Republican Party Officially Re-Christened Tea Party: Sarah Palin Named Chair

In the past five years since Rick Santelli, a correspondent for CNBC, led a bevy of options traders on an anti-government rant, the Tea Party has gained enormous influence over conservative politics and particularly the Republican Party. Despite their small numbers, Tea Party Republicans have dominated the GOP in Congress and beyond. They threaten establishment Republicans with primary challenges and negative media campaigns. And all of this has occurred while appealing to less than a third of the American people and registering their lowest favorability ever.

The GOP today is no more popular than the sagging Tea Party. Following their crushing losses in 2012, the RNC produced a study that they themselves referred to as an autopsy that contained a laundry list of suggestions for reviving their future prospects. High on the list was expanding their outreach to African-Americans, Latinos, women, and young voters. However, in practice they have only further alienated all of those critical groups since the report was issued.

Recognizing the emerging trends, the Republican National Committee has conceded that they are no longer an effective organizational unit. Consequently, insiders are reporting that the party will soon announce a major reorganization, the principle feature of which will be a re-branding of the party of Lincoln with an even older historic reference: The Tea Party.

Republican Tea Party

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This turn of events may come as a surprise to many rank-and-file Republicans, but hints of this fundamental transformation were visible to those paying close attention. Michael Steele, the former chairman of the RNC, addressed this a couple of years ago saying that…

“It’s important for our party to appreciate and understand [the Tea Party] so we can move toward it, and embrace it.”

The current RNC chair, Reince Priebus (whose name without the vowels is RNC PR BS), has also attempted to erase the line delineating the Tea Party from the GOP saying that…

“It’s not Tea Party tactics. This is what the American people want.”

Of course, every poll shows that that statement is not true. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to wrap themselves in Tea Party linens. House Speaker John Boehner joined the choir saying that…

“There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the Tea Party activists believe in.”

The ribbon round the package has to be Sarah Palin’s admonition in a speech she gave to the National Tea Party Convention:

“The Republican Party would be really smart to start trying to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible because this is the future of our country. The Tea Party movement is the future of politics.”

It may be the sentiment in that speech that resulted in Palin being tapped to become the chair of the newly reconstituted GOP. Sources say that she was chosen by acclamation among an elite group of Republican Party leaders during a closely guarded conclave last week at the Florida residence of David Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers who are responsible for bankrolling the Tea Party since its inception. Others in attendance were said to include Texas senator Ted Cruz, radio politi-vangelist Glenn Beck, outgoing House Tea Party caucus chair Michele Bachmann, and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (who was sporting a “Draft Putin 2016″ button on his lapel).

The process of converting from Republicans to Tea Partiers will not begin in earnest until after the mid-term elections in November. After that there will be a flurry of activity from construction and furnishing to letterhead and logos. And by 2016 what was once referred to as the “Grand Old Party” (and more recently as the “Greedy One Percent”) will be a footnote in American history.

But don’t expect these changes to be anything more than cosmetic. The all new Tea Party will still be an intolerant, compassionless, science-denying, theocratic, advocate for corporations and the rich. Whether they are called Republicans or Tea Partiers, they are still committed to wealthy interests and opposed to ordinary working Americans. Some things never change.

[Update 4/2/2014] April Fools! But for the record, the first two paragraphs and all the quotes are true. So the re-branding has already occurred in principle.

Tastes Like Watergate: An Illustrated Guide To A Fox News Obsession

If there is one thing you can credit Fox News with, it is their tenacious determination to stand by even the most ludicrous figments of its overactive and politically twisted imagination. Once they sink their teeth into a story, nothing – and certainly not exculpatory facts – will dampen their resolve to peddle their delusions to their dimwitted viewers.

The string of pseudo-scandals that Fox has nurtured for most of the past six years has not produced a single shred of evidence of any wrongdoing by President Obama or his administration. Even with the aid of a bitterly partisan and hostile Republican majority in the House of Representatives conducting dozens of hearings, issuing subpenas, calling witnesses, compiling thousands of pages of documents, and staging theatrical press events, they have still failed to make a case against the President or any of their other targets.

What they have done is to compile an impressive record of psychotic obsession with prosecuting the White House for whatever they thought might stick if rubbed in hard enough. And in an effort to make the slander even stickier, they stirred in a generous heap of Watergate analogies. For instance…

Fox News Watergate Obsession

Never mind that none of these alleged scandals were ever proven in any way, despite hundreds of hours of congressional hearings and investigations by the right-wing press. It’s interesting that Fox is fixated on aligning Obama with disgraced former president Richard Nixon. The only thing they are succeeding at is reminding people that it is Republicans who are responsible for this sort of criminality. But that won’t stop the folks at Fox. Look for them to dig up some new affair that they will equate with Watergate. Maybe he has been covering up his actual golf score, or perhaps the scandalous revelation that he has been dying his hair gray to garner sympathy (oh wait, that one has already been done).

