Friday, April 30, 2010

21st Century Tea Party History

There have been a number of similar posts floating around the internet that have appeared on various blogs as a list of various offenses committed by the Bush administration used to question the source of the "anger" fueling the Teabaggers. I believe the original source for the list came from walldude posting at Democratic Underground. Most of the variations use walldude's observation, "You didn't get mad when...", to preface their doubt about what really makes Teabaggers angry. I've decided to take his list and some of the other variations I've seen and post it in chronological order starting with the seminal event from the start of the 21st century and covering subsequent events year by year:

December 12, 2000: An activist Supreme Court Of The United States stops a legal recount and overrides Florida's state rights as decided by their State Supreme Court and appoints George W. Bush as President before all the votes are counted. While many protested on the designated inauguration day the following month, the Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2001: -The National Energy Policy Development Group, created by executive order and chaired by Dick Cheney, secretly dictates energy policy. The GAO, Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club take legal action to make the records of the policy group public. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-Supposedly in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, (curiously, the legislation was already written prior to 9/11) Congress passes and George W. Bush signs into law the Patriot Act, a law which nullified parts of the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments to the US Constitution. Though many civil liberties organizations voice their outrage, the Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2002: -Six months after the 9/11 attacks, Bush says in regard to a question regarding the fact that alleged mastermind Osama bin Laden had not been captured, "I truly am not that concerned about him". The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-Bush attempts to limit the scope of the Congressional investigation into the 9/11 attacks and opposes the formation of an independent commission to investigate 9/11. Organizations spearheaded by people who lost loved ones on 9/11 protest, but the Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2003: -In response to the rejection of a proposed resolution for a UN Security Council authorization to invade Iraq, Bush illegally invades Iraq anyway. Millions around the world protest in anticipation of this. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-In response to criticism regarding the inclusion of a falsehood regarding Iraq's efforts to procure uranium from Africa in the State of the Union address, the White House blows the cover of a CIA operative. The Department of Justice opens an investigation into this scandal. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2004: -David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, reports that there are no WMDs to be found in Iraq. This fuels more protests on the anniversary of the invasion, but the Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-Photographs surface of Iraqi prisoners being tortured at the Abu Ghraib prison. The army investigates and Senate and House committees call Rumsfeld to testify. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2005: -Reports of CIA torturing prisoners under new guidelines authorized in March 2002 surface. The CIA Inspector investigates, as does AG Eric Holder four years later. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-The New York Times, after sitting on the story for more than a year so that it wouldn't affect the outcome of the 2004 election, reports that the government has been wiretapping US citizens without a warrant in violation of the 1978 FISA law. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2006: -Corruption runs rampant in the Jack Abramoff fraud scandal, leading to the resignation and guilty pleas from David Safavian and Republican Representative Bob Ney. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-Further corruption connected to the government is evident in the scandal with Republican Representative Duke Cunningham, who pled guilty to receiving $2.3 million in bribes primarily from Mitchell Wade (owner of MZM) and Brent R. Wilkes (owner of ADCS) to help win Pentagon work. Wade also implicated Wilkes in a scheme procuring prostitutes for politicians at the Watergate Hotel. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

2007: -House Oversight discovers $10 billion in overpriced contracts or undocumented costs, $2.7 billion charged to Halliburton, one of the primary recipients of no-bid contracts in Iraq. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

-The Washington Post reports atrocious neglect of our veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Investigations result in the firing of commanding general Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman and resignation of other top officials at Walter Reed. The Tea Party is nowhere to be found.

It's an incomplete list, the complete history of scandal while Bush was squatting in the White House may take decades to uncover. Whichever list you go with, the point is obvious: Tea Party "anger" over perceived tyranny, lost liberty and big government gone bad is disingenuous. The weak defense against this charge that the Teabaggers are primarily motivated by economic woes is also false as I shall prove later. I'm stopping at 2007 in my chronology right now to point out a little known fact: the Tea Party was actually created while Bush was still in power! Most people think it started with a "spontaneous" rant by little known CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli on February 19, 2009. But here's the real history:

