Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

02/19/2010 (4:37 pm)

Tea Party Anniversary Day, and A Little Reminder

fireCommemorating the day when Rick Santelli first called for a Tea Party in Chicago, the mainstream press and its friends on the hard left are attempting to pin a lone murder/suicide on the Tea Party movement.

A software engineer with a grudge against the IRS went postal yesterday and flew his Piper PA-28 airplane into the IRS office building in Austin, TX, killing himself and at least one other person. Before taking the action, though, he posted a fervid rant on the Internet and burned his house down. Steve Spruiell at the National Review predicted a knee-jerk attempt to pin the action on the Tea Party movement a few minutes ahead of the first MSM report doing exactly that. More attempts followed.

I suppose it’s not impossible that the demented fellow attended a rally or two, but it’s not all that likely. His rant includes accusing corporate capitalists of committing “scores of atrocities,” calls those who organize religion “monsters,” accuses the American medical system of committing murders, and compares the IRS to the Catholic Inquisition. If this sounds “similar to the alienation we’re hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement” to Capehart at the WaPo, it’s probably because he has a bigoted and ill-informed view of that movement.

Of course, the left has similarly been attempting to discredit the Tea Party movement from the beginning. Just yesterday I posted regarding the Clintonistas planning their slam attacks, but that’s just the latest in a long string of ineffectual fulminations. Michelle Malkin’s cheat sheet on the Tea Party movement’s origins from last April included this little summary of the early attempts to pooh-pooh the obviously genuine grassroots movement:

And along the way, detractors have fumbled and bumbled over how to discredit the Tea Party organizers — first blaming a cabal tied to CNBC, then jeering at the amateurishness of the participants before crying “astroturf,” then claiming the events were “financed by Fox News” or (fill-in-the-blank) conservative conspiracy, then smearing the protesters as crazed gun nuts (FNC’s Bob Beckel) and racists (FNC’s Geraldo Rivera).

A handful of psychologists might provide some interesting clues regarding why they feel the need to do this, but I think it’s a combination of snobbery and envy. Leftists disdain the average American, thinking him an under-educated, unthinking dolt incapable of managing his own life (and “clinging to guns and religion…”) If the Proles are restless, it must be something really stupid that they’re restless about, right? But then again, the energy of the Tea Parties is so real that it exposes leftist agitation for the put-on that it is; leftists spend a great deal of their emotional energy affecting rage over issues that were relevant no more recently than 1972. They’re jealous of those who belong to a movement that’s actually relevant. Remind yourselves of FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher’s sour-grapes denunciation from her failed attempt to counter with a leftist anti-Tea-Party last April (hat tip to Frank Strategies for the vid):

Sad and pathetic. “Financed by Fox News” turns out to mean “reported by Fox News,” in a little demonstration of FDL’s journalistic ethics (follow the Frank Strategies link above the video). Not to mention that Hamsher has about the scariest eyes I’ve seen in a year; there’s something wrong with that woman.

hellno_IneedHowever badly they want to make the entire Tea Party movement look loony, they can’t, because it’s not loony; it’s authentic grassroots Americana. The Tea Party movement, at its core, is simply individuals who have taken the basic soundness of the political system for granted most of their lives, but who have come to realize that the entire system is failing them. They stand for simple, straightforward virtues like individual liberty, fiscal sanity, limited government, free markets, and reward for honest labor. They believe that neither party represents those interests reliably, that both parties have abandoned them in favor of personal nest-feathering and ideologies headed in the wrong direction. They have chosen to exercise their Constitutional right as the People from whom the authority of government arises, and are petitioning the government for redress of their grievances. Gatherings totaling everything from a dozen to a million have met peacefully all over the nation to make these petitions public. If that’s loony, then God bless us for a nation of loons, ’cause that seems sane, decent, and appropriate to me.

It frightens the government because it threatens their jobs and their power. It frightens the left because it stands directly in the path of the progressive march toward neo-fascist statism and says “hell no.” Neither is reacting well.