12 “Pants On Fire” Myths About ObamaCare

Yesterday the Tea Party Texan, Ted Cruz, wrapped up a 21 hour talk-athon during which he couldn’t articulate a single fact that might convince an open-minded person that ObamaCare is the nightmare that he alleges. Rather, he rambled aimlessly through Dr. Seuss recitations, White Castle burger recollections, and Nazi references.

The truth about the Affordable Care Act is something that Republicans are deathly afraid of – that it will be effective and popular – which is why they lie about it so often and so flagrantly.

What Cruz could not do in 21 hours, PolitiFact has summed up nicely in a few paragraphs. They posted an article that contains sixteen “myths” that have been promulgated by right-wing disinformers, complete with links to detailed explanations that expose the brazen dishonesty of the health care law’s opponents. Included are familiar lies like “the health care law rations care, like systems in Canada and Great Britain,” and that “Congress is exempt from Obamacare.” But it is notable that of the sixteen lies listed, twelve of them earned the worst award that PolitiFact gives, the “Pants On Fire” designation.

As a public service, I have created a handy infographic with the 12 worst lies about ObamaCare as documented by PolitiFact. Please share this with your Tea Party infected friends and family.

ObamaCare Myths

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[Reprise] The REAL Job Creators: Share This Infographic To Undo GOP Fallacy

With the presidential election behind us, the public discourse turns once again to more substantive matters, first of which is the fearful prospect of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Setting aside the fact that the cliff itself is a figment of media imagination, it is nevertheless necessary for congress to address tax policy.

As the debate heats up in advance of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, conservatives are trotting out their tired rhetoric about the risk of allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire and the allegedly detrimental impact it would have on what they call job creators. However, they are deliberately distorting facts in order to benefit their wealthy patrons. Last year I published an analysis of the right-wing effort to confuse the issue along with an infographic that laid out the case for who the real job creators are. This seems like a good time to re-publish it and direct credit for creating jobs to those who actually deserve it.


Occupy Messaging: Who Are The Real Job Creators?

December 13, 2011

For too long now, right-wing propagandists like Frank Luntz have been manipulating language to distort the real issues that impact so many lives of American citizens. They engage in dishonest wordcraft that disguises their true meaning in order to shape public opinion and deceive voters. It’s time to counter that rhetorical offensive by restoring definitions that actually reflect reality.

One of the most recent and insidious examples of this practice is the conservative effort to replace references to “the rich” with the phrase “job creators.” It is of no interest to these hacks that no evidence exists to validate the claim. In fact, NPR’s congressional reporter, Tamara Keith, asked members of congress and representatives of conservative business groups to refer her to business people who could substantiate the assertion that tax cuts for the wealthy would induce them to increase hiring. They were unable to come up with a single name or example to affirm their half-baked theory. However, Keith found several examples of her own that utterly refuted it. This caused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to note that “Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They are impossible to find and don’t exist.”

The agenda that Republicans have adopted has literally no popular constituency. Every poll taken on the subject reveals that majorities of Americans (including majorities of Republicans) favor increasing taxes on the rich. Even polls of the rich show that they believe that they are not presently sharing the sacrifice required to restore the nation’s economic health. An independent group of Patriotic Millionaires released a video beseeching Congress to raise their taxes.

So the next time you hear some GOP flunky whining about the plight of the rich whose only desire is to be unburdened from the shackles of what are the lowest taxes in decades, remember that they have not, and cannot, certify any claim that lower taxes will spur hiring. In fact, the evidence is all to the contrary. And whenever possible, we need to recapture the phrase “job creators” and use it in a manner that is more in line with reality. Here is a handy, shareable chart that illustrates who the real job creators are:

(click to view larger)
Job Creators


Some conservatives are beginning to admit that lavishing benefits on those who are already wealthy does nothing to stimulate the economy. Bill Kristol recently said that “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.” Ben Stein, with some apparent reluctance, told Gretchen Carlson that “With all due respect to Fox…” “We’re going to have to raise taxes on very, very rich people.”

This is the beginning of the wall crumbling down. The right knows that they cannot continue to be seen as only fighting for the welfare of the rich. They know that they have already lost this argument and that now it is only a matter of finding a way to concede without losing face (or Tea Party support).

