tea parties

The "tea party" movement: Page 3

See the summary for this topic on the main The "tea party" movement page.

Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

How Glenn Beck could have kept his Fox News show - 04/07/11

Glenn Beck announced yesterday that he was going to stop his daily Fox News show as of the end of the year. He'll still be doing the occasional special for them, and he promises that he'll have surprises in store and that the best is yet to come.

Some notes:

Did Teapartiers get bilked out of nearly half a million dollars? - 04/04/11

The vast majority of those in the tea parties are - not to put too fine a point on it - suckers.

Previously they wanted to have a beer with George W Bush, a quisling who allowed loose borders, who wanted to help lower U.S. wages to world levels, and who let foreign citizens take jobs away from American hurricane victims.

Nowadays they're following leaders (Dick Armey of FreedomWorks, Grover Norquist, the Koch family, the Wall Street Journal, Club for Growth, libertarians, etc. etc.) and an ideology ("Libertarian Lite") that hurts them (extreme fiscal conservatism) and that ignores their real concerns (which are social in nature).

The real leaders of the tea parties are all about the money: the only way they'd care about social topics like (just to pick one topic out of a hat) affirmative action is if it would cost them or their benefactors money. The real leaders of the teaparties all support at least massive immigration if not illegal immigration because that's the side where the money is. What the real leaders of the Tea Parties support negatively impacts the teaparty base, but the base isn't able to see through it.

So, this previously missed story from October 29, 2010 is not at all surprising (link):

A website run out of Arizona, ostensibly to support the so-called tea party movement, is under scrutiny after a local news organization dug into their finances and ownership, only to find what some may characterize as a remarkable scam.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure forms, JoinTheTeaParty.us took in approximately $469,000 in donations this year and spent roughly half its budget on marketing, with the rest going to distinctly non-political avenues.

In fact, according to CBS 5 in Phoenix, there's no evidence the group spent so much as a dime to promote tea party candidates or related events.

Teaparty's growing unpopularity is now a liability for the GOP (the chart Tea Party doesn't want to see) - 03/31/11

The tea parties movement is now so unpopular that they're a liability for the Republican Party. For a clear example, see the chart below [1] showing how more and more Americans have developed an unfavorable opinion of them over time. Support for the Teaparties has topped out: they've been stuck around 30% since they began. However, all the while opposition to them has been rising.

Tea Party used to push corporate agenda (Institute for Liberty, Monsanto, Asian paper company) - 03/31/11

If you've been following our extensive tea parties coverage, you'll know where this is going (and if you're a teapartier, you'll have no clue):

Last fall, [Institute for Liberty's] president, Andrew Langer, had himself videotaped [ peekURL.com/vM87wLC ] on Long Wharf in Boston holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence as he compared Washington’s proposed tariff on paper from Indonesia and China to Britain's colonial trade policies in 1776.

That's from "Odd Alliance: Business Lobby and Tea Party" by Mike McIntyre of the New York Times (link) about how the Institute for Liberty and similar groups piggyback on the Teaparties in order to push a corporate agenda. It's not clear how successful they've been; the video has just about 150 views. However, if they haven't been as successful as Dick Armey has been it's not because the teaparties have seen through him: in my two years' of experience with them I've never known anyone in the teaparties to be able to see through anything.

In the article, McIntyre states that the Tea Party is "as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government", but the former does not appear to be true (see also this). The teapartiers are hand-made to be used to push a corporate agenda, usually by using a cleaned-up variant of something like "Nancy Pelosi hates your guts, so be a Patriot and help this corporation I'm being paid by ease pollution restrictions".

In the case above, Langer was serving (unpaid per him) the interests of a paper company from Indonesia that had concurrently - and no doubt completely coincidentally - mounted a PR campaign against tariffs on their products. And:

Mr. Langer had arrived the previous year from the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobbying group. An enthusiastic, talkative man of 40 who dabbles in Republican politics in Maryland, he quickly saw potential in the Tea Party phenomenon. Working with FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, the institute co-sponsored early Tea Party events in Washington and published a guide called “How to Brew a Tea Party.”

Mr. Langer can seem disarmingly candid when discussing his work. In a recent interview, he explained how the institute pitched its services to opponents of the Obama health care plan, resulting in a $1 million advertising blitz.

Both Freedomworks and AFP are part of the general Kochtopus (groups funded by or linked to the Koch family) and both have been very deeply involved in organizing the teaparties. And:

He said he had sometimes chosen issues suggested by colleagues from an earlier job, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market group heavily financed by business interests. The two institutes are involved in a campaign advocating a realignment of NASA’s budget that would benefit commercial spaceflight entrepreneurs. The Institute of Liberty’s contribution was a Web page called “No Space Pork!”

Last year, the two groups also supported the effort by the agribusiness giant Monsanto to ease federal restrictions on its pesticide-resistant alfalfa. (In February, regulators agreed to do so.) Mr. Langer said he decided “to try out our grass-roots method on that, and frame it as a dairy issue and access to affordable food.”

CEI is also part of the Kochtopus, and that page embeds the video at peekURL.com/vKTxvzK from blogging stalwart Bill Whittle. Any links between him and the Institute for Liberty aren't known.

Utah gov. Gary Herbert signs "guest" worker, other immigration bills - 03/15/11

Utah governor Gary Herbert has signed (link) a bill that would create a state-level guest worker program with a Mexican state (see that link for the details). The bill would also reward illegal immigration, encourage more illegal immigration, lower wages for American workers, and even their legislature admits it's unconstitutional.

Regarding the last:

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he has been in discussions with the Obama administration regarding the state's desire to work cooperatively with the federal government to obtain the necessary waivers, exemptions or authorizations to implement the Utah laws, which will not go into effect until July 2013.

The eyes of the nation are on the "reddest of the red states" for its take on reforming immigration laws, Shurtleff said. "They are looking at Utah as a model to do that," he said.

On the perhaps bright side (with a perhaps greater chance of being enacted too), other bills Herbert signed dealt with enforcement and employment verification. However, signing the guest workers bill is at least a symbolic loss, and it's one that probably could have been prevented if opponents had used something like the question authority plan. One tea parties group had, to their credit, opposed the guest workers plan, although they weren't present at the signing ceremony.

There's also this:

Asked what was the LDS Church's public position was on the immigration bills, [Presiding Bishop H. David Burton of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] said the church had endorsed the Utah Compact. "We feel that the Legislature has done an incredible job in a very complex issue," Burton said.

See the last link for the huge downsides of the Compact.

Koch Industries' sockpuppets edited Wikipedia and post comments on blogs too - 03/09/11

Public relations firms employed by the billionaire Koch family have been caught using "sockpuppets" to edit Wikipedia pages about the Kochs. And, one of those firms admits that they use people to promote the Kochs on blogs and news sites.

Unfortunately, ThinkProgress [1] doesn't discuss what the latter consists of, but I would not be surprised at all to discover that the vile and idiotic replies I receive to my anti-tea parties comments around the web (a recent example here) are coming from sockpuppets for Koch, FreedomWorks, and similar groups.

From [1]:

Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles). Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account as a “sock puppet” — one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media sites — a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees like Jeff Taylor...

Soren Dayton, a GOP operative and executive at New Media Strategies, is reported to be the contact for Koch Industries at NMS. Reached by phone yesterday by ThinkProgress, Dayton exclaimed, “I’m not going to talk about this, thanks,” before hanging up. Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of blogs and news websites.

[1] thinkprogress.org/2011/03/09/koch-wikipedia-sock-puppet

The Teaparty-ification of NPR (James O'Keefe, cheap stunts, distraction) - 03/09/11

The president and CEO of NPR - Vivian Schiller - was fired by their board today (link). That follows James OKeefe of ACORN fame catching one of her former underlings on hidden camera saying embarrassing things. A few notes:

Obama plays race card on Tea Party and whites in general; "subterranean agenda"; Teaparty interferes with proper response - 03/03/11

According to the book "Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House" (link) by Kenneth Walsh of US News:

But Obama, in his most candid moments, acknowledged that race was still a problem. In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent "Tea Party" movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn't helping them nearly enough, he said.

A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to "take back" their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn't dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a "subterranean agenda" in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.

1. This isn't just an attack on the teaparties but on white people in general, and it's of course reminiscent of Obama's "bitter clinging" remarks from two years earlier. It's not clear whether Obama himself used the phrase "subterranean agenda", or whether he just agreed with someone else who used it. However, expect "subterranean agenda" to become as famous as "bitter clingers". It's also not clear whether Obama wanted his comments to become public. The last sentence is probably an example of a sleazy, passive-aggressive attack.

