Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dems Launch Anti-Tea Party Strategy

Democrats have said they are running against George W. Bush this fall, or at least his policies. But on Wednesday, they’ll announce that they’re really running against the Tea Party. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine will argue at a morning news conference that “the positions espoused by the Tea Party [are] the governing platform of the Republican party,” according to a DNC official who relayed details of the rollout ahead of time to The Daily Caller. Kaine’s tack is a swipe at House Republicans for not offering more specifics of how they would govern if they retake the House. But it’s also an attempt to force the GOP to own proposals by Rep. Paul Ryan — the Wisconsin Republican who is one of the few Republican lawmakers to propose a sweeping plan to tackle entitlements — combined with an effort to taint the GOP with some of the more radical positions taken by a few insurgent Republican candidates, notably Rand Paul and Sharron Angle, the GOP nominees for Senate in Kentucky and Nevada...more

White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication. But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records...more

National Insecurity

There’s a country that earlier generations might not recognize in which the national government’s criminal investigative agency can execute its own warrants without court approval; present them to private companies and demand information about people who are not necessarily suspected of criminal wrongdoing; and — if that were not enough — forbid those companies from telling anyone — not even the target of the investigation. The country I have in mind is not a Latin American banana republic or a Middle Eastern dictatorship. It’s the United States of America. The warrant-like orders requiring no judge’s signature are called national security letters. In the last nine years the FBI, Defense Department, and CIA have issued well over a hundred thousand national security letters. The FBI has exceeded even the broad powers granted by Congress, and that overreach continued for years after it came to the attention of bureau lawyers. Earlier this year the inspector general of the Justice Department documented the FBI’s frequent violations of the law. (See it here in pdf form.) If the government is now operating within the law, that is no reason for complacency: The law itself is an abuse...more

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Gingrich: A legacy of surrender

The news that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich folded like a cheap suit in the wake of a brazen political attack on the tea party movement was sad. But not surprising. As far back as his second term in Congress, in 1980, Gingrich sided with big labor interests until brought to his knees by a National Right to Work education campaign. Contrary to his image, Gingrich has demonstrated throughout his political career that he possesses no real ideological mooring. Now, his legitimizing the NAACP’s crass political attempt to play the race card reveals him to be nothing more than a rank political opportunist – a White House-aspiring demagogue who prefers looking good for the liberal legacy media to standing up for our rights as citizens and taxpayers...more

Colorado Tea Partyers say Tancredo betrayed them

Leaders of 21 state Tea Party groups, representing about 10,000 people, said Sunday they have been betrayed by Tom Tancredo and in an open letter beseeched the former congressman not to run for governor as a third-party candidate. Tancredo has given Republican gubernatorial candidates until noon today to commit to pulling out of the governor's race after the primary if polls show the winner trailing Democrat John Hickenlooper. If that doesn't happen, Tancredo says, he'll run for governor as the American Constitution Party candidate. Tancredo's declaration last week — the most recent drama to plague the state's GOP gubernatorial primary — sparked anger among the diffuse Tea Party groups around Colorado. Those leaders say it was Tancredo who had always urged them to work within the Republican Party, rather than splinter it...more


The Tea Party Express (website: is pleased to announce its endorsement of Christine O'Donnell for U.S. Senate in Delaware. O'Donnell is battling liberal Republican Congressman Mike Castle for the GOP nomination.
"Christine O'Donnell has established a reputation as a strong voice for conservative constitutionalist principles consistent with the ideals of the tea party movement," said Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express and one of the founding activists of the modern tea party movement. In contrast, Mike Castle has proven himself to be one of the most liberal establishment Republicans who has repeatedly turned against conservatives and those in the tea party movement. "We're so excited to see the strength behind Christine O'Donnell's campaign," said Joe Wierzbicki, Coordinator for the Tea Party Express...more

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Political Pile-Up Slows Tea Party Movement in Its Top State

Colorado has seen a significant political turnaround in the last two years. In 2008, 54 percent of the state’s population voted for Barack Obama; since then, it has become the Tea Party movement’s leading bastion. But Colorado Tea Partiers are having a bad day today. Politicians favorable to their cause have dampened their chances of impacting this year’s general election, or just downright insulted them. First, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), a mainstay at Tea Party events, dealt what may be a body-blow to hopes of wresting control of the state’s governorship away from the Democrats. He announced today that he will seek the seat for himself on the American Constitution Party line. (While there is already a candidate running as that party’s nominee, he has agreed to step aside for Tancredo.) Tancredo’s announcement effectively guarantees that right-leaning voters will split their support among Tancredo and two Republican candidates. The other nugget of bad news came over the weekend, when The Denver Post and NBC Denver affiliate KUSA reported that after a June 11 campaign stop, a worker from the state Democratic party recorded audio of Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck disparaging birther advocates within the Tea Party movement to a campaign worker. “Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?” he said. Buck, who has been the de facto Tea Party candidate in his primary race against former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, apologized for the remark today...more