Romney, Nugent, Trump, Et Al: A News Corpse Retrospective Of The 2012 Campaign In Words And Pictures

I can’t remember an election season that I was ever so glad was over. The magnitude of malice and mentally defective diatribes was monumental. And that was just from Donald Trump.

In case you missed it, Trump was so apoplectic after the election was called for President Obama, he vented on vehemently on Twitter. The coward has since deleted those but the evidence remains:

Trump: “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!”

Except that President Obama won the popular vote by two million votes, as well as an electoral vote landslide (303-206. 332 if Florida goes to Obama where he is presently leading) But it isn’t bad enough that Trump’s facts are wrong, his inciting a revolution because he doesn’t like the results of a democratic election is disgusting, and anti-American. What’s more, he doesn’t grasp that if there were a revolution, it is likely that he would be among the first against the wall.

Then there’s Ted Nugent, the Motor City Douchebag, who went on a Twitter-spree that affirms the shaky nature of his psychological condition. He’s “crying tears of blood” for an America filled with “subhuman varmints” that “just voted for economic & spiritual suicide.”

Nugent: Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America

Nugent has boarded the Histrionic Express, which already boasts Trump, Glenn Beck, Clint Eastwood, John Sununu, and other like-mindless zombies as passengers. They are hurtling toward an obliviousness that is nurtured by the Fox News bubble-sphere that only reports what they think their politically comatose audience can withstand.

It’s a methodology that results in the Republican Party bowing to its Tea Party masters so that seats once regarded as certain are lost. In 2010, the GOP lost an opportunity to take over the senate, but for weak tea candidates like Christine O’Donnell (DE), Joe Miller (AK), Ken Buck (CO), Linda McMahon (CT), Carly Fiorina (CA), Sharron Angle (NV), and Carl Paladino (NY). This year the same thing occurred with losers in races the GOP could have won: Richard Mourdock (IN), Todd Akin (MO), Linda McMahon (CT), Scott Brown (MA), and Josh Mandel (OH). And the House saw its share of defeats as well: David Rivera (FL), Joe Walsh (IL), Chip Cravaack (MN), Frank Guinta (NH), Denny Rehberg (MT), and my personal favorite loser, Allen West (FL). Michele Bachmann held on by a slivery 500 votes.

What follows are a few of my favorite political graphics of the season. I hope you enjoyed this adventure and my accompanying illustrations. It isn’t over. There is still much to done and the rightist media led by Fox News will certainly be redoubling their efforts to deceive the nation’s voters. So we must stay alert and engaged – starting now.

Original Bankster

Swiss Mitt

Pastromney on Ryan

Heartbreak of Romnesia

Nugent Vow

Eastwood Patriot

Eastwood Poll

Romney & Beck

Fact Checkers

Limbaugh's Republican Party

Trump's Deal

Cletus on ObamaCare

The Help

Slower Voters

Greetings From Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Misery

Mitt Romney has been running a campaign focused almost entirely on negative attacks against President Obama. He relentlessly misrepresents Obama’s record and public statements in a frantic effort to diminish the President, while avoiding any discussion of his own questionable qualifications for office. And there is good reason for Romney to want to run from his record. His resume contains only two items to persuade the American people to vote for him:

The first item is his tenure as the CEO of Bain Capital, an investment firm that specialized in leveraging struggling companies by downsizing their workforce (he likes firing people), drowning them in debt, and then draining those assets to enrich Bain shareholders prior to shutting the companies down. Not exactly the skill set for a nation that hopes to stick around for a while.

The second item is his reign as governor of Massachusetts. Remember that? He almost never speaks of it. And the reason why is conveniently illustrated in this handy, shareable infographic:

Massachusetts Misery

So a governor who presided over nearly the worst job creation in the nation (here’s an InfoGraphic of The Real Job Creators), raised taxes on the middle class, and left a billion dollar deficit for his successor, now tells the country that his business experience is the backbone of his candidacy. But that experience didn’t do much good for the people of Massachusetts.

The truth is, based on Romney’s experience, the failure of his administration in Massachusetts was entirely predictable. He has pretty good credentials as a corporate raider and an investment manager if you are looking to hire someone who is skilled at extracting profits from companies headed toward bankruptcy. But if you are looking for a leader with expertise in growing the economy with a long-term perspective on creating wealth for a broad range of citizens (not just the 1%), then Romney’s background is not only irrelevant, it is a contra-indicator for success.