Let’s all remind ourselves how it started: an outraged reaction against the government bailing out distressed and possibly undeserving mortgage-holders using hundreds of billions of dollars that simply were not available (speaking of how we got a $1.6 trillion deficit). A handful of home-schooling moms around the country organized rallies, footing the $50 municipal permits out of their own pockets, and a movement was born. A few days later, Rick Santelli of CNN made his famous rant from the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange:

My own reaction was here.

If you think of it, offer a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing toward the “professional organizer” who started the whole thing rolling, Keli Carender. Better yet, why not get involved yourself in the next Tea Party gathering? This is America, after all, and even if the dollar is toast, We the People are still the sole source of authority here.

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February 19, 2010 @ 7:25 pm #

I don’t really see any problem with admiting that the tea party is mainly bought and payed for by corporate america – most of the parties are. but we are a better set of ideas anyway.

February 19, 2010 @ 9:37 pm #

I don’t really see any problem with admiting that the tea party is mainly bought and payed for by corporate america

I do. It is not even remotely true.

Nice to get a visit from a DNC shill, though. I was feeling lonely and ignored.

February 20, 2010 @ 8:13 am #

Kelly may be a DNC shill, but (s)he’s a stupid schill (Sorry for the redundancy). It’s against the law for corporations (or any business) to donate to a Political Action Committee. Here in NC, the law reads:

“It is unlawful for any corporation, business entity, labor union, professional association, or insurance company to directly or indirectly contribute to a PAC.”

Yes, many (if not most) Tea Party organizations have taken it to the next level and are busily forming PACs. Last summer and fall, we noticed that our so-called “representatives” just ignored us when thousands of us protested their policies. So now we’re going to throw the bas**rds out of office the old fashioned way.

February 20, 2010 @ 10:11 am #

I thought about it, and I guess I’d rather be a stupid person than a purposely niave one. Or is it dishonest?


But that stuff is just how political parties work. When I listened to that Fox woman Angela McGowan speak in Nashville, I fell in love with the Tea Party anyway.

February 20, 2010 @ 12:09 pm #

“I think it’s a combination of snobbery and envy”

I disagree. I think it’s application of one of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Specifically “make them live up to their own rules”.
They know that racism is “wrong” for Conservatives, so if they call someone racist, it’s to accuse them of violating their own standards. We’re supposed to change our actions in order to “be good” by our own standards. They, of course, don’t have any standards other than winning, so they can do whatever they want.

The “crazed gun nuts” thing is something they sort of can’t help – they’re afraid of an armed citizenry. With good reason.

As an aside…remember that old kid’s rebuttal thing? You know – “when you point at me, three fingers point back at you”? I think of that all the time when it comes to the left. If they accuse the right of _anything_ – start checking them out for exactly what they’re accusing you of doing.

February 20, 2010 @ 12:42 pm #

About that gun control thing…

A nice bit of fiction reading, if you have time.


February 21, 2010 @ 11:36 am #

Projection is one of the mainstays of the left, in everything they do. I’ve mentioned it before, and seen it noted by others, but it always surprises me that it continues to work and that conservatives and Republicans are caught off guard by it.

February 21, 2010 @ 3:15 pm #


I somehow missed your response here, so you got away with it for a day. Lucky you.

Somebody needs to explain to you the relationship between claims and proof. You see, when you make the claim that the tea parties are “bought and paid for by corporate America,” you actually have to provide evidence that the tea parties are in fact bought and paid for by corporate America. If you don’t, your original claim can be properly called false, and if your evidence is bad enough, you might actually be discredited — which is what happens here.

So, is that what you provided? I’ve been following the links at the HuffPo article you provided for about 15 minutes now, and so far what I’ve seen is:

1) Glenn Beck thinks maybe there’s a $500-a-plate lunch down in Austin;

2) FreedomWorks sponsored a protest in New Jersey on the same day as the Tea Party tax day;

3) American for Prosperity has written some press releases about protests in a few states;

4) FW allowed an individual blogger named Brenda Steinhauser to advertise a grass-roots gathering on their web site;

…and more along those same lines.

