Tea Party and the Myth of a Grassroots Movement

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

 The 2010 elections which gave the Republican Party the majority in the House of Representatives was seen as the elevation of a “Grassroots Movement”, composed of the spontaneously combusted wrath of ordinary citizens fed up with a bloated government. It was indeed a seminal moment for those people who disdained taxation, government handouts in entitlements, and the seeming waste of our tax dollars. The initial angry explosion was a reaction to the proposal and passage of the Health Care Bill. Rallies were organized, town hall meetings disrupted and a “hit list” of both Republican and Democratic members of  Congress circulated. 

The initial mainstream media reaction to this nascent movement was one of disdain, particularly because it was seen as an “out of the Beltway movement”, thus not to be taken seriously. However, this changed in a large part led by FOX News and copied by its “wannabe” CNN. Led by these Cable outlets, thirsting for sensation to fill their 24/7 news maws, all media began to follow suit, not wanting to be left behind. I find it interesting though that as late as April 22, 2010, Politico, hardly a left wing outlet, noted that unwarranted attention and media frenzy had begun, elevating the status of this purported movement: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36185.html  It is ironic that this article, while laying out the irrational amount of attention given to the Tea Party, at its end discounts the effect the movement would have on the election. Its authors certainly were not prescient.

Lost in the tumult of media exaggeration and sensationalism was the fact that this was not at all a grass roots movement of average Americans, but a crafty example of political manipulation laid out in tandem with the compliance of Rupert Murdoch’s news network’s assault upon all things they deem liberal. The prime mover in this is Richard “Dick” Armey, a former Texas Republican Congressman, House Majority Leader, and major senior lobbyist at a worldwide lobbying firm. Armey created the mythology of a grass roots movement, guided its progress, arranged, and then paid for its “spontaneous” events.

Dana Millbank, in the Washington Post related the involvement of Dick Armey in this movement. “Dick Armey is intellectually versatile: The former leader of House Republicans went from being a rainmaker for a Washington lobbying firm to being the unofficial leader of the anti-Washington “tea party” movementhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/15/AR2010031503730.html

 After the 2010 election victory, sweeping away as many “old school” Republicans as well as Democrats, the media both expressed shock and provided substantive background on what had just taken place. 

“There is particular irony in Mr. Armey — who has spent three decades in Washington, where he has become one of the city’s most enduring insiders — mentoring a movement that wants to hold on to its outsider ethos.” http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/a/dick_armey/index.html

 The vehicle for Mr. Armey’s maneuverings is an organization called FreedomWorks, which if you go to the link below you will see a picture of Glenn Beck and a link to receive kits to be used in August disruptions of Town Hall Meetings. http://www.freedomworks.org/  FreedomWorks has its origin in an organization called “Citizens for a Sound Economy” which is not surprisingly a creation of the Koch Brothers that was tactically split into two entities, one being FreedomWorks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_for_a_Sound_Economy    

 In trying to make sense of politics and the forces competing within it context is everything. By its nature politics is the art of using popular mythological themes (i.e. No New Taxes, less government, terrorism, etc.) to rouse the populace to given action. The Tea Party Movement, FreedomWorks and even Dick Armey have every right to try to influence our political system. They also have every right to utilize what mythology they please, or can create, to advance their cause. Whether there is danger to our political system in their belief in, or promotion of, their myths should not result in suppression of their rights. That is not the Constitutional way in our country. Indeed, their aims and their backers are not hidden, but easily researched, as I’ve done cursorily here. 

 My concerns are that for this country to remain democratic and viable under our Constitution we need the information and context supplied by a free press, bolstered by freedom of expression. When the popular punditry and the mainstream news media do not supply context, but actually play a role in creating myths  about the forces engaged in struggle for the hearts and minds of people, our democratic institutions suffer.

 That the so-called Tea Party is a movement backed by some of the most powerful forces in this country to put forth an agenda that is beneficial to them and represents their ideology, should be contextually a part of any news report, media sound bite, or internet article. The myth of this movement being a spontaneous uprising of average citizens is well represented in media reportage. For the average citizen struggling to keep their families and themselves together, getting their news from small doses of mainstream media, it serves to reinforce the myth by omiting context. That this amalgam of people, led cunningly by a Washington Insider and lobbyist, is confused as to their purpose and misled by an ideology that is possibly antithetical to their needs is best represented by that well known poster, prominently shown at a Tea Party Rally: “Keep your Government Hands off of my Social Security and Medicare!” Such is the effect of political mythology on the minds and actions of people.

 Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

98 thoughts on “Tea Party and the Myth of a Grassroots Movement

  1. Never forget going to the healthcare rally. An angry man tore my sign up and took my seat. I assume he was tea party.

  2. SwM,

    A safe assumption … at least he waited till you’d gone to the restroom … some would call that kind of waiting cowardice … me.

  3. I’m waiting for the masses of the tea party faithful walking down the streets of Washington DC with their signs saying”we got what we wanted ” in this debt ceiling deal.

