Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
In August 2011 I wrote a guest blog titled: Tea Party and the Myth of a Grassroots Movement”. Using various newspaper and internet sources I showed that the meme created about the “Tea Party” that it was a “grassroots uprising” of ordinary citizens to take back their country from the out of control liberals, was simply not true. The “Tea Party” is a movement fabricated by certain plutocratic corporate interests to maintain themselves as relatively tax free and maintain control over the fiscal state of our country. I’m revisiting it today because of the guest blog I’ve just submitted about CNN and the rest of the news media, in light of a post by Al Gore at Huffington Post, publicizing his new book which deals with the back-story of the creation of the “Tea Party” and its negative influence upon our country. Some of Al Gores’ evidence and that forming the basis of my original guest blog overlap, but the important difference is he’s Al Gore, former Vice President and a centrist. I on the other hand am merely an aging ex-hippy, who remains a political radical. The truth of the “Tea Party’s” inception is not hidden from view and the facts are blatantly out there. What is important though is that the cable news media, press and the Washington punditry continue to describe the “Tea Party” in terms of its meme and myth as a grassroots entity and thus are complacent in a deception of the American people.
Daily we see stories about these “Tea Party” legislators elected to office on all levels of our government. They are falsely portrayed as populists, who are “fed up” and ran for office to “change things” and return to our Constitution. Large percentages of “Tea Party people in polls still believe that Barack Obama was born in Africa and is a Muslim intent on destroying Christianity and America. They see him as a communist, socialist and fascist simultaneously intent on dismantling our capitalist way of life and crushing American exceptionalism. I understand that one can be a reasonable person an oppose Barack Obama’s activity as President. I oppose some of his positions strongly and I voted for him. However, if you believe the “birthers” and those who call him radical names, then I must say in my opinion you are delusional. He is a slightly right of center Democrat, hawkish on foreign policy and deferential to the Corporate Plutocracy. He may be a Constitutional Scholar, but he certainly hasn’t done enough to protect our Constitutional Freedoms. Yet we see this ultra right wing faction of the Republican Party thinking Obama as the anti-Christ and believing they are part of a spontaneous revolution performed in the interests of “protecting” America. Here’s why that isn’t true.
“A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health reveals that the Tea Party Movement was planned over a decade ago by groups with ties to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. The movement was not a spontaneous populist uprising, but rather a long-term strategy to promote the anti-science, anti-government agenda of powerful corporate interests.”
So begins Al Gore’s article in Huffington Post yesterday. The article is titled: “False Spontaneity of the Tea Party”. Mr. Gore goes on to explain that the two organizations mentioned in the report:
“….Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks, used to be a single organization that was founded by the Koch brothers and heavily financed by the tobacco industry. These organizations began planning the Tea Party Movement over ten years ago to promote a common agenda that advocated market fundamentalism over science and opposed any regulation or taxation of fossil fuels and tobacco products.
The disturbing history of links between market fundamentalists, the tobacco industry and the Tea Party movement is part of an even larger trend that I describe in my new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. Following the era of Progressive and New Deal reforms that restrained corporate influence in American politics following the infamous Robber Baron Era, market fundamentalists were once again motivated and radicalized by the social turbulence of the 1960s. In 1971, a prominent lawyer for the tobacco industry, Lewis Powell, wrote a memorandum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that presented a comprehensive plan aimed at shifting the balance of political power in favor of corporations. President Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court just two months later.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-gore/tea-party-koch-brothers-big-tobacco_b_2689380.html
These same two organizations were also dealt with extensively in my guest blog of August 2011, because their establishment and ongoing work directly led to the “Tea Party” movement by the simple fact that they created it.https://jonathanturley.org/2011/08/02/tea-party-and-the-myth-of-a-grassroots-movement/#more-38049 The information missing about these organizations at the time was just how closely they were connected to tobacco and fossil fuel. Gore goes on:
“Guided by the Powell Memo, market fundamentalists have pursued a comprehensive strategy to dramatically increase corporate influence in American politics. Powell himself worked with other pro-corporate justices to interpret laws in ways that were favorable to corporate interests, most importantly expanding the precedent of corporate personhood. As a direct result, corporate lobbying exploded, increasing from $100 million in 1975 to $3.5 billion in 2010. Corporations also used increasingly voluminous campaign contributions to promote the election of pro-corporate politicians at all levels of government. Wealthy donors founded conservative think tanks to influence public opinion in favor of market fundamentalism. The Tea Party is a clear extension of Powell’s strategy to promote corporate profit at the expense of the public good.”
We see that there has been an obvious, ongoing strategy on the part of Corporate interests to expand their power through the funding of “front movements” disguising themselves as protectors of the rights of the American people. Gore concludes:
“Our democracy has been hacked by this expansion of corporate power, preventing meaningful action on several crucial issues. The climate crisis is an instructive example. The strategic goal of the market fundamentalists to “reposition global warming as theory not fact” has created enough false doubt around the issue to hinder progress. The potential consequences of climate change have never been clearer than they are today. Consider what we saw in America just last year. 2012 was the hottest year in American history and 60% of America experienced drought. Extreme weather events, like Superstorm Sandy, caused over $110 billion of damages. Yet Congress remains paralyzed, with many lawmakers even refusing to acknowledge the validity of climate science. The future of our planet demands that we put the sustainability of our planet before corporate profit.”
I must admit that I have been somewhat disappointed by Al Gore since the 2000 election where I thought he didn’t fight hard enough to win the Presidency in light of the Bush team’s shenanigans of cutting off a recount in Florida. His reluctance to take the battle to Congress did great harm to our Constitution. When he came out with his book on climate change and its’ movie, I began to warm to him again. However, since I’m not a fan of the policies of the Clinton Administration, of which Gore was such a prominent role-player, I see him as the kind of Centrist Democrat that has been too easy a “mark” for the forces of Corporate Plutocracy. I must say though that I will look forward to this book he is publicizing, simply because perhaps even the Centrists are finally beginning to see the threat that this Corporate Plutocracy has upon our Constitution and upon this country’s values.
To get back to where I began this piece the corporate media and its’ pundits have empowered the “Tea Party” by ignoring its roots. While given the fact that so much of the real causes of this country’s current dysfunction comes from the lack of honest journalism, this is not much of a surprise. I can remember a time when I looked to the media to provide an understanding of national and international issues, that time is long past. The only hope that we have as citizens to oppose the complete control of Corporate Plutocracy, known historically as feudalism, is from information derived from the currently independent sources on the internet. If those are blocked, as we’ve seen in places like China, then what hope will we have?
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
This link will take to to the article used by Al Gore: http://bit.ly/WrwSzA