What’s missing here are several things:

1) It doesn’t really look like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity are running these gatherings, but rather that they’re attempting to join them. The key, of course, is the sporadic association — a state here, a press release there. Also, that’s exactly what they say: “We’re joining with other people at this gathering.” Neither of the named groups initiated any of the Tea Party gatherings.

2) Where’s the corporate influence? I mean, even when Jane Hamsher gets around to citing a specific individual from one of these two (count ‘em!) major-named groups that are somehow peripherally involved with a few of the gatherings, it’s not a corporate name, it’s a well-known politico from the Republican party. Tim Phillips used to work with Ralph Reed, and now he’s running Americans for Prosperity; Dick Armey, former US Representative from Texas, runs FreedomWorks. Two guys, both politicos. Where’s corporate America in this?

3) What’s been “bought and paid for?” Everything you’re pointing to is after the fact and incidental to the actual event.

You’re just repeating the usual guilt-by-association fallacy leftists always engage in, basically trying to fabricate any link that makes it possible for you to name your opponent and somebody unpopular in the same breath. I’m pretty sure that at some level, you know the difference between “I can use the name of a lobbyist and a Tea Party gathering in the same sentence,” and “the lobbyist is the source of the Tea Party gathering.” I’m pretty sure you do this on purpose, which means you’re dishonest. But I would like an explanation why it is that leftists, even leftists that in terms of ability sound like they’re intelligent, think “X’s third cousin works for an advocacy group that received 1% of its donations from a foundation whose chief fund-raiser used to work for Exxon, and X’s third cousin wrote an article about the Tea Parties” somehow justifies yelling “EXXON PAID FOR ALL THE TEA PARTIES!!!!!” Do you really not understand how proof works? Do you really think we’re that stupid that we’ll fall for that sort of crap?

No, Kim, you haven’t come within 8 light years of proving even a POLITICAL PARTY link to the Tea Parties, let alone a CORPORATE AMERICA link — and you claimed far more than a link, you claimed they were “bought and paid for.” So, you made a claim like an iron statue, and provided a few straws in support of the claim. I’d say you look pretty lame right now, wouldn’t you?

Come on back when you actually understand your obligation to prove what you claim.

February 21, 2010 @ 4:14 pm #


Why is the nuclear option your first resort when talking to people? It’s like I insulted your family or sumthin’…wow! It just makes sense to me that, since corporations would benefit in the millions and billions from lower taxes, that they SHOULD support the Tea Party movement with money. Doesn’t that make sense?

Okay, we can go a little deeper.


Mark Skoda is apparently forming a 501(c)(4) to take funds to support the Tea Party. According to the article, using a 501(c)(4) allows Ensuring Liberty to “raise as much as it can get — no limits — from wealthy donors and from corporations…And there’s no disclosure. No possible blowback against the Ensuring Liberty Corp. for taking the money, or against a corporate donor for giving it.”

I know theres great reasons to keep things looking like a grass-roots movement, like it starteed. But I’ve raised my kids long enough to know that, when they have a hiding place, i’ts a bet in Vegas that they are hiding something in it.

But the NPR article asked smartly: “If corporations were fueling a powerful new grass-roots movement, would it matter to people in the movement?”

I say hell no, it doesn’t matter to me, corporations aren’t evil, and somebody has to pay if Tea Party people are going to win election and we are going to turn this thing around.

I just hate being dishonest about it.

February 21, 2010 @ 5:30 pm #

I am sorry, Phil, I just realized I called you “Bob”, thinking of your blog title.

And then I noticed that you had called me “Kim” just before. Maybe that mean’s we’re even?

February 21, 2010 @ 5:41 pm #

Also, the “nuclear option” comment was mostly referring to a ban threat that seems to have disappeared…thanks for backing off a little. Even though you still smacked me upside the head anyway.