    Tea Party’s tough tactics on debt alienating moderate voters, polls show
    Pollsters expect backlash against Tea Party movement following unwillingness to compromise on US debt ceiling talks

    Ed Pilkington in New York
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 2 August 2011 19.01 BST

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/02/tea-party-us-debt-talks

  4. Blouise, you should have seen the glare. He and his wife were very plus sized so I quickly retreated and found another seat. Next a handicapped woman was made to cry and then the teabaggers harassed a lady that testified about her husband’s parkinson’s disease and his lack of health insurance. She left in tears ,also. A fundamentalist christian man yelled that he would pray for her on her way out. I left after that.

  5. For many of these older teabaggers, somebody paid for the bus ride and food … sad to say for many of them it’s a vacation and probably they only one they’ve had in years.

  6. It’s as if Dick Armey and his minions sat around his version of the Bat(ShitCrazy) Cave tm. wondering how to unify and consolidate all of the extreme and low information splinter groups of eligible voters: racists, gun nuts, misogynists and elderly that pine for the 40’s and 50’s, and mold them into a voting bloc of stealth Republicans.

    If there were otherwise ‘normal’ people, that felt disenfranchised, angered and frustrated by the political process that joined them initially, and stayed this long, then they lost the presumption of doubt from me. It is fitting that Mr. Armery may have hoist the Republican party on its own petard.

  7. rafflaw,

    I feel kind of sorry for some of them … it’s the only way they get to actually go somewhere however, I don’t excuse them for the damage they’ve done to others.

  8. “The simple and obvious problem with the two-party system is that labels such as ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ have essentially become meaningless. Neither party is built on a sound platform of preserving or restoring personal liberty; instead merely endeavoring to pick and choose what personal freedoms to champion (or grant depending on who you ask) vaguely aligned with what their party ideologies supposedly envision. The aftermath of this being liberals who fervently defend a woman’s right to choose while simultaneously seeking to limit how much salt she can have on her fries or whether her child can have a toy with his or her Happy Meal. Equally as sickening are the logically challenged conservatives who spout small government, but want to regulate who can marry who and support SWAT teams kicking down doors looking for drugs.”

    http://rightrant.com/2011/07/16/another-viewpoint-of-the-two-party-system/

  9. I must say your comments are way to emotional and not very factual — you provide zero facts/URLS!

    I am a TEA PARTY supporter. No one gives me $.
    I believe a smaller government is what America needs. I believe that
    without most of the current regulations [not all!],
    without BHO’s anti-business attitude
    and actions, America would be on the ascent, not the descent. Explain, in great detail why I am ‘misguided’, please. Otherwise, you just seem to
    be bloviating, to me.

    I doubt you will respond to this, but here are my thoughts on 2 stmts you make:

    1. “My concerns are that for this country to remain democratic and viable
    under our Constitution we need the information and context supplied by
    a free press, bolstered by freedom of expression. When the popular
    punditry and the mainstream news media do not supply context, but
    actually play a role in creating myths about the forces engaged in
    struggle for the hearts and minds of people, our democratic
    institutions suffer.” YES!!

    But you miss the All the information, not just some of the
    information you like part. Tell me please, does ABC,NBC,CBS make
    any effort to present both sides? If so, show me.

    2. “That the so-called Tea Party is a movement backed by some
    of the most
    powerful forces in this country to put forth an agenda that is
    beneficial to them and represents their ideology, should be
    contextually a part of any news report, media sound bite, or internet
    article.” — NO!!

    #Wiunion, #WI Unions? #Progressive ideaology?
    Explain why Pub Sect Unions should be able to
    hold all citizens hostage to their demands. I bet $100 [all
    I can afford to lose] you cannot do it to a random jury!
    No Voir Dire! – Am I wrong?

    Teaparty is about Fed Gov not interfering in my life. If I hate TX, I can vote with my feet. How does voting with my feet integrate into your ‘thinking’?

    I have immense respect for your understanding of the law [nevertheless, I
    do have one question I would pay dearly for an answer from you on].

    I think your policy judgments should be tested in the arena of public discussion. I doubt you have done that. Am I wrong?

    Ed
    Ph.D. Physics
    Retired from IBM
    @egbegb
    egbegb2@gmail.com

  10. Where’s the attack on the George Soro’s machine… oh wait, your all liberals… I forgot for a moment!

  11. @ Ed Bradford

    “I must say your comments are way to emotional and not very factual — you provide zero facts/URLS!”

    If this statement is addressed to the author (Mike Spindell) then your use of “comments” is not correct. If this is addressed to posters commenting on the author’s article then you should let us all know which comment(s), ” are way to emotional and not very factual . . .”

    “Explain, in great detail why I am ‘misguided’, please.”

    No one has said that you are; why don’t you expound on how you’re “guided.”

    “2. ‘That the so-called Tea Party is a movement backed by some of the most powerful forces in this country to put forth an agenda that is beneficial to them and represents their ideology, should be contextually a part of any news report, media sound bite, or internet article.’ — NO!!”

    Your “NO!!” is not a very impressive argument.

    “#Wiunion, #WI Unions? #Progressive ideaology?
    Explain why Pub Sect Unions should be able to
    hold all citizens hostage to their demands. I bet $100 [all
    I can afford to lose] you cannot do it to a random jury!
    No Voir Dire! – Am I wrong?”

    Progressive ideology and random juries are difficult to link together, aren’t they? As to your question of “Am I Wrong?” it’s very hard to say given the lack of any coherence in your paragraph.