Let’s go back to February 19th: Rick Santelli, live on CNBC, standing in the middle of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, launches into an attack on the just-announced $300 billion slated to stem rate of home foreclosures: “The government is promoting bad behavior! Do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages?! This is America! We’re thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July, all you capitalists who want to come down to Lake Michigan, I’m gonna start organizing.”
Almost immediately, the clip and the unlikely “Chicago tea party” quote buried in the middle of the segment, zoomed across a well-worn path to headline fame in the Republican echo chamber, including red-alert headlines on Drudge.
Within hours of Santelli’s rant, a website called sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008 by Zack Christenson, a dweeby Twitter Republican and producer for a popular Chicago rightwing radio host Milt Rosenberg—a familiar name to Obama campaign people. Last August, Rosenberg, who looks like Martin Short’s Irving Cohen character, caused an outcry when he interviewed Stanley Kurtz, the conservative writer who first “exposed” a personal link between Obama and former Weather Undergound leader Bill Ayers. As a result of Rosenberg’s radio interview, the Ayers story was given a major push through the Republican media echo chamber, culminating in Sarah Palin’s accusation that Obama was “palling around with terrorists.” That Rosenberg’s producer owns the “” site is already weird—but what’s even stranger is that he first bought the domain last August, right around the time of Rosenburg’s launch of the “Obama is a terrorist” campaign. It’s as if they held this “Chicago tea party” campaign in reserve, like a sleeper-site. Which is exactly what it was. was just one part of a larger network of Republican sleeper-cell-blogs set up over the course of the past few months, all of them tied to a shady rightwing advocacy group coincidentally named the “Sam Adams Alliance,” whose backers have until now been kept hidden from public. Cached google records that we discovered show that the Sam Adams Alliance took pains to scrub its deep links to the Koch family money as well as the fake-grassroots “tea party” protests going on today. All of these roads ultimately lead back to a more notorious rightwing advocacy group, FreedomWorks, a powerful PR organization headed by former Republican House Majority leader Dick Armey and funded by Koch money.

Now that the origins are clear as to how this movement got started, let's restart the chronology in August 2008, when was created.

August 2008: is created. They have nothing to say about more than half trillion dollars wasted on a war against a country (Iraq) that posed no threat to us which we were lied into. Nothing to say about a President who borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined,embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country and took our budget deficit to the one trillion dollar mark and our combined debt to $13 trillion. But this crisis was just beginning. I'll use the wikipedia timeline and add my own sardonic aside in bold.
September 7, 2008: Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which at that point owned or guaranteed about half of the U.S.'s $12 trillion mortgage market, effectively nationalizing them. This causes panic because almost every home mortgage lender and Wall Street bank relied on them to facilitate the mortgage market and investors worldwide owned $5.2 trillion of debt securities backed by them.[150][151] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 14, 2008: Merrill Lynch is sold to Bank of America amidst fears of a liquidity crisis and Lehman Brothers collapse[152] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 15, 2008: Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy protection[153] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 16, 2008: Moody's and Standard and Poor's downgrade ratings on AIG's credit on concerns over continuing losses to mortgage-backed securities, sending the company into fears of insolvency.[154][155] In addition, the Reserve Primary Fund "breaks the buck" leading to a run on the money market funds. Over $140 billion is withdrawn vs. $7 billion the week prior. This leads to problems for the commercial paper market, a key source of funding for corporations, which suddenly could not get funds or had to pay much higher interest rates.[156] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 17, 2008: The US Federal Reserve lends $85 billion to American International Group (AIG) to avoid bankruptcy. The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 18, 2008: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke meet with key legislators to propose a $700 billion emergency bailout through the purchase of toxic assets. Bernanke tells them: "If we don't do this, we may not have an economy on Monday."[157] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 19, 2008: Paulson financial rescue plan is unveiled after a volatile week in stock and debt markets. The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 23, 2008: The FBI discloses that it had been investigating the possibility of fraud by mortgage financing companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and insurer American International Group, bringing to 26 the number of corporate lenders under investigation.[158] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 25, 2008: Washington Mutual is seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and its banking assets are sold to JP MorganChase for $1.9 billion. The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 29, 2008: Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is defeated 228-205 in the United States House of Representatives; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announces that Citigroup Inc. would acquire banking operations of Wachovia.[159] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
September 30, 2008: US Treasury changes tax law to allow a bank acquiring another to write off all of the acquired bank's losses for tax purposes The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 1, 2008: The U.S. Senate passes HR1424, their version of the $700 billion bailout bill.[161]. The Tea Party has nothing to say.
October 1, 2008: The financial crisis spreads to Europe.[162][163]