A Tea Party Caucus - TAC TV

When Kentucky US Senate candidate Rand Paul said that if elected he would seek to join forces with Tea Party-minded senators like Jim DeMint (SC), and possibly current senate candidates like Mike Lee of Utah and Sharron Angle of Nevada, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-MS) told the Washington Post, “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples.” Warning of any such possible bloc of rogue Republican senators, Lott added “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.” You have to give Lott credit for his honesty. The long established process of becoming a respected Republican on Capitol Hill is for politicians to mouth conservative rhetoric in order to get elected, and then to advance their careers by supporting every bit of big government legislation favored by their party. If some honest conservative dared to criticize such behavior, talk radio and the right-wing media would always have that Republican’s back, pointing out that the Democrats were always worse, helping to insure that politician’s re-election. This scenario describes Lott’s entire career and it should be no surprise that he now works as a Capitol Hill lobbyist. Lott’s common brand of Republicanism, always masquerading as “conservatism,” reached new heights during the George W. Bush years and survives today as the rump of the Republican Party—members of which still offer no apologies for their past behavior. When Tea Partiers now go after Republicans like Senator Bob Bennett, or give Senator Lindsey Graham holy hell at a town hall, mainstream pundits like to call the movement too “extreme” while scratching their heads and asking, “but aren’t these ‘conservative Republicans ?” Answer: No. They never were, and this is a truth grassroots conservatives finally seem to be waking up to...more

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tea Party Leader Cuts Ties after Charges of Racism

A former Sacramento leader of the Tea Party Express whose inflammatory remarks drew allegations of racism has cut ties with the organization. The group sent an e-mail to supporters Friday announcing that Mark Williams had formally ended his involvement. He had been acting as a spokesman after stepping down as its chairman more than a month ago. Williams set off a firestorm last week after posting a letter on his blog written from "Colored People" to Abraham Lincoln. The post suggested that black people would choose slavery over having to do real work. In a letter to the Sacramento-based Tea Party Express, Williams said the media and "our domestic enemies" had misinterpreted his attempt at satire. AP

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chuck Muth: Reality check for fledging Tea Party movement

As we enter the final stretch of Campaign 2010, it appears that at least some in the Tea Party movement are starting to come to grips with some political realities, such as…. To change public policy, you have to change public officials. Simply being right on the issues isn't enough to win elections. There are nut-and-bolts “things” campaigns and organizations must do to succeed at the ballot box. You see, it's not the best candidate who usually wins a race; it's the best campaign. Just look at how many mediocre elected officials we have in office today because they ran a better campaign than their decidedly better, at least on paper, opponent. Some Tea Party activists are beginning to realize that experienced conservative political operatives aren't the enemy and can help channel their passion into effective political action. Which brings me to another political reality: Majorities get to lead. And you win majorities through addition, not subtraction...more

Tea Party Rejoice: Americans for Prosperity Figures out how to a Stop a Lame Duck Congress

Senate Democrats who think they can use a lame-duck session to force the country into a final, decisive lurch to the left may be in for a big surprise: newly elected senators ready to take their seats and derail major policy changes before the new Congress convenes. There are now six unelected members of the U.S. Senate; they represent Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New York, and West Virginia. The rules governing the seating of senators elected to replace appointed senators are left to the states in the 17th amendment. New York’s law specifies the date the new senator takes office as January 3, so Kirsten Gillibrand will still be a senator in a potential lame-duck session, regardless of the outcome of her election bid. The other five states, however, all have laws that indicate the election winners may be seated immediately following their election — in time for the lame-duck session...more

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Is the Tea Party unbiblical?

When conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck warned churchgoers to "run as fast as you can" if their pastors preach about "social justice," was he also encouraging them to run from the Bible? That's what some progressive Christian leaders are arguing as battle lines are drawn for the 2010 mid-term elections. They say Beck and his Tea Party followers are, in a word, unbiblical. Not so fast, say Tea Party activists, who claim biblical grounds for a libertarian-minded Jesus. He didn't like tax-based welfare programs, they say, and encouraged his followers to donate from the heart. The insurgent Tea Party movement threatens to usurp the political prominence of religious conservatives, whose focus on hot-button social issues has been overshadowed by the Tea Party's fight against big government...more

Why the ObamaCare Tax Penalty Is Unconstitutional

The Justice Department announced last week that it would defend the new federal health-insurance mandate as an exercise of Congress's "power to lay and collect taxes," even though Barack Obama had insisted before the bill's passage that it was "absolutely not a tax increase." The truth is the mandate is not a tax—and if it were it would be unconstitutional. A tax is when the government takes money from individuals, puts it in the Treasury, and plans to spend it. With the health-insurance mandate, the government is not taking money from private individuals; rather, it is commanding them to give their money to another private entity, not to the Treasury. If individuals don't obey the mandate, they pay a penalty to the Treasury. But penalties aren't taxes. The mandate is legally separate from the penalty. Even if the Justice Department were to get the mandate considered a tax, it would be an unconstitutional one. Unlike states, the federal government has limited jurisdiction...more

Emergence of 'tea party' mind-set is buoying conservatives

Although the "tea party" was a minor part of FreedomFest, the emergence of so many Americans angry over the direction of the country has conservative strategists feeling optimistic, even ecstatic, about turning the USS Leviathan around. It warms their hearts to see tea partyers studying the Constitution and making "The Road to Serfdom," a 66-year-old book by economist Friedrich von Hayek that attacks central planning, a best-seller. (A popular T-shirt at the conference read, "Austrian Economics? Hayek Yes!") Few see more potential in the power of the tea party to swing elections than Richard Viguerie, the "founding father" of modern conservative strategy, who no longer considers himself a Republican. Obama is the best thing to happen to conservatives and, by default, Republicans because the president's "overreach" has triggered a massive grass-roots opposition, Viguerie said. "All my life, I never understood how we could turn everything around back to the vision of our Founders of a small constitutional government," he said. "With the arrival of the tea party, I see for the first time in my life how we can possibly turn it around."...more

