn't called me back,' Robertson said. 'I find that disconcerting.'" Also disconcerting is that the Post published that quote with a straight face. If the paper had bothered to assign someone to cover the burgeoning Tea Party movement, its editors would have known that Robertson doesn't actually represent anyone, except maybe himself...read more

Video: Obama's Jobs Success

Mandatory tooth brushing regs...Or Why Johnny Can't Read

EEC's new regs require educators to assist children in brushing their teeth whenever children remain in care for more than four hours and/or consume a meal in child care. For these reasons, many EEC-licensed programs (including all Massachusetts Head Start programs) already practice regular tooth-brushing. EEC is working in partnership with the Department of Public Health and others to improve oral health in Massachusetts and will provide training and resources to assist programs in implementing these requirements...read more

Saturday, January 30, 2010

GOP leaders adopt litmus test of values for candidates

In an unprecedented move, the Republican National Committeeon Friday unanimously called onits chairman,Michael S. Steele, to "carefully screen" candidates for their adherence to conservative values before granting them RNC financial help. The resolution specifically calls on the national chairman to take into account thevotingrecords and statements of all GOP candidatesfor evidence that they supportthe "core principles and positions" ofthe party's nationalplatform, widely regarded as a highlyconservative document...read more

GOP challengers fueled by Tea Party activists

The Texas House is Republican-led and about as conservative as any political body in the country. But for some in the state's GOP, it's not nearly conservative enough. A wave of anti-establishment fervor-first harnessed last year with the grassroots conservative "Tea Party" movement-has led to a surge of challenges to Republican state House incumbents in the March 2 primary elections. Challengers say the GOP veterans are too moderate and have repeatedly failed to meet conservative benchmarks. "From our perspective, the participation in the Texas Legislature is not nearly conservative enough," said Barry Walker, director and co-founder of the conservative grassroots group New Revolution Now, which is raising money and campaigning for legislative candidates. "We would like to see a much more conservative body for the next session."...read more

Sarah Palin at tea party event? 'You betcha'

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is still planning to speak at next week’s National Tea Party Convention, even though GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have dropped out. Palin is reportedly receiving a $100,000 speaking fee for the event, money that she says will be funneled back into conservative causes. The former vice presidential nominee is now the only major GOP figure committed to the event, which has been plagued by sponsors backing out and an inability to sell tickets. Asked Thursday night by Fox News host Greta Van Susteren if she is still planning to go, Palin responded: “You betcha.” “I'm going to speak there because there are people traveling from many miles away to hear what that tea party movement is all about and what that message is that should be received by our politicians in Washington,” she said. “I'm honored to get to be there.”...read more

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pelosi suggests maneuver to pass healthcare overhaul

Laying out a possible path to approving healthcare legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Wednesday that the House should pass the Senate's version and then use a process known as "budget reconciliation" to make the changes some lawmakers are demanding. The politically fraught strategy might allow Democrats to salvage a version of the overhaul that senior lawmakers pushed through the House and Senate late last year. Because budget reconciliation requires only a simple majority in the Senate, it could enable Democrats to circumvent a threatened GOP filibuster. "Majority rule, we call it," Pelosi told a group of columnists Wednesday. But House and Senate leaders have not agreed on what later changes to make to the Senate bill...read more

Tea party brews peril on right and left

The right has been celebrating since a smooth-talking truck-driving Republican achieved the unthinkable last week and prised a Senate seat from Democrats in Massachusetts, traditionally the most liberal state in the union. It was an astonishing electoral coup. With President Barack Obama on the defensive ahead of last night's State of the Union address, it has energised the right wing for November's mid-term congressional elections and led some to hope that the Democratic advances of recent years will be checked. But the conventional wisdom - that when Democrats are down, Republicans must be up - may no longer hold, analysts suggest. The rise of the "tea party" movement, a network of fiercely anti-government protesters opposed to everything Mr Obama stands for, has also complicated life for Republicans. The phenomenon threatens to split the right wing vote in the mid-terms and beyond, in much the same way as Ross Perot, the maverick billionaire, stole votes from President George H. W. Bush in 1992, helping Bill Clinton to his first term in the White House...read more

Bachmann and Blackburn Bail on Tea Party

Even before the Tea Party’s $549-a-head convention next week, some of the movement’s biggest champions are partied out. Representatives Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, and Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, two Tea Party heroines, have canceled their appearances at the National Tea Party Convention, which begins next Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. Their withdrawals are the latest in a string of setbacks for the event, billed as a historic coming together of newly vocal anti-big-government activists. Major conservative groups and commentators have bagged their plans to attend the convention, questioning the motives of the organization running it, Tea Party Nation, and the event’s potential ties to the Republican establishment...read more

Tea Party Movement In Tennessee Unifies

In a historic move, Tea Party groups from across the state of Tennessee have formed the Tennessee Tea Party Coalition (TNTPC). Fifty-eight delegates representing thirty-four active Tennessee Tea Party groups with a collective membership totaling more than eighteen thousand concerned citizens caucused in Nashville this past weekend. The delegates voted to establish the Tennessee Tea Party Coalition and define, at the grassroots level, the Tea Party movement in Tennessee. After the representative body formed, the delegates ratified the description of the Tennessee Tea Party movement, the Vision, Values, Strategic Objectives, and the Structure & By-laws for the TNTPC. TNTPC will serve as the networking and communication vehicle for the Tea Party movement in the state of Tennessee and is designed to maximize the voice of We the People of Tennessee...read more

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lech Walesa To Speak at Chicago Tea Party

Former President of Poland and co-founder of Solidarity Party Lech Walesa will speak at the Chicago Tea Party tomorrow along with Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski . Adam broke the news yesterday when he appeared on Judge Napolitano’s show.

Mr. Freeze? Hardly. The Fake Spending "Restraint" of Obama

The political media is awash in news that President Obama will propose a freeze in non-defense, non-security discretionary spending over the next three years. This will reduce the spending baseline by $250 billion over the next decade.

A few thoughts:

1. Welcome to the fiscal responsibility party, Mr. President. After a year of trillion-dollar bailouts, trillion-dollar stimulus bills, and trillion-dollar healthcare plans, it's nice to see at least a rhetorical nod toward sanity coming out of the White House.

2. One little problem: CBO was actually projecting a decline in non-defense discretionary spending over the next few years (from $682 billion in FY 2010 gradually down to $640 billion in 2014). It's right there in Table 3-1 of the CBO report. The reason is all the "temporary" spending programs that were enacted the first year of the Obama Administration. This is like the weatherman taking credit for a sunny day--it was happening anyway. In fact, freezing this spending is actually a hike in projected spending over the next several years.

3. The spending "restraint" is a drop in the bucket. Let's take the White House claim on its face--that this measure will reduce total spending over the next decade by $250 billion. CBO says that under current services, the federal government will be spending $42.9 trillion. So even if this "freeze" is followed through on by the Congressional appropriators, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime will still be spending 99.42% as much as they were planning to, anyway. Big deal. It's like if you were planning on spending $100 on groceries this week, and instead spent only $99.42.

4. It's awfully heroic to say that you're not going to increase spending after it just went up by 17.4 percent. That's right: non-defense discretionary spending grew by 17.4 percent in Obama's first year. Even if it stays at that level for the next three years, that would still be an average annual increase of 5.5 percent. That's faster than the economy is expected to grow, and faster than wages are expected to grow.

read more

Stimulus price tag soars

The economic stimulus bill's price tag has risen to $862 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday — a $75 billion jump that's a result in part to the fact that, despite the spending, joblessness has risen and the government is paying out more than expected on unemployment benefits. The CBO, in a new report, also said spending in fiscal 2010 will push the deficit to more than $1.3 trillion, or nearly the record $1.4 trillion deficit recorded in 2009...read more

Let's play the incentive game. As the Obama economic policies fail the costs go up. In other words, failure results in the bureacrats having more money to spend. What kind of incentive is that?

The New ‘Taint of Incumbency’

In the wake of Scott Brown’s astonishing Senate win in Massachusetts last week, GOP leaders took no time to spin the outcome as an indictment of Democratic leadership that can only help Republicans in November’s mid-term elections. “There’s not a seat in America held by a Democrat that can’t be won,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told “Fox and Friends” Monday. “Massachusetts proves that. When Scott Brown wins Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, any seat’s in play.” But while Republicans are hoping Brown’s victory foreshadows a GOP landslide, a number of political experts are warning that the country’s restless anxiety — as evidenced not only in Massachusetts, but in Virginia, New Jersey, and now Florida as well — is less a backlash against Democrats in particular than a rebuke of the business-as-usual politics of Capitol Hill in general...read more

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spending Freeze or $50 Million New Park

Today the House Of Representatives passed H.R. 3726, a bill to establish the Castle Nugent Historic Site on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.