    Before you get so riled by the ” Pub Sect Unions” demands, you should maybe look at the money this country gives to the Pentagon.

    “I have immense respect for your understanding of the law [nevertheless, I do have one question I would pay dearly for an answer from you on]. “

    What are your questions, Ed? Save the “Am I Wrong?” (twice) I don’t see any.

    “I think your policy judgments should be tested in the arena of public discussion. I doubt you have done that. Am I wrong?”

    Ed, maybe you should explain your perspective in a manner that people can make sense of.

  12. I see that Ed has a Ph.D. Interesting. After reading his lengthy comment, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Judge Baselon, after listening to an expert witness (paraphrasing, but reasonably accurate): “The fact that a person has occupied a seat in a classroom for a length of time does not guarantee the inculcation of knowledge.”

  13. “I have immense respect for your understanding of the law [nevertheless, I do have one question I would pay dearly for an answer from you on]. “

    Mr. Bradford,

    I am a guest blogger that Jonathan Turley has allowed to do occasional articles on his blog. I am not a Lawyer, nor do I pretend to be. Mr. Turley, who I respect deeply does not pre-review my writing, nor can one be assured he endorses my opinions. I am responding to you as a courtesy because i think you made the possibly reasonable assumption that i am either the proprietor of the Blog, or that its’ owner endorses my opinions.

    Please also be aware that it is my personal policy not to get involved in discussions about what i write. They are thought pieces designed to start discussion among the intelligent people who comment here, many of whom are Lawyers. I believe that my involvement in the debate personally is a hindrance to discourse, so i choose not to engage. You, however, can find me commenting copiously on many other threads, just not my own. Perhaps we will be able to have discussions in the future. By the way on behalf of this community I welcome you aboard, your views will be interesting to discuss.

    Mike Spindell, MS, CSW
    Psychotherapist, retired

  14. I must say your comments are way to emotional and not very factual — you provide zero facts/URLS!

    I am a TEA PARTY supporter. No one gives me $.
    I believe a smaller government is what America needs. I believe that
    without most of the current regulations [not all!],
    without BHO’s anti-business attitude

    [President Obama’s anti-business attitude is easily verified
    with just memory. Insurance companies, Banks, Auto companies, Boeing, raising tax on small business (elim Bush Tax ‘cuts’], “Don’t go to Las Vegas”. I have a list, but thought I would google “obama anti-business actions”; it came up with 11 million results. To be fair, I also googled “obama pro-business actions” and got 6 million results – however, the articles beging like this:
    1. President Obama should stop fibbing about his pro-business de-regulation policies
    2. William Daley defends President Obama on business
    3. Obama’s “Pro-Business” Policies Are Killing the Free Market
    …]

    and actions, America would be on the ascent, not the descent. Explain, in great detail why I am ‘misguided’, please. Otherwise, you just seem to
    be bloviating, to me.

    I doubt you will respond to this, but here are my thoughts on 2 stmts you make:

    1. “My concerns are that for this country to remain democratic and viable
    under our Constitution we need the information and context supplied by
    a free press, bolstered by freedom of expression. When the popular
    punditry and the mainstream news media do not supply context, but
    actually play a role in creating myths about the forces engaged in
    struggle for the hearts and minds of people, our democratic
    institutions suffer.” YES!!

    But you miss the All the information, not just some of the
    information you like part. Tell me please, does ABC,NBC,CBS make
    any effort to present both sides? If so, show me.

    2. “That the so-called Tea Party is a movement backed by some
    of the most
    powerful forces in this country to put forth an agenda that is
    beneficial to them and represents their ideology, should be
    contextually a part of any news report, media sound bite, or internet
    article.” — NO!!

    #Wiunion, #WI Unions? #Progressive ideaology?
    Explain why Pub Sect Unions should be able to
    hold all citizens hostage to their demands. I bet $100 [all
    I can afford to lose] you cannot do it to a random jury!
    No Voir Dire! – Am I wrong?

    Teaparty is about Fed Gov not interfering in my life. If I hate TX, I can vote with my feet. How does voting with my feet integrate into your ‘thinking’?

    I have immense respect for your understanding of the law [nevertheless, I
    do have one question I would pay dearly for an answer from you on].

    I think your policy judgments should be tested in the arena of public discussion. I doubt you have done that. Am I wrong?

    Ed
    Ph.D. Physics
    Retired from IBM
    @egbegb
    egbegb2@gmail.com

  15. Ed asks: “Am I wrong?”

    *************************************
    Yes.

    signed,
    OS, Ph.D. and a lotta other alphabet. Not retired.

  16. Nice article, Mike. Don’t forget that the Koch brothers and Dick Armey could not have been as successful without the work of Ginni Thomas (or should I say the connection she affords them to her husband Clarence and his Conservative allies on the SCOTUS).

    BTW Mr. T. Bagger, Ph.D….nice looney rant! You guys are delusional but entertaining. Keep being you!

  17. As the author notes above, I make many many mistakes and did not read the directions, a common failing among scientific and engineering types. Mike, and Professor Turley, I apologize for the errors of my ways.

    Nevertheless, …

    My statements are about writing words without substantiation. You might accuse me of doing that too, but when asked, I will provide reference material that help form my opinion. I did so above where I mentioned President Obama’s anti-business attitude. I believed when writing that, that it was a generally accepted fact. I make a lot of mistakes.

