Tea Party

CNBC Created the Tea Party. Now the Right Wants to Destroy the Network

Debate moderators Carl Quintanilla, left, Becky Quick, center, and John Harwood appear during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo.

Mark J. Terrill/AP


The business network has become enemy number one for the Republican Party, but one of its star reporters is often credited with launching the Tea Party movement six years ago.

After Wednesday’s debacle of a debate, CNBC is now the most-hated cable network among conservatives. The fury has grown so intense that on Friday the Republican National Committee broke off its partnership with NBC News for an upcoming February debate hosted by the news titan.

Fun fact: Six years ago, CNBC started the Tea Party movement.

On February 24, 2009, while reporting for Squawk Box from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Rick Santelli (who was briefly featured during Wednesday’s debate) went on a dramatic rant against President Obama’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, a stimulus package aimed at helping homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.

“The government is promoting bad behavior,” he said. “How about this, president and new administration, why don’t you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages.”

Santelli drew rapturous applause from the floor traders—the “silent majority,” as he described them—when he added that the government should “reward people that can carry the water instead of drink the water.”

A true showman in his element, Santelli then turned around to face his audience. “This is America!” he shouted. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” The traders erupted in boos.

The moment read like something straight out of the many Tea Party rallies seen during the 2010 election season.

“President Obama, are you listening?” Santelli boomed. “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July,” he continued. “All you capitalists show up to Lake Michigan, I’m going to start organizing.”

Further cementing what would become the Tea Party’s dominant motif, Santelli added, “I’ll tell you what: If you read our Founding Fathers—people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson—what we’re doing in this country now is making them roll over in their graves.”

And so history was written. Santelli’s call to verbal arms was echoed by conservative commentators and leading activist groups like FreedomWorks, who made the video their rallying cry.

Organizers shifted into gear and within 10 days of Santelli’s theatrics, the first official Tea Party rallies were held in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other cities. A year-and-a-half later, Tea Party candidates won 40 U.S. House elections, taking back power from the Democratic Party.

And conservatives have CNBC to thank.

Andrew Kirell

H/t: DB

The Tea Party is on life support: New poll shows it’s less popular than ever

The Tea Party is on life support: New poll shows it's less popular than ever

(Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)


It’s not 2010 anymore


Support for the Tea Party has finally plummeted to the lowest levels ever. According to a new Gallup poll, the Tea Party’s favorability nationally has dropped nearly in half from a November 2010 high of 32 percent to a five year low of 17 percent. According to Gallup, the Tea Party had never dropped below 25 percent until this most recent poll.

Of course, it has been the Tea Party sympathizers in the House Freedom Caucus and Tea Party Caucus who have in a matter of weeks forced current House Speaker John Boehner into an early retirement, denied second-in-line Kevin McCarthy his opportunity to ascend and nearly browbeat Paul Ryan out of the job for fear of future retribution. The Tea Party’s take no prisoners approach in Washington D.C. has done little to bolster support across the nation, however.

In fact, 24 percent of Americans now say they are opponents of the Tea Party. Even among self-described conservative Republicans, support for the Tea Party has dropped from 63 percent in 2010 to 42 percent now. But the biggest drop off in support for the Tea Party comes from Independents who lean Republican, with a 29 percent decrease in support from 2010.

H/t: DB

Let’s call them all lunatics: Fearful “balanced” “journalists” let wingnuts run wild

Let's call them all lunatics: Fearful "balanced" "journalists" let wingnuts run wild

(Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane/CNN/AP/Carolyn Kaster/MSNBC/Salon)


In their 2012 book, “It’s Even Worse Than it Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism,” Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argued that America’s political dysfunction had two causes: First, the mismatch between our constitutional system, requiring compromise, and our increasingly polarized, parliamentary-style politics. Second, the fact that polarization has been asymmetric, turning the GOP into an insurrectionary anti-government party, even when in power. They wrote:

The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

Despite overwhelming historical data showing asymmetrical polarization in Congress (more recent additions here), their argument did not convince the anecdote-obsessed Beltway pundit class, with its deep belief that “both sides do it,” no matter what “it” may be. It’s true there are “extremists on both sides,” but as this Wonk Blog post showed, the percentage of non-centrist Republicans skyrocketed from under 10 percent in the Ford years (less than Democrats) to almost 90 percent today, while the Democratic percentage has stayed basically flat [chart]. What’s more, in the last session (2013-2014), the data shows that 147 House Republicans — more than half the caucus — were more ideologically extreme than the most extreme Democrat in the House. There is simply no comparison between the two parties. Asymmetric polarization is not only real, it’s one of the most dominant facts of American politics today.

But it’s a fact that “balanced” journalism has to ignore. To admit that the political world isn’t balanced would shake their whole belief system to its core. And yet, the shaking seems to have begun. As dysfunction in the GOP has reached new heights, not just threatening America and the global economy, but the party itself (both in Congress and the presidential race), the power of that denial may have begun breaking down, as Republican politicians are now criticizing their own party for what it has become, with conservative pundits like David Brooks castigating the GOP for its “right-wing radicalism.”

So it was only natural for Bloomberg View to engage in an email Q&A with Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein, “Republicans Gone Wild,” bringing their perspective to bear on where things stand today.

Ornstein first pointed out that the current state of crisis — both in Congress and in the presidential primary — had predictable roots in past strategic moves, heedlessly initiated by party leaders who were now reaping the whirlwind. This basically reverses the order of causation proposed by critics, like Chris Cillizza, who argued that GOP congressmembers were simply following the spontaneous rightward movement of the folks back home:

The fact is that the “Young Guns” — Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, as we wrote early on in the book — actively incited anger and raised expectations among populist Tea Party adherents when they went out in 2009-2010 and recruited candidates to run in the midterms. They told them to use the debt ceiling as an issue and to promise to bludgeon Obama with it to force him to his knees, to repeal Obamacare and cut government dramatically. They promised that if they took the majority they would immediately cut spending by $100 billion.

Of course, the American political system doesn’t work like that. Parliamentary systems do. But not presidential ones. For folks calling themselves “constitutional conservatives” this was a pretty fundamental moment of “Oops!” Continuing:

That led to the debt limit debacle in 2011, when they finally backed down at the brink — after Jason Chaffetz, whom we quote in the book, led the charge to take the country over. And the promise of $100 billion in spending cuts went unfulfilled. The combination of empty threats and unfulfilled promise, amplified by tribal media and social media, has created both a broad public anger at Republican establishment leaders among more radical Tea Party voters, and a seething anger among the 40 to 50 most radical House members at their own leaders for their fecklessness.

The wild promises that the “Young Guns” made played a key role (along with outside groups and money) in winning GOP House control in 2010, but they were alwaysutterly unrealistic — a minor detail that no one inside GOP leadership seemed to notice or care about at the time. One could argue that after 30 years of supply-side, trickle-down mumbo-jumbo they’d become completely adapted to living in fantasyland. How were they to know that