In a floor statement, Rep. Doc Hastings made the following points:

First, this Congress enacted a law that authorized and directed the National Park Service to conduct a feasibility study on whether this site should be preserved, and if so, in what manner. We don’t have this report. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent on this study, and yet this House is charging ahead, making a decision without having that study in our hands. This is wasteful and irresponsible...

With ten percent unemployment, millions of Americans without jobs, record budget deficits and public debt skyrocketing, now is not the time to spend up to $50 million of the taxpayers’ money to buy nearly 3000 acres of beachfront property on a Caribbean island. And on top of that, it’ll cost nearly $1 million a year to maintain...

On top of the cost of buying this beachfront Caribbean property and the yearly cost of maintaining it, we need to be honest about the backlog we have in caring for the land already owned by the federal government. There is $9 billion worth of needed repairs and maintenance on existing park lands. If we aren’t caring for what we already have, then Congress shouldn’t be making the problem worse...


I just guffaw when I hear these folks spewing concern about "fiscal discipline". They are in such a hurry to spend our money they won't even wait for the official study to justify the spending.

The Tea Party vs. the GOP

Fired up after Scott Brown's win, Tea Party candidates across the country are mounting challenges to top Republican recruits. Does this help or hurt the GOP? For Republicans, the most encouraging thing about Scott Brown’s victory is the collaboration of the Tea Party movement with the orthodox GOP hierarchy it usually scorns. Now the Republicans—already expecting substantial gains in the House in the midterm elections—see taking control in November as a real possibility, with the gain of 40 seats they would need as attainable. The Tea Party movement does offer Republicans a real chance, but it also presents risks that are only beginning to surface. For one thing, without the special incentive of killing President Obama’s health-care legislation, it is hard to imagine much Tea Party enthusiasm for other candidates like Brown, whose record showed opposition to tax cuts and support for Massachusetts’ own universal health-care law. A more important dilemma: Instead of falling in behind GOP favorites, the Tea Partiers are increasingly running themselves in Republican primaries as insurgents ...read more

3 in 10 Californians identify with the Tea Party

The Tea Party anti-big government, anti-tax, anti-some-other-stuff folks are sinking their ideological roots into the Golden State rather quickly -- and deeply. Hmm, and there's a midterm election for every House seat, a third of the Senate and dozens of governors' chairs this coming November. A new Field Poll out this afternoon finds that 28% of the state's voters identify with that protest movement while nearly two-thirds already know about them. California support for these protesters is concentrated among Republicans and conservatives, whose energy, money, online muscle and motivation played significant roles in some recent elections, fed, according to other polls, by growing concerns about federal spending and record deficits...read more

A decline in economic freedom

The most distressing news from the latest index is the fact that the United States fell from its perennial rank as one of the world's freest economies to "Mostly Free." The United States trails Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which topped the rankings for the 16th consecutive year. Although still among the top 10, the United States just barely edged out Denmark (ninth) and Chile (10th) in the 2010 ranking. The U.S. position likely would be even worse, but for the fact that the index ranking is based on data collected for the period between July 2008 and June 2009, thus excluding much of the heavy increases in Washington's bailout spending and regulation in response to the economic meltdown of September 2008 and the recession that followed. Second, the United States was not alone in its flawed approach to the economic crisis. "Regrettably, attacks on the free market, fueled by the economic slowdown and the political appeal of quick interventionist remedies, gained strong momentum in some countries, with far-reaching effects," the index editors said. "Exactly half of the major economies curtailed economic freedom to some degree through various interventionist measures." If this downward trend continues for any length of time, either in the U.S. or elsewhere, the negative results will be widespread around the globe because, as the Index makes clear, "economic freedom has far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development. Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability."...read more

Tea Partiers shaking up races across country

A once-dismissed loose confederation of Tea Party activists opposed to big government, bailouts and higher taxes is causing heartburn for establishment candidates across the country. About 50 activists from 30 states gathered in Washington over the weekend for a conference that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, helped put together. Armey, a lobbyist until late last year, has made it clear he doesn't want to be the face of the movement. Some of those attending were equally resolute that their marching orders will continue to come from the grass roots, not political professionals in Washington. "We get people who call us all the time, politicians or other organizations, and they say, 'Hey, we need you to do a protest across the country on this date.' And we just laugh because it's a fundamental misunderstanding of the movement," said Mark Meckler, a California lawyer and board member of Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group...read more

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Other Tea Party Convention: Activists Meet In DC

While the first-ever Tea Party convention, planned for next week in Nashville, has caused some in-fighting and ruffled feathers within the movement, another group of Tea Partiers came to Washington, DC this past weekend to do, essentially, what the Nashville convention hopes to provide: exchange ideas and goals for the future. 60 Tea Party organizers from across the country came to DC for the weekend meeting, organized by FreedomWorks, the Dick Armey-led, DC-based conservative grassroots group that has associated itself with the Tea Partiers since their April 15 national coming-out party that saw hundreds of protests and millions of protesters take to the streets for tax day. The organizers came from different local Tea Party groups; FreedomWorks says it has worked with them before and contacted them about coming to DC for the weekend. "We are building a sustainable community of people that believe in freedom 365 days a year," FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe said today at a briefing with reporters and about 25 of the activists. Activists said they discussed ideas about the movement and where it will go from here--a future that, from the point of view of activists and FreedomWorks staffers in attendance, will certainly include a heavy role in the 2010 midterm elections...read more

Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention

A Tea Party convention billed as the coming together of the grass-roots groups that began sprouting up around the country a year ago is unraveling as sponsors and participants pull out to protest its expense and express concerns about “profiteering.” The convention’s difficulties highlight the fractiousness of the Tea Party groups, and the considerable suspicions among their members of anything that suggests the establishment. The convention, to be held in Nashville in early February, made a splash by attracting big-name politicians. (Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.) But some groups have criticized the cost — $549 per ticket and a $9.95 fee, plus hotel and airfare — as out of reach for the average tea partier. And they have balked at Ms. Palin’s speaking fee, which news reports have put at $100,000, a figure that organizers will not confirm or deny. Tea Party events exploded last winter, as increasingly large gatherings protested the federal stimulus bill, government bailouts and proposed health care legislation. While they vary by name, specific tenets and relative embrace of anarchy, such groups tend to unite around fiscal conservatism and a belief that the federal government — whether led by Republicans or Democrats — has overstepped its constitutional powers. Tea Party Nation, the convention organizer, started as a social networking site for the groups last year, a kind of Facebook for conservatives to “form bonds, network and make plans for action.” But its founders, former sponsors and participants are now trading accusations...read more

The rise of Tea Party activism

The Tea Party movement, identified by some commentators as the first right-wing street-protest movement of our time, may be a reflection of how far populist sentiment has drifted away from the political left in the decades since the New Deal. “The original Populists were the ones who came up with the income tax,” Charles Postel, the author of “The Populist Vision,” said recently. “They were for the nationalization of everything. Their idea of a model institution was the Post Office.” Bryan believed that the “right to coin money and issue money is a function of the government,” and railed, most memorably, against the “cross of gold.” Yet few ideas stir the Tea Party faithful more than a fear of creeping nationalization and the dangers—both moral and practical—associated with printing money to suit momentary needs. The sponsors of Glenn Beck’s nightly history lessons on the depredations of American progressivism frequently include purveyors of gold. One historical comparison that some Tea Party champions have made is to the civil-rights movement, and, to the extent that the analogy holds, it may reflect the fact that the Tea Party seems to derive much of its energy from the members of that generation who did not participate in the cultural revolution of the sixties, and are only belatedly coming to terms with social and demographic trends set in motion fifty years ago...read more

Tea Party Lists Enemies of Liberty?