    On being guided.
    The history of depressions in America shows that the first time government got directly involved in ‘fixing’ the economy, the Great Depression resulted which was longer and deeper than any in history. Correlation is not causation, but between HCH and FDR, I think they swept ice and the stone went right down the hole (curling analogy). Their economic policies aggravated rather than relieved the problems. Each individual action of both can be discussed and people will differ on the results.

    History also shows that government involvement in recessions since WWII has produced no provable positive (or negative) results. One might argue the Fed + Gov are what broke the 20 year depression cycle, but it would be
    only an argument. It doesn’t seem possible to prove things in Political Economics.

    FDR had lots of stimuli (NRA,AAA,…) , but after 5 years the unemployment rates were still 21% (1938). FDR was notoriously anti-business.
    Todays government looks strikingly similar to me. Stimulus to put people to work for a little while, until the recession clears up. But both BHO’s and FDR’s anti-business attitude almost guarantees the recession won’t end.

    That’s where I’m coming from. As an example, all citizens are small or micro business people. They do things with their investments that are mirrored in business. Where do you have your 401k money invested today? Where does your union have its funds invested? Where does your company have its retirement trust funds invested? Answer those questions and you’ll know where economic growth is happening.

  18. “When you have no basis for argument, abuse the plaintiff.”
    Cicero

    I ask for discussion and present views and
    “YES”
    and
    “You guys are delusional but entertaining”
    is the response?

    I think we can agree, I’m on the wrong site.
    Ed

  19. Mr. Bradford,
    with all due respect, if you think President Obama is anti-business, you have been asleep at the wheel. One example: If he is anti business, why did he push a health insurance reform bill that adds 40 million new customers to the private insurance industry? He never did push for the Medicare for all type programs that many in his party were proposing. If he is anti-business, why did he put so many Wall Street regulars in his cabinet and on his staff? (Geithner and others) Why did he put the President of GE as the head of his commission to study jobs when GE has been at the forefront of taking jobs overseas?

  20. Dr. Ed:

    stay and post, dont go. Although I hope you have a thick skin and have a good sense of yourself. If you dont, stay away.

  21. kderosa wrote:

    “That’s as good as you’re going to get from these nutters… That’s all they have.”

    One has to wonder why s/he stays.

  22. Ed,

    Dezza isn’t “a regular” on this site. Pay no attention to those who mock, taunt, and goad — only bullies engage in these behaviors, IMO.

    My experience is that this is a pretty “civil” blog.

  23. Back to Mr. Spindell’s blog:

    “That the so-called Tea Party is a movement backed by some of the most powerful forces in this country to put forth an agenda that is beneficial to them and represents their ideology, should be contextually a part of any news report, media sound bite, or internet article.”

    Should we preface all articles that reference the Tea Party with such a statement?

    Would your wish also hold for the SEIU, AFL-CIO, MoveOn,MMFA,Alternet, movements also backed ‘by some of the most powerful forces in this country’?

    Should the Koch brothers be mentioned, but George Soros and George Kaiser remain in the background?

  24. The Tea Party has influenced congress to cut funding to IED research. As a disabled veteran who fell victim to an IED and as the father of a soldier serving in Afghanistan, I can confidently say the tea Party is as un-American as al Queda. Ed, you wouldn’t say any of those things to my face…for long.

  25. @Gene “Buddha” Howington

    Look at you getting all bold with your innuendo.

    Which one of your employers were you wearing the “Buddha” mask for? Did they stop paying you or did you stop for another reason?

  26. kderosa,

    I’d much rather people think I’m someone else than think I’m a corporatist shill. Who I am is ultimately irrelevant. What you are is not.

  27. kderosa 1, August 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    @anon nurse – “One has to wonder why s/he stays.”

    To keep you and the others honest.

    That’s the thing, kderosa. Many come by their honesty naturally… — they don’t need anyone else “to keep them honest”…

  28. @Gene “Buddha” Howington

    I see you’ve fallen back to a new “ultimately irrelevant” position. Good for you. That will soften the blow when the evidence (which exists) comes to fore. Or, you finally admit to your wrongdoing.

    Perhaps you are right on the ultimately irrelevant part. Of course, changing identities was not the only thing you did that casts aspersions on your low character. How about those imaginary sock-puppet conversations you had between your identities?

    First as Buddha:

    Buddha Is Lauhging1, July 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Gene,

    Dude, no wonder you picked something like Eta Carinae as an avatar. You are on fire! We have several other science geek types who frequent here. I saw where you’ve met OS, Tony and LK. Keep an eye out for Slartibartfast and Bob, Esq. as well. Slarti is a mathematician and Bob just loves physics. You guys will hit it off just great.

    And go, Team NASA!

    Then as Gene H:

    Gene H.1, July 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Buddha,

    Thanks for the compl[i]ment. I’ll have to say that among the many reasons I chose Eta Carinae, being “on fire” never came to mind. Mainly I picked it for aesthetic reasons. It’s a very pretty stellar event. There were some philosophical reasons as well, but pretty sold the deal. I should also say I’ve really enjoyed your posts too. You’re a rather savagely funny fellow. Jonathan has provided a great forum with his blog and you and the other “Regulars” really give it additional character. I’ve only been reading Jon’s blog for about a week now and I’m completely hooked. It provides some of the most stimulating conversations I’ve seen on the Internet in quite some time. Let me second your “Go, NASA” and I’ll leave it at that.