Voting for Mitt Romney for president would be like hiring an arsonist to put out a fire.

America’s Barack: Get A T-Shirt That Celebrates The Obama Recovery

America's BarackWould you like to wear your heart on your sleeve? Crass Commerce, the eShop for News Corpse, has this original design on T-Shirts and stickers. America’s Barack!

Your purchases will help to maintain this web site and it’s mission to expose right-wing bias in the media.

Our nation has been struggling to recover from the economic calamity that a conservative philosophy thrust upon us. Tax cuts for the wealthy and dangerous deregulation led directly to the Great Recession of 2008. Now we are beginning to dig our way out of that hole, and it is due to an agenda of stimulus and investment in the American middle class. We need to stay on this path and that means staying with a forward-looking administration that understands that prosperity is the byproduct of a financially healthy middle class that has money to spend in their communities.

The Constitution begins “We the People” not “We the Corporations.” (And no, corporations are not people). We are America, and America’s Barack!

Corporate Godhood: When Corporate Personhood Is Not Enough

The Republican National Committee has just filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in Virginia in support of a ruling that would eliminate the ban on corporations making direct donations to political candidates.

Such a ruling would magnify the catastrophic decision issued by the Supreme Court in the Citizen’s United case that permits corporations to make unlimited donations, anonymously, to political action committees. The RNC’s latest move would broaden that allowance to permit such donations directly to candidates.

This is another attempt by the GOP (Greedy One Percent) to usurp power in America from the people and transfer it to the wealthy and to unaccountable business entities. Even though individuals are not allowed to make unlimited donations to political candidates, Republicans want to give that power to corporations.

The result is much worse than the current situation wherein corporations are legally viewed as persons. If this ruling stands, corporations might as well be elevated to Gods. They will have far more omnipotent control over the affairs of humans than humans do themselves. Plus, like Gods, corporations are immortal. They direct our daily behavior. They control our bodies through drug testing, and our minds through propaganda They decide whether we will be able to pay rent or purchase groceries and medicine – essentially whether we live or die.

But unlike Gods, corporations have no moral code, no soul. They are unconcerned with the welfare of people. They are not held accountable for the pain, suffering, and even death that they cause. If I put e-coli bacteria in your soup and you die, I will go to jail, and perhaps be executed. If a corporation feeds tainted soup to millions they might get a fine and a request to recall the soup.

What’s more, corporations have no national loyalty. They are borderless entities that will ship jobs off to the cheapest, most exploitative locations for labor, then re-import those products made in near slave labor conditions and sell them back to us at inflated prices – including medicines that people require to live.

The only obligation that corporations are held to is to return value to shareholders. Period. It is a legal obligation for which they can lose their charter if they fail to comply. It is also a coldhearted standard of ethical behavior that differentiates corporations from people. People care about their families, their communities, their country, and their world. It is that caring that qualifies people to govern themselves. When we hand over that role to corporations, we put everything we care about in the hands of dead entities that were created for the sole purpose of making money.

Yet the Republican National Committee is pleading with the courts to give corporations more power than they have ever had, and more power than ordinary flesh-and-blood people could ever match. That’s today’s Republican Party to which the Tea Baggers and evangelicals are flocking. And they have to be stopped before we are nothing more than anthropogenic machines forced to serve the interests of the Corporation Almighty.

This is serious business. It is not some nuisance suit by an obscure fringe character. This legal action has been taken by the official body of the national Republican Party. It is not a joke. Nevertheless, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart has once again distilled a complex and profound issue into a concise declarative statement that makes the point in an understandable and compelling way:

Jon Stewart On Corporate Personhood

Indeed. And the Supreme Court, dominated by a right-wing Republican majority, is now getting help from their party apparatus. And their frontrunner for the GOP nomination for president, Mitt Romney (or R*Money as his Highlife Homies call him), famously came out in support of the ludicrous notion that corporations are people.

This is becoming an ingrained principle of conservative politics and we must not allow it to succeed. So keep up the fight, because Corporations Are Not People. Here are some ways to contribute and participate:

Move To Amend is organizing a national action on January 20, 2012, to oppose and reverse Citizens United: Occupy the Courts!
Public Citizen is organizing a national action on January 21, 2012 to oppose and reverse Corporate Personhood: Occupy the Corporations!

The Top 5 Tax Myths Of The GOP Spin Machine

As this election year commences with the media focused on the Republican Clown Car Primary, the American people are are being barraged by ludicrous campaign stunts, dumbfounding debate performances, and the usual mix of dishonesty and hatred that the GOP has fine-tuned for decades.