FreedomWorks, the conservative political action committee that is one of the major players with close ties to the Tea Party movement, released its list of 2010 target Senate races and congressional districts today. In the Florida Senatorial race, the group supports conservative Marco Rubio over current Republican Governor Charlie Crist, conservative Pat Toomey over Senator Arlen Specter (D) in Pennsylvania, Rand Paul (R), son of 2008 Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, for the open Senate seat in Kentucky and among those listed as an ‘Enemy of Liberty’, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada. The group has not yet picked a Republican to back in Nevada, they just want Reid ousted. On the House side they will work to topple Parker Griffith, the recently converted Democrat in Alabama, as well as Alan Grayson, the outspoken Florida Democrat who said the Republican Health Care plan amounted to telling people “shut up and die.” These races are just a drop in the bucket however, the group plans to monitor dozens of races and jump in with both feet when its ready...read more

Rick Santelli Gets Credit for Tea Party Movement

It has been almost a year since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli’s Squawk Box rant against government debt and bailouts and his call for a new American tea party. Now, as the tea-party movement his comments sparked reaches into every political race in the nation, Santelli’s getting credit for his role. “I still think that all the dynamics that I felt as it was happening are still in place today,” says Santelli, who wants to add one new element: heavy-handed government reform of healthcare. While refusing to be a tea-party spokesman, Santelli is receiving much due in a recent book, A New American Tea Party. “Santelli was very important,” says author John O’Hara, a former Bushie. He tells Whispers that while most people just accepted the Bush and Obama administration laims that they had to bail out Wall Street and Detroit to avert catastrophic failures, “Santelli said what a lot of people were thinking and afraid to say” when he roared that “government is promoting bad behavior.”...read more

Katie Couric Interviews Tea Party Leaders

For this week's installment of @katiecouric, CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric spoke to Tea Party leaders Michael Johns and Kellen Guida about their movement and the frustrations of those who identify with it. The Tea Party movement, Johns said, was a "visceral reaction" to the idea that "our federal government was growing too large, that too much power was being centralized, and government bureaucracies that the American people were over-taxed, in some ways over-regulated." "And that the genius of the American dream, the genius of American liberty as enunciated by our founders was always a belief in individual liberty and individual freedoms," he continued...read more

Video at the link.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Still a disorganized 'tea party'

The Senate race became a big moment for the sometimes fractured and ragtag group of right-wing activists. "The movement rallied around the idea of defying the establishment," said Eric Odom, founder of another tea party network, American Liberty Alliance, which ushered volunteers to Massachusetts in the final days of Brown's winning campaign. "This had far less to do with Scott Brown and far more to do with proving we could coordinate and act in a mass way, showing we could move political mountains. We don't view this as support of a candidate; we view it as opposition to a candidate." But as much as the various groups contributed -- with e-mails, volunteers, money, TV ads -- the victory still had the feel of a crowd running to the sound of the guns. The movement is far from a well-disciplined army. Its pivot from protesting to politics has been fraught with internal disputes, turf wars and lawsuits. It has continued to struggle with its relationship to the Republican Party, which would very much like to harness the movement's energy without being subsumed by it. Recent weeks have seen activists tangled in infighting over an attempt to organize a national convention...read more

Tea Party Challenges to the GOP

According to the Washington Post, for the 5th district, “Republican leaders in Virginia are backing a moderate state lawmaker, Sen. Robert Hurt, whose record enrages many conservatives, including a disparate band of Tea Party activists. To them, Hurt is not a real conservative because of his past support for tax increases, and they’re promising a third-party challenge if he wins the nomination.” This is fascinating. The Tea party is really an insurrection that takes no prisoners including moderately conservative Republicans. The Post says that “At least five distinct Tea Party organizations have formed across the 5th District.” This means it is a local uprising, a band of “war lords” fighting for power and purity. It’s not a disciplined strategic movement...read more

'Brown Effect' aligns tea party movement with moderates

Scott Brown's victory spoils the fable of a death struggle pitting tea party populists and angry conservatives against moderates and the Republican hierarchy. That myth foresaw conservatives refusing to support candidates with even the slightest of moderate tendencies, dividing the party, and ruining its chances in the 2010 elections. In Massachusetts, conservatives preferred victory to purity. Brown is not a social conservative. He's pro-choice and, while supporting traditional marriage, believes "states should be free to make their own laws in this area." Yet conservatives and tea partiers joined moderates and independents in the Brown coalition. This was actually one of the smaller manifestations of the Brown Effect. The bigger ones include: An enormous psychological boost for Republicans of all stripes, a firm belief they can win anywhere, help in recruiting strong candidates and raising money for the midterms, the death of the Obama mystique, a critical 41st Republican vote in the Senate, and a stirring example of how to win...read more

Taxpayers' bucks spent on trysts, golf, skiing

From an extra day's hotel stay so military officials can fit in a round of golf to federal workers who fly business class instead of coach, questionable travel expenditures have remained a persistent problem across the federal government in recent years. At the State Department, for instance, nearly 80 percent of the more than $300,000 in airfare reviewed at one little-known office in fiscal 2007 and 2008 went to pay for business-class airline tickets, and many of those purchases violated federal travel policy. One senior manager at the National Science Foundation took or extended taxpayer-funded trips totaling more than $10,000 to facilitate liaisons with women in Paris, Tokyo and Vancouver. And a former deputy secretary at the Pentagon repaid more than $17,000 after investigators said he extended official travel for personal reasons on more than a dozen trips, a finding the former official said he strongly denies...read more

TEA Party factions in Tennessee bear differing agendas

The conservative Taxed Enough Already (TEA) political movement sweeping through Tennessee is hardly a consolidated front. On one side, there's The Memphis TEA Party (TheMemphisTEAParty.com); on the other, is The Mid-South Tea Party (MidSouthTEAParty.org). For The Memphis TEA Party, the TEA Party Nation extravaganza convening early next month in Nashville -- featuring former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. -- is a way to energize the conservative base of the Republican Party. It's also an opportunity to make it accountable, says Charlotte Bergmann, The Memphis TEA Party candidate for the 9th Congressional District. Its 600 attendees are paying $549 a piece for the privilege. But for Mid-South TEA Party activists such as James Tomasik of Cordova, the national convention in Nashville is "just one of those Republican Party things where they're trying to ride the TEA Party wave." He calls his local group a mix of Democrats, Republicans and independents, with an emphasis on independence...read more

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Call for UN climate chief to resign

It is time for the embattled Rajendra Pachauri to resign as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), He is steadfastly refusing to go, but his position is becoming more and more untenable by the day, and the official climate science body will continue to leach credibility while he remains in charge. When on Friday I wrote for my Daily Telegraph column (published yesterday) that he was “at best one more blunder away from having to resign”, I did not expect other errors to come to light quite so fast. But, as I blogged yesterday, four more have now been reported from the part of the latest IPCC report on Himalayan glaciers that contained the notorious – and now withdrawn - claim that they would disappear by 2035. And there are now reports that it erred in relying on an unpublished report in linking natural disasters like flood and hurricanes to global warming. All appear much less serious than the original Himalayan howler, but they add to the impression of sloppiness at the IPCC...read more

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders. Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’ Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation...read more

NM Dem Group Advocates $300 Million Tax Increase

A group of New Mexico House and Senate Democrats advocates raising taxes by more than $300 million to balance the state's budget and avoid deep cuts in health care services and education. One proposal outlined Thursday will roll back personal income tax cuts and capital gains reductions that were enacted in 2003. Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson opposes that, contending that the tax cuts are an economic development tool for recruiting businesses with high-paying jobs. The group of mostly liberal Democrats, calling itself the "Working Families Caucus," mapped out their budget-balancing proposals during a news conference and said they're hopeful they can overcome opposition to tax increases from conservatives, particularly in the Senate. "We're up to the battle in the caucus," said Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque...read more

New Mexico State Legislator Introduces Bill To Move State's Money

New Mexico state representative Brian Egolf has introduced a bill to move the state's money out of Bank of America and into banks and credit unions chartered in New Mexico. "I saw the Move Your Money video the day it came out and thought it made a lot of sense," Egolf told HuffPost. So the Santa Fe Democrat wants to move as much money as he possibly can -- that would be $1.4 billion. Egolf's bill would direct the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration to "give a preference to a community bank to act as the fiscal agent of the general fund operating cash depository account." Egolf said the account, which is essentially the state's checking account, holds $1.4 billion and is managed by Bank of America. Egolf's bill directs state officials to study the feasibility of dividing up the account and distributing it between community banks and credit unions throughout the state. He said he discussed the measure with Gov. Bill Richardson (D) for an hour on Thursday, and that the governor supported the measure...read more