    Then as Buddha again:

    Buddha Is Lauhging1, July 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Gene,

    “Savagely funny”? I like your choice of adjectives. Thanks for noticing.

    Do I even need to get into all the lies you’ve posted trying to establish the “Gene H” identity as a new participant of the forum?

    If you could merely control your behavior and personal attacks, we wouldn’t have to keep reminding the forum of your duplicity. You’ve brought this problem on yourself.

  29. @anon nurse — “Many come by their honesty naturally… — they don’t need anyone else “to keep them honest”…”

    Others apparently don’t, and do need it.

  30. kderosa:

    “Which one of your employers were you wearing the “Buddha” mask for? Did they stop paying you or did you stop for another reason?”

    I did think Buddha posted quite a bit, maybe that explains it. He was working for Soros or one of his puppet orgs.

    So what you are saying is that Buddha was and possibly is a paid activist. Paid by the Soros orginization to act as a brownshirt to stifle conservative dissent?

    I dont know, that seems far fetched to me. But Breitbart asked Buddha to come work for him, so maybe it is possible.

    Buddha does write pretty well and makes a pretty good argument even if you dont agree with them [the arguments not Buddha/Gene]

  31. kderosa

    That will soften the blow when the evidence (which exists) comes to fore. Or, you finally admit to your wrongdoing.

    Any Idea, if or when, you will be providing this evidence ?

    Roco

    I dont know, that seems far fetched to me. But Breitbart asked Buddha to come work for him, so maybe it is possible.

    I remember that, maybe thats why Buddha doesn’t post here anymore. Maybe he finally accepted the offer.

  32. Morning Mike. I don’t think so at this moment. More than likely a wind and rain event for South Florida. Your gonna be on the Westside of the system which is the weaker side. We won’t know for sure until tomorrow. This is when Emily is forecast to pop out on the Northern side of D.R. and Cuba. The poor people of Haiti are getting the shaft again.

    Current intensity models point from Tropical Storm to Cat 1 in about 72 hours. Two days ago it was strong T.S. to Cat 3 so the overall trend is down. I would suggest though getting provisions and stocking up on a few items today so that you eliminate the need to venture out. Get a new book to read ect. ect. and start paying closer attention to my page starting tomorrow.

  33. Mike I just saw your comment and now it’s gone. WTF

    anyways my response is above in anycase.

    P.S. I have been graciously asked to provide the surf forecast for this years U.S. East Coast Surfing Championship in Virgina Beach, August 22-28.

  34. Bdaman,

    On a more serious note is there anything for me to worry about weather wise down here this weekend? Local TV is whipping up their usual apocalyptic warnings.

  35. @bdaman,

    Obviouslty Spinwell came to his senses and thought better of that comment. He must have remebered that Soros, though not a brownshirt, was an admitted Nazi collaborator that as a 14 yr old helped the Nazi’s send his fellow Hungarian jews to concentration camp while posing as a christian.

    GeneH/Buddha knows what’s floating out there. Hopefully, he’ll come to his senses and stop the charade.

  36. Bdaman,

    Thanks, I’ve already done part two, my normal hurricane preparations early.
    As far as the other comment. I originally thought I was commenting on another thread. Arguing on my own generated thread is against the standard I’ve set for myself, so I eliminated it.

    As for Haiti it makes me sad to contemplate what the people there have to suffer through. I was friends with and worked with many Haitians in NYC. Loved the people, their intelligence, wit and culture. Why certain populations get so screwed by life is beyond me.

  37. See above, I’m heading out.

    Mike it should be noted that a few models are still calling for Emily to come up the West Coast of Florida. The most notable one yesterday was the UKMET Office. So you do need to pay close attention and stock up. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    UKMET = United Kingdom Meteorology Office

  38. Why certain populations get so screwed by life is beyond me.

    Yea like the people of Africa.

    Why is it always the same, famine and genocide

  39. “He must have remebered that Soros, though not a brownshirt, was an admitted Nazi collaborator that as a 14 yr old helped the Nazi’s send his fellow Hungarian jews to concentration camp while posing as a christian.”

    Unfortunately, I have to break my rule here. As a Jew, who lost family in the Shoah and who knows and has known Shoah survivors, I refuse to judge the actions of anyone who had to face that unspeakable horror. Perhaps if someone saw the video I posted as “Dancing Under the Gallows”, there might be some understanding of what individual Jews, much less 14 year olds faced. The “courage” to attack the actions of a 14 year old in that situation and use that to denigrate him 7 decades later bears witness to the
    empathy a person has for others faced with desolation and despair.

  40. “there might be some understanding of what individual Jews, much less 14 year olds faced. The “courage” to attack the actions of a 14 year old in that situation and use that to denigrate him 7 decades later bears witness to the empathy a person has for others faced with desolation and despair”

    Had he not bragged about that that being the best time in his life and that he felt no guilt over his actions, you’d have a minor point. but, that kind of talk is not the talk of someone who merely had to do what he had to do to survive.

