Saturday, March 02, 2013

Teabaggers Witlessly Fulfilling An Old John Birch Society Plot To Destabilize The U.S. Government?


I don't know why I put a question mark at the end of that sentence in the subject line. The other day I was joking around on Twitter, suggesting that some teabaggers might find it ironic if the Republican Party's latest attempt at rebranding included them calling themselves "Tories," "Red Coats" or the King's Men." I don't know how many teabaggers have a sense of irony-- certainly none of the ones I've met.

The Tea Party's Austerity Agenda, which is wrecking every single economy in Europe that tries it, just pushed the U.K. into a triple-dip recession. The same week that Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he interprets that as a need to cut even deeper and harder and push Austerity into overdrive, his Conservative Party came in third in a by-election in Eastleigh, a constituency they acknowledge they must win if they are to get a majority in 2105. Right now they are losing to Labour by double digits. If Labour were any good-- they aren't-- the chasm would be much wider. And it isn't any better in any countries that have bought into the Austerity charade.
[E]veryone predicted that this austerity would be devastating for growth, and now we see that playing out in 2013 in a wicked way.

...A very severe leg down is taking hold, and there's nothing anybody is doing about it.

The ECB might at some point cut rates again, which should benefit marginally. But the lack of domestic demand remains brutal.

And now politics is getting worse, as the electoral crisis in Italy shows.

The question is: Will anyone address it?

Right now most of the rhetoric is about the importance of sticking with various austerity commitments. If nobody has the guts to change direction, there will be more Italies in the future.
Here in the U.S. the abysmal failures of Austerity have done nothing to dampen Tea Party passions for it. The billionaire Koch brother predators-- who invented and fund the Tea Party-- are chips off the John Birch Society father's block. They want to see the America we love dismantled. That detestable family always has. And now they have the useful fools in the Tea Party, the religionist charlatans at the anti-Jesus "churches," their allies at Hate Talk Radio and Fox, and the Republican Party amplifying their message. The Ryan Budget is their agenda. Thursday Robert Reich painted it as a plot or a conspiracy against America.
Imagine a plot to undermine the government of the United States, to destroy much of its capacity to do the public’s business, and to sow distrust among the population.

Imagine further that the plotters infiltrate Congress and state governments, reshape their districts to give them disproportionate influence in Washington, and use the media to spread big lies about the government.

Finally, imagine they not only paralyze the government but are on the verge of dismantling pieces of it.

Far-fetched?  Perhaps. But take a look at what’s been happening in Washington and many state capitals since Tea Party fanatics gained effective control of the Republican Party, and you’d be forgiven if you see parallels.

Tea Party Republicans are crowing about the “sequestration” cuts beginning today (Friday). “This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a Tea Partier who was first elected in 2010.

Sequestration is only the start. What they set out to do was not simply change Washington but eviscerate the U.S. government-- “drown it in the bathtub,” in the words of their guru Grover Norquist-- slashing Social Security and Medicare, ending worker protections we’ve had since the 1930s, eroding civil rights and voting rights, terminating programs that have helped the poor for generations, and making it impossible for the government to invest in our future.

Sequestration grew out of a strategy hatched soon after they took over the House in 2011, to achieve their goals by holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States-- notwithstanding the Constitution’s instruction that the public debt of the United States “not be questioned.”

To avoid default on the public debt, the White House and House Republicans agreed to harsh and arbitrary “sequestered” spending cuts if they couldn’t come up with a more reasonable deal in the interim. But the Tea Partiers had no intention of agreeing to anything more reasonable. They knew the only way to dismember the federal government was through large spending cuts without tax increases.

Nor do they seem to mind the higher unemployment their strategy will almost certainly bring about. Sequestration combined with January’s fiscal cliff deal is expected to slow economic growth by 1.5 percentage points this year-- dangerous for an economy now crawling at about 2 percent. It will be even worse if the Tea Partiers  refuse to extend the government’s spending authority, which expires March 27.