February 21, 2010 @ 7:10 pm #

>>It’s like I insulted your family or sumthin’…wow!>>

Well…yeah. Sumthin’ indeed.


Why shouldn’t the corporations “buy and pay for” _any_ political movement? The Unions sure do it…

Nevertheless – I’ve been to a few Tea Party events in my area. Nobody offered to pay for anything – in fact, I have an email in my inbox asking for donations to raise $2500 to print flyers – and as far as I know, nobody representing _any_ corporation was anywhere near those events.

But – if I donate to the flyer request, are you going to hold the business my husband and I own as responsible for “buying and paying for” the Tea Party group that prints the flyers? If a Printing company offered to do it for free – does that mean it was “bought and paid for”?

What constitutes “bought and paid for” in your mind??

How about SEIU busing in people in union shirts with printed up signs?

February 21, 2010 @ 7:14 pm #

By the way…if you’re not already familiar with this site, you might find it interesting. There’s another one that good, too…I’ll try to find it…


February 21, 2010 @ 7:26 pm #

And this one, of course, in case you haven’t gotten to it…!


February 21, 2010 @ 8:00 pm #

Thank you for your note, Suek.

“Bought and paid for” sounds strong, but I don’t think it’s totally off. I think if I worked for a business, and it had an owner that I knew and liked a lot, but somebody else came in and bought the business, it would make sense that the rules would change to fit the ideas/needs of the new owners.

It’s good to hear that you’ve been involved in Tea Party events where there wasn’t any detectable Corporate influence…but this is America…if the huge corporations have a financial interest in the little Tea Party start-up, they will come, right?

I think the signs are there that they already have…(see the NPR link)…but it shouldn’t matter…if Taxed Enough Already is our motto, and Big Business is driving the car toward that goal, then we’re getting where we’re going.

Once that happens, the cutesie pictures of the soccer moms start to look like Stalinist Propoganda.

February 21, 2010 @ 9:15 pm #

>>the cutesie pictures of the soccer moms start to look like Stalinist Propoganda.>>

You lost me on that one. Care to elaborate?

February 21, 2010 @ 9:56 pm #


Not TeaParty, but about the grassroots stuff.

The internet has certainly made a difference…

February 21, 2010 @ 11:56 pm #


I’m just saying that if a lot of corporate money comes into the Tea Party Movement and bigwigs start running the show, it won’t look like a grassroots movement any more. Then it won’t reaally seem all that honest to show the photos of soccer Phil is showing as the driving force behind all of it.

February 22, 2010 @ 10:17 am #

Kelly asks:

Why is the nuclear option your first resort when talking to people?

The nuclear option is my response to those who disagree with me beginning with “I’d rather be a stupid person than a purposely niave [sic] one. Or is it dishonest?”

This suggests you think the only possible reasons why I might disagree with you is that I’m either 1) stupid; 2) PURPOSELY naive (which is a moral failure); or 3) dishonest. I might suggest a few other possibilities: 4) I have different presuppositions than you, 5) I know things you don’t, or have read evidence you have not read, 6) I’ve read the evidence you have in hand but don’t find it convincing.

You could just as easily have posted your evidence without speculating over why I disagreed with you; that would have been the civil thing to do. But if you assume that we disagree because I’m either stupid or evil, and you let that unimaginably SMUG assertion come out of your mouth, you can expect “nuclear” from me every time. You want civil? Be civil yourself.

You might also note that “stupid” came from a different writer, not from me. I did not think you were stupid. I did think you were a DNC shill, because of the way you voiced your disagreement: “admiting [sic] that the tea party [sic] is mainly bought and payed for by corporate america…” as though that were a settled fact. One can’t admit what isn’t true.

And I might further caution against accepting the word of Jane Hamsher for anything without carefully checking her sources. She is not an honest woman, in my humble opinion.

February 22, 2010 @ 10:35 am #


Ok, now that we’ve fired across each others’ bows, let’s address what I’m beginning to see as a sort of charming naivetté on your part.

