Tag Archives: Tea Party

It is time to stop punching the hippies

The Republican line is this: Bring back coal, shut down development, subsidies, any encouragement at all, for solar and wind energy.

There is absolutely no logic to this policy, but it is in fact the policy. The reason for it is generally thought to be that the big rich corporations and individuals that control coal and petroleum resources, and that are fully engaged in delivery of those energy sources (and other materials, such as plastic bags made of petroleum) pay off the politicians to support their businesses. And that is true, they do this. But that does not explain why regular voters or grassroots “populist” supporters go along with it. Every other thing about how such folks think and act should turn them away from the big corporate donors. These grass-rooted populs should be putting up their own energy generators and cutting themselves off from the grid, telling Big Electricity to tread no more upon them. But they don’t do this. Rather, they go along with the Republican plan to repress the development of renewable independent energy production, which I like to refer to as the making of Freedom Volts, and this is entirely inexplicable.

In the broader context it makes sense, in the context in which the populs vote for the faux populist against their own interests. Voting for coal and against solar is voting against one’s own interests, by and large, even if you are a coal miner. But then, while we have explained the bone-headed approach to energy that most Republican voters embrace we’ve only explained one illogical process by saying that it looks and feels like a larger illogical process.

The reason the leaders and politicians that run the Republican party vote against the planet and in favor of the Koch Brothers is because the Koch Brothers and their ilk own them.

But, the reason the people who support those politicians, against their own interest, act like they do, is a matter of punching hippies. Some call it identity politics. That’s a fancy term, “identity politics.” Translation: “hippie punching.”

But recently, it seems like there is a move to stop punching the hippies quite so much. Consider the following quote, from a recent piece in Bloomberg News:

“Seventy five percent of Trump supporters like renewables and want to advance renewables. The conversation has changed. You have to have the right message. Talk about energy freedom and choice. The light bulb will go off.”

Those words were uttered by Tea Party organizer Debbie Dooley at a recent energy finance conference.

Indeed, we are seeing a pro-energy transition shift among the right wing generally. It is not at all clear that the current Republican White House, assuming they ever manage to do something that isn’t based on a night time drunken tweet storm by the leader of the free world, will go in one direction or the other on energy, climate change generally, or Paris in particular. Subsidies for renewable energy may be left alone. Promises to renew coal have already been broken. Paris may be kept intact.

(Make no mistake: Big oil owns the state department, science is fully under attack and research will be curtailed. These things are very real and very bad. But at the same time, there is strong evidence of waffling on just how much the Trump White House well end up hating on clean energy in the private sector.)

Congress is less uncertain. The Republicans in Congress are bigly owned by Big Energy and they will not change their stance at all. Or, more exactly, the only way the hoax huxters in the House and Senate are going to drop their love affair with coal and oil is if they are replaced.

I would predict a fight between Congress and the White House over this, but there won’t be. The Congress owns the White House and will own the White House until actual arrests are made. (Never wonder again why both the House and Senate investigations of the White House are stalled.) So there won’t be any real fighting, just a lot of counter productive and destructive confusion.

But long term, the hippie punching is becoming a thing of the past, with respect to energy.

Don’t worry, though, there are still plenty of reasons to punch the hippies. No one on the right wing need be worried that their favorite past time is going anywhere any time soon.

The Republican Path To Victory in 2016 is Assured

I have no idea why so many smart people are saying that anything that happened over the last few days changes this election, or destroys the Republican Party. Pay attention, people. that is not what is happening.

The Republican Party has become the party that harbors racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, hate, politically expedient willful ignorance about all things science, classism, anything anti-PC, and dedicated service to the demands of the wealthiest Americans.

Most of that comes from the Tea Party the rest comes from the elite in the party. In this way, the Republican Party represents something just under a majority of Americans, about something percent. America is a racist country. America is a misogynist and sexist country. America is a country that isn’t quite sure about education and has no real interest in universal health care. America has one of the most abysmal criminal justice systems of any democracy.