The Return of the Neocons

But obituaries can be premature. At the moment, in fact, the neocons seem resurrected. One of their own, Frederick Kagan of AEI (Robert's younger brother), helped turn around the war in Iraq by devising and pushing for the surge there. More recent-ly, President Obama—whose foreign--policy pronouncements (nuanced, multi-lateral, interdependent) and style (low-key, self-critical, conciliatory, collegial) were a repudiation of neoconservative assertiveness—has swung their way, or so they believe. Such persistence is not surprising. For, as historians note, the impulses the neocons represent—the Manichaean world view, the missionary zeal, the near-jingoistic view of America, the can-do spirit and impatience with nuance—are as old as the country itself, dating back to John Winthrop and running through Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and John F. Kennedy. But the one issue on which they and their harshest critics (who, it must be said, seem obsessively, even morbidly, fixated on them) agree is that they are not about to go away. Perhaps the surest measure of the neocons' continued influence is the frustration and anger they generate within the Republican Party. Many of those they've targeted—like Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft—won't talk about them. (Some neocons gloat that Kissinger has even tried to become one of them.) One prominent activist on the libertarian end of the party—who hates what he sees as their costly foreign--policy adventurism and the GOP electoral losses (i.e., the presidency and both houses of Congress) he attributes to them—calls them "parasites": with little electoral power of their own, he claims, they have had to attach themselves to others, like George W. Bush. Comfortably ensconced behind a cloak of anonymity, he bristles, but also marvels, at their endurance and effectiveness, comparing them to "an infection that keeps coming back." "They've perfected this absolutely incredible thing: they announce who they are, how powerful they are, how influential they are, and get people to write articles about them," he says. "But when their policies are perceived to have caused mass chaos, they don't exist, they didn't have anything to do with it, they weren't there, and they get really snotty. And anyone who attacks them is anti-Semitic." "Everybody in the true conservative movement talks privately about the neoconservatives, and most don't like them," says Patrick Buchanan. "They're vindictive; they're not collegial…One disagreement and you're at war to the death."...read more

GOP and the Tea Party

I have been pointing out for some time that the Tea Party movement sees the Republican party as a vehicle for pushing its agenda and not the other way around. The Tea Party Movement is actively attempting to take over the infrastructure of the Republican party from the ground up starting at the precinct level. Where the Tea Party is most at odds with some members of the GOP is over spending and earmarks. They are true deficit hawks who want to restrain spending. They also want to restrain government control over our lives and that is one reason why they opposed the Democrats control freak health care bill...read more

Did tea party stir Brown's victory?

To hear some leading Democrats talk, Scott Brown’s campaign was fueled by the burgeoning tea party movement. “This is not how democracy works in Massachusetts,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) thundered days before Tuesday’s special election. “Scott Brown needs to speak up and get his out-of-state tea party supporters under control.” In a fundraising e-mail, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the former head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, blasted Brown as “a far-right tea-bagger.” But while the national tea party crusade is wearing Brown’s smashing victory as a badge of honor, even some of its top leaders acknowledge their loosely organized efforts were not the decisive factor in his Senate victory. It’s true that countless members of tea party groups from across the Northeast infused Brown’s campaign with energy, cash and boots on the ground in the final weeks. But leaders told POLITICO that taking credit for the win would ignore the two most central factors that determined the outcome of the race: an angry electorate fed up with Big Government and a hard-charging underdog candidate with a keen populist touch...read more

Union Membership Drops 10%

Organized labor lost 10% of its members in the private sector last year, the largest decline in more than 25 years. The drop is on par with the fall in total employment but threatens to significantly limit labor's ability to influence elections and legislation. On Friday, the Labor Department reported private-sector unions lost 834,000 members, bringing membership down to 7.2% of the private-sector work force, from 7.6% the year before. The broader drop in U.S. employment and a small gain by public-sector unions helped keep the total share of union membership flat at 12.3% in 2009. In the early 1980s, unions represented 20% of workers. Labor experts said theunion-membership losses would have a long-term impact on unions and their finances, because unions wouldn't automatically regain members once the job market rebounded. In many cases, new jobs will be created at nonunion employers or plants. "The bad news for unions is twofold. When times are bad they lose members, and when times are good they don't recoup those members," said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass...read more

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tea parties becoming a force in politics

For those inclined to think in traditional terms of Democrats/liberals and Republicans/conservatives, understanding "tea parties" has proved to be an elusive undertaking. This is so largely because the movement lies outside the scope of contemporary political models and practices. Activism among the liberal urban population has been part of the landscape for some time. Activism among people all across the country who demand decency and responsibility from those in Washington has not been prominent until now. Consequently, there have been mischaracterizations and misunderstandings of the tea party movement by those thinking in traditional, two-party terms. While many on the left have attempted to write off the movement because of so-called "AstroTurf" efforts by power players on the right to co-opt it (i.e., Newt Gingrich's American Solutions, Dick Armey's Freedom Works), the fact remains that there is a genuine grass-roots phenomenon that no top-down power structure will succeed in controlling. Those in the movement reject the agenda of the Democratic majority and recognize the GOP desperately needs revitalization. To be sure, the GOP needs to return to its basic principles or it will die a painful death in 2010; meanwhile, it's becoming more and more irrelevant...read more

Tea Party Talk Show Host Will Run Against McCain

After months of speculation that popular talk show host and former Rep. JD Hayworth might challenge Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for his senate seat, Hayworth took the first concrete step by resigning from his talk radio show Friday night. Later, he told reporters that he is not ready to make a formal announcement but is "moving forward to challenge John McCain." In late November, Rasmussen unleashed a torrent of speculation when they released the results of a poll that showed Tea Party supporter JD Hayworth, who had not indicated any serious interest in running, within the margin of error in a hypothetical primary race against McCain. Hayworth has been a vocal rival of McCain for years and often pans McCain on his talk radio show, even boasting sometimes about the possibility of challenging McCain for his senate seat. McCain, who has not faced a viable challenger in at least two decades, told reporters that he is taking the potential challenge seriously and got an early start on his campaign over the last few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, McCain began running attack ads (criticizing Hayworth's previous Congressional voting record) on the same radio station that runs Hayworth's talk radio show...read more

Is The Tea Party Over?

Attempts to organize an upcoming National Tea Party Convention—with Sarah Palin as keynote speaker—have led to threats of lawsuits and counterconventions across the country. Erick Erickson, one of the conservative movement's most prominent bloggers, dismissed the event as a money-making scam. Even the stunning election of a Republican to Teddy Kennedy's seat only seemed to create deeper divisions in an already fractious movement. The man who serves both as the tea party's spiritual leader and carnival barker, Glenn Beck, spent the morning after Scott Brown's victory sounding very much like a man who would just as soon undermine the party as he would share the spotlight with Washington's newest star. The Fox News host used his TV and radio shows to launch vicious verbal attacks on the newly elected senator. "I want a chastity belt on this man," Beck laughingly said the morning after Brown's epic victory over Democrat Martha Coakley. "I want his every move watched in Washington. I don't trust this guy. This one could end with a dead intern." Just in case the audience had somehow missed his suggestion that Brown was capable of having an affair with, and then murdering, a female intern, Beck repeated the line. What is going on here? Why are the tea partyers turning on their own? Like any nascent populist movement, the tea party was born of deep skepticism and dissatisfaction with the status quo. As it turns out, many of its most passionate and vocal members seem just as mistrusting of each other as they are of the federal government. This is one reason we have been stuck with two dominant political parties for so long: creating durable political institutions is hard...read more

Republicans Strain to Ride Tea Party Tiger

As they look to make gains in statehouses and Congress this year, Republicans are trying to harness the Tea Party energy that helped make an unknown named Scott Brown the senator-elect from Massachusetts. But it may not be easy, as one Republican in Colorado learned the hard way. When Scott McInnis appeared on Fox News last month underneath a title calling him the “Tea-Party-backed candidate” for governor, he triggered a tempest. Tea Party leaders fired off angry e-mail messages and public statements insisting that he was not their choice. “Let it be known that we will not be used by any party or candidate!” Lu Ann Busse, the head of a coalition of Tea Party brethren known as 9/12 groups, declared at a “Defend the Republic” rally where she was invited to set the record straight after Mr. McInnis’s appearance. Across the country, many Tea Party activists believe that they have to work within the Republican Party if they want to elect fiscally conservative candidates. But they want the party to work for them — not, they argue, the other way around. For Republican officials, managing the tensions between the two parties — one official, one potent — can be something like a full-time job. “I do spend a lot of my time running interference,” said Dick Wadhams, the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party...read more

Tea Party Dilemma: To GOP Or Not To GOP?