2. The closest whites have to a defensive group of their own akin to the NAACP are the tea parties. Yet, the only people in that movement who might be smart enough to intellectually challenge Obama and show how he's wrong are only in it for the money. The core "principles" of the teaparties are all about the money, and they explicitly ignore "social issues". So, when they're attacked using a "social issue" like the race card, they don't know what to do, or they help their opponents (see also the section of the main teaparties page).

Other than check-cashers like Dick Armey of FreedomWorks and others who are linked to the Koch family, the rest of the teaparty movement lacks the ability and the sanity to intellectually challenge Obama. The teapartiers are the loudest opposition to Obama and, not only are they the dumbest opposition to Obama, but they try to undercut smarter opponents to Obama (through red-baiting, lying, smearing, etc.) Opposing Obama is a job for smart people, not for useful idiot sign-wavers who play dress-up.

Tim Pawlenty's crazy Tea Party outreach - 03/01/11

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is reaching out to the tea parties and doing it in big, crazy ways. Over the weekend, he appeared at the Teaparty "Patriots" summit in Phoenix, Arizona and said among other things this completely false statement (video: peekURL.com/vNQNJUT ):

"I'm here to say thank you for standing up to the ruling class" [meaning: "liberal power brokers, guardians of the status quo and the royal triangle of greed: big government, big unions and big bailed-out businesses"]

In fact, the teapartiers are having their strings pulled by one set of the "ruling class", specifically the Koch family and those who fund Dick Armey of FreedomWorks. They're mostly pawns of one very wealthy group against another, and they aren't opposing the "ruling class" on issues where the "ruling class" is aligned.

No Teaparty "policy" (to the extent that they articulate specific policy ideas at all) would discomfort the "ruling class", and none of their actions would take on the "ruling class". If they wanted to actually take on the "ruling class", they'd highlight issues like immigration and trade rather than ignoring them or being on the wrong side [1]. And, instead of acting like children and waving loopy signs or playing dress-up, they'd find the few smart people among them to do things like question authority.

But, wait, there's much more and it gets crazy.

Now, Pawlenty has released the video below. It includes someone playing dress-up at :15 (the tricorner hat), a Gadsden flag at :22, and a "ram it down our throat/we'll shove it up your ass in November" sign at :25. Then, it gets even more nuts with portions of a Pawlenty speech:

"We, the people of the United States, will rise up again. We will take back our government. This is our country. Our Founding Fathers created it. Americans embraced it. Ronald Reagan personified it. And Lincoln stood courageously to protect it. Now as ever, this nation under God should have a new birth of freedom. Our government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. And America will remain the greatest country the world has ever known."

Memo to Pawlenty: we are not in a Red Dawn scenario. And, the idea that teapartiers are the only True Americans is implicitly anti-American: those who pretend to be True American Patriots think everyone else isn't a patriot. Pawlenty and his teaparty buddies are denying election results and are no better than those who used phrases like "pResident Bush". Of course, whether he actually believes any of this isn't clear. But, it's clear that he isn't fit to be president of the U.S. since he doesn't think that anyone who isn't in the teaparties is a legitimate American.

[1] At the Teaparty "Patriots" conference in Arizona where Pawlenty spoke just 4% of their events were about immigration despite that state being the immigration epicenter in recent months. And, out of four panelists at one of those sessions, one was Ali Noorani and two others support comprehensive immigration reform. The position of the fourth is unknown.

Yet another example of Teaparty being useful idiots for the Koch brothers? (Madison union protests) - 02/19/11

Are the tea parties useful idiots for an attempt by the billionaire Koch family to fight unionization in order to increase their profits? The latest example of the Koch family pushing an agenda that helps their bottom line and getting help from the teapartiers in that endeavor comes from the protests between public sector unions and Republican governor Scott Walker in Madison, Wisconsin. I haven't been closely following the issue, but at the very least it's clear that the Kochs are attempting to take advantage of the issue to push their agenda. And, pushing that agenda would help the bottom line of their energy and resources empire.

The Kochs helped elect Walker [1], and their Americans for Prosperity has now created a site to support him and opposing at the least collective bargaining by public sector unions. However, it might also be an attempt to oppose collective bargaining in general [2]. Meanwhile, the Kochs have a financial interest in reducing labor costs in Wisconsin (as they do in other states) [3].

Today, the tea parties held a counter-protest featuring luminaries such as Andrew Breitbart ( National Review interview: peekurl.com/v9LhdhK ), Gateway Pundit, and Herman Cain ( peekURL.com/vhZ64cs ). Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds is going all out (instapundit.com/115329, instapundit.com/115324, instapundit.com/115278 and probably more).

On the one hand, unions are somewhat of a negative force in the U.S. because most of them support illegal immigration, with groups like the Service Employees International Union getting a good part of their dues from money that was earned illegally. The SEIU even paid someone linked to the Mexican government to organize immigration marches inside the U.S. And, allies of the unions also support mass/illegal immigration. And, excessive demands by public sector unions might in fact lead to budget shortfalls.

On the other hand, the billionaire Koch brothers are at the least taking advantage of this issue to push an agenda that would help their bottom line. And, the teapartiers are being useful idiots for them. And, the same types of people who harp on public sector unions in regards to California's problems (while ignoring the impact of the massive immigration they support on the state) are now involved in the Madison counterprotests.

So, there doesn't appear to be a good way out on this issue. The last thing we should want is a victory for the teaparties and their Koch stringpullers. But, another last thing we should want is for a victory by Barack Obama and groups that support illegal immigration.

UPDATE: Via this, part of gov. Walker's "Budget Repair Bill" (PDF link, excerpt at [4]) would allow Wisconsin state energy assets ("heating, cooling, and power plants") to be sold to private companies or their operations transfered to private companies. Surely it's a coincidence that the Koch family is in the energy business and that the sales would be done "with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state".

UPDATE 2: Yet another questionable, possibly Koch-friendly action by Walker happened last month (link):

A plan to spend $100 million on a boiler that would burn plant-based fuels at UW-Madison's Charter Street power plant was axed Thursday by Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch... Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, said Huebsch halted spending on the boiler based on Walker's wishes... According to a 2008 university study, converting the plant to burn biofuel was the most expensive of the options considered and would be about twice as expensive as using other coal-burning technologies or natural gas... University officials credited the strong support of former Gov. Jim Doyle for the plan to burn biofuels. Doyle and state environmentalists praised the switch to biofuels because such fuels can be grown in Wisconsin and would, in the long run, be more reliable and less expensive than natural gas, which must be purchased and piped in from out of state.

The source for the claim that biofuels would save money long-term isn't given, but at least from that article it doesn't sound like Walker was taking exception to that claim. Instead, it at least sounds like he was being penny wise and pound foolish. And, coincidence or not, the Kochs are in the natural gas business and even have a pipeline network in Wisconsin. Hopefully someone will ask him for an explanation.

UPDATE 3: Instead of pressing Walker for an explanation, dim Democrat/union supporters are doing what they tend to do: play games. The latest example is Ian Murphy from the Buffalo Beast (free weekly) calling Walker and pretending to be David Koch from the Koch family (link). On the call, Walker says nothing in any way incriminating; the call (unless Walker was waiting for the "secret code" or knew it was a prank) makes clear that Walker had not been previously coordinating with the Kochs. And, the idea that a politician would rush to take a call from a major donor is only shocking to those who are completely naive.

The stupidity highlight of the call is this:

[A Walker assistant] was eager to help. “I was really hoping to talk directly to Scott,” I said. He said that could be arranged and that I should just leave my number. I explained to Gilkes, “My goddamn maid, Maria, put my phone in the washer. I’d have her deported, but she works for next to nothing.” Gilkes found this amusing. “I’m calling from the VOID—with the VOID, or whatever it’s called. You know, the Snype!”

If I said that, it would be with the recognition that the Kochs fund loose borders groups and support mass immigration. However, Ian Murphy doesn't have that excuse: it's doubtful whether he knows that the Dems/far-left/unions and the Kochs support the same basic immigration policy.


[1] Per this:

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin... The [Koch] PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett...

...Walker's plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees is right out of the Koch brothers' playbook. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation (see Reason Magazine) have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited (PDF) Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado; Mix said in a recent interview that he supports Governor Walker's collective-bargaining bill. In Wisconsin, this conservative, anti-union view is being placed into action by lawmakers in sync with the deep-pocketed donors who helped them obtain power. (Walker also opposes the state's Clean Energy Job Act, which would compel the state to increase its use of alternative energy.) At this moment - even with the Wisconsin uprising unresolved - the Koch brothers' investment in Walker appears to be paying off.