(The Republican Party has always been bad at security, economics, medium and small sized business support, education, science, the environment, family values, healthcare. That isn’t particularly relevant to the question at hand, but I just felt like mentioning it, because this is something most people don’t seem to know.)

The Republican Party has been unable to put forward a candidate for President that enough Republicans could support that they would have a chance of winning for three elections in a row. Why?

Romney was too normal for the base (the Tea Party). McCain was (allegedly) famous for working across the aisle and being a states-person (both exaggerations, but that was the belief). He was unacceptable to the Tea Party even after pandering to them by making the single worst pick for Vice President ever in our history. Neither candidate was able to beat a black man in a racist country. This happened because the party has major factions, the Tea Party and everyone else, and the elite in the party chose to please themselves and not the Tea Party in the election. So the Tea Party said no.

This year the Republicans finally put up a candidate that represents their majority, a sexist, racist, misogynist, willfully stupid, anti-education, anti-environment, pro 1%er movie star. This candidate will also lose. The base will support him; these latest scandals will not affect that at all. But the leadership and party elite have already failed to ensure a Trump victory by their inaction, and what little they were doing now ends (as does some important funding).

It takes more than one thing to win an election, and one of those things is the support of a good number of voters. But another thing is the full throated and vigorous support of a lot of other well known partisans, surrogates, representatives, together with money from the usual sources.

McCain had the latter, not the former; Romney had the latter, not the former. Trump has the former, not the latter.

In the end, this year’s Republican candidate, Donald Trump, will be trounced by a woman in a sexist country, must like McCain and Romney were beat by a black man in a racist country.

There is NO DIFFERENCE between the Romney campaign, the McCain campaign, and the Trump campaign. They all are or were doomed to fail for the same reasons, though the details represent different sides of the same coin.

Republicans will lose this year, not because of this week’s gaffs by Trump. They were going to lose anyway. People will still vote for Republicans in the Congress, and at the state Level. Overall, while Republicans may lose a down ticket race here or there, they will maintain control of at least one house of congress or, if they lose both houses, they’ll get at least one back in a short two years from now. No one who knows anything about American politics doubts this.

Having a Republican congress (full or in part) obviates the President, for the most part. And, since the Republicans’ main goal is to make government ineffective, the Republicans win no matter who is in the white house. A similar formula applies across the states as well.

And, nothing will change about this. All this talk about the Republican Party falling apart, going away, having to change, is well meaning wishful thinking.

The Republicans will win this year, again, no matter who goes into the White House, just like they won in 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, and so on most of the way back to just after World War II. Even though they are in the (slim) minority.

Republican Candidates Running Away from Trump. And Phyllis Schlafly.

… and why we never got the Equal Rights Amendment.

Donald Trump is a very good Republican candidate. In terms of both style and substance, Trump does a good job of representing that part of the Republican Party that has been in charge of that party for several years, the Tea Party. The Republican Party has built itself up to become, effectively, the majority party in the US by pandering to this part of the base, along with gerrymandering and other forms of voter suppression. So, really, there is no reason that Republicans running for office around the country should be upset with the fact that Trump is the frontrunner in the nomination process. If they were smart, they would embrace Trump, run on his coat tails, and win.

But the candidates may be running away from Trump anyway. One possible explanation for this is perhaps found in contrasting the Bush Dynasty, which has been central to Republican politics, or played an important role, for decades. The Bushes are a different kind of Republican than Trump, and from the Tea Party. They are the connected establishment Republicans who manage that interface between big money, mainly energy money (including the Saudis and the Kochs and all of that) and the political process. Trump may be seen as a wrench to be thrown in that carefully engineered machine. Naturally, established Republicans would prefer someone like Jeb Bush to be the nominee, or really, anybody other than Trump, because they are all nicely tied in and the status quo of a majority party fully connected with energy money, buttressed by absurdly right wing social policy, can continue and strengthen.