GOP leery of Tea Party Caucus

With the official formation of a congressional Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann has thrust an existential question before House Republican leaders: Are you in or are you out? Indiana’s Mike Pence, chairman of the Republican Conference, was adamant. “You betcha,” he said, deploying a Minnesota catch phrase. But Minority Leader John Boehner won’t have his name on the caucus list. And Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor and his chief deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California — known as “Young Guns” for the GOP — are undecided. Minnesota’s Bachmann, a favorite of the tea party movement, earned approval from the Democratic leadership for her caucus late last week. It came as a bit of a surprise to her leadership, whom she didn’t forewarn before formally applying to create the caucus. “It was something we were doing on our own,” Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said. “Ultimately, we just pulled the trigger.” Indeed, the tea party movement is a loaded political weapon for Republicans heading into the midterm elections. Until now, they have had the luxury of enjoying the benefits of tea party enthusiasm without having to actually declare membership. But now that Bachmann has brought the tea party inside the Capitol, House Republican leaders and rank-and-file members may have to choose whether to join the institutionalized movement...more

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Former Bush speech writer "strangely disoriented" by Tea Party

As a self-defined “mainstream conservative,” it is no wonder Michael Gerson is “strangely disoriented” by the Tea Party movement. Whenever conservatives put a qualifier in front their name, it is often followed by a dismissal of all others not quite so enlightened as themselves. Gerson’s former boss, President George W. Bush—suggesting every conservative before him was hard-hearted and unsophisticated—wanted to be called “compassionate.” He then implemented government policies to intervene in charitable activities. Then, when he decided to grow government with numerous taxpayer funded programs like costly prescription drug benefits, “No-Child-Left-Behind,” and TARP, he became a “strong government” conservative. What Mr. Gerson fails to grasp is that conservatives have always stood for limited government, not just when it is politically viable. The Tea Party movement has stirred those fires in a group of Americans who weren’t politically active before the passage of TARP and the Obama administration’s take-over of private industries. They’re now awakened to the fact that federal, state and local governments have taken control of almost every aspect of their lives. For this reason, in order to preserve their liberties, yes, those liberties that were enshrined by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, they are in a state of revolt...more

Michele Bachmann: Tea Party Caucus not designed to be alternative voice to GOP leadership

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says her newly formed Tea Party Caucus, approved Monday, plans to invite everyday Americans to talk to members about Tea Party issues but has no intention of becoming an alternative, conservative voice to the GOP House leadership. “No, I don’t see it that way,” Bachmann, of Minnesota, told The Daily Caller when asked if she envisioned the caucus offering a conservative counterpoint to the GOP establishment. “I think it’s really just complementary. … Usually the purposes of the caucuses are to promote an idea or issue — whether it’s the shellfish caucus, the potato caucus, the missile defense caucus. It’s members of Congress who are interested in an idea and they want to promote it. Well, this is no different.” The idea is for the caucus to bring in “real people from various walks of life” to speak to its members about issues resonating within the Tea Party movement. “Usually we invite experts in,” Bachmann said of other caucuses in the House. “Well, these are experts in just being regular Americans,” she said. The caucus is quickly evolving: Bachmann filed paperwork at end of last week to form the group, it was approved by House administration Monday, and now, the Minnesota congressman is out recruiting members for Wednesday’s inaugural meeting...more

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tea party groups fire on each other

Two of the tea party movement’s largest organizations are at odds Monday after a fight over a resolution approved by the NAACP calling their tactics “racist.” On Sunday, the Tea Party Federation, an umbrella organization, expelled the Tea Party Express over the actions of one of its leaders, Mark Williams. The Tea Party Express fired back Monday with a statement excoriating the Tea Party Federation for its “arrogant” decision to expel the group after Williams posted a highly controversial satirical “letter” he wrote from NAACP head Ben Jealous to President Abraham Lincoln. After receiving criticism for his letter, Williams, a conservative radio host, said over the weekend in an interview with CNN that he would no longer talk about the conflict between tea party activists and the NAACP on his show. But Williams’s announcement that he was bowing out of the fight wasn’t enough to keep the Tea Party Federation from expelling both the radio host and the Tea Party Express with which he is affiliated. The decision, said Wierzbicki, has harmed the tea party movement and aided the NAACP in its critique of the tea party. “The ‘Federation’ has enabled and empowered the NAACP's racist attacks on the tea party movement, and they should be ashamed of themselves,” he said...more

Dem Congressman rejects Tea Party endorsement after Mark Williams firestorm

Thanks, but no thanks. Three weeks after being endorsed by the Tea Party Express, a Democratic Congressman from Idaho is saying no thanks amid the racial controversy surrounding the group. A fiscal conservative from Boise, Rep. Walt Minnick is the only Democrat endorsed by the right-leaning group. He grudgingly accepted the endorsement in April. But the latest firestorm over Mark Williams has made Minnick go sour on the Tea Party. "The reprehensible blog post by your spokesman was clearly in poor taste," Minnick said in a letter to the co-chair of the Party...more

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams expelled over 'Colored People' letter