Like thousands of other Americans, Jim Knapp got involved with the Tea Party movement in the spring of 2009. Knapp, who lives in Sacramento, California, helped form a local group that organized a well-attended event on Tax Day last April. But around May, something unexpected happened: Locally-based Republican party strategists started coming to the group's meetings. That alarmed Knapp and many of his fellow activists, who were motivated in large part by a deep suspicion of both major parties. The Republicans, said Knapp, wanted to turn the Tea Partiers into a source of grassroots muscle for the GOP, and sought to stymie any effort by the activists to create a third party -- an idea Knapp supported. According to Knapp, one female Republican media specialist at the meeting flatly declared: "Our biggest fear is that the Tea Party will evolve into a third party." Such an occurrence would be a "death knell" to the already shrinking state GOP, the woman said, according to Knapp. "It was very clear that they didn't want this movement to get out of their control," he said...read more

Is an Electoral Bloodbath Coming?

The L.A. Times' Nancy Cohen is convinced that the Democrats need not worry that 2010 may be a repeat of 1994, the year the Democrats lost 52 seats and I am finding myself agreeing with her, but for a different reason: It may be far worse. Scott Brown's victory is a tsunami that could portend a shakeup in November of epic proportions. Forget 52 seats, there's now a danger for the party in power that they could lose 75 or even 100 seats this fall. That may sound far-fetched, but no more far-fetched than a Republican state senator with a connection to the Tea Party movement winning Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts. America remains a center-right country and President Obama misread the election results after 2008 as a mandate for turning the country leftward. He tried too hard, too fast to move the country where it wasn't naturally inclined to go. His election was a cry for a change from the status quo. But it was not a desire for a massive ideological shift rather it was desire for a change in leadership...read more

Senator Jon Kyl’s Bad Bet

On the heels of the huge GOP victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) decided to stand up to the Obama administration with one of the strongest weapons at his disposal — he halted Senate votes on Treasury Department nominees. As there are a number of areas where the conservative movement takes issues with administration objectives, this is a target-rich environment. A strong stand here could show America what the Republican Party stands for and what the party will fight for. So, is Kyl standing up for improvements in the health care bill, reduced federal spending, or limits on federal power? No, he is not. Sadly, Sen. Kyl is wasting this powerful, one-shot weapon to register his dissatisfaction with the administration’s granting of a delay in implementing Internet poker and gaming-related financial regulations — a delay that was requested by his fellow Republicans...read more

How many times have the R's used this power to fight over regulation instead of what they perceive as under regulation?

Prediction: The Obama administration will issue assurances to Kyl and he will then withdraw his hold on the nominations. We'll end up with Obama's people in place and more regulations.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Guv leaves door open on income surtax — again

Last week Gov. Bill Richardson left the door ajar on the idea of raising the rate on what the state’s highest earners pay in the state’s income tax. He did it again today. “I have serious reservations,” he said during a late-morning news conference in his 4th-floor Capitol office. But he quickly added, “I haven’t drawn a line in the sand. I believe we need targeted spending cuts and $200 million in revenue.” House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, dropped a bill Wednesday that would add a 1 percent surtax on single individuals earning more than $133,000 annually, starting immediately. The bill also add the surtax to married couples and married individuals filing individual returns. Another tax bill dropped Wednesday would tax goods bought online. Advocates argue that taxing goods bought online is a matter of fairness. Goods purchased at brick-and-mortar businesses are taxed...read more

Pelosi Says House Lacks Votes for Senate Health Plan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber lacks the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care legislation, dashing hopes of a quick resolution for President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority. “In its present form, without change, I don’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate bill in the House,” Pelosi told reporters today in Washington. Senate Democrats no longer have the 60 votes they need to overcome Republican delaying tactics and pass legislation after a loss in the Jan. 19 special Senate election in Massachusetts. That means the party had to change course from its plan of combining separate House and Senate bills and sending the new measure back for votes in each chamber. Passing the Senate plan, as is, would be the quickest option because it could go straight to Obama’s desk for his signature. Democrats are considering scaling back the bills to win passage, and Obama may start a new effort to reach out to Republicans, who have been united in opposing the legislation, according to a person familiar with the discussions...read more

Tea Party Criticism Backfires

The attempt by Democrat’s to smear the Tea Party movement and play the “guilt-by-association” game on Republican Scott Brown appears to have failed…During the time that Democrats raised the issue, Brown surged from being narrowly behind to as much as 5% – 9% ahead in the polls. The 350,000+ members and supporters of the Tea Party Express, along with grassroots supporters across the country, have not been fooled by the bitter mud-slinging waged by Democrats and the Martha Coakley campaign. We know that Scott Brown represents our values, and are going to continue the fight to support he and other conservative candidates!...912 Project

The Tea Party Comes Home

Listening to Scott Brown’s long, barely scripted acceptance speech last night, you had the refreshing sense that you were listening to an ordinary American, not to some political cut-out. Here’s a guy who campaigned in a pick-up truck with over 200,000 miles on the odometer, who listened to the voters and understood that they wanted not simply to block tax hikes but to lower taxes (and the last thing they wanted was for their taxes to pay terrorists’ lawyers bills!), who understood that even worse than the health care bill now before Congress were the back-room deals that brought it about, who’s served proudly for 30 years in the National Guard — in short, here’s guy you’d be comfortable having a beer with because, as he said, “I know who I am and I know who I serve.”...read more

Tea Party Leader Dick Armey to Address Conservative Republicans

One of the most recognizable and influential Tea Party members is heading to Hawaii to speak to conservative Republicans. FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey has agreed to speak and meet with members of the Republican National Conservative Caucus in Honolulu next week at the annual Republican National Committee meetings. The Brody File will be there. This is going to be a big deal and make news. It's important to note that Armey was not officially invited by the RNC. Rather this is an invitation extended by conservative members of the RNC who formed this caucus. Armey accepted the invite. He’s going to speak about how to, “restore constitutional principles in public polices to build a freer and more prosperous society.” This caucus represents the most conservative wing of the Republican Party...read more

The bonfire of sanity

But to say that fear animates the tea parties is not to concede, as the left wing contends, that it's panic or phobia. Panic was when others proclaimed just a year ago the death of conservatism. Phobia is when TV news anchors use vulgarities to describe protesters who simply want to limit government's appetite. The partiers, rather, feel the kind of fear that makes you buckle up, the fear you get from a rattler on the path ahead. It is a fear that does not disable but moves people to act against threats. This is what an ideological president and an unchecked Congress have done in one year. They turned what had been resignation, unease, doubt and skepticism into an icy, rational, justified and motivating fear. They do not yet realize what kind of bonfire they've ignited...read more

UN abandons climate change deadline

The timetable to reach a global deal to tackle climate change lay in tatters on Wednesday after the United Nations waived the first deadline of the process laid out at last month’s fractious Copenhagen summit. Nations agreed then to declare their emissions reduction targets by the end of this month. Developed countries would state their intended cuts by 2020: developing countries would outline how they would curb emissions growth. But Yvo de Boer, the UN’s senior climate change official, admitted the deadline had in effect been shelved. “By [the end of] January, countries will have the opportunity to . . . indicate if they want to be associated with the accord,” he said. “[Governments could] indicate by the deadline, or they can also indicate later.” “You could describe it as a soft deadline,” Mr de Boer said. “There is nothing deadly about it. If [countries] fail to meet it, they can still associate with the Copenhagen accord after.”...read more

Report cites flaws in foreclosure prevention effort, sees new wave of defaults

The high level of foreclosures plaguing the country will get worse before it gets better, according to report issued Wednesday by state regulators that found that mortgage relief being offered to distressed borrowers is not keeping up with the need. The country is at "risk of a devastating acceleration of foreclosures unless improvements are made in foreclosure prevention efforts," according to the report by the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group, which is made up of 12 state attorneys general and three banking regulators. The report found that the number of borrowers falling into trouble on their mortgages exceeded the number of borrowers able to tap into a federal mortgage assistance program. The foreclosure relief process appears to be backlogged, with some mortgage servicers taking six months to complete a loan modification, according to the report, which includes data from 13 large mortgage servicers...read more