[2] AFP created standwithwalker.com, which just redirects to americansforprosperity.org/walker. The petition there says:

Union dues should be voluntary, and the state should not be in the business of collecting them. Union certification should require a secret ballot. Collective bargaining should not be used to force extravagant pension and health benefits that cripple state budgets... These common-sense reforms have made the union bosses desperate to disrupt Wisconsin government and overturn an election. They must not be allowed to succeed. In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker's common sense reforms.

[3] From this, quoting ThinkProgress:

Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant


16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Teaparty: 52% unfavorable, just 35% favorable (WaPo ABC poll) (socialism gets 36% favorable) - 01/19/11

[See the March 2011 update below]

Per their enablers, the tea parties are as American as apple pie with a U.S. flag on top. So, why do many Americans have an unfavorable opinion of them?

According to a new Washington Post / ABC News poll (link), just 35% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the teaparty movement, down from 38% in September 2010 and from 41% in March 2010. Meanwhile, their unfavorable rating has jumped to 52%, from a low of 39% in March 2010. Only 16% are strongly favorable on the teaparties.

If the partiers were as mainstream and all-American as they say, wouldn't their favorability be higher? Or, did Russia and China secretly conspire to replace their otherwise supporters with COMMUNISTS?

More likely, regular Americans who are smeared as likely tea party supporters are starting to wake up to the fact that the teaparties are useful idiots for the Koch family, Freedomworks, and other interests. And, regular Americans are starting to wake up to the corrosive nature of the teaparty's rhetoric: 49% think teaparty's "political discourse" "has crossed the line", just two points down from both conservative and liberal political commentators.

UPDATE: From a Gallup Feb. 2010 poll (link):

More than one-third of Americans (36%) have a positive image of "socialism," while 58% have a negative image. Views differ by party and ideology, with a majority of Democrats and liberals saying they have a positive view of socialism, compared to a minority of Republicans and conservatives.

Obviously, the two polls probably differ in methodology, but having an unfavorability that's comparable to socialism probably won't make the teapartiers feel too good.

3/30/11 UPDATE: According to a new CNN poll (link), the teaparties are for the first time about as unpopular as the Democratic Party and the Republican Party:

Forty-seven percent of people questioned say they have an unfavorable view of the tea party, up four points from December and an increase of 21 points from January 2010. That 47 percent is virtually identical to the 48 percent unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic party and the Republican party in the same poll.

Just 32% have a favorable opinion of the teaparties, and apparently most of the movement has been among those who'd most be negatively impacted by teaparty's Libertarian Lite policies:

The tea party movement's unfavorable rating rose 15 points since October among lower-income Americans, compared to only five points among those making more than $50,000. Roughly half of all American households have incomes under $50,000, and half make more than that.

The teaparties are all about the money, so it's surprising that their popularity isn't much lower among low-income Americans. Not only would teaparty economic policies not help low-income Americans, but by not being willing to engage in the culture wars against the "liberal" elite, the teaparties have cut themselves off from any social issues-related reason why low-income Americans might support them. All they have left is their pretend-patriotism, and maybe even more lower-income Americans will see through that in time.

Reason Magazine misleads about Jared Loughner (+AllahPundit, Glenn Reynolds) - 01/18/11

Reason Magazine offers the deceptive video "The Week in Stupid: Cable Pundits on the Gifford Shooting" (below). If you trust anything Reason tells you, keep reading.

Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders - 01/17/11

Enablers of the tea parties have, of course, been completely intellectually dishonest when attempting to defend themselves against claims that Jared Loughner is linked to them in one way or another. One example is here, and today's example involves the New York Times piece "Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin" (link).

Based on the relevant portion of that article [1], Loughner sounds a bit like a libertarian or perhaps anarchist [2]. Instead of considering the whole of the relevant portion of the NYT article, Tea Party enablers stop at the part about not liking George W Bush, attempting to portray Loughner as a liberal. (Personally, I think he had no clear ideology but might have been motivated by Tea Party tactics.)

The NYT article gives the impression of someone who leans more to the libertarian side, and teaparty enablers are trying to transmogrify it into making him a liberal:

* Gateway Pundit offers "Finally We Know What Drove Insane Left-Wing Pothead Loughner to Violence: GEORGE BUSH" [3].

* Rich Lowry links to the NYT article and stops at the part about Bush:
He's also still trying to blame Clarence Dupnik.

* Glenn Reynolds links to the Lowry post with "LOUGHNER: NOT EXACTLY A TEA PARTIER: “His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.”" (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/113333)

* Pat Dollard offered at post linking Loughner's school to George Soros and quoting the Bush part of the NYT piece (but not the rest). He also seems to have deleted the post which was at:
patdollard.com/2011/01/soros-educated-loughner-bush-hater and bit.ly/hHeNpf

* Andrew Breitbart tweeted a link to the Dollard post before it was apparently deleted:

Why did Soros put target on Jared Loughner's young brain? Will MSM scrutinize #HeatedPoliticalStudentIndoctrination? http://bit.ly/hHeNpf
- twitter dot com/AndrewBreitbart/status/27077637046280194

* Dana Loesch tweeted a link to the NYT article:

So Loughner hated Bush http://bit.ly/hQXdxb . Lots of people still owe others an apology. Let's see if they have the character to do it. - twitter dot com/DLoesch/statuses/27038728664915968

* Matt Drudge at post time is linking to Page 3 of the NYT piece with the text "AZ SHOOTER: BUSH HATER..."

* Fox News offers the blog post "NYT: Arizona Shooter Was a Bush Hater" which stops at the Bush part of the relevant portion:

* IowaHawk tweets:

Loughner a 9-11 Truther whose "anger would well up at the sight of G.W. Bush" http://nyti.ms/g5vkMa Mission Accomplished, @markos
- twitter dot com/iowahawkblog/status/27015807926009856

UPDATE: Earlier I said Loesch linked to the Dollard post; she just linked to the NYT piece. I've updated this with their full tweets.

UPDATE 2: The Dollard blog post is back at:
It was unavailable while he "[e]xpanded the story." (twitter dot com/PatDollard/status/27125395375529984).
I've added an image he included with his post to show the types of people who enable the teaparties.

* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

[1] By Jo Becker, Serge Kovaleski, Michael Luo and Dan Barry. Relevant portion:

But Jared, a curious teenager who at times could be intellectually intimidating, stood out because of his passionate opinions about government — and his obsession with dreams.

He became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government and that the country’s central banking system was enslaving its citizens. His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.

“I think he feels the people should be able to govern themselves,” said Ms. Figueroa, his former girlfriend. “We didn’t need a higher authority.”

Breanna Castle, 21, another friend from junior and senior high school, agreed. “He was all about less government and less America,” she said, adding, “He thought it was full of conspiracies and that the government censored the Internet and banned certain books from being read by us.”

Among the books that he would later cite as his favorites: “Animal Farm,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto.” Also: “Peter Pan.”

[2] Many libertarians were opposed to George W Bush, and libertarians, the Teapartiers, and conservatives in general are "all about less government".


Finally, we know what drove Tucson shooter mad… GEORGE BUSH.
The Corner discovered this buried in a New York Times article, via Instapundit:
(This little nugget was hidden on page 3 of the online article.)

Jared Loughner's "Genocide School" video (Pima Community College) - 01/15/11

Pima Community College has released the video from Jared Loughner that resulted in his explusion from that school (article here, embedded below, [1]). In it he walks around that College at night and narrates why it's his "genocide school" and how their actions will result in him becoming homeless. He seems particularly agitated about having received a "B" grade in a sociology class.

As I've stated many times, about the only political inclination that can be derived is that of a deranged extremist libertarian. While I expect some on the Left to claim he says things similar to the tea parties, and I fully expect Tea Party enablers to claim that he's a liberal, neither are true. He isn't a libertarian either. His relationship to politics is more like that of a cargo cult to religion.

Specifically, when he says "the war we are in right now is currently illegal under the Constitution", I expect teaparty enablers' ears to perk up. They would then have to explain what immediately follows: "what makes it illegal is the currency... the date is also wrong". I don't think anyone on the Left has ever given either of those as a reason why they think Iraq or Afghanistan are illegal or wrong.

Later, as he walks by the campus police station, he says:

"This is where the whole sheboozie goes down, with illegal... activity. If the student is unable to locate the external universe, then the student is unable to locate the internal universe... Where is all my subjects? I could say something [inaudible; "sad", "sound"?] right now but I don't feel like it... All the teachers that you have... are, being paid illegally. And, have illegal authority over the Constitution of the United States under the First Amendment. This is genocide in America... Thank you. This is Jared from Pima College."

* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

[1] Loughner originally posted the video to the Youtube channel youtube.com/user/2ploy, which is not his more well-known channel. It was taken down, but his favorites remain: twenty videos for learning basic Spanish. The circumstances surrounding the video are described in the Pima Community College police report linked from here.

From my satire to Tea Party ideas: Mike Lee and child labor - 01/15/11

In July of last year I offered a satire called A Teaparty Timeline, containing this:

In the 1800s, teaparty valiantly fought for the rights of children to work as many hours as they wanted.

Did Pima County Sheriff Dupnik ignore Jared Loughner's warning signs before Gabrielle Giffords shooting? - 01/13/11

Almost immediately after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and several others by Jared Lee Loughner, Pima County, Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik began politicizing the tragedy [1]. Part of that politicization was justified, part was not. Specifically, considering the role that an overly hostile political environment might have played in the tragedy and urging calm is acceptable, but naming specific persons (Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh) as possible contributing factors is not.

In any case, supporters and enablers of Palin, Limbaugh, and the tea parties movement responded by going on a witch hunt against Dupnik, using his initial claim that Loughner had made death threats [2] to claim that Dupnik knew about Loughner's issues and had done nothing. In some cases, they claimed that he had done nothing because Loughner's mother worked for Pima County. [3]

However, the police reports on Loughner's past contacts with the Pima sheriff's office (summary here; in full here) and Pima Community College (read them here; PDF cached) have been released, and neither indicate any death threats. Loughner's negative past contacts with the Sheriffs are on two minor matters; the contacts with the College are more severe however none of them would seem to offer any reasonable person a clue to what was to come.

So, while Dupnik needlessly politicized this, the teaparty enablers' attempts to smear him as incompetent or corrupt strongly appears to be false. Unless he and his office were mindreaders, there's little they could have done to stop the tragedy.

UPDATE: From this:

Jared Loughner's increasingly menacing behavior, what may look like a psychotic spiral in hindsight, likely would not have been enough to have him forced into psychiatric care, much less arrested... mental-health and legal experts say it's likely that no one could have seen a tragedy coming before Saturday... Even with Arizona's broader laws on involuntary psychiatric commitment, it's still a high bar...

ADDED: See also
* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

[1] From this, search for more:

Dupnik called Arizona a "mecca for prejudice and bigotry," assigning a measure of blame for the rampage that killed six and wounded 14 others to overheated political "vitriol."

[2] From a 1/9/11 Reuters report (link):

Dupnik said there had been earlier contact between Loughner and law enforcement after he had made death threats, although they had not been against Giffords. He said the authorities believe he may not have been working alone.

[3] The epicenter of tea party claims was the 1/9/11 post "Jared Loughner is a product of Sheriff Dupnik’s office" (thechollajumps.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/

The sheriff has been editorializing and politicizing the event since he took the podium to report on the incident. His blaming of radio personalities and bloggers is a pre-emptive strike because Mr. Dupnik knows this tragedy lays at his feet and his office. Six people died on his watch and he could have prevented it... Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County. Amy Loughner is a Natural Resource specialist for the Pima County Parks and Recreation.

Either that never happened, or the records linked above are incomplete. More than likely, it never happened. "The Cholla Jumps" has a follow-up post (thechollajumps.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/

I had to source the puzzle pieces and vet the information with people who assured me they had first hand information regarding Jared Loughner. I wanted documentation. Unfortunately the mere possesion of the documentation would be a violation of HIPPA laws and the track back would be detrimental to the livelyhoods and lives of the people involved... Anyone in Law Enforcement or Mental Health in Pima County that ever had contact with Mr. Loughner is now in bunker mode. Everyone is afraid of lawsuits down the road. They are evaluating their behavior and checking to make sure they followed all rules governing the care of Jared Loughner... Lawfully some of the people that had knowledge of Mr Loughner could never come forward without subpoena by a lawful authority. Others are just too afraid.

Based on that, it's almost certain that their initial report was just made up.

None of that kept AllahPundit from retransmitting their tale ("Did Clarence Dupnik miss the red flags on Loughner?", hotair.com/archives/2011/01/10/
did-dupnik-miss-the-red-flags-on-loughner), even if he CYAs:

we’re getting lots of e-mails about this post, but I’m unfamiliar with the site and can’t vouch for its credibility. Under those circumstances I’d normally pass on it, but since America’s new standard of journalism requires no supporting evidence whatsoever before tossing an assertion into the news stream, here you go. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t. The important thing is, does it serve your political agenda?

Moe Lane was even less cautious (moelane.com/2011/01/10/

it is not a matter of controversy whether or not Loughner made death threats, or at least it should not be. As was reported by both local sources (via here) and Reuters, Sheriff Dupnik himself revealed that Loughner had made death threats against at least one person who was not Congresswoman Giffords. This happened. What the The Cholla Jumps site is alleging – and which has not yet been confirmed- is the following [claim as above]... The question is, is this true? We don’t know – yet – but it’s certainly plausible. Again, we know that there were death threats made, because Dupnik himself admitted that they had happened (that’s the NPR link). And we also know that Loughner was sufficiently unstable to have been thrown out of college as being, frankly, a menace to the local community. And when I say ‘thrown out’ I want it to be understood that the police were involved, because they were. But it could be that this is not actually a true report: a violent paranoid schizophrenic with a history of erratic behavior might have managed to restrain himself to making death threats to one specific person outside of the jurisdiction of the Pima County Sheriff’s Office – thus making him not specifically the problem of one Clarence Dupnik...

Needless to say, that was linked by Glenn Reynolds (instapundit.com/112919 ).

Note that AllahPundit later admitted "There were no missed red flags as far as I can tell" (hotair.com/archives/2011/01/12/

Friend: Loughner wasn't political, not left or right (two years out of date; Zeitgeist) - 01/12/11

On Good Morning America, Zach Osler - a former friend of Gabrielle Giffords shooter Jared Lee Loughner - said the following about Loughner (video below):

He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.

However, in the same interview, Osler admits not having seen Loughner for two years. Obviously, a lot can happen in two years, but don't expect partisan hacks to acknowledge that or in some cases even mention that Osler's information is two years out of date.

Osler's claims also contradict claims from another former classmate that in 2007 Loughner was left-wing (although her abilities at political classification aren't clear). And, the last two years has seen the rise of the tea parties, a group that specializes in loud, anti-intellectual rants against politicians, intimidating politicians, bringing guns to public meetings, waving "We came unarmed [this time]" signs, and on and on. The chance that Loughner didn't see some of that is indeed slim, whether on TV or on Youtube.

Note also that Osler places the blame for Loughner's slide in part on the drug Salvia and in part on the libertarian documentary Zeitgeist. As I've stated many times, some of Loughner's ideas are those of a deranged libertarian extremist. That doesn't make him a libertarian however, just that he was influenced by their ideas. And, when it comes to committing violence against politicians, he may have been influenced by the tea parties. Perhaps his Youtube viewing history or similar will come out at his trial.


ADDED: See also
* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting) - 01/11/11

Q. Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to the Tea Party, conservative, or libertarian movements?

A. At this time, there's no indication that Loughner was a member of any organized political movement. He was a registered independent who hadn't voted in 2010 (link). The DHS claim that he was linked to the white racial separatist group AmRen is false. Given what we know now, the chances of him being welcomed as a member of any group outside the far fringe is remote [1]. Given his history, the chances that even the teaparties would welcome him to their meetings is slim. He might have been welcomed to fringe groups or a fringe group might have recognized his faults and decided to use him, but there's no indication at all of something like that happening.

Q. Was Jared Lee Loughner leftwing or rightwing, liberal or conservative?

A. He doesn't appear to be neatly categorizable. A former friend claimed that in 2007 he was leftwing, and rightwing hacks are trying to fit his writings into that mold [2]. However, his Youtube videos (last link) refer to distrust of the government, a belief in something like the Gold Standard, and an urging to read the Constitution. None of those are liberal issues. Rather, his ideology - such as it is - appears to be that of a deranged libertarian extremist or anarchist. His rants about mind control are similar to those of fringe conspiracy theorists (some of whom, however, have a glimmer of a point).

Q. Did the Tea Party, libertarian, or conservative movements play a role in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting?

A. In cases like this it's necessary to separate *ideology* from *tactics*. There's very little chance that *ideology* had any role in the tragedy; Loughner probably wasn't motivated enough by his fringe libertarian ideas about gold-backed money to do what he did.

However, the *tactics* of the teaparty movement might have played a role.

For almost two years now, the teapartiers have been all over the TV news throwing tantrums at public meetings, intimidating legislators, threatening revolution, ranting and raving, waving Gadsden flags, waving "We came unarmed [this time]" signs, warning of "Second Amendment remedies", and on and on.