The naivetté shows up as you credulously accept what leftist spin-doctors in the media feed you.

The first link was a stellar example. Jane Hamsher attempted to claim that Tea Parties are entirely the creature of big corporate donors. Her support was that FreedomWorks and AfP were involved around the edges of those gatherings. You took that to mean “bought and paid for.” Hamsher took you in.

The next link is even better. Take another look at that paragraph you quoted, about Mark Skoda forming a 501(c)(4). You’ll notice that Skoda has not received the first dollar from any corporation, or anyone else for that matter. All that the author has done there is quote the law, along with an unflattering picture. He could just as easily have posted the name of a leftist 501(c)(4) (there are thousands), quoted the law, and called them corporate shills. Why didn’t he? because he’s a propagandist for the left, that’s why. Associating leftists with corporations is the last thing in the universe he wants to do. But he is trying very hard to paint conservative causes as corporate shills — and you believed him.

You appear to be ignorant of the tactics of propagandists. Ignorance is no shame, and it’s curable. But you need to open your eyes, because bad people are whipping you around like a rag doll.

February 22, 2010 @ 11:55 am #

Hi there Phil,

I don’t think I was addressing my “I’d rather be stupid” comment to you, either, but to that John Cooper guy. Ah, water under the bridge as they say. But since your not writing a term paper its pretty mean to purposefully point out my bad typing.

Theres another possibility in the list of reasons I think you might be disagreeing…besides 1) stupid; 2) PURPOSELY naive (which is a moral failure); or 3) dishonest.

I think you see a lot of value in the Tea Party movement, and don’t want to take steam away from it too soon. So the idea is to stress the grassroots flavor of the movement for as long as possible, right? The only problem is, I think it will back fire and mean much worse PR later.

Okay, a show of hands here would be good maybe:

1. How many think that, even tho corporations stand to save millions/billions with the lower taxes the TPM is pushing for, they wouldn’t support it financially if they could?

2. With Mark Skoda setting up a non-profit in the only way he could that will allow anonymous, unlimited giving, how many think that those corporations will hold back?

Yes the leftists have their 501(c)(4)’s also…what does that change exactly?

I smell smoke…you wil forgive me for guessing theres fire. And for trying to head off at the pass the bad press that will come for the TPM because of people hiding a fire that should’nt matter anyway.

February 22, 2010 @ 12:22 pm #

>>And for trying to head off at the pass the bad press that will come for the TPM because of people hiding a fire that should’nt matter anyway.>>

Very confusing.

Bad press – the TPM will get bad press if they are supported by corporations? Why? Do you suppose that it’s because by taking that position, the lefties want the TPM to forgo the money, putting them in a very weak position?
Why is it that the left is ok with all the support _they_ receive from anonymous (though many – even most – donor foundations go back to Soros) donors, but it’s a really bad thing for the TPM to do so?

And then you say “it shouldn’t matter anyway” … why shouldn’t it matter? because of the above? so why accept the accusations as if they’re true? It’s like the racist charges against the Conservatives – and TPM. They’re baseless – but they keep being repeated. The big lie in action.

Are you familiar with “Rules for Radicals”? If not, you need to familiarize yourself with them – they’re very much the basis for much of the propaganda spewed out by the left wing Progressives.

February 22, 2010 @ 12:50 pm #

Hello Suek,

You matched my confusing-ness!

I am saying that the TPM will need the corporate help that its likely already getting, so theres no reason to hide it. It seems like there are some people who want to make it all look like its just a bunch of soccer moms just to look good.

Theres really no problem with the movement, as it grows, being bankrolled by businesses – low taxes on these businesses could only help the economy.

But if we try to hide the business involvment just because we think it looks bad, it will bite us in the butt later because it will look like TPM was just business puppets all along.

That would be a shame.

February 22, 2010 @ 1:29 pm #

As Dennis Prager says “I prefer clarity to agreement”…so thank you for clarifying.