Tea Party shows its muscle in Bay State

The Tea Party movement that stoked antitax protests from Seattle to Washington, D.C., found its inspiration in Revolutionary-era Massachusetts. And this week it helped fuel a modern political revolt right here on the turf of its tea-dumping forbears. The anger driving this loose coalition of activists, united by a distrust of government, helped vault a little-known Republican state lawmaker into the Senate seat held for 47 years by liberal icon Edward M. Kennedy. As Scott P. Brown’s populist message began making inroads into Democrat Martha Coakley’s commanding lead, the call went out online, via e-mail and in chat rooms, drawing Tea Party activists to Massachusetts to woo its famously liberal electorate. “It was a miracle moment,’’ said Christen Varley, a 39-year-old blogger from Holliston who helped found the Greater Boston Tea Party last year. “Boom, he went from zero on the radar screen to what everyone was paying attention to.’’ Several Tea Party activists now are considering candidacies for state representative and state auditor, as well as Congress, said Varley. But many are focused on just making a statement, rather than building a viable third political party...read more

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ineligible firms got $25M in stimulus work

Six companies received $24.8 million in economic stimulus work under federal programs set aside for disadvantaged businesses even though government investigators had found them ineligible, federal records show. The companies got contracts meant for those based in poor neighborhoods or owned by minorities or disabled veterans, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal contracting records and reports on ineligible companies. The Air Force awarded $21.2 million of the work, and the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded $2.8 million, among others. Watchdogs including the Government Accountability Office have criticized oversight of the programs. In the past two years, the GAO has singled out 39 businesses, including five that got stimulus work, as improperly getting $235 million in set-aside contracts since 2003...read more

Plan for gun ban at Colorado State unveiled

Colorado State University administrators released a draft weapons-control policy Wednesday that would ban all firearms from campus. And while CSU's Board of Governors is expected to enact the policy at its Feb. 23 meeting, student leaders say they won't give up their right to carry concealed weapons on the Fort Collins and Pueblo campuses without having another say in the issue. "Oh, there is no doubt we will respond to it," said Matt Strauch, spokesman for the student government at CSU-Fort Collins. CSU remains one of the few U.S. universities without a concealed-weapons prohibition. The issue has sharply divided campus communities since December, when student, faculty and administrative groups split over whether to ban concealed weapons. Faculty members voted for the ban. Student leaders at the campuses voted against it...read here

Liberal talk-radio network Air America to cease operations

Air America, the talk-radio network that helped boost the careers of liberals Al Franken and Rachel Maddow, said Thursday it was going out of business. In a statement to employees of the New York-based network, Air America's chairman, Charlie Kireker, wrote: "It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business." Air America launched in March 2004 and styled itself as a liberal alternative to conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. Although at one point its programming was heard on as many as 100 stations nationwide, it ran into financial trouble early. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2006 and was sold to new investors for $4.25 million in early 2007...read more

HT: Weasel Zippers

NM: A temporary tax hike it?

Governor Richardson seems adamant in asserting that whatever tax hikes he pushes through during the 2010 legislative session will be "temporary." This promise from a lame-duck Governor is ridiculous on its face and is an impossible promise. Of course, this is not where the silliness stops. Richardson will likely ask legislators to consider "sin" taxes on soda pop, cigarettes, and junk food. This puts the next governor of New Mexico in a tough spot. Even if the economy has improved a bit by 2013, the next governor will have to "cut" taxes on the politically-unpopular tobacco, soda, and junk food industries. There is no doubt that government bureaucrats will always have a "better" use for our money than cutting taxes on habits like drinking soda, eating junk food, and smoking. But what supporters of these tax hikes and the media won't tell you is that all of these tax hikes are highly regressive and disproportionately impact the poor. For example, tobacco taxes are highly regressive and, if they are increased, will disproportionately harm working class New Mexicans. According to Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, more than 2/3 of all federal tobacco taxes come from those earning less than $40,000 per year (a pattern that also applies to state-level tobacco taxes). The poor also spend 2.5 percent of income on tobacco products versus 0.2 percent for the top 20 percent. Soda and so-called "junk food" taxes are also highly regressive. Worse, they would create an administrative nightmare. After all, potato chips might be a junk food, but are the slightly healthier Sun Chips? How about the fat-free potato chips that have come on the market in recent years? Things can get really complicated and unfair...read more

Tea Party: A movement that has no leaders makes an impact on U.S. political scene

The Tea Party movement started with a rant by a U.S. television personality against bailouts. Then 11 months later, almost by magic, it helped elect a Republican as a senator in Massachusetts. On Tuesday, Scott Brown came from behind to defeat his Democratic opponent, taking the seat held by liberal Democratic icon Ted Kennedy for decades before he died last year. It was the first tangible sign a national movement -- without headquarters, offices, membership cards, newsletters, monthly dues or even a phone number -- was gaining momentum and clout. "It's a true grass-roots movement," said Dennis Hale, a political science professor at Boston College. "So in a way, it doesn't actually exist. We haven't seen this kind of genuine grass-roots movement since the 1960s." Small groups of citizens around the state, as they have been doing across the country, began forming Tea Party groups. They would register their name on the main website, Tea Party Patriots, so others could find them. Then, the groups held small rallies, or tea parties, to express their anger over government bailouts of banks, auto companies and bad mortgages, and about Barack Obama's health-care plan. Fox News helped by plugging rallies nationwide. Meantime, a group called Tea Party Express began raising money for Mr. Brown and running television ads for him....read more

‘AstroTurf’ Tea Party Has Roots, After All

Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts represented the emergence of the tea party movement as a recognized political force. For the first time, reporters and pundits are taking note of the fact that this is a real grass-roots movement and not a phony AstroTurf one. Mainstream news outlets have credited the movement with Scott Brown’s victory, including the Christian Science Monitor, Financial Times and the Washington Post. As the Washington Post noted, it was populist anger that caused Democratic candidate Martha Coakley to lose in Massachusetts, though the newspaper waited until the 17th paragraph of today’s story to say where that populist anger comes from: White House officials believe the populist anger stems mostly from dissatisfaction with the economy, not Obama’s agenda or his health care plan. If the unemployment rate dips, they say, Obama’s approval rating will rise and so will prospects for Democrats in November. At the same time, Republicans may run the risk of overplaying the anger card. They still face internal fights over purity and ideology. The “tea party” movement remains an unpredictable force. To say it’s an “unpredictable force” is to at least acknowledge that it is a force. Earlier this year, the tea party movement was often ignored by media outlets. Most seemed willing to accept the argument by Democratic leaders and liberal pundits that the movement didn’t really exist. It was a Potemkin village: all smoke and mirrors...read more

Conrad opens door to reconciliation for healthcare

The Senate Budget Committee Chairman said Wednesday he’s willing to use special rules to force changes to the healthcare legislation through the Senate with a simple majority vote. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) made clear his openness to applying budget reconciliation to healthcare, a position he opposed prior to this week’s special election in Massachusetts, is contingent on the content of the bill. His comments lend weight to speculation that congressional Democratic leaders plan to have the House pass the Senate healthcare reform without changes, then pass a second bill with changes hashed out between the two chambers' leaders and the White House...read more

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hitler Finds Out Scott Brown Won Massachusetts Senate Seat

Poll Shows Strength of Tea Party Movement in Mass. Special Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2010
CONTACT: Levi Russell at Levi@FrontLineStrat.com

A poll out on Election Night by Rasmussen Reports surveyed Massachusetts voters about their perceptions on various issues, including the tea party movement.

"Massachusetts Voters Split on Tea Party Movement" was the headline, with 40% of voters viewing the tea party movement favorably, and 41% viewing it unfavorably.

Tea Party activist, Amy Kremer, who serves as Director, Grassroots & Coalitions, for the Tea Party Express made these comments tonight in response to the Rasmussen Reports poll:

"These numbers are amazing. In Massachusetts, one of the bluest of blue states, 40% of voters view the anti-tax, anti-government spending, greater personal liberty tea party movement favorably.

"This is an effort that began less than one year ago, and yet the awareness and support for the tea party movement has reached a sizable chunk of voters in Massachusetts.

"We saw the first hints of the power of this grassroots uprising in the NY-23 Special Election, where conservatives rose up and forced the GOP to drop their support for the liberal DeDe Scozzafava. On that same day voters in New Jersey and Virginia also delivered a shockwave to the political system.

"And now, a great victory has been won in Massachusetts.

"Many different groups involved in the tea party movement contributed to Scott Brown's victory in a number of ways, and each brought their own strengths to the table. The totality of this effort was a massive surge in fundraising for Brown, volunteers for Brown, and hundreds of thousands of phone calls made in support of Brown and the Get-Out-The-Vote effort.

"Some of the tea party movement's critics have repeatedly sought to undermine this movement by sensationalizing the occassional personality clash or difference in tactics by one group or another. But in the end principles drive this movement and the passions of tea party activists brought them together in common cause once again.