For the most part, the caterwauling of Republicans has drowned out any rebuttal by Democrats and the press seem content to deliver just one side of the political argument. For instance, the GOP (Greedy One Percent) continue to peddle their Millionaire Relief Act proposals to reform the tax code so that the rich control even more of the nation’s wealth than they do currently.

Fortunately, the folks at the Center for Tax Justice have complied a list of the Top 5 Tax Myths to watch out for this election season. For convenience and shareability I created this handy InfoGraphic to separate fact from affliction:

Tax Fantasyland

For however long the GOP primaries are dragged out, progressives are going to have to try harder to get their voices heard above the clutter. Hopefully communicating in creative ways will help to achieve that goal.

The Decadence Index: How The Wealth Gap Is Hastening The Fall Of The American Empire

If there is anything that history teaches us about empires, it is that they are temporary and often fall of their own decaying weight. Ancient Rome is notorious for a descent that was widely speculated to have been driven by a massive class disparity. The aristocratic patricians devolved into a morass of immorality and obscene opulence. Meanwhile, the other 99% of the empire’s subjects were burdened by lives of oppressive labor or slavery.

The parallels to contemporary American class division are striking. We have our own aristocracy that arisen to a place of privilege and power, while working families are working harder for less, if they’re fortunate enough to be working at all. The 400 richest Americans control more wealth than the bottom 150 million of their fellow citizens – combined. And they exploit the power that comes with that wealth to further enrich themselves. Between 1979 and 2007, average after-tax incomes for the top 1% rose by 281%, compared to a 16% rise for the bottom 20%. The Roman elites would have felt right at home.

There is one difference, however. An historical study published by the Cambridge University Press looked at the Roman economy and calculated the measurement used by the CIA to rank the wealth gap of the nations of the world. What it found was that the United States actually ranks lower on income inequality than Ancient Rome.

Let that sink in for a moment. History’s most conspicuously ostentatious society of Bacchanalian excess had a less severe chasm between its rich and poor subjects than contemporary America. That astonishing fact led me to wonder where the U.S. stands when compared to its modern counterparts. So I consulted the CIA World Factbook and ranked the twenty richest nations by the index that represents income inequality. What I found was that the U.S. ranks 18th out of twenty. I call it The Decadence Index, and countries like Iran, Russia, and India are all less decadent than the United States in terms of economic disparity.

Click to enlarge
Decadence Index

The CIA collects this sort of data because it can be useful in predicting where civil unrest might flare up in the world. So what does that say about the stability of our social structure going forward? It certainly explains the Occupy movement. The question now is what are we going to do about it?

The solutions are not all that difficult to comprehend. Those who have benefited so lavishly by exploiting the system for their own enrichment should now be required to share a fair portion of the sacrifice necessary to restore economic health and balance. It’s not rocket science. Malcolm Gladwell offers a compelling explanation as he demolishes the rightist fable that taxes on the wealthy impede economic growth:

If we want to raise our position on the Decadence Index above that of the Ancient Romans (or the Russians or the French, for that matter), we need to reject the reckless and insensitive agenda of the right-wing patricians whose sole purpose is the accumulation of wealth and power. These patrons of plutocracy unabashedly advocate cutting, even eliminating, taxes on themselves, the rich, and intensifying the tax burden on everyone else. They falsely portray themselves as “job creators,” but this InfoGraphic shows who The Real Job Creators are. They pretend to fret over a class war that they themselves are waging. And because they know that the people overwhelmingly support the principles of economic fairness and justice, these conservative elites are conspiring to suppress the votes of average Americans, particularly seniors, minorities, students, and low-income voters.

Make no mistake, this is a coordinated campaign financed and managed by shadowy, but powerful, business and political entities like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Their mission was aided by the Supreme Court’s odious decision in the Citizens United case that opened the floodgates of corporate money into the electoral process. And, of course, they have the propaganda power of Fox News to advance their greedy, magisterial interests. But the people are fighting back against ludicrous notions like “Corporate Personhood,” and the Upper Crusters are afraid. Even Republican strategist Frank Luntz is admitting as much:

“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death. They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”

So keep up the fight because Corporations Are Not People. Here are some ways to contribute and participate:

Move To Amend is organizing a national action on January 20, 2012, to oppose and reverse Citizens United: Occupy the Courts!
Public Citizen is organizing a national action on January 21, 2012 to oppose and reverse Corporate Personhood: Occupy the Corporations!

Get up. Get involved. Get mad. And get to work.