Nice theory. But the background is distant and deep, and the evolution of Republican politics, the Bush Dynasty, social conservatism, and establishment GOP politics is a bit more complicated and interesting. For some of this background, I refer you to this interesting item by Rachel Maddow:

I’m going to add two things to this, which won’t make sense unless you watch the video. 1) A lot of young liberal progressives actually supported Goldwater in those days because a) he wasn’t part of the Democratic political machine (the Democrats were not so much about democracy in those days) and 2) not only did Nelson get divorced, but he was quietly understood by New Yorkers to be very much of a carouser, drug user, and general all around bad guy, despite his clean looks and well spoken manner. I don’t know how true that all was, but it certainly lubricated the transition from beloved centrist to moral reprobate in people’s minds.

(Also, the war, and the politicians positions on it, was important and complex in those days.)

FrankenTrump

The Republican Party and its handlers, including the right wing talk radio jocks such as Rush Limbaugh, and the bought-and-paid-for media such as FOX news, did not create the Tea Party. Michele Bachmann and a few others did that.* But once the Tea Party got going, mainstream conservative Republicans, including and especially leaders in Congress, went right to bed with it. The Tea Party gave Republican strategists an easy way to garner votes and support. This was especially easy to do because America decided to elect an African American president. Make no mistake. The Tea Party is pro-white, anti-everybody-else, and having an African American Democrat as president made defining issues and shaping rhetoric trivially easy.

It is a mistake to think that the Tea Party comes with a set of positions on various issues. It does not. Yes, the Tea Party tends to be libertarian, conservative, and so on and so forth, but really, it is philosophically inconstant and mostly reactionary. This has been demonstrated over and over again, as President Obama embraced various issues that were previously held by prominent Republicans, and those policies were immediately opposed. Because they were the policies of the Black President. The merit of a policy had nothing to do with opposition against it. They were President Obama’s issues, therefore the Tea Party was against them. And since the Republican Party was so rapt with the Tea Party, the GOP was against them.

This worked well. It gave the Republicans massive victories in a gerrymandered Congress. It meant that absurd excuses for leaders won elections, or if they did not, lost by only a few percentage points, when they should have been largely ignored by the populous.

The reason for even doing this is abundantly clear. An informal tacit (maybe) cabal of 1%ers and various regulation-loathing industries, most notably the petroleum industry, paid for the campaigns and managed lobbyists, the Republican leadership managed the elections, calling in the Tea Baggers each November. Add a little voter suppression, a little Swift Boating here, a healthy dose of Fear of Terrorism there, a wartime setting, and the Republicans, who hold policies that when asked most voters are actually against, became far more powerful than even Newt Gingrich and his Republican Revolutionaries could have hoped for.

But there is a catch and the GOP got caught.

An actual Republican running for, or serving in, office, can go only so far in supporting absurd policies. Established politicians reluctant to take the final “logical” plunge through the Tea Party’s looking glass were often “primaried” and sometimes pushed aside by the emerging Tea Party candidates. By keeping up a full court press to overthrow everything President Obama tried to do the mainstream Republicans held a central place in this game, but there was plenty of nibbling around the edges of their power structure. They went from leaders (sort of) to managers. Worldwide Wrestling Federation mangers.

Then, purity happened.

Imagine a candidate that has never run for office before, but has greater name recognition than all but a fraction of a percent of the entire panoply of politicians that make up any and all American parties. Imagine that this candidate has excellent media presence. Imagine that this candidate has no established policy related views. Imagine the candidate has an arguably good resume of successes, even if many of those successes are either unrelated to governance, or are tainted by equally impressive failures.

Mostly, though, imagine that this candidate is perfectly willing to make over the top statements denigrating non-white people, and at the same time, statements endearing to the anti-government, libertarian-trending right wing. Imagine that candidate is willing to say, again and again in the style of Dale Carnegie, that all of our elected officials are stupid. How stupid are they? They are so stupid that the Mexicans are smarter. They are so stupid that the Chinese are smarter. They are so stupid that people the right wing disdains, and other people the right wing fears, are smarter.

This is something mainstream politicians can’t say, because it would require saying it about themselves. But there is one candidate that can say these things.

I am speaking, of course, of Donald Trump.