The National Tea Party Federation has expelled a prominent activist group, the Tea Party Express, because it wouldn't rebuke and fire one of its leaders for writing an offensive blog post. Mark Williams, a California radio host who is leading protests in New York against a proposed mosque near Ground Zero and has drawn Sarah Palin to his rallies, had previously called the President an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug" and said Muslims were "animals" who worship "a monkey god." But when he posted a satirical letter this week from "the Colored People" to President Lincoln about how little they want to work, that apparently crossed the line - especially after the NAACP called on Tea Party leaders to oust racists from their ranks. "We have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote," federation spokesman David Webb said on CBS's "Face the Nation." He called the July 14 letter "clearly offensive."...more

Tea party rejects racist label, but concerns remain

Billy Roper is a write-in candidate for governor of Arkansas and an unapologetic white nationalist. “I don’t want non-whites in my country in any form or fashion or any status,” he says. Roper also is a tea party member who says he has been gathering support for his cause by attending tea party rallies. “We go to these tea parties all over the country,” Roper said. “We’re looking for the younger, potentially more radical people.” The allegations prompted irate denials from tea party supporters, and even critics make it clear that they’re not accusing all tea parties or party members of racism. Indeed, it’s difficult to answer the racism question because the tea party is split into hundreds of shards, and the issue of racism depends somewhat on perceptions. Still, it’s clear that some with racist agendas are trying to make inroads into the party. In several instances, tea party members with racist backgrounds such as Roper have played a role in party events. At the same time, The Kansas City Star has found, white nationalist groups are encouraging members to attend tea parties. One organization based in St. Louis is sponsoring tea parties of its own...more

Vice President Joe Biden defends Tea Party against 'racist' claims

Tea Partiers have gotten some support from an unlikely source -- the Vice President of the United States. VP Joe Biden told ABC News' Jake Tapper on Sunday that he doesn't think the ultra-conservative group is "racist." "I wouldn't characterize the Tea Party as racist," he said on Sunday's "This Week." But "there are individuals who are either members of or on the periphery of some of their things, their -- their protests -- that have expressed really unfortunate comments." The remarks come on the heels of the NAACP's move last week to demand that Tea Party leaders "repudiate it's racist elements."...more

NM Gov. Bill Richardson: Arizona immigration law may cause 'constitutional crisis'

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) slammed Arizona's new immigration law on Sunday, saying the legislation could tip the country into "constitutional crisis." "There are at least 10 other states with bills that are out there," Richardson said on CBS's Face the Nation. "What you're going to see is potentially a constitutional crisis with so many states taking what should be a federal responsibility." The law, scheduled to take effect on July 20, mandates that immigrants carry documentation of their status. It also requires police to question people about their immigration status if they have "reasonable suspicion." Richardson appeared on the show to debate the bill with J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican Rep. from Arizona and current Senate candidate who is trying to unseat John McCain in the GOP primary. "It is going to lead to racial profiling. Anybody that looks Hispanic is going to be racially profiled," Richardson said...more

Republican lawmakers gird for rowdy tea party

Republican lawmakers see plenty of good in the tea party, but they also see reasons to worry. The movement, which has ignited passion among conservative voters and pushed big government to the forefront of the 2010 election debate, has also stirred quite a bit of controversy. Voters who don't want to privatize Social Security or withdraw from the United Nations could begin to see the tea party and the Republican Party as one and the same. Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), now a D.C. lobbyist, warned that a robust bloc of rabble-rousers spells further Senate dysfunction. "We don't need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples," Lott said in an interview. "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them." Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), who failed to survive his party's nominating process after running afoul of local tea-party activists, told a local Associated Press reporter last week that the GOP had jeopardized its chance to win Senate seats in Republican-leaning states such as Nevada and Kentucky and potentially in Colorado, where tea-party favorite Ken Buck has surged ahead of Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in their primary battle...more

Bachmann forms Tea Party Caucus

Republicans have been wrangling for more than a year over how exactly to handle the tea party movement, but now Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is bringing them under the big tent. The House Administration committee, which usually takes days to approve something of this nature, approved Bachmann's request to create a House Tea Party Caucus in a day. It will certainly give the national movement a more official voice within the House Republican Conference. Bachmann, already a hero within the tea party, sent a letter to House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) Thursday to register the House Tea Party Caucus to serve as an “informal group of members dedicated to promote Americans’ call for fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution and limited government.” Bachmann, in a statement, said Americans have “had enough of the spending, bureaucracy and the government-knows-best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress.”...more

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Right To Nullify This Government

Every couple of years the same drearily predictable charade repeats itself. This time we’re really going to limit government! Or so they tell us. We on the Right then dutifully compose our letters to the editor, attend rallies, and vote for candidates without whom, we are breathlessly assured, we shall all revert instantly to barbarism. And no matter who wins, the federal government grows and grows. The Right gets a bunch of pretty speeches, and the Left gets the victories. The passive approach of crossing our fingers and hoping Washington will follow the Constitution has not worked. The only surprising thing about it is that anyone could have expected it to work in the first place. It is long past time for those of us who want to confine the federal government to its constitutional limits to try something different. The time has come to revisit nullification, the quintessentially American mode of resistance against federal lawlessness that Thomas Jefferson urged as an essential ingredient of our political system. In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson insisted that the states needed a way to defend themselves against unconstitutional exercises of power by the federal government. Jefferson’s fear was that if the federal government had a monopoly on defining the scope of its own powers, it would be constantly discovering new ones. Likewise, James Madison urged in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 that the states were “duty bound to resist” when the federal government violated the Constitution...more