  41. “The history of depressions in America shows that the first time government got directly involved in ‘fixing’ the economy, the Great Depression resulted ” (Ed Bradford)

    I read up to that statement and then skimmed the rest. No, Mr Bradford, that is not what history shows. Here is a simple site from which you may expand your reading in order to learn the actual causes of the Great Depression and why your statement can be dismissed as pure teabagging disinformation.

    http://americanhistory.about.com/od/greatdepression/tp/greatdepression.htm

  42. The actual 60 Minutes quote referred to:

    “(Vintage footage of Jews walking in line; man dragging little boy in line)
    KROFT: (Voiceover) These are pictures from 1944 of what happened to George Soros’ friends and neighbors.
    (Vintage footage of women and men with bags over their shoulders walking; crowd by a train)
    KROFT: (Voiceover) You’re a Hungarian Jew…
    Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.
    KROFT: (Voiceover) …who escaped the Holocaust…
    (Vintage footage of women walking by train)
    Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.
    (Vintage footage of people getting on train)
    KROFT: (Voiceover) …by–by posing as a Christian.
    Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Right.
    (Vintage footage of women helping each other get on train; train door closing with people in boxcar)
    KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.
    Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.
    KROFT: In what way?
    Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and–and anticipate events and when–when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a–a very personal experience of evil.
    KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.
    Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.
    KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.
    Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.
    KROFT: I mean, that’s–that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?
    Mr. SOROS: Not–not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t–you don’t see the connection. But it was–it created no–no problem at all.
    KROFT: No feeling of guilt?
    Mr. SOROS: No.
    KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?
    Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c–I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the–whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the–I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt”.

    Why should he feel guilt? Would his death had changed the outcome? It
    is so easy to pontificate from the distance of years. Imagine though actually being in a horror movie, except it was real. What would you do to stay alive, especially at age 14, with no one to protect you? Anyone, without an axe to grind, who has actually spoken to Shoah survivors, as I have, would understand his actions and his lack of guilt.

    My next door neighbor’s brother and he were called down to respond to an ad meant to lure Jews to their death in Lithuania. his brother went and died, he didn’t and lived. Should he feel guilty that he didn’t go with his brother. Soros, is the bogeyman the Right throws up to draw attention away from the Koch Bros., Murdoch, Mars Family, Scaifes, Mellons, etc.
    who pollute the airways with propaganda and who with their wealth, far exceeding Soros, are intent on undermining Democracy in this country.

  43. @Spinwell, if everyone took Soros’ cowardly way out, we’d have had no American Revolution and you’d have no high horse to pontificate from.

  44. @Gene H

    And who are your sponsors?

    Sock-Puppet Trolls R Us?

    Did you have to trade in the Buddha mask for the Gene H mask or did you get that one free too as part of your trolling sponsorship deal?

  45. If you’re so good at predicting stuff, Howington, why didn’t you predict how quickly your sock-puppet ruse would be uncovered? Hubris? Stupidity?

  46. I love Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. One of my uncles still calls me that. You’ll have to do much better than that, little dog.

  47. Bloise
    I’ve seen that data many times. It is an excellent site for useful and, I believe, accurate information on the Great Depression. My point wasn’t that government CAUSED the great depression, Government PROLONGED it.
    Do you know what happened in 1937 that caused unemployment to go from 15% to 21%? If you look at the GDP graph at that site, and were sitting in time at the end of 1936, things were looking pretty good. What went wrong? Also, how did America go from 1929 to 1936 (almost 7 years) and only get back to 15% unemployment? Why so slow? In October 1929, Stock market only fell 37%. How did it complete the fall within the next 18 months. At that point, the DJ average was worth 11% of what it was in Aug, 1929. How did that happen?

    I like the site; I’ve book marked it. However, after a quick scan I don’t see any references to monetary policy. Did the Fed fiddle while the economy burned?

  48. That’s it, Howington, own it.

    @Ed Bradford, the bad monetary policy , i.e., government intervention, was one of the causes of the economic bubble that led to the Great Depression. Then Hoover’s (Wonder Boy as Coolidge called him) and Roosevelt’s intervention merely prolonged it. Sounds mighty familiar. See also Japan, Lost Decade of.

  49. Ed Bradford,

    “first time government got directly involved in ‘fixing’ the economy, the Great Depression resulted” … I can only go by what you write.

    However, I accept your clarification that the federal government did not CAUSE the Great Depression.

    There are several articles on the mortgage crisis that started to build in the late 1920’s and the housing bubble burst that started in Florida in 1926 (due to a hurricane of all things!) and spread across the country leading up to the Great Depression. There were, of course, no government controls/regulations at that time. Here’s a couple sites:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/08/05/Wheelock.pdf

    (Start on the second page of the pdf)

    HOLC was created in 1933 which was way too late:

    http://www.uncg.edu/bae/econ/seminars/2010/Rose.pdf

    There are many additional sites but we can only post two url’s at a time on this blog.

    Although the mortgage structure in the 20’s was different from that of today, it was completely unregulated and when the bubble burst the resulting chaos spread rapidly through out the nation’s financial institutions much as we saw happening within the last few years after regulations were lifted in late 1999 resulting in a housing/mortgage bubble and burst.