The teapartiers have consistently failed to engage their opponents intellectually; the teapartiers are by and large simply too unintelligent and too mentally unbalanced to engage in debate with their opponents. Instead, they've presented the possibility of violent action as the way to achieve political change. While there's no indication at the present time that the teapartiers' *tactics* played a role in Loughners actions, it certainly can't have helped. Perhaps such things as his Youtube viewing habits will come out at his trial; if he ends up having watched a series of Youtube videos in which teapartiers intimidate politicians the link between their actions and his will become clear.

In brief: the teapartiers created an environment in which crazy people such as Loughner thrive. They also aren't smart and sane enough to clean up their act, and the next Loughner might be someone with clear ties to their movement.

See the tea parties and libertarians pages for past coverage of both movements.

[1] He briefly worked as a volunteer at the Pima Animal Care Center but was taken off dog-walking duties after failing to understand why he shouldn't walk dogs in an area that was being decontaminated for a contagious animal disease (link). He was continually disruptive at Pima Community College, so much so that they asked him to leave (link).

[2] volokh . com/2011/01/10/jared-loughners-anti-war-views (spaces added) is based on Loughner's alleged posts on AboveTopSecret.com:

On July 7, 2010, Loughner posted his assertion that the war(s) in Iraq and Afghanistan “is a war crime from the Geneva Convention articles of 1949”... In a thread on unemployment, Loughner quotes with seeming approval, portions of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserting “the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity” and “the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.”

Of course, whether he was expressing an actual political view or whether he was engaging in a language exercise isn't clear.

ADDED: See the excerpts from Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret posts. The claim by Jim Lindgren at the Volokh Conspiracy that Loughner expressed leftwing beliefs is absurd.

ADDED: See also
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation (Giffords shooting, Loughner) - 01/09/11

Glenn Reynolds takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to offer "The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel" (link) in which he tries to run away from the toxic political environment that the tea parties movement - of which he is a leader - has created:

With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's words, a "climate of hate." ...There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source... ...To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

The latter is, of course, a false choice. While Jared Lee Loughner was almost certainly not affiliated with the teaparties, the environment that they created certainly didn't help. If the news were full of high-level intellectual debate - instead of screaming, threatening teapartiers - would someone like Loughner be prompted to do what he did? Perhaps, but the possibility seems to be more remote than in the current hyperventilated environment. And, whether Loughner himself was motivated by the environment that the teapartiers have created, there are plenty of other nuts out there who might one day take their apocalyptic rhetoric the wrong way. The teapartiers would be wise to at least take the Loughner tragedy as a warning of where their rhetoric could lead, but they won't.

And, Reynolds has apparently forgotten about all the things the tea partiers and their leaders have said and done. Here's a short list:

* Sharron Angle's talk of "Second Amendment remedies"...

* Reynolds own frequent snarky comments against all government workers...

* Linking this (instapundit.com/72077) which contains "[Tea Party] Protestors held signs demanding lower Hoboken taxes, shouted for a recall of elected officials and someone even held a tarred-and-feathered effigy of Mayor Dave Roberts."

* instapundit.com/92043, with the "tarred and feathered" coming from Reynolds: "TAXPROF: A Government Takeover of 401(k)s? If that happens, we may see members of Congress literally, not just figuratively, tarred and feathered. But I think Congress knows that. . . ."

* instapundit.com/109543: "I am entirely serious when I say that all the officials involved should be tarred and feathered."

* instapundit.com/68007: "Obviously, we need more people willing to insist on their rights. These guys [judges who sent "children to jail in return for kickbacks"] should be tarred and feathered."

* In June 2009, Reynolds promoted teapartiers swarming a politician...

* In July 2009, he promoted giving politicians "bunny ears" (instead of promoting discrediting them by intellectually engaging them)...

* In October 2009, he promoted shouting down politicians...

See the Glenn Reynolds page for much more.

ADDED: See also
* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, several others shot; Palin, Tea Party candidate - 01/08/11


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others were shot earlier today and there are conflicting reports on whether she and others were killed. Per this:

The gunman, who may have come from inside the Safeway, walked up and shot Gifford in the head first, "point blank". According to [an eyewitness, Steven Rayle], who is a former ER doctor, Gifford was able to move her hands after being shot... After shooting Gifford, the gunman opened fire indiscriminately for a few seconds, firing 20-30 rounds and hitting a number of people, including a kid no older than 10 years old... The gunman was young, mid-to-late 20s, white, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing and said nothing during the shooting or while being held down, although he struggled at first. He was "not particularly well-dressed"; he didn't look like a businessman, but more of a "fringe character," Rayle said.

There are certainly many possible motivations, and just one of the many is that the shooter is affiliated with the tea parties or libertarians movements. Both of those groups haven't shied away from painting their opponents in the worst terms possible and engaging in apocalyptic language. Sometimes that's included implied violence, such as in the two following graphics.

The first is from Sarah Palin's website and shows several Congressmen's districts in what appear to be gun crosshairs. Palin has since removed this from her site.

In March, Giffords spoke out about a window being broken at her office and various death threats, saying (link):

"Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action."

The second is from Giffords' former opponent, Jesse Kelly announcing a June 12, 2010 campaign event:

"Get on Target for Victory in November
Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office
Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly"

Once again: this might be completely unrelated to the teaparties, to Palin, or to politics at all. However, the atmosphere of implied violence that the teaparties have helped create is not helpful to those who want to oppose the far-left in constructive ways such as with the question authority plan.

1pm UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that the suspect's name is Jared Laughner.

1:12pm UPDATE: The suspect's name might actually be Jared Lee Loughner.

1:25pm UPDATE: The video below appears to be from the suspect (cached in case it's deleted). In it he says:

You don't have to accept the federalist laws... read the United States of America's Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws... I can't trust the current government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar... No! I won't pay debt with a currency that's not backed by gold and silver... No! I won't trust in God!

3:15pm UPDATE: @caitieparker claims she "went to high school, college, & was in a band with the gunman". I was skeptical because she initially spelled his name "Laughner", but she now says "it's loughner just checked my year book". She also says (in successive tweets):

He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in '07, asked her a question & he told me she was "stupid & unintelligent"
he was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix,The Doors, Anti-Flag. I haven't seen him in person since '07 in a sign language class
As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy
he had a lot of friends until he got alcohol poisoning in '06, & dropped out of school. Mainly loner very philosophical.
more left [wing]. I haven't seen him since '07 though. He became very reclusive.
I haven't seen him since '07. Then, he was left wing.

1/9/11 UPDATE: Doctors are optimistic that Giffords will recover, however six other people are dead. The gunman had a second magazine that jammed; otherwise it might be even worse.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is using this as an opportunity to try to smear opponents of illegal immigration, stupidly focusing on the higher-level white racial separatist group American Renaissance (Maggie Haberman, Politico, link).

A Department of Homeland Security memo quoted by Fox News says the agency is looking into whether Loughner is “possibly linked” to the fanatical group American Renaissance... The group promotes views that are “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government), anti-Semitic,” the memo says... Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of Loughner’s firing frenzy, is “the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the U.S. government. She was also opposite the group’s ideology when it came to immigration debate,” according the memo.

Haberman even works in a quote from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Meanwhile, from this:

Jared Taylor called DHS' views "scurrilous" and took especial issue with the reference to his group being "anti-ZOG."

"That is complete nonsense," he said. "I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term 'ZOG.' We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us."

Taylor, who earned a BA in philosophy from Yale in 1973 and a master's degree in international economics from the prestigious Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris ("Paris Institute of Political Studies," in English) in 1978, says he had never heard of Loughner until yesterday. Taylor says he checked his organization's records going back twenty years and Loughner never subscribed to AmRen's publications.

Taylor says he also has no indication that Loughner ever attended any of AmRen's events, all of which have been held on the East Coast.

I'm not that familiar with AmRen, but any ties Loughner had would probably be to libertarian-oriented groups on the far fringes. The DHS is just showing yet again how incompetent they are.

Also, Giffords' announcement of the event is here. She doesn't mention anyone else who'd be attending, and cops have said that she was the target. One of those killed was Judge John Roll who was involved in immigration issues (including deciding against rancher Roger Barnett, link). Death threats were made against Roll over that, but at least at this time it doesn't appear that it was public information that he was going to be at the event.

1/9/11 UPDATE 2: AmRen responds here:

American Renaissance condemns violence in the strongest possible terms, and nothing that has ever appeared in it pages could be interpreted as countenancing it.

AR is not anti-government, anti-Semitic, or anti-ZOG, as is clear from the 20 years of back issues that are posted on our website. The expression “ZOG” has never appeared in the pages of AR, and we have has always welcomed Jewish participation in our work. Many of the speakers at American Renaissance conferences have been Jewish.