Friday, July 16, 2010

Look who's talking

Rescuing itself from the obscurity it richly deserves, the NAACP has found a way back onto the front page: Accuse the tea-party movement of harboring racists. Here is an organization whose very name, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, pronounces its goal – advancement through affirmative action, quotas, contract set-asides based on race – accusing another organization of being motivated by race. If discrimination means favoring people or opposing people based on race, two questions arise. Is that not pretty much the job description of the NAACP? And when has the tea party advocated hirings, promotions or school admissions based on race? In the South Carolina gubernatorial primary, the tea party backed a woman of Indian-American descent, Nikki Haley, who was raised a Sikh, over three white men with superior resumes. In the GOP primary in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, African-American Tim Scott, with tea-party backing, routed Strom Thurmond's son three to one. In Florida, the tea party vaulted a Hispanic, Cuban-American Marco Rubio, into so strong a lead over favorite Gov. Charlie Crist in the race for the U.S. Senate that Crist quit the GOP...more

NAACP Uses Teachers For Anti-Tea Party Vitriol

t’s well understood that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association are far-left organizations. While many of their members don’t pay much attention to the tactics and vitriol of the teachers unions, virtually every single public school employee funds those activities, in far too many states with no choice. And sadly, rank-and-file teachers, who probably aren’t like the leftists that run the national unions, don’t speak up or take their dues back. So they perpetuate the problem. So it was a big disturbing – but completely predictable - to see the American Federation of Teachers recent convention used as a platform for NAACP president Ben Jealous to launch his tirade against the Tea Party, which culminated with a condemnation of it at his own convention. Is this what the rank-and-file public school teacher believes? Is this was they want to fund?...more

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jesse Jackson, Al Shapton downplay NAACP's tea-party criticism

Two prominent African-American leaders on Wednesday downplayed criticism of the tea-party movement after conservatives nationwide took aim at an NAACP resolution alleging “elements” of tea-party racism. The Rev. Jesse Jackson told reporters in Kansas City that the focus on the tea party was a “diversion” from more important issues, while NAACP President Ben Jealous said the resolution was just a small part of a bigger agenda and blamed the media for focusing too much on the tea party. Conservatives reacted angrily after learning of the resolution, approved by delegates at the NAACP’s national convention this week in Kansas City. Columnist Cynthia Tucker, who is black, called the resolution “inappropriate, narrow-minded and divisive,” while Timothy Johnson of the Frederick Douglass Foundation said “the NAACP no longer speaks for the average African-American … the Tea Party movement has nothing to do with race.”...more

'Tea party' lashes back at NAACP over charges of racism

If an NAACP resolution condemning "racist elements" in the "tea party" was meant to chasten the conservative protest movement, it appears to have had the opposite effect. A day after the civil rights organization passed a resolution that linked the tea party to white supremacist groups' websites, candidates and leaders sympathetic to the movement on Wednesday erupted in a defense and lashed back with attacks of their own. One site featured a series of blog posts titled "I condemn the NAACP." A movement leader accused the group of "looking to make a buck off skin color." Sarah Palin, in a lengthy Facebook post, branded the resolution a "regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject." For both, the strategies serve a dual purpose: firing up a base of reliable voters while persuading moderates that the other side has abandoned them. Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said the NAACP resolution affirms what many African Americans already suspect about the tea party movement, which polls show is overwhelmingly white. It also may reach those who aren't paying close attention...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Even the IRS Doesn't Want to Enforce Obamacare

The IRS has finally admitted what Cong. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Cong. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and others said for months: the new individual mandate provision will require an army of new IRS agents. How many is anyone's guess. But the IRS is now saying its current workforce just can't handle the load. One of the provisions in Obamacare will require all businesses in America (even the smallest ones) to issue 1099-MISC information reporting forms to any person or corporation which receives at least $600 in business. So, a gas station which a small business owner fills up his company-owned car at will get a 1099-MISC. An airline gets one. All the restaurants he meets clients in gets one. If you think this is crazy, you're in good company. So does the IRS. While the IRS has signaled (according to the linked report) that credit and debit card transactions will be exempted, this will mean that paper checks, electronic checks, wire transfers, cash transactions, and anything not involving plastic will now require a 1099-MISC. Even worse, you can't e-file a 1099-MISC very easily. A twenty-fold increase in the forms (which a source in the story projects) would swamp and overwhelm the IRS. That's before counting the amended 1099s when businesses challenge other business' accounting. ATR

U.S. Spent $410,624 on Project to Teach Chinese Meditation to Cocaine Addicts

The U.S. government has spent $410,625 to study the effects of teaching Chinese meditation to cocaine addicts. The study, which is titled “Treatment of Cocaine Addiction with Integrative Meditation,” received $225,000 in tax money in 2009 and $185,625 in 2010, for a total of $410,625. The project was scheduled to run from April 1, 2009 until March 31, 2011. The grant was issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the NIH. “The specific aims,” of the study, according to the NIH description, “include: (1) To conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial of 66 outpatient cocaine users with 12 weekly facilitation meetings to assess feasibility of recruiting and retaining cocaine addicts, and to determine effect size of IM-augmented treatment in comparison with Non-directive therapy (NT) control, with both groups receiving standard treatment as usual (TAU), (2) To examine the changes in attention networks and negative mood as possible mediators of treatment outcomes between the two groups.”...more