"To those who oppose this movement and who think that we in the tea party movement are going away, or that we won't work together, you are wrong. Too much is at stake, and tonight's victory in Massachusetts is just the start of things to come."

- Amy Kremer, Director, Grassroots & Coalitions - Tea Party Express

Black Conservatives Take Lead Role in Tea Party Movement

Marcus, a black conservative who is now involved in the growing tea party movement, attributes the problems of his childhood neighborhood, his extended family and the black community in general to a "cradle-to-grave government dependency" that in the case of his cousins enabled an idle life of crime and drug abuse. To Marcus, President Obama's policies perpetuate that dependency. That's why, he says, it baffles him and other black conservatives when the tea party movement is dismissed as somehow anti-black, as a rowdy bunch of ignorant, white protesters who have it in for the nation's first black president. Marcus is one of a number of black conservatives who have joined up with, and helped lead, the conservative tea party movement since its inception. Though the movement has attracted criticism for its supposed lack of diversity -- MSNBC host Chris Matthews recently called the groups "monochromatic" and "all white" -- those minority activists who are involved say the movement has little to do with race, and that it is attracting a more diverse crowd every day. He and other black conservatives connected with one of the hundreds of tea party groups across America were largely active in conservative and Republican causes before the movement's start in early 2009. They spoke and wrote about the need for smaller government, lower spending and lower taxes and warned that Obama's candidacy would pose a threat to those values. But in the tea party movement they found a group that not only reflected their views but provided a platform...read more

Obama's First Year: $2 Trillion in New, Proposed Taxes

We often get the question at ATR, "how much has Obama supported in new taxes?" This new study seeks to answer that question.

For the first time ever, the tax increases signed into law, as well as proposals for tax hikes made by or supported by President Obama have been pieced together. It combines three elements:

* The tobacco tax hike he signed into law in February 2009
* His budget proposal, also from February of 2009, and
* The latest version of healthcare reform, which he has endorsed

The results are shocking. All told, these tax hikes total $2 trillion over the next decade. This does not even count his 2010 trial balloons, such as a value-added tax (VAT) or a new bank tax.

This is more in taxes than was ever supported by any past President since World War II, even after indexing for inflation.

Click here to read the full report.

Top Senate Democrat Outlines 'Nuclear Option' Strategy for Health Care

A top Senate Democrat for the first time Tuesday acknowledged that the party is prepared to deal with health care reform by using a controversial legislative tactic known as the "nuclear option" if Republican Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts Senate election. Calling the state's special election "an uphill battle to put it mildly," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said "there are options to still pursue health care" should Democrat Martha Coakley lose to Brown. Congressional Democrats have been discussing several options, since a Brown win would break the party's 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority at a critical time for health care reform. Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, described a combination of tactics to get what his party wants out of health care reform. First, he said the House could simply approve the Senate bill, sending it straight to President Obama's desk. Then, Durbin said, the Senate could make changes to the bill by using the nuclear option, known formally as "reconciliation," a tactic that would allow Democrats to adjust parts of health care reform with just a 51-vote majority. Though House Democrats have major misgivings about the Senate version, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday suggested they'd be willing to consider approving the Senate bill intact, if the alternative is no bill at all. A majority of Democrats in that chamber are opposed to many provisions in the Senate-passed bill, including the controversial tax on high-cost insurance plans which the unions are vehemently against...read more

George W. Obama

Bush's successor—who actually taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago—is continuing much of the Bush-Cheney parallel government and, in some cases, is going much further in disregarding our laws and the international treaties we've signed. On January 22, 2009, the apostle of "change we can believe in" proclaimed: "Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of my presidency." But four months into his first year in command, Obama instructed his attorney general, Eric Holder, to present in a case, Jewel v. National Security Agency, a claim of presidential "sovereign immunity" that not even Dick Cheney had the arrant chutzpah to propose. Five customers of AT&T had tried to go to court and charge that the government's omnipresent spy, the NSA, had been given by AT&T private information from their phone bills and e-mails. In a first, the Obama administration countered—says Kevin Bankston of Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing these citizens stripped of their privacy—that "the U.S. can never be sued for spying that violated federal surveillance statutes, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or the Wiretap Act." It is one thing, as the Bush regime did, to spy on us without going to court for a warrant, but to maintain that the executive branch can never even be charged with wholly disregarding our rule of law is, as a number of lawyers said, "breathtaking."...read more

Fla. Tea Party, Guetzloe Face Lawsuit

The Florida Tea Party was sued Tuesday by self-described Florida grass-roots volunteers and organizations who consider themselves the “tea-party movement,” claiming the officially registered Tea Party is threatening lawsuits against them as long as they use the “Tea Party” name. “By holding themselves out as ‘The’ Tea Party political party, they are furthering public deception,” claims the suit, filed against the Tea Party, chairman Fred O’Neal and his party associates, Doug Guetzloe and Nick Egoroff. “The defendants fully intend to ‘hijack’ the phrase ‘Tea Party’ for their political will and objectives.” The activists from South Florida, St. Augustine and Naples claim in the lawsuit they fear they will be sued because O’Neal, the party’s founder and chairman, “sent threatening letters (and) made explicit and implicit threats against” them. The lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Miami, claims they are “uncertain of their legal position and seek a declaratory judgment regarding whether they are entitled to use the phrase ‘Tea Party’ without fear of litigation.”...read more

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, and the Tea Party Saga

That Sarah Palin will be speaking at what’s being billed as the first “National Tea Party Convention” makes complete sense. A popular movement that is still trying to figure out exactly what it is will be addressed by a popular woman still trying to figure out exactly what she is. For now, this is OK. Come to think of it, this confusion or vagueness concerning ideology and identity amongst grassroots conservatives is much better than OK — it’s a necessary and encouraging journey...read more

Share Your Story: My Tea Party Experience

The Tea Party movement took off in 2009, starting with a Tax Day protest in every major American city on April 15. From there, it became a national phenomenon. We've all seen the pictures online taken by professional photographers, and we've all read the articles about the protests from the mainstream media. But no one can tell your story as well as you, so now's your chance! Not only do we want to hear your story, we want to see your pictures, as well...read more

Mass. election refutes weak tea conservatism

If Republican Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts special election Tuesday, the Bay State will have its first GOP senator since the era when disco was king. And Brown will have the much-derided Tea Party legions to thank. They've turned out in force, hoping he'll provide the vote needed to strangle Obamacare. That ought to give pause to the "reformist" conservatives insisting that Reagan-Goldwater conservatism is dead. Yet the reformists' unofficial leader, former Bush speechwriter David Frum, puts a different spin on what Massachusetts portends. Brown is no "talk-radio conservative," Frum maintains: As a state senator, he "voted in favor of Mitt Romney's health plan" and supported greenhouse gas curbs. It would be "a travesty" if his victory empowered "anger, paranoia and extremism," which is how Frum characterizes rank-and-file "rejectionism." But it isn't a desire for Romneyish RINOism that has Tea Partiers sleeping on couches and getting the vote out for Brown. They're Exhibit A in what Frum recently termed the "furious rejectionist frenzy" motivating the GOP base. "It's the rank and file who are the problem here!" Frum exclaimed: It has hamstrung GOP leaders by preventing them from cutting deals with President Obama. Whatever Tuesday's result, this much is clear: The small-government movement has little to learn from Weak Tea Conservatives like Frum, whose desperate search for relevance blinds them to the facts on the ground...read more

Majority of Americans Want Smaller Government and Fewer Services

A large majority of Americans say they want a smaller government that provides them with fewer services, according to a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News. But the Washington Post story about the poll makes no mention of this fact. The poll asked: “Generally speaking, would you say you favor smaller government with fewer services, or larger government with more services?” Fifty-eight percent said they favor a smaller government with fewer services, and only 38 percent said they favor a larger government with more services...read more

'Tea party' activists feel slighted by GOP

Just when the Republican Party appears poised for big pickups in the 2010 midterm elections, a ragtag band of grass-roots conservatives millions strong and fiercely motivated, but with no national leader, threatens to split the Grand Old Party in two. Leading figures in the burgeoning "tea party" movement complain they are being ignored by the Republican National Committee, despite having already shown their clout in taking down moderate Republicans in a New York special House race and the Florida Republican Party hierarchy. "I have called into the RNC many times, and they still haven't called me back," said Dale Robertson, head of TeaParty.org, which he claims has upwards of 7 million members. "I've called them, lots of times. I called them this morning. I called them yesterday. It's like they ignore you as they try to figure out a strategy on how to defeat you." Several other tea party activists talked of a similar lack of communication, despite an NBC-Wall Street Journal survey last month that just 28 percent of voters had a positive view of Republicans, compared with 35 percent for Democrats and 41 percent who report positive feelings about the tea party movement...read more

Is America Moving Right?