Google shows just eight other pages mentioning her at their site and none focus on her or contain any questionable mentions of her.

1/9/11 UPDATE 3: Loughner's first Youtube video was uploaded on November 22, 2010. That's the anniversary of the JFK assassination; whether it's just a coincidence isn't known.

And, Giffords' Youtube account (youtube.com/user/giffords2) has just two subscriptions, one to Rep. Ike Skelton and the other to Loughner. Image attached. How exactly that happened is not clear.

ADDED: See also
* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation

Tea Party "Patriots" mostly silent about anti-American DREAM Act (and rightwing bloggers too) - 12/07/10

The "patriots" in the tea parties aren't exactly going all out to oppose the anti-American DREAM Act amnesty. The loudest voices against the Obama administration have mostly gone silent against an amnesty which could cover between one to two million illegal aliens and which would allow those illegal aliens covered by it to take college resources away from their fellow citizens.

The anti-corporate Tea Party? No: will oppose some corporations, give others a pass (FreedomWorks, useful idiots) - 11/23/10

FreedomWorks [1] have a new effort to get the tea parties to espouse an anti-corporate message.

The teapartiers, Fighting the Power?

Not so fase: if you're familiar with both the teapartiers and Freedom Works, you know there's a catch, and indeed there is: they're only going to get the tea partiers to oppose *some* corporations, while helping or ignoring another set.

Don't worry: the teapartiers will continue to be useful idiots for some corporations, just not all of them.

From this:

Jesse Jackson isn't the only activist that can use corporate boycotts for political purposes. Starting next year, the huge Tea Party organizer FreedomWorks will urge supporters to punish huge corporations like General Electric and Johnson and Johnson for backing President Obama's progressive agenda.

In an exclusive review for Whispers of their plan, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe says: "Tea Party activists are willing to tackle progressive CEOs just as they tackled progressive politicians. Judging by the results of the midterm elections, progressive CEOs should buckle up, because Tea Party activists are going to give them a very bumpy ride."

I don't know whether the mention of Jackson was meant to evoke his corporate shakedowns or not, but the FreedomWorks efforts are going to be just as bogus as Jacksons'. The last thing FreedomWorks is going to do is demand corporate responsibility across the board; they just want to use their useful idiots in the teaparties to oppose one set of corporations.

At the same time, FreedomWorks and similar groups will be pushing for things such as reduced environmental regulations, something that will help the Koch family's Koch Industries, an energy company that's the second largest private corporation in the U.S.

Whether they'll be like Jackson and back off of corporations that pay a tribute isn't yet known, but considering that FreedomWorks and Dick Armey are all about the money it isn't something that would shock me. They're also going to be spreading the word through bloggers; if anyone finds any examples please leave a comment with a cite.

[1] They're joined in the effort by the National Center for Public Policy Research, headed by Amy Ridenour. From this:

In 2002 ExxonMobil donated $30,000 for "educational activities" and a further $15,000 for general support.

Like I said, *some* corporations, not all.

WSJ/NBC poll shows little support for fiscal conservatism; 70% "uncomfortable" with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, defense - 11/18/10

Bad news for libertarians and the tea parties: a new Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll shows little support for fiscal conservative policies (link):

[The poll] shows Americans skeptical of deficit-cutting proposals laid out by the chairmen of a commission appointed by the White House. In the survey, 57% of respondents said they were uncomfortable with gradually raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next 60 years. Some 41% said they were somewhat or very comfortable with the idea.

Roughly 70% were uncomfortable with making cuts to programs such as Medicare, Social Security and defense in order to reduce the deficit, with 27% saying they were comfortable.

And nearly 60% said they were uncomfortable with raising tax revenue through such measures as boosting the gasoline tax, limiting deductions on many home mortgages and altering corporate taxation. Nearly 40% said they were comfortable with those ideas.

But the findings show the national debate is still developing. Asked their views of the draft as a whole, 30% of respondents said they had no opinion.

Tea Party leaders: GOP should ignore social issues (TP "Patriots", Tammy Bruce) - 11/15/10

Leaders of the Tea Party "Patriots" and the New American "Patriots" - together with the gay group GOProud and Tammy Bruce - have written an open letter (link) to the GOP urging them to avoid "social issues". Instead, they want the GOP to concentrate on their message of "economic freedom".

Obviously, what they want is incredibly poor strategy and in line with all the other stupidity surrounding the tea parties movement.

1. Social conservatives make up a large part of the GOP coalition, and if the GOP won't offer them something many of them won't bother to vote, many will vote for fewer GOP candidates than they would otherwise, and they might even consider forming their own party.

2. The teaparties message of "economic freedom" only applies to and resonates with a small percentage of Americans, what I've called the "country elite". That is, the richest folks in small and medium towns. Their message of "economic freedom" doesn't apply to those who aren't relatively well-off (but who aren't the real rich). "Economic freedom" might sound good to some but then what they say when you start taking away their benefits. The Libertarian Party has been pushing "economic freedom" for decades with little success. Social issues are salient; fiscal issues are not: only fringe teaparty/libertarian extremists get red in the face over economic issues and the same isn't true of social issues.

3. People have long shown that they'll vote against their economic interests over social issues. It would be in the economic interests of many Americans to vote for the Democrats yet they vote for Republicans instead due to the Democrats being associated with the coastal elites who sneer at them.

4. In their letter they mislead (another Teaparty hallmark) when they claim "Poll after poll confirms that the Tea Party's laser focus on issues of economic freedom and limited government resonated with the American people on Election Day." Actually, what resonated with people was the teaparties as a challenge to entrenched DC interests, not fiscal conservatism which is as unpopular as it always was [1]. The teapartiers form a subset of the Republican party and their ideology isn't making in-roads beyond that subset (link, link).

5. Some "social issues" are where the establishment is weakest: immigration, the sneering mentioned above, affirmative action, race-baiting, and so on. The teaparties almost completely ignored immigration for over a year, with some of them considering it just a "social issue". That's despite the fact that it's more fundamental than spending and it's the area when the Democrats and the establishment are most vulnerable.

6. From the teaparty perspective, ignoring social issues makes them extremely vulnerable to social issues being used against them, which the Democrats have done by constantly playing the race card. I could care less about any damage done to the teaparties by the Democrats' toxic race-baiting, the problem is the impact of the race card being played on the country as a whole. The teaparties have increased racial tension in the U.S. and would continue to do so.

[1] From this:

Three-quarters of Americans believe that entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security “will create major economic problems” over the next 25 years. But two-thirds are opposed to addressing these challenges by reducing benefits, and 56 percent are against raising taxes... The poll results are from a new USA Today/Gallup survey, but they track other recent research...

How many Senate seats did the Tea Parties cost the Republicans? - 11/10/10

If you ask a member of the tea parties how many senate seats their candidates lost the GOP, they'll probably say "-17". However, from this:

The Fix looked at Angle, Buck, O'Donnell and two other faces of the tea party: New York governor candidate Carl Paladino and Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul.

The five of them, it turns out, ran behind the vast majority of other Republican candidates -- and sometimes by wide margins.

In almost every case, they ran behind more mainstream Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and other statewide offices. And in no case did the tea party candidate run significantly ahead of another statewide Republican candidate...

...Among House candidates, Iraq veteran Jesse Kelly, who lost to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), state Sen. Brad Zaun, who lost to Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), and even state Rep. Raul Labrador, who beat Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), all fared less well in their districts than other Republican candidates running for office in the state.

Chris Cillizza includes the disclaimer that those races were higher-profile than the down-ballot ones, but that would seem to make his case even stronger: few people probably have a burning interest in who's going to be the treasurer of Nevada and the results above would seem to indicate that even many Republicans couldn't stand those listed above.

Why George W Bush should be shunned - 11/09/10

George W Bush is currently trying to rehabilitate himself and getting help from many rightwing/tea parties-style sources. Here are some of the reasons why he should be shunned now (and why those same sources should have shunned him then but couldn't find their tongues):

Glenn Reynolds still supports childish mocking of politicians rather than intellectual challenges - 11/03/10

It's been two weeks since I last showed how Glenn Reynolds is wrong, so let's take a look at his latest childish, thuggish advice [1]:

BARNEY FRANK SURVIVED SEAN BIELAT’S CHALLENGE, but as this “train-wreck” victory speech demonstrates [2], it really got under his skin and he’s lashing out in what looks more like an angry concession speech. I think Barney Frank is actually hurt that he had to take it, not just dish it out this time around. But the Tea Party movement has not yet begun to dish . . . .