NRA takes flak for ties with left

The National Rifle Association, the powerful lobbying group that has been a longtime nemesis of liberals, is facing mounting criticism from influential allies on the right and even from its own board over a series of recent moves they say are selfish, short-sighted and ultimately harmful to the conservative movement. Critics cite a list of transgressions, from considering an endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), to endorsing moderate Republicans — and even Democrats — rather than their more-conservative challengers, to taking a cautious approach to Second Amendment court cases and President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. And they are especially angry about the group’s willingness to play ball with Democratic leaders on campaign finance legislation vigorously opposed by congressional Republicans, powerful business groups and nearly the entire conservative movement...more

Monday, July 12, 2010

Populism, American Style

On February 19, 2009, business journalist Rick Santelli inadvertently helped launch a populist movement. Appearing on the cable network CNBC from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli spoke of rising public anger about the expensive taxpayer-funded bailouts of failed banks, bankrupt corporations, and home owners who had defaulted on their mortgages. These policies were breeding deep concern about the growth of government, Santelli argued, and people were looking for ways to express their opposition. "We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party," he said, suggesting that participants might throw stock certificates into Lake Michigan. The tone and substance of Santelli's complaints struck a nerve. Video of his remarks spread rapidly across the internet, and his reference to the Boston Tea Party seemed to give many the inspiration they were seeking. Just two months later, on April 15, an estimated 500,000 people marked tax day with roughly 800 "Tea Party" protests across the country. There have since been hundreds more such gatherings, including several large demonstrations in Washington and other major cities. Directed especially against the Obama administration's economic policies and the recently enacted health-care legislation, these events represent a large (if loosely organized) grassroots protest movement. Indeed, this past April, a New York Times poll found that 18% of Americans identify themselves as Tea Party supporters. Yet as this new populism has spread, it has also generated a great deal of worry and disdain. One might expect a negative response from observers on the left: Tea Party anger is, after all, directed at their favored policies and politicians. But the Tea Partiers have also engendered concern and scorn among many on the right and in the center...more

Obama suit against Arizona is "toxic" say Dem Gov's

In a private meeting with White House officials this weekend, Democratic governors voiced deep anxiety about the Obama administration’s suit against Arizona’s new immigration law, worrying that it could cost a vulnerable Democratic Party in the fall elections. While the weak economy dominated the official agenda at the summer meeting here of the National Governors Association, concern over immigration policy pervaded the closed-door session between Democratic governors and White House officials and simmered throughout the three-day event. At the Democrats’ meeting on Saturday, some governors bemoaned the timing of the Justice Department lawsuit, according to two governors who spoke anonymously because the discussion was private. “Universally the governors are saying, ‘We’ve got to talk about jobs,’ ” Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, said in an interview. “And all of a sudden we have immigration going on.” He added, “It is such a toxic subject, such an important time for Democrats.”...more

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Liberal coalition trying to copy tea party sucess

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, the "tea party" movement must be honored. In an effort to replicate the tea party's success, 170 liberal and civil rights groups are forming a coalition that they hope will match the movement's political energy and influence. They promise to "counter the tea party narrative" and help the progressive movement find its voice again after 18 months of floundering. The large-scale attempt at liberal unity, dubbed "One Nation," will try to revive themes that energized the progressive grassroots two years ago. In a repurposing of Barack Obama's old campaign slogan, organizers are demanding "all the change" they voted for -- a poke at the White House...more

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ObamaCare: Dream Turned Nightmare

Key provisions of the president's health care reform are about to take effect. Don't expect any of it to be pretty. It turns out that — as predicted by health experts, and reported on this page — ObamaCare will make health insurance premiums rise rather than fall. This and other unpleasant truths are revealed in a new report from two Republican senators, which charges that "when measured against the administration's own stated goals, the new health law fails to address the top health care concerns of the American people." Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming are the only two members of the U.S. Senate with M.D.s, and their prognosis in the report, titled "Bad Medicine: a Check-up on the New Federal Health Law," is far from good. "Independent experts have found that the new health law will increase the cost of health insurance and health care services," the two doctor-senators say, noting the Congressional Budget Office concludes that "premiums for millions of American families in 2016 will be 10%-13% higher than they otherwise would be. This represents a $2,100 increase per family, compared with the status quo." Add to that the fact that according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, much of ObamaCare's new taxes will trickle down and end up being paid for by health care consumers. These include "the $60 billion tax on health plans, the $20 billion tax on medical devices and the $27 billion tax on prescription drugs." Makes you wonder which party is on the side of the little guy...more

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Obama Appoints His Rationer-in-Chief

President Obama is making a huge end-run around the American people with his recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick. “This recess appointment is an insult to the American people,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), a physician and leading Berwick opponent. “Dr. Berwick is a self professed supporter of rationing health care, and he won’t even have to explain his views to the American people in a hearing. Once again, President Obama has made a mockery of his pledge to be accountable and transparent.” Berwick will have authority over an agency with the largest single budget in the entire U.S. government and over implementation of the most sweeping legislative overhaul of our health sector ever — without so much as a congressional hearing! Berwick will run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), giving him control of its $800 billion budget during the crucial months when thousands of pages of regulations will be written, determining how Obamacare will be run...more

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tea party movement's energy, anger make it target for admakers