Whether or not Republican Scott Brown captures the Senate seat in Massachusetts today, his surging and successful campaign is a fire bell in the night for the Party of Government. For Brown has run as an independent, an outsider, a protest candidate. His principal target: the health care reform bill that is the altarpiece of the Barack Obama presidency and lifetime achievement of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. For a full year, Obama, Reid, Pelosi and the leading acolytes of their party and media auxiliaries have been selling this plan as a historic Democratic reform to rival the Civil Rights Act and Social Security. Yet in this Kennedy compound, the only state to be carried by George McGovern, people want to take this bill out to the crossroads at midnight and kill it. Brown made this race competitive by promising to bring the wooden stake to drive through its heart. How Democratic is Massachusetts? Democratic registration is three times that of the Republicans. The party controls both houses of the legislature by huge margins, and holds every statewide office, both U.S. Senate seats and all 10 U.S. House seats. Massachusetts is a Democrat fiefdom, a one-party state...read more

Gun, states-rights rally draws 1,000 to Capitol Square

Toting signs like "Join the party, take America back," and "Re-legalize the U.S. Constitution," about 1,000 people rallied at the state Capitol yesterday morning. Drawn by various groups, the crowd heard from several Republican lawmakers and a man impersonating Patrick Henry before filing into the General Assembly Building to lobby legislators on two bills in particular. House Bill 10 would protect a person's right to decline to participate in a health-care plan, and House Bill 69 says firearms and ammunition made in Virginia and retained here are not subject to federal regulation under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. "I support freedom," said Harry Holt, a Midlothian resident who was handing out stickers at the rally. "I think the federal government is overreaching their power too quickly and too pervasively."...read more

The Responsibility Tax

The White House has spent months imploring banks to lend more money, so will President Obama's new proposal to extract $117 billion from bank capital encourage new bank lending? Welcome to one more installment in Washington's year-long crusade to revive private business by assailing and soaking it, says the Wall Street Journal. President Obama's new "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee" -- please don't call it a tax -- is being sold as a way to cover expected losses in the Troubled Asset Relief Program. That sounds reasonable, except that the banks designated to pay the fee aren't those responsible for the losses. With the exception of Citigroup, those banks have repaid their TARP money with interest, says the Journal. The real TARP losers -- General Motors, Chrysler and delinquent mortgage borrowers -- are exempt from the new tax. Also exempt are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which operate outside of TARP but also surely did more than any other company to cause the housing boom and bust...read more

Monday, January 18, 2010

Anatomy of a Hit Job: NPR Takes Aim at the Tea Party Movement

NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook has an agenda: Promote and protect Barack Obama. And like all good statists, Ashbrook filters objective reality through a filter – a template of leftist assumptions, distortions, half-truths, and outright lies. On Wednesday, January 13, 2010, Ashbrook ambushed two Tea Party activists. One of the reasons why these particular activists were chosen must have been their inability to clearly articulate the purpose and goals of the Tea Party movement. Lorie Medina, a leader in the Dallas Tea Party organization, seemed competent enough but completely out of her depth. Jeffrey McQueen, founder of USRevolution2.com, came across as an inarticulate, militant nut-case. Time is money. In the world of broadcast (or, in the case of NPR, advocacy) journalism, nothing is left to chance. Ashbrook did not wake up on the morning of January 13 and decide to interview a couple of random Tea Party activists. Every second of every NPR broadcast is carefully planned and scripted, from the opening monologue to the closing segue to the next day’s broadcast. Medina and McQueen were deliberately selected. They met NPR’s preconceived notions of Tea Partiers as dim-witted, hate-filled racists and were therefore useful in promoting the agenda: Promote and protect Barack Obama...read more

Albuquerque Tea Party Flexes Muscle, Expands Capacity and Influence

In less than a year, the Albuquerque Tea Party (ATP) has grown into a large political organization with money, activist training seminars, the power to draw politicians to its events and a strategic plan for altering the landscape of New Mexico politics. The ATP greeted its second year of existence with a “meet and greet the candidates” at the In at Rio Rancho on Saturday evening, January 16, 2010. This event also served–successfully–as the grassroots group’s first fundraiser of the year. Nearly 400 people packed the ballroom. Organizers say a waiting list of nearly 200 had to be turned away. At $12 per head, the event raised for the ATP operating funds to launch its ambitious program for 2010. The ATP has never received outside funding. To pull off its great successes in 2009–the April 15 Tax Day rally that drew 7,000 people on Montgomery Boulevard and its Fourth of July rally, drawing about 4,000 along Osuna–the organizers had reached into their own pockets or accepted in-kind donations from local businesses. ATP is run solely by volunteers and has no paid staff. The ATP has now organized itself into several different operations under the same umbrella. It has a director of communications, an IT director, legislative specialists and outreach coordinators. From now until the November election, it will be holding monthly events and continuing its activist trainings. The ATP’s primary legislative target is passage of SJR2, which proposes to amend the New Mexico State Constitution to give its citizens a constitutional right to choose their own health care and prohibit restrictions in the exercise of that right...read more

The Boston Tea Party of 2010

My fellow Conservatives have feared failure. Always shrewd behind the scenes observers have warned not to enthuse or look to an ambush ahead. In what for some has seemed a never ending wake since Ronald Reagan died as many mourned the burial of the American ideals. Yet long ago there was an idea of freedom that made this country an oasis in this world as the beacon of light that it has been for over 200 years. And yes caution is necessary, but it is not all and a muddy carefulness doesn't win battles. Passion and footwork and a viable idea of freedom does. And fed up Americans, many of whom who were never politically active before started to stir at town halls. It is they who have truly brought hope and indeed have the audacity to change what seemed so certain a short time ago. It is the same old story of a fight against unfair taxation and longing to live one's life in liberty. A cry of outrage has grown over this country under a banner aptly dubbed The Tea Party movement. Now rebellions have broken out in some of those same colonies of long ago. Voices have been heard in Virginia and New Jersey. And now it is brewing in Massachusetts, the port that this modern day monarchy has called home for so long. In fact it is about to bubble over...read more

Promotion Of Rights Is Part Of Our Duty

January 10 is an extremely important day in the history of the United States, a day which should be recognized as a national holiday far more important than all of our presidents’ birthdays combined: the day, back in 1776, that Thomas Paine published Common Sense. At the time of that publication, the majority of the colonials favored reconciliation with England. Yet, six short months and 500,000 printed copies later, that was all changed forever: by July, the Declaration of Independence had been penned and the war was on. And the difference? Not mere opposition to King George’s tyranny, but the active promotion of American independence and the Rights of Man: Common Sense took colonial rebelliousness and discontent with the policies of King George III and channeled those forces into the positive direction of intellectual, not merely military revolution. Today, after nine generations, we are, with the “Tea Party” movement, witnessing similar circumstances of rebelliousness and discontent — and while this time the tyrannification of the American citizenry is being accomplished by our own government officials, the nature of the process is the same...read more

Tea Party turmoil erupts as volunteers quit

The national Tea Party convention scheduled to take place in Nashville next month — featuring Sarah Palin as its keynote speaker — fell into turmoil last week. ea Party Nation, the locally based group organizing the sold-out event, got its first taste of trouble Tuesday when a key volunteer announced he and others had quit the group. They claimed the event's $549 ticket price was designed to make a profit off the popularity of the grass-roots campaign. By week's end, the national media were putting intense pressure on founder Judson Phillips after Tea Party Nation announced that only five, right-leaning media outlets would be allowed access to the event. NBC News reported Friday, and The Tennessean confirmed, that Phillips, a Franklin attorney, had filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in 1999 and faced three federal tax liens since 2004 totaling more than $22,000. Phillips said in an interview with The Tennessean that Tea Party Nation had been set up as a for-profit company but denied allegations of profiteering. Phillips said he founded Tea Party Nation as a for-profit company mainly for philosophical reasons. The for-profit corporation lets him avoid disclosure requirements that might have forced him to reveal the identity of donors, who then could be subjected to harassment for their views, Phillips said...read more