October 3, 2008
: President George W. Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, creating a $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program to purchase failing bank assets.[164] It contains also easing of the accounting rules that forced companies to collapse because of the existence of toxic mortgage-related investments.[165] Also key to winning GOP support was a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to ease mark-to-market accounting rules that require financial institutions to show the deflated value of assets on their balance sheets."[126][166]
October 3, 2008
: Using tax law change made September 30, Wells makes a higher offer for Wachovia, scooping it from Citigroup [167] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 6–10, 2008
: Worst week for the stock market in 75 years. The Dow Jones loses 22.1 percent, its worst week on record, down 40.3 percent since reaching a record high of 14,164.53 October 9, 2007. The Standard & Poor's 500 index loses 18.2 percent, its worst week since 1933, down 42.5 percent in since its own high October 9, 2007.[168] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 6, 2008
: Fed announces that it will provide $900 billion in short-term cash loans to banks.[169] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 7, 2008
: Fed makes emergency move to lend around $1.3 trillion directly to companies outside the financial sector.[170] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
October 7: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relaxes rules on US corporations repatriating money held oversees in an attempt to inject liquidity into the US financial market. The new ruling allows the companies to receive loans from their foreign subsidiaries for longer periods and more times a year without triggering the 35% corporate income tax.[54] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 8, 2008
: Central banks in USA (Fed), England, China, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Central Bank cut rates in a coordinated effort to aid world economy.[171]
October 8, 2008
: Fed also reduces its emergency lending rate to banks by half a percentage point, to 1.75 percent.[172]
October 8, 2008
: White House considers taking ownership stakes in private banks as a part of the bailout bill.[173] Warren Buffett and George Soros criticized the original approach of the bailout bill.[174][175] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 11, 2008
: The Dow Jones Industrial Average caps its worst week ever with its highest volatility day ever recorded in its 112 year history. Over the last eight trading days, the DJIA has dropped 22% amid worries of worsening credit crisis and global recession. Paper losses now on US stocks now total $8.4 trillion from the market highs last year.[54] The Tea Party has nothing to say.
October 11, 2008: The G7, a group of central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of Seven leading economies, meet in Washington and agree to urgent and exceptional coordinated action to prevent the credit crisis from throwing the world into depression. The G7 did not agree on the concrete plan that was hoped for.[54]

October 14, 2008
: The US taps into the $700 billion available from the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and announces the injection of $250 billion of public money into the US banking system. The form of the rescue will include the US government taking an equity position in banks that choose to participate in the program in exchange for certain restrictions such as executive compensation. Nine banks agreed to participate in the program and will receive half of the total funds: 1) Bank of America, 2) JPMorgan Chase, 3) Wells Fargo, 4) Citigroup, 5) Merrill Lynch, 6) Goldman Sachs, 7) Morgan Stanley, 8) Bank of New York Mellon and 9) State Street. Other US financial institutions eligible for the plan have until November 14 to agree to the terms.[54] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

October 21, 2008
: The US Federal Reserve announces that it will spend $540 billion to purchase short-term debt from money market mutual funds. The large amount of redemption requests during the credit crisis have caused the money market funds to scale back lending to banks contributing to the credit freeze on interbank lending markets. This government is hoping the injection will help unfreeze the credit markets making it easier for businesses and banks to obtain loans. The structure of the plan involves the Fed setting up four special purpose vehicles that will purchase the assets.[54] The Tea Party has nothing to say.

The list goes on past the election of President Barack Obama through November, December and January with the same result - The Tea Party has no reaction to any aspect of the ongoing financial crisis, which discredits their claim that their concerns about the economy have no basis in partisan bickering. What an amazing bit of timing that less than a month after President Barack Obama is officially inaugurated, the Tea Party suddenly awakens. Not over the preceding worst eight years in job creation in several decades, not over the trillion dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and most certainly not over the bailing out of the banks and financial institutions that I just detailed in the months prior to the election. No, the awakening as highlighted by Rick Santelli was in response to President Obama having the audacity to propose helping out homeowners exploited by the lack of oversight and regulations that Bush kept in place. The official Tea Party reaction is that bailing out AIG is helping out a winner but bailing out your average taxpayer in danger of foreclosure is helping the "losers". So much for being in touch with the needs of the people. Later in 2009, the Tea Party widened their "big tent" to focus on health care. Not because they were angry about how over 200,000 Americans died in the previous eight years because they had no health insurance. It's because they got angry that the government stepped in to try to reform the health insurance industry so that less people would die.

What are the Teabaggers really mad about? There is a wealth of historical evidence that they are not mad about tyranny, lost liberty or big government. Same goes for economic waste. I've come to the conclusion that what really makes Teabaggers mad is either that the tyrannical fascist laying the economy to waste is a Democrat, or that the tyrannical fascist laying the economy to waste is black, or both. That. Is. It! End of story.

Final memo to the Teabaggers: You've been pwned. Your credibility is lower than Benedict Arnold. Now go home and get your fucking shinebox!


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Or, as Ricky used to say, "Luceee! You've got some 'splainin to do!"

Robert Paulsen said...

LOL! That was good! Reminds me of an article written right after 9/11 about all the things our government was ignoring about those attacks that had the same title. I'll try to find it.