    I realize I’m being simplistic but I don’t have a lot of time to go more in depth. Suffice it to say that I contend, based on our history from the 20’s and the early 2000’s, that government regulations are necessary.

  50. Mr. Bradford,

    Quickly, from the second link:

    “Many mortgages of the 1920s were structured to last a short period such as five years, and did not necessarily include any amortization or requirement for principal payments before maturity. These mortgages were then usually refinanced upon maturity. Tight credit markets interrupted that system as banks tightened standards and terms for refinancing and sought to improve their liquidity positions. Other mortgages, such as those through building and loan associations, featured structures that were even less attractive in the event of a downturn (Snowden 2003). These mortgages allowed for amortization by using a share installment contract as a sinking fund; the result was that as the equity position of the building and loan association deteriorated, the borrower’s real loan burden
    increased.”

    ” By 1933, the value of outstanding mortgages on 1-4 family non-farm homes had declined to $16.7 billion from $19.5 billion in 1929, a 14% drop. The value of new mortgage loans declined from $4.4 million
    to $1.1 million. These figures reflect foreclosures, a fall in the number of new loans, and a fall in housing prices. The median asking price for single family housing declined 24% in the same period.
    The mortgage portfolios of all classes of lenders shrank in roughly the same proportion, but the shrinking portfolio of mortgages held by thrifts accounted for a large share of the aggregate decline,
    8simply because thrifts were the largest source of mortgage lending
    The result of this for many borrowers was foreclosure …”

    More later on the monetary policy driven by these situations.

  51. Almost all libertarians (anarcho-capitalists excepted) accept the need for some government regulations. I certainly do. For me it’s not a question of to regulate or not to regulate. The question is what and when to regulate. However, ‘regulations’ weren’t what prolonged the depression. If I had to pick one thing it would be FDR’s actions against those who create jobs — his anti-business attitudes and actions. The list is long [and would make in interesting discussion in a separate thread]. One also has to factor in the lack of action and the wrong headed actions of the Fed. Both F’s (FDR and the Fed) seem to me have formed a perfect storm of negativity toward economic growth.

    When WWII came along all the work programs died [as Keynes predicts when the economy recovers] and the Fed changed it policies to support the war.

    Japan and Germany did indeed awake a sleeping giant.

    Ed

  52. Blouise

    Thank you, I had not seen the article. I note (though I did not check in the ‘new study’ mentioned in the article above) there is no mention of the Federal Reserve, tax levels or Herbert Hoover. To my mind, Hoover loaded the gun, who knows who pulled the trigger, and the the Keystone cops [the 2 F’s – FDR and the Fed] tried to fix things. It did not work well as far as I can see.

    Today, I’m seeing what I consider worrisome similarities. President Obama is anti-business – most acknowledge that. Boeing? Banks? Chamber of Commerce? FoxNews? Ins Cos? Hedge funds? Wall Street?…
    President Obama has not opened any trade channels.
    President Obama wants to tax the rich.
    The Fed managed the economy in the 1990’s with low interest rates accelerating the housing market and is now ‘managing’ it again with low interest rates, open market purchases (‘Quantitative Easing’) and pronouncements of questionable value about the future of the economy.

    Not enough time to list all the things that don’t seem to me to make sense in the goal of job creation, but I listen.

    If there are any Keynesians that understand the theory, I do have a question or two, though.

    Ed

  53. Ed Bradford:

    I believe that low interest rates at present are primarily a reflection of the fact that no one wants to borrow money.

  54. Mike Appleton
    RE Today’s low interest rates. It also means the Fed has shot its wad.
    It has nowhere to go. Yet, Quantitative Easing was attempted and is being considered again. To my mind, all that means is that eventually we will have to print money to dig our way out. I hope I’m wrong.

    From my view, the Fed and President Obama are impotent. They cannot proactively do anything ‘progressive’ for the economy without digging a deeper hole. What the President can do is “motivate” American Business to invest in America. The Federal Reserve has few tools to do that. The President has many, the bully pulpit, not the least.

    Only the President has the tools; however, he seems to be focused on two things listed in (my perceived) priority order:
    1. Getting re-elected (where is he today? How many campaign funding parties has he had? What his his campaign $ goal?)
    2. Taxing the rich – we hear that out of almost every speech he makes.

    In Feb 2010, the President was going to “focus like a laser” on jobs. Does anyone think that is what he has been doing for the past 18 months? If so, please enlighten me. I have genuinely missed his actions and positive results.

    I fail to see value to America in either #1 or #2 above. I could be wrong, though.

  55. Ed Bradford:

    I agree that the President is impotent. In my view, however, he has pretty much ceded leadership to congressional Republicans for reasons I will never understand. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got a chicken and egg problem. If I manufacture widgets, I’m not about to start hiring people at present, regardless of how low wages get (and they’re getting lower all the time) because there’s no demand. Corporations are sitting on their money because they don’t have anything to do with it. That’s why I don’t believe lowering taxes will encourage investment. Investment for what, to make more things that people can’t buy? I’m one of those persons undoubtedly in the minority who believes that the original stimulus was too small and was misdirected. I’m not suggesting that it was not important to enable local governments to continue employing teachers and cops. But using stimulus money to tread water is … treading water. It didn’t create new jobs or increase tax revenues.