>>But if we try to hide the business involvment just because we think it looks bad,>>

I think we’re actually in agreement here, but we need to look deeper – you’re right we shouldn’t hide business involvement (if/when there _is_ any) but _why_ does anyone think it “looks bad”? My position is that we have been brainwashed into thinking that there’s something wrong with corporate involvement because the _Progressives_ have somehow managed to implant that “evilness” into our minds. How do _they_ get financing – and why isn’t _that_ evil? Why is _corporate_ financing evil – and not Union financing, for example? Union members get no say in what politics their dollars support – how is that any different from corporation investors?

How have we allowed Corporations to be vilified, but not any of the funding sources of the Progressives?

(By the way – I’m in favor of requiring complete disclosure of funding from any source – just not limiting sources.)

February 22, 2010 @ 2:36 pm #

Yes, Suek, we are in agreement. And if we pretend no corporate involvement, like it is bad or something, until it shows itself, we are acting like its bad too.

Very, VERY poor strategy and playing into hands of anti-business people.

February 22, 2010 @ 9:36 pm #


Wow. You really don’t get it, do you?

There is no other law under which a political organization can be formed!

If anybody wants to form an organization that (1) raises money to (2) engage in political activity, including supporting candidates, that (3) does not pay taxes on that money, it will be a 501(c)(4) organization. There is no other choice. The details of the law are not Skoda’s choice; Congress made the law. You’re inferring some sort of nefarious motive because he’s obeying the only law there is!!!!

What do you want him to do? Invent his own law?

Here. Read a little summary of the laws governing the formation of non-profits. A 501(c)(3) is not permitted to endorse particular candidates. If Skoda wants to raise money for particular candidates, his only option is 501(c)(4).

Some propagandist, who knows exactly what he’s doing, wrote a piece attempting to make obeying the frakking law seem like an attempt to do something nefarious. And you’re falling for it!!!!

You smell smoke because a propagandist wants you to smell smoke. There isn’t any fire — there isn’t even any smoke. This is pure propaganda.

For the record, so far, the only business involvement I have seen is that some family named Koch, that made its money doing legal business, is contributing about $5 million to a well-known conservative group called Americans For Progress, which sent some of its people to Tea Party gatherings in 5 states or so. If that’s “bought and paid for” in your book, then I have nothing more to say. Enjoy your ignorance. You’ve worked hard for it, and you’ve earned it.

It would be fine with me if corporations contributed to Tea Party gatherings. I object to what you’re saying here only because they’re not. This is not ill-conceived strategy, it’s just a fact. Deal with it.

February 22, 2010 @ 10:46 pm #

Whoa…sorry Phil. I don’t think you understand I agree with you fully. Let’s get big business on board (and it probably is some already), and let’s be open about it because it’s not wrong.

The “ill conceived strategy” would be to pretend the natural interist of corporations isn’t there. “Follow the money”, my mom used to tell me.

But thanks for the very rough education. I’d better go before you blow a brain-vein!

February 23, 2010 @ 11:31 am #

I’ll note the difference between “natural interest of corporations is there” and “corporations have financed the whole thing,” and leave it there.

No, I’ll add this, that’s relevant: the interest of corporations only attaches to politics insofar as politics attaches to corporations. If the government leaves business alone, business will leave government alone. Regulation is the reason for corporate lobbying. Take away Congress’ interest in controlling business, and business would rather not spend the money worrying about politics.

Jonah Goldberg made this point in “Liberal Fascism.” Walmart never had corporate lobbyists until the left decided that Walmart was their target; then, suddenly, it became necessary for Walmart to protect itself in Washington. That’s when Walmart started investing money in lobbyists; they’re now one of the largest PACs in Washington, solely because the left decided to make them a target for regulation. Same thing happened with Microsoft: Gates used to brag that he had only one lobbyist, and that he was from “the other Washington.” That was true into Sun Microsystems nearly succeeded in having Microsoft dismantled by Congress. Suddenly, it became necessary for Microsoft to invest in lobbying.

I apologize for the rude welcome, Kelly. I let my agitation get the better of me.

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