In the ad, a line of British redcoats kneel in the field, muskets raised, waiting to gun down the approaching Colonial insurgents. A lonely violin plays in the background. It's a perfect election-year spot for our time. Any second now, the candidate will appear to wax patriotic, pay tribute to the Founders and decry the current direction of the nation. Only this is no campaign ad, which becomes very apparent when a Dodge Challenger suddenly comes barreling out of the trees, kicking up dust, with a humungous American flag sticking out the window and Gen. Washington behind the wheel. The redcoats scatter like terrified mice. "Here's a couple of things America got right," the tough-guy narrator says. "Cars -- and freedom." Has Chrysler gone tea party? Sort of. There's nothing new about patriotic commercials, especially near the Fourth of July. But Dodge's "Freedom" ad is a little different, with its direct appeal to the rebellious themes that define the "tea party" movement. Marketing consultants say the ad is one indication that the movement's anger and energy have become part of the cultural conversation, making it a natural target for admakers...more

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You will be happy to see how Obama is spending your money

Here are some examples that hit the news in the last week:

Feds Wasted Millions in Utilities Program for Poor
A government program that's supposed to help impoverished families heat and cool their homes wasted more than $100 million of taxpayer dollars paying the electric bills of thousands of applicants who were dead, in prison or living in million-dollar mansions. The Department of Health and Human Services spent $5 billion through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in 2009, doling out money to states with little oversight. An investigation by the Government Accountability Office found about $116 million in improper payments to seven states in 2009. The program helped pay the electric bill of a Chicago woman who lives in a $2 million home and drives a Mercedes. The study found HHS paid $3.9 million to 11,000 applicants who used the identities of dead people...

Millions of Swine Flu Vaccine Doses Have Expired About a quarter of the swine flu vaccine produced for the U.S. public has expired -- meaning that a whopping 40 million doses worth about $260 million is being written off as trash. "It's a lot, by historical standards," said Jerry Weir, who oversees vaccine research and review for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The outdated vaccine, some of which expired Wednesday, will be incinerated. The amount, more than twice the usual leftovers, likely sets a record. And that's not even all of it. About 30 million more doses will expire later and may go unused, according to one government estimate. If all that vaccine expires, more than 43 percent of the supply for the U.S. public will have gone to waste...

FEMA Workers Ran Up $247,100 in 'Improper Purchases' on Government Credit Cards--Including $4,318 in 'Happy Birthday' Cards One employee used a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) credit card to buy $4,318 in “Happy Birthday” gift cards. Two other FEMA officials charged the cost of 360 golf umbrellas -- $9,000 -- to the taxpayers. Other FEMA officials used funds allocated for disaster relief in Oklahoma to buy 19 portable ceramic heaters for the office at a cost of $1,098. In all, $247,100 in “improper” expenses was made to FEMA credit cards, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General...

U.S. Has Paid $1.44 Million for Project That is Studying the 'Social Milieu' of Male Prostitutes in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has so far awarded $1.44 million in federal funds to a project that, among other things, is estimating the size of the population and examining the “social milieu” of male prostitutes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam...

U.S. Spent $550,496 on Study That Did 'Focus Groups and In-Depth Interviews' To Learn About the Sex Lives of Truck Drivers The federal government has spent $550,496 on a project that involved conducting “focus groups and in-depth interviews” with American long-haul truck drivers to learn about their sex lives in order to assess their risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. The project has failed to find any instances of HIV among the truck drivers studied...

California welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million at casino ATMs over eight months
California welfare recipients using state-issued debit cards withdrew more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors between October 2009 and last month, state officials said Thursday. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order requiring welfare recipients to promise they will use cash benefits only to "meet the basic subsistence needs" of their families. The order also gave the state Department of Social Services seven days to produce a plan to reduce other types of "waste, fraud and abuse" in the welfare program. The moves came after The Times reported Wednesday that officials at the department failed to notice for years that welfare recipients could use the state-issued cards to withdraw taxpayer cash at more than half of the tribal casinos and state-licensed poker rooms in California...

Online Training to Transform Passionate Tea Party Protesters into Grassroots Leaders

Jenny Beth Martin, Co-Founder and National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, in partnership with the Leadership Institute, today announces the launch of, an online grassroots activist training initiative. A growing number of Americans feel that their interests are no longer represented by those in public office. Tea Party Patriot members are ready to go beyond their participation in high-profile protests to become actively involved in shaping public policy. Mark Meckler, Co-Founder and National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, says, “The training that the Leadership Institute now offers our members will accelerate the process of reclaiming this country according to our three core principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.” Founded in 1979, the Leadership Institute is one of the nation’s largest and most experienced political training organizations and is uniquely equipped to handle the challenge of offering training to the country’s largest Tea Party group. David Fenner, Vice President of Training Programs at Leadership Institute says, “The partnership between the two organizations is a natural fit. The Patriots bring fresh passion and dedication and the Leadership Institute offers over 30 years of political training experience.” For more information on Tea Party training powered by the Leadership Institute please visit

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The ObamaCare Constitutional Threat

