Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tea Parties expose intellectual inconsistencies

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By: Abel Tomlinson

Immediately, I must declare that this is a nonpartisan critique because I see intense corruption in both parties.

However, America just witnessed politically important nationwide Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Parties centrally organized by partisan Republican lobbyists and the FOX "News" corporation. Most importantly, this "movement" exposed numerous intellectual inconsistencies within Republican politics.

The spearhead for Tea Parties was former Republican Congressman Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, his corporate lobbying firm. Interestingly, the Tea Parties were a plastic grassroots - or AstroTurf - movement that was falsely advertised as truly grassroots. Typical grassroots movements originate with average citizens and are funded by average citizens from the bottom up, but in the case of FreedomWorks, the "movement" was organized by corporate lobbyists and funded by millionaires with a top-down approach.

In addition to the efforts of FreedomWorks, Tea Parties were incalculably aided by millions of dollars worth of free promotional propaganda and coverage through FOX News.

This Tea Party rallying cry exposes the blatant, mind-numbing intellectual inconsistency inherent within Reagan-forward Republican politics.

Since Ronald Reagan declared "government is the problem," Republicans have preached about deficit hawkishness, small government, corporate deregulation and anti-taxism. But it is factually incoherent to simultaneously oppose taxes for the wealthy and debt while vastly increasing military spending.

Trickledown economics and deregulation have proved an abysmal failure. Massive tax cuts led to massive deficits and catastrophic economic inequality. Massive military spending also led to massive debt and vastly bigger government.

Moreover, banking deregulation proved to be a central cause of our economic collapse, which, according to Bloomberg News, is currently costing nearly $13 trillion when secret Federal Reserve bailouts are included.

Critically, Tea Party participants were instructed by corporate sponsors to protest against taxes, but the economic elite cunningly and intentionally failed to define which taxes the masses were supposed to oppose. Should we loath sales tax, property tax, excise tax, tariffs, capital gains tax, corporate tax, income tax or inheritance tax? Or should we oppose all taxes and abolish government?

Obviously, the elite organizers are principally concerned with taxes that affect their superrich bedfellows, so naturally the issue is corporate tax and income tax. This is directly logical considering Obama already cut taxes for the middle class but is contemplating repealing Bush's elite tax cuts and closing corporate tax loopholes.

Another inconsistency relates to the original Boston Tea Party itself, which was antithetical to our current Tea Parties because the original was a protest against corporate tax cuts for the world's largest multinational corporation, the monopolistic British East India Company. Our Republican Tea Party was the inverse because it was a protest organized by corporate interests to protect elite tax cuts, which have harmed the poorer supermajority.

Despite dark realities of Tea Parties, there is light within. The original source of the Tea Party idea was libertarian-minded Republican Ron Paul, but this idea was co-opted by the greater GOP. However, accidental beauty occurred because after FOX and FreedomWorks co-opted and promoted the protests, their events were counter-co-opted by thinking libertarians and progressives.

FreedomWorks instructed organizers on message management, but libertarians and progressives undermined this conformity. At many events, individuals brought messages criticizing the Federal Reserve and other non-elite messages.

My favorite message distortion is provided in an online Tea Party video of Republican Congressman Gresham Barrett, a supporter of the Wall Street bailouts, being booed off stage.

The far right also distorted the message by promoting Texas secession and anti-Obamaism, which entertainers like Rush Limbaugh and FOX News have stimulated because Obama may be unpatriotic, foreign, socialist, fascist, etc.

Overall, the Tea Parties proved pricelessly educational in exposing the mentality of the shrinking Republican base and the political inconsistencies that helped destroy America.

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