A conspiracy theorist might think they welcome more joblessness because they want Americans to be even more fearful and angry. Tea Partiers use fear and anger in their war against the government-- blaming the anemic recovery on government deficits and the government’s size, and selling a poisonous snake-oil of austerity economics and trickle-down economics as the remedy.

They likewise use the disruption and paralysis they’ve sown in Washington to persuade Americans government is necessarily dysfunctional, and politics inherently bad. Their continuing showdowns and standoffs are, in this sense, part of the plot.

  What is the President’s response? He still wants a so-called “grand bargain” of “balanced” spending cuts (including cuts in the projected growth of Social Security and Medicare) combined with tax increases on the wealthy. So far, though, he has agreed to a gross imbalance-- $1.5 trillion in cuts to Republicans’ $600 billion in tax increases on the rich.

The President apparently believes Republicans are serious about deficit reduction, when in fact the Tea Partiers now running the GOP are serious only about dismembering the government.

And he seems to accept that the budget deficit is the largest economic problem facing the nation, when in reality the largest problem is continuing high unemployment (some 20 million Americans unemployed or under-employed), declining real wages, and widening inequality. Deficit reduction now or in the near-term will only make these worse.

Besides, the deficit is now down to about 5 percent of GDP-- where it was when Bill Clinton took office. It is projected to mushroom in later years mainly because healthcare costs are expected to rise faster than the economy is expected to grow, and the American population is aging. These trends have little or nothing to do with government programs. In fact, Medicare is far more efficient than private health insurance.

I suggest the President forget about a “grand bargain.” In fact, he should stop talking about the budget deficit and start talking about jobs and wages, and widening inequality-- as he did in the campaign. And he should give up all hope of making a deal with the Tea Partiers who now run the Republican Party.

Instead, the President should let the public see the Tea Partiers for who they are-- a small, radical minority intent on dismantling the government of the United States. As long as they are allowed to dictate the terms of public debate they will continue to hold the rest of us hostage to their extremism.
Hopefully, the public will make these politicians who take their walking orders from the Tea Party in 2014. As of now, it looks like they well may. The GOP Message is very confused. They want to celebrate the Sequester as a huge victory-- and, at the same time, blame the Democrats for all the economic problems it will cause. They love inflicting the pain... but they don't want to be seen-- outside of their own circles-- in overt fits of ecstasy over it. Except Koch's own personal member of Congress, Mike Pompeo, who openly admitted that his side sees the Sequester as a "home run."

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At 11:38 PM, Blogger John said...

The teabaggers have the influence they do because Mr Obumma gives it to them, "kicking-off" with the interview he gave the execrable O'Reilly, and the FOX Terror Network, on superbowl Sunday 2011.

Pathological bipartisanship is NOT an effective defense against re-emergent American fascism.

John Puma

At 4:36 PM, Blogger ernie1241 said...

You are conflating two entirely separate matters. The John Birch Society is not the same as the Tea Party (or vice versa).

In fact, based upon polling and statements by Tea Party leaders, it is quite obvious that Tea Party adherents would never associate themselves with many JBS positions.

One way to think about this is as follows: All humans have blood, but if you are given the wrong blood type, you die!

Similarly, many organizations or movements may superficially appear to have similar ideas and objectives but close examination reveals that they have major irreconcilable differences which render them incompatible with each other.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Patrick Doyle said...

You mention that PM Cameron interprets the the UK's austerity measure's failure to signify that even more cuts are need.

This is exactly how the right approaches problem-solving: When you can't find the needle in the haystack, add more hay.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Patrick Doyle said...

The John Birch Society and the Tea Party may not be exactly identical in terms of participation, but they are very close cousins.
The Tea Party is a creation of the Koch brothers (whose father Fred was a founding member of the JBS).

As early as 1963, members of the JBS were hinting that they were about to launch a new "Tea Party", meaning a coordinated protest, and during David Koch's candidacy as Vice President on the Libertarian Party ticket, the exact same terminology was used.

The Tea Party is a wholly-owned subsidy of the Koch brothers, providing funding for organizing demonstrations, placards, etc.


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