And the point of this missive is not anything about Donald Trump. I don’t have to tell you about him, he’ll be happy to do that himself. The fairly obvious point I want to make here is that Donald Trump is, in essence, a creation of the Republican Party. And, he is the Republican Party’s worst nightmare.

Why is he a nightmare and not a darling of the GOP? For one reason I am certain is true and one reason I hope is true. What is certain: Trump obviates and invalidates every single Republican elected official (and the Democrats too). The less certain reason is that he can never win a national election, but in running for President as the nominated GOP candidate, he could bring down the party. Not that parties are easily, or really, ever, brought down (apparently). So maybe not all the way down, as in, “you’re going down, Republicans!” More like downish, relatively down, down and out, at least for a couple of election cycles.

And this is why I’ve decided to call The Donald by a new nickname.

FrankenTrump.

(CamelCase optional.)

Victor Frankenstein made a beautiful thing. He thought. And in the original text, he did. But I’m thinking more of the movies, where Shelley’s “The Monster” is known as Frankenstein (for some reason) and where The Monster is the hideous creation of a mad man who thought he could control and create life. But FrankenTrump is not life controlled or created. FrankenTrump is a distillation, an emergent entity, a possibly inevitable outcome of setting aside all efforts to govern or develop actual policy and do nothing but play politics, 100% of the time in every way possible, involving elected officials, the party itself, a good chunk of the press, and everything else that can be controlled. Victor Frankenstein melded this and that body part to make something he eventually could not control and that eventually became his ruin, after terrorizing the townspeople for a while. The Republican Party stitched together a lock-step party policy, a complex and insidious campaign of voter suppression, a panoply of pernicious pundits, an entire mega news organization, and piles of money, and created FrankenTrump.

And now they have to live — or die — with it.

More popcorn please.


*And for this I apologize. Back when Michele was still in the Minnesota State Legislature, I was one of her first targets, coincidentally having her son in my evolution class and apparently, at least according to him, inspiring her to introduce one of the first, if not the first, “academic freedom” bills ever. Sorry.

Republican Congressman Michael Grimm Wants To Throw Reporter Off Balcony

This happened:

More here, including Grimm’s apology.

From Wikipedia:

Michael Gerard Grimm (born February 7, 1970) is the United States Representative for New York’s 11th congressional district, serving since 2011. The district, numbered as the 13th District during his first term, consists of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a former FBI agent, businessman, an attorney, and U.S. Marine, having served in the Persian Gulf War.

So he’s a former cop and a former soldier, and from New York. Such folk talk like this sometimes, I guess. But it must have been scary for the reporter, being right next to the balcony and all.

There was apparently some concern about Grimm misusing his authority as an FBI agent.

…Grimm had been involved in an altercation at a popular West Indian-themed night club in Queens called Caribbean Tropics, during which he was accused of misusing his F.B.I. authority.

He is a Tea Party favorite, according to this Daily Caller interview:

TheDC: You have the support of the Staten Island Tea Party.

MG: Overwhelmingly, yes. A lot of my volunteers have come from the Staten Island Tea Party. It’s an honor to have them. Some of the media wants to demonize them as fringe right-wing maniacs, and I have not seen that on Staten Island or in Brooklyn. I have seen good hardworking people that are frustrated and angry with the direction of the country and they’re standing up to voice their opinion and get involved.

From Wikipedia on the fund-raising controversy that prompted the flight off the balcony suggestion:

Fundraising controversy
Based on confidential interviews with followers of Orthodox Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a January 2012 article in the New York Times reported that Candidate Grimm engaged in “questionable fundraising” practices during his 2010 campaign. These practices allegedly included repeatedly soliciting one follower who had already donated $10,000 to Grimm’s campaign for another $10,000, accepting cash donations exceeding $100, explaining a scheme to evade donation limits to another follower, and accepting a $25,000 donation for which the funds originated from a single person and passed through Rabbi Pinto’s former aide, Ofer Biton.[39]

In August 2012, the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York acknowledged that it was investigating Grimm’s 2010 campaign.[40] In November 2012, the House Ethics Committee decided to inquire into the campaign but agreed to “defer consideration” of it at the Department of Justice’s request.[41]