Americans face a direct and historic challenge to their personal liberty and to their unique citizenship in a federal republic. Though its enactment of the massive Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), official Washington is not merely engineering a federal takeover of health care, but is also radically altering the relationships between individuals and the government as well as the national government and the states. In other words, the PPACA is a direct threat to federalism itself. As Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University, has argued, "Federalism was already on life support before the individual mandate. Make no mistake about it, this plan might provide a bill of good health for the pub lic, but it could amount to a 'do not resuscitate' order for federalism."[1] Never before has Congress exercised its power under Article I, Section 8 of the Federal Constitution to force American citizens to purchase a private good or a service, such as a health insurance policy.[2] Congress is also intruding deeply into the internal affairs of the states, commandeering their officers, specifying in minute detail how they are to arrange health insurance markets within their borders, and determining the products that will be sold to their citizens. If allowed to stand, this unprecedented concentration of political power in Washington will result in the states being reduced to mere instruments of federal health policy rather than "distinct and independent sovereigns," as James Madison described them in Federalist No. 40.[3]...more

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Health law risks turning away sick

The Obama administration has not ruled out turning sick people away from an insurance program created by the new healthcare law to provide coverage for the uninsured. Critics of the $5 billion high-risk pool program insist it will run out of money before Jan. 1, 2014. That’s when the program sunsets and health plans can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Administration officials insist they can make changes to the program to ensure it lasts until 2014, and that it may not have to turn away sick people. Officials said the administration could also consider reducing benefits under the program, or redistributing funds between state pools. But they acknowledged turning some people away was also a possibility...more

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sen. Graham predicts Tea Party movement will eventually 'die out'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has earned the ire of Tea Party groups for his penchant for negotiating with Democrats, predicted this week the movement will "die out." Graham, who has partnered with Democrats on immigration reform and energy and climate legislation, made the observation in a New York Times Magazine profile titled "Lindsey Graham, This Year's Maverick" to be published this Sunday: In a previous conversation, Graham told me: “The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.” Now he said, in a tone of casual lament: “We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats.” Chortling, he added, “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”...more

Graham's mentor is John McCain, who also relished being called a "maverick" by the media. McCain obtained this status by "reaching across the aisle" and by criticizing conservative groups. Graham is now following a familiar pattern.

Ironically, it's just this sort of political behavior by Republicans that is partially responsible for the creation of the Tea Party. The Tea Party won't "die out" while there are still Republicans like Graham.

Tea Party Supporters Overlap Republican Base

There is significant overlap between Americans who identify as supporters of the Tea Party movement and those who identify as conservative Republicans. Their similar ideological makeup and views suggest that the Tea Party movement is more a rebranding of core Republicanism than a new or distinct entity on the American political scene. Conservative Republicans outnumber moderate/liberal Republicans in the general population by about a 2-to-1 margin; among Tea Party supporters, the ratio is well more than 3 to 1. More generally, almost 8 out of 10 Tea Party supporters are Republicans, compared with 44% of all national adults. While Tea Party supporters are not universal in their backing of Republican candidates, they skew heavily in that direction. About 80% of Tea Party supporters say they will vote for the Republican candidate in their district, slightly lower than the projected 95% Republican vote among conservative Republicans...more

The Obama Spoils System

A disturbing precedent appears likely to emerge from the controversy surrounding the job offers by White House officials to Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak and former Colorado house speaker Andrew Romanoff in exchange for their withdrawal from primary challenges to sitting Democratic United States senators. The White House counsel’s office has asserted that a desire to protect the campaign coffers of the president’s political party is a “legitimate interest,” and that White Houseofficials may therefore offer taxpayer-funded positions in the federal government to further that interest. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs elaborated on this theory, arguing, “The president has, as the leader of the party, has an interest in ensuring that supporters don’t run against each other in contested primaries.” Gibbs later added, “Again, does the leader of the party have an interest in ensuring that primaries that tend to be costly aren’t had so that you’re ready for a general election? Of course.”...more

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sheryl Crow: Tea Partiers Are Too ‘Uneducated’ to ‘Understand What’s Happening on Wall Street’

Pop-star and courageous anti-toilet-paper crusader Sheryl Crow apparently has a new political concern: Tea Partiers. The country crooner told CBS journalist Katie Couric that Tea Party members are uneducated, angry and potentially dangerous in an interview with Glamour magazine this June. "My main concern is that [the Tea Party is] really fear-based," said Crow, a cancer survivor and environmental activist. "What's coming out of the Tea Party most often, especially if you go onto YouTube, and you see some of the interviews with these people who really don't even know what the issues are, they're just swept up in the fear of it and the anger of it." "They're not sure what they're angry at," Crow continued. "[T]hey don't understand what's happening on Wall Street." The singer also worried that the "uneducated" and "angry" Tea Partiers could even become dangerous. "[K]nowledge is power, and anything less than that when it comes to anger can be dangerous," said Crow. But before she snubbed the education level of Tea Partiers, maybe Crow should have checked out this New York Times poll, which found Tea Party members to be "more educated than the general public."...more

Tea Partiers revolt, but government still wins

Is there hope for conservatism? And if there is, does it lie in the proles? In the present political configuration, that would mean the Tea Partiers, most of whom belong to the petty bourgeoisie of private-sector worker bees, retirees, and small businessfolk. Do they stand a chance against the alliance of bureaucratic overclass and tax-consuming underclass? Foremost among the forces opposing any advance of conservatism is the tenacity with which the legal-academic liberal component of the overclass controls the discourse. Rand Paul found out about this in his famous exchange with Rachel Maddow concerning Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination in “public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce,” interpreted by the courts to mean every small-town bar, diner, and lemonade stand. There are good and interesting arguments to be made here, pro and con, but they lie outside the zone of overclass-approved discourse. In attempting to make them in a public medium, Paul exposed himself to accusations of eccentricity—or worse, of harboring unkind thoughts about colored people...more