  56. Mike Appleton
    But you don’t manufacture widgets. You don’t even know why you would manufacture widgets. [Neither do I!] I don’t think it is relevant to break into the middle of a life cycle and try to join the broken appart pieces with political economic “logic”.

    I think you have to consider scenarios like this:

    “I have a business and I simply can’t keep up with demand”. Now I want
    a loan from bank to expand – can’t get it (#1). Ok, I go to VC’s get it. But no, I have to pay all my employees 10% more to expand. I go from 20 employees to 21 and suddenly all must have health care and last years growing profit will be this year’s loss.”

    This is not a chicken and egg problem It is a motivational problem for those in America who can and will create value to consumers (and, as a necessary side effect –> JOBS).

    I am no political economist and no economist. I understand job creation and small business concerns, but am no expert on those either. I speak only what I think any American can deduce after thinking about creating and expanding a business from 1 person to 100 people. I have small business friends.

    Perhaps I should ask one of those small business friends to join us in the conversation. Would that give us more street cred?

  57. Ed Bradford:

    Of course you can ask one of your small business friends to join the discussion.

    I’ve had small businesses. That’s all a typical law practice is. My wife presently has a small business. The actual “small businesses” in this country have only a few employees and rely upon consumers to keep the doors open. When unemployment goes up, business drops. The fact is that there is very little money circulating through the economy. All the tax cuts in the world are not going to bring customers back into Main Street shops without more.

  58. Mike Appleton
    “I have a small business” [law]
    Would that be a partnership? Are you looking to grow your business and hire lots of employees? [I doubt it in the legal profession, but I could be very wrong. Please correct me.]

    You wife has a small business. What is it? Can I invest in it?
    Tell me about it so I can judge for myself if I want to invest.
    Tell America about it so America can invest.

    Just ‘participating’ in a ‘small business’ does not qualify anyone to
    be a significant/major contributor to American economy. You are a
    CONTRIBUTOR — don’t mistake my thoughts. You R contributing!
    You must may not be America’s salvation.

    “Small business” is about many people going into business for themselves.
    Minimally, they want to make a living and help 1,2 or 5 folks also. That is not the model of which I speak. I speak of an Entrepreneur with an idea.

    I fail to communicate!

    America is built on Small Business and an IDEA! I forgot the unbelievably great IDEA [I screw up a lot!]. Without that IDEA, you have a mom and pop grocery store that can be (easily) “run” out of business by Albertson’s.

    Tell me an idea that I know many/most American/WorldCitizens will want
    and I will invest! Today, I go to Asia/Gold.

    I want to invest in America, but the Obama threat of bigger tax, bigger Obamacare bills tells me to consider other countries to invest in. I hate that!@@@@@@@@@@

    I must and will care for my family. Investing in a company that will stagnate or fail because of Obama policies, Eric Holder and Obamacare limits their growth tells me to go overseas. I do that.

    That makes me very sad.
    Helpl me understand why I am wrong.

    [Don’t speak to me how the future will be better. I
    am older and wiser than many and have ‘seen’ the
    ‘future predictions’ so many times I am disgusted
    and know a *LOT* better.]

  59. Ed Bradford,

    I am going to try and contribute … it might require some patience on your part to see where I’m going with this.

    There are two girls in my neighborhood. One graduated from high school in 2010, spent 1 year in college, couldn’t afford any more and started looking for a full time job to replace the part time job she’s worked since turning 16. She needs more money for school. She has been looking since April and has found nothing. She’s not picky about what kind of job she gets … she just wants one.

    The other girl just graduated from high school but had to wait a month before starting her job search till she turned 18. (You’ll see why in as minute) At the end of her high school sophomore year she decided that college was not for her so she spent her junior and senior high school years at a vocational high school getting all the certificates she needed in Precision Machining. She started her job search two weeks ago (insurance requirements in machine/manufacturing shops is the reason she had to wait until she turned 18) and has had three interviews, two job offers and two more interviews scheduled. Her beginning salary will be a little over $37,000 a year plus full benefits. Not bad for an 18 year old kid. All the machine/manufacturing shops she’s interviewed with and been offered jobs at would qualify as small businesses.

    There are jobs out there for those who have the skills. But not enough jobs for everybody.

    I would agree that job creation should be a top priority but someone will have to show me actual facts and figures as to how lowering taxes will encourage investment. I don’t want party line rhetoric from either side … no trickle down or anti-trickle down talk … I want proof in the form of facts, figures, graphs etc.

  60. Blouise

    If I have no patience, you should ignore me.
    Ed Bradford
    Pflugerville,TX
    @GovernorPerry did it for TX, don’t doubt! (My opinion)

    #1. She can vote with her feet. Has she considered that? (TX is hiring!)
    #2. She wins. Do it, Ms. #2. However, never stop looking for a better position.

    Much more interested in #1. Pell? (I hate Pell [I hate the unbelievable cost of an Education] but it’s there, go for it!)
    What state? What skill?

    I paid for my own education
    My wife paid for her education
    My kids (3) paid (with me and my wife) for their educations.

    I don’t understand why people cannot pay for their own education?

    Ed

  61. Ed Bradford,

    Pell? I said that she needed money for college. She’s paying her own way. Why would you think she’d qualified for a Pell grant?

    Never mind …

  62. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours
    would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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