But Frank’s childish behavior provides a good lesson in how to deal with the political class. Mock them, and don’t treat them with the respect they - wrongly - feel is their due. They’re not used to being challenged. Keep it up, and odds are they’ll either quit, or embarrass themselves fatally.

Rightwing bloggers like to complain about union thugs and the like, and in many cases they've had a point. However, for that point to have any validity, the rightwing would have to repudiate ideas like Reynolds. He's shown time and time again (see his name's link) that he's a childish thug (and perhaps a cowardly one at that).

He's suggesting incivility rather than open debate, and his idea of a "challenge" isn't to debate someone with the goal of showing how their ideas are wrong, but simply to engage in childish mockery. His ideas would lower the level of debate in the U.S. even further than it's already been reduced by the sign-waving, costumed, tantrum-throwing teapartiers. And, one wonders how we could trust a movement that was based on mockery rather than policy; would they think that the way to resolve international conflicts was to call foreign leaders names?

I don't know whether he says the above because he realize he's incapable of intellectually engaging someone like Barney Frank, or because he knows that the tea parties base is incapable and just wants to give them something they might be able to accomplish. In either case it's not good for the U.S. and not even good for the teapartiers themselves.

[1] pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/109147
[2] That's a link to hotair.com/archives/2010/11/03/

2010 Elections: Tea Party wins some, loses some, does somewhat less damage than feared - 11/03/10

In the 2010 elections, Republicans who were backed by the tea parties ("TP") won several races but some of the major TP candidates lost. The GOP landslide was very large on both the national and state levels, and apparently exit polls showed 4 in 10 voters expressing support for the TP movement. However, those who voted skewed older; more younger people voted in 2008.

Below is a list of some of the races, followed by a discussion of what to do.

* Mark Kirk won in the most important race in the U.S., considering who was kept out of the Senate. Needless to say, the TP "patriots" largely ignored that race and couldn't make the grown-up choice.

* Tom Tancredo lost for Colorado governor. If the TP "patriots" had dropped Dan Maes and had supported Tancredo, he might have been able to squeak by.

* Jan Brewer won by a wide margin; recall that she wasn't elected governor but assumed the position after Janet Napolitano moved upstairs.

* Sharron Angle lost in a clear repudiation of the TP philosophy and also of her fringe ideas. If - as I repeatedly suggested to her and her advisors via Twitter (example: twitpic.com/2rytur ) - had dropped the libertarian lunacy and had concentrated on things like the anti-American DREAM Act she could have won.

* Carly Fiorina lost, in part due to outsourcing.

* Meg Whitman lost; voters weren't ready for the sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

* Christine ODonnell lost in Delaware. While she has some good features, her libertarian-leaning economic lunacy isn't one of them. In the same state, TP favorite Glen Urqhart lost a House race.

* Marco Rubio won. While he's fairly good on at least illegal immigration, he strongly supports legal immigration. And, he's at least an associate of the Jeb Bush/George W Bush circle. Expect the GOP to use him as a token and to push massive immigration in coming years.

* Pat Toomey - formerly with the Club for Growth - beat Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. Toomey is from the "Profits at Any Price" school; expect him to support massive immigration, outsourcing, and free trade no matter the cost to Pennsylvanians.

* In addition to Rubio, Florida is apparently all red. Billionaire Rick Scott - a TP favorite - is their new governor.

* TP nut Joe Miller appears to be losing to Lisa Murkowski. Erich Honecker could not be reached for comment.

* Another TP nut, Rich Iott, is losing to Marcy Kaptur with 41% of the vote.

* Yet another TP nut, Carl Paladino, lost the New York State governor's race.

* A TP nut, Allen West, did win despite affiliation with an alleged criminal biker gang.

* TP favorite Ken Buck - someone who might have been good on immigration - lost to Michael Bennet for Senate from Colorado.

* TP favorite Linda McMahon lost to illegal immigration supporter Richard Blumenthal.

* TP favorite Sean Bielat lost to Barney Frank.

* Rep. Raul Grijalva is barely leading Ruth McClung in Arizona. If she didn't have TP-style fringe economic ideas and simply concentrated on how Grijalva encouraged a boycott of his own state and more or less represents the interests of the Mexican government she'd probably be doing a lot better.

* TP favorites John Boozman (Arkansas) and Nikki Haley (South Carolina) have won.

* Illegal immigration opponent Lou Barletta won against Paul Kanjorski.

As should be obvious by now, I'm not a tea parties fan. That's not going to change, and I'm not going to pretend to be one either. Not all of the Republicans listed above are associated with the TP movement, but those who are steeped in that movement should be opposed as with the movement itself.

And, the way to do that really isn't that difficult: simply make a good argument against libertarianism, whether the full version or the lite version espoused by the teapartiers. And, encourage the Democrats to make real arguments instead of playing the race card and thinking that calling people names is an argument.

That said, the vast majority of Americans are reasonable and aren't anywhere near as insane as some of the TP candidates listed above. Things will shake out and even out as they see just how badly the TP candidates govern. A majority of people might say they prefer a smaller government with fewer services, but we'll find out how little that means the first time a TP candidate tries to touch their entitlement programs. At that point in time, adults might step in to save the day.

UPDATE: Per MSNBC - thus a note of caution - just 32% of those they identified a Teaparty candidates won (link). That might sound high for a third party, until you realize that all or almost all of those were running as Republicans. In a year with such a broad win for the Republicans, you'd expect much more than a third of their candidates of a certain type to win, unless, of course, that type is "teapartier".

UPDATE 2: Good-on-immigration Kris Kobach won Kansas Secretary of State.

And, from this:

Of all the possible changes to come out of the election, the biggest potential shift in immigration policy will probably come from which party controls the House. Now that change is official: Republicans will lead the House, meaning immigration legislation will be in the hands of likely Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who will chair the immigration subcommittee.

Per Rasmussen Reports (link):

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds, in fact, that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections. That includes 38% who say it is Very Likely.

11/4/10 UPDATE: Sen. Patty Murray (of Obama's day care centers fame) has won re-election in Washington (link). She beat Dino Rossi who was endorsed by TP groups but who at least part of the time didn't return the favor.

Repudiate Teaparty: vote Democratic except Kirk, Tancredo, and Brewer - 10/29/10

In the election on Tuesday, I strongly urge you to vote against candidates who are part of the Tea Parties movement and against that movement in general. The teaparties are one of the most malignant political movements in the past several decades and must be repudiated; more on that below and see my extensive coverage at that link.

I'm also making these specific recommendations:

Immigration questions for Sean Bielat - 10/25/10

Sean Bielat is the tea parties favorite who's challenging Barney Frank for Congress from Massachusetts. His immigration position follows [1], followed by some questions for him. In the following, each number in parens indicates a question below. I'll invite him via Twitter [2] to answer these questions, and the reader is invited to do the same: @SeanBielat.

I believe in an America that protects our citizens' civil liberties (see #1) and our borders. The federal government's negligence on immigration and border security makes everyone less safe and more vulnerable.

Workers deserve the protections granted under law and employers need to rely on a ready workforce to keep their businesses and our economy strong. Thoughtful immigration reform (see #2) must do the following:

* Secure our borders to seal out terrorists, drug gangs and human traffickers (see #3)
* Recognize and address the special burden on border states
* Welcome documented workers who keep our economy strong and contribute to our social fabric (see #4, #5, & #6)
* Investigate immigration status only if someone is stopped for other violations; Americans, regardless of their ethnicity, must never feel as though their country does not welcome them. (see #1)

And, here are my questions based on the above:

#1: That seems to be generally supportive of the Arizona law (as it's been amended). Is that correct? On a sidenote, how have the Border Patrol and similar agencies in other countries been able to successfully determine whether someone is likely a citizen or not in literally millions of cases for decades, all without violating someone's rights? When will you be asking opponents of the Arizona law that question?

#2: From that can we assume that you support comprehensive immigration reform? Note that I'm not asking whether you support "amnesty" (see reform not amnesty), just whether you'd support some form of CIR.

#3: And, how exactly would you do that? For instance, under CIR it would take 5 to 10 years to do FBI-level background checks on the 10 million or so who could be covered by CIR. How could you weed out terrorists if only light background checks are done that only rely on information provided by the Mexican government and similar entities?

#4: Do you agree that some "documented workers" who aren't criminals or terrorists can still have a negative impact on our "social fabric"? For instance, many Mexicans have ideas that aren't exactly conducive to assimilation. They also form a power base within our country for the far-left, the Democrats, and the Mexican government. What exactly would you do about that?

#5: Can we assume that you support some form of guest workers program? What general form would that take? What would you do about the fact that to a good extent such programs are shams? That is, employers could find Americans if they really wanted but they don't for various reasons. Would you give in to them, or stand up to them? Would you discuss $50/hour lettuce picking jobs, or would you call corrupt growers on crops rotting in the fields?