In January 2014, the FBI arrested Diana Durand, a Houston-based fundraiser for Grimm, on charges that she had illegally donated more than $10,000 to Grimm’s 2010 campaign. Durand allegedly gave the campaign $4,800, the legal limit, but then used straw donors to donate more than $10,000 illegally. The FBI also charged Durand with lying to Federal agents about the matter. Grimm denied any wrongdoing.[42]

On January 28, 2014, NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto tried to ask Grimm a question about the investigation while conducting an interview about the 2014 State of the Union Address. Grimm refused to answer and initially walked away. However, while Scotto was tossing back to the studio, Grimm abruptly collared Scotto and told him, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.” When Scotto protested that it was a “valid question,” Grimm replied, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” Grimm later issued a statement defending his behavior, saying that he was annoyed by what he called a “disrespectful cheap shot” from Scotto. “I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect,” Grimm said, “especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor.”

This is the casefile on Grimm from the DCCC.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATION SUMMARY:

According to a bombshell report from the New York Times, Congressman Michael Grimm, together with a man under FBI investigation for embezzlement, raised more than $500,000 dollars in tainted campaign cash by taking contributions in excess of federal limits, taking contributions from foreign nationals, setting up “straw donors,” and personally receiving envelopes filled with cash.

Michele Bachmann Could Be Replaced

For various reasons, it has been difficult for the Democrats in Minnesota (called “DFLers”) to unseat Republican Congressional Representative Michele Bachmann. This has been partly because the candidates put up were not properly selected (probably) and partly because the people in her district simply liked her. Personally, I think her district started to like her less before the last Congressional election but supported her anyway because of her celebrate. But I have another theory as well, which is that the Tea Party is done. Out of date. No longer relevant. Michele Bachmann’s district’s voters have tired of the Tea Party and Michele Bachmann is the Tea Party.

And there are polls to indicate that this may be the case. Jim Graves, Michele Bachmann’s DFL opponent in the Sixth District Race in Minnesota, is creeeping closer and closer to Bachmann’s numbers, and it is possible that this race could even up over the next few weeks.

From the Minnesota Progressive Project:

A new poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan indicates that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is more vulnerable to her Democratic challenger than previously believed.
The polling firm surveyed about registered likely voters in the Sixth Congressional district of Minnesota from August 29 to August 30. The results indicate only forty per cent of the voters in Bachmann’s politically conservative district rate her performance “Excellent/Good.” Thirty-five per cent of those polled rate Bachmann’s performance “Poor.”

Asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, forty-eight per cent of those polled indicated that they would vote for incumbent Bachmann and forty-six per cent indicates they would vote for her opponent Jim Graves, a newcomer to politics.

Minnesota Political expert Bill Pendergast gives his analysis of this here. That site is getting a lot of sudden attention so it may take a moment to load, give it time. Continue reading Michele Bachmann Could Be Replaced

Are you annoyed by those pesky Indians and Black folk?

All that whinging and hand wringing about slavery, taking the land from the Indians, and all that stuff is very annoying, especially when the assertion is made that our founding fathers had anything do to with all that. Even though they did. But still, it is very annoying to have the names of those who saw fit to found this nation besmirched by the so called “facts” of “history.”

And that is why the Tennessee Tea Party wants to make it illegal in the Mottoless State of Tennessee to teach the truth. Here’s the wording they propose:

“No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Continue reading Are you annoyed by those pesky Indians and Black folk?

A sad anniversary

One year ago today, nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green was shot to death by Tuscon resident Jared Lee Loughner, using a 9 mm Glock automatic pistol with a high capacity ammunition clip. Seventeen other people were shot in that incident, a total of six of whom died. One of the injured was Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, whom had already been “targeted” for removal by radical elements of the Republican Party. It is not clear that Loughner was acting as an agent of these radical elements, but it was widely thought at the time that his decision to attempt an assassination of the congresswoman was spurred on by the hateful and violent rhetoric, often laced with references to firearms, of the Tea Party Movement.