#6: Finally, how would you deal with the fact that "guest" workers will have U.S. citizen children? The far-left strongly opposes most immigration enforcement, and they do so even more strongly when it involves mixed-status families. What do you intend to do about the fact that it will be hard to deport "guests" who have U.S. citizen children?

[1] From seanbielat.org/time-new-voice#Immigration

[2] I tweeted him a few days ago asking him the question in #6 above, and he replied that answering such questions in just a 140 character tweet is difficult. Thus, this opportunity for him to clarify his position.

Koch family, U.S. Chamber, businesses met to plan strategy (+Glenn Beck, tea parties, "mobilize citizens for November") - 10/20/10

Twice each year, the Koch family conducts strategy meetings with corporate and thought leaders to plan how to advance their "free market" ideology. ThinkProgress has the guest list and program for their June 2010 meeting (in Aspen), and, while immigration isn't mentioned, many of the known attendees are on the wrong side.

I don't normally recommend anything at ThinkProgress, but in this case I'll suggest taking a look at their post and downloading the PDF.

The New York Times has a related report here; from that:

The participants in Aspen dined under the stars at the top of the gondola run on Aspen Mountain, and listened to Glenn Beck of Fox News in a session titled, “Is America on the Road to Serfdom?” (The title refers to a classic of Austrian economic thought that informs libertarian ideology, popularized by Mr. Beck on his show.)The participants included some of the nation’s wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot... The group also included longtime Republican donors and officials, including Foster Friess, Fred Malek and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III... Participants listened to presentations from the (US Chamber of Commerce), as well as people who played leading roles in John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, like Nancy Pfotenhauer and Annie Dickerson, who also runs a foundation for Paul Singer, a hedge fund executive who like the Kochs is active in promoting libertarian causes.

Malek currently raises funds for Karl Rove.

There's also a tea parties link: one of the June sessions was called "Mobilizing Citizens for November" ("Is there a chance this fall to elect leaders who are more strongly committed to liberty and prosperity? This session will further assess the landscape and offer a strategic plan to educate voters on the importance of economic freedom.") The hosts were Sean Noble (@snoble37), Karl Crow of Themis, Mark Mix of National Right to Work, and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity. AFP has been a very active "facilitator" of the teaparty movement.

Those who spoke at the June meeting include Peter Schiff (bad on immigration), Stephen Moore (ditto}, and Michael Barone (ditto). Others are: Ramesh Ponnuru; Phil Kerpen and Jeff Crank of AFP; Peter Wallison and Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, Russ Roberts and Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center (associated with George Mason University; see the link); Gretchen Hamel; Charles Krauthammer; and Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner.

Those listed as attending past meetings include Haley Barbour (bad on immigration), John Stossel (ditto), Mike Pence (ditto), Bobby Jindal, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, and Tom Price.

Obviously, there's nothing wrong or that sinister about the Kochs holding meetings like these. And, George Soros and associates no doubt hold similar meetings with those on their side. However, just as Soros' loose borders policies no doubt "informs" the immigration policies that those who receive his money offer, the same is probably true of the Kochs' loose borders policies. Aside from DeMint, there are few above who might be considered "border hawks", and some of those listed are quite bad on that issue.

And, of course, this provides yet more evidence of how those in the supposedly grassroots tea parties movement are doing the bidding of the very rich, even if the teapartiers have been bamboozled into thinking otherwise.

Glenn Beck urges donations to illegal immigration-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce - 10/14/10

Earlier today, Glenn Beck urged his fans to donate to the US Chamber of Commerce, a group that strongly supports illegal and massive immigration. In 2006, GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner suggested that the Chamber register as a foreign agent due to what they support.

DiverseTea: tea parties to fight charges of racism... by enabling far-left concepts - 09/13/10

FreedomWorks - the group that pulls many of the strings on the tea parties movement whether the teapartiers want to admit it or not - is launching a new effort called "DiverseTea" (wouldn't "DiversiTea" be better?). They're doing minority outreach in an attempt to show how diverse the teaparties are (link):

The ads [to be bought by Freedomworks], which will be accompanied by a yet-to-launch website, will showcase diversity in the tea party ranks by calling attention to movement leaders who are African American, Hispanic and Jewish... “The goal is to build a platform for a diverse group of tea party leaders from across the country –African Americans, Jews, Hispanics, others that have come to this movement – because there is this nagging perception that we are not diverse and I disagree with that,” said (Matt Kibbe) during a Monday breakfast with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

Obviously, this isn't the right way to go about things. The Democrats - and especially the far-left - engage in "diversity" for its own sake and are obsessive about bean-counting, quotas, and so on. Shouldn't a rightwing movement stand in opposition to such far-left concepts? Shouldn't a rightwing movement try to undercut those concepts instead of enabling them? Of course, but the tea parties are different because they're all just about the money and not about "social issues".

And, efforts like this are sure to backfire since no matter how "diverse" "DiverseTea" is, their opposition will always be more "diverse". They're only making their situation worse, not better. There's a way for the tea partiers to handle charges of racism, but I'm not going to tell them what it is.

Note also that one of those involved is Tito Munoz, who some might remember as the cartoonish John McCain supporter "Tito the Builder". Another is Ryan Hecker, who was behind the "Contract from America" sham.

Tea Party "Patriots" Admit Failure (They Just Don't Know It) - 09/12/10

The Tea Party "Patriots" have released a promo video in which they admit that they've failed. And, to compound that failure, they don't realize that they're admitting that they've failed. You can see their promo at peekURL.com/vudfmnw and my video response is attached (and also available at peekURL.com/v5ky22y ).

The script of my response is below, first some notes:

* See tea parties for my extensive coverage, including things you won't hear from them or their other opponents.

Delusional John Hinderaker on the "Tea Party Majority" (Powerline) - 09/07/10

There are few groups more delusional than the tea parties, but John Hinderaker of Powerline is apparently trying to give them a run for their money. In the Glenn Reynolds-linked [1] post "Tea Party Majority" [2] he says the following about the image below:

One could draw many conclusions from this, but I would suggest two. First, far from being a fringe phenomenon, the Tea Party movement represents the solid core of mainstream American opinion. Second, when the Republicans take control of Congress, they should not be afraid to cut spending and programs.

That's just, well, nuts. The underlying tea party ideology is indeed fringe, and provably so: they are to one degree or another libertarians. Some of them - such as Reynolds - are believers in Ayn Rand and thus even more fringe than "mainstream" libertarians. Needless to say, the Libertarian party and small-l libertarians aren't an electoral force. Further, the teapartiers are almost completely comprised of a subset of Republicans and independents. Very few Democrats support the tea parties, and not all Republicans support them either. To do math in the Hinderaker style, a majority of Obama voters would have had to switch to the tea parties, and that did not happen. Now, some of the other ideas of some teapartier followers - such as a general interest in reducing illegal immigration - are indeed majority opinion. However, they aren't stressing that but their fringe economic ideas.

The way to explain the chart is that respondents certainly would like a smaller government and lower taxes... until they actually see what would happen. Try and take away their benefits, or make them drive on bumpy roads, or reduce border protections even more, and see what they say. Not to mention the indirect impact that a reduction in public spending would have, such as increasing social strife. Very few Americans actually want to live in a libertarian paradise like Somalia.

A more honest poll would ask how much they want government decreased and would ask if they'd still support those changes given the direct and indirect impacts on them.

[1] instapundit.com/105824
[2] powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/09/027174.php

9500 Liberty immigration documentary on MTV (NY Times, Tea Parties) - 09/07/10

The 9500 Liberty pro-illegal immigration documentary will be shown on MTV on September 26; see the link for the details on that film. Two years ago, Youtube started promoting them and that was followed by the Washington Post and other sources, and that's not because it's a balanced treatment of the immigration issue but rather because they're on the pro-illegal immigration side.

Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside smear tea partiers (New Left Media; a challenge) - 09/01/10

Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside run "New Left Media" and their claim to limited fame is going to tea parties events and trying to get those attending to make themselves look bad, even if they have to use deception to do it (link).

Mark Levin's insane tea party rant - 08/31/10

Glenn Reynolds [1] and Dan Riehl [2] direct our attention to the opening of yesterday's Mark Levin show in which that right-wing radio host gave, per them, a "Rousing Call To Arms For The Tea Party Movement": link.

Christopher Hitchens has no clue about the tea parties - 08/31/10

Christopher Hitchens offers "White Fright / Glenn Beck's rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity" about Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally (at Slate: slate.com/id/2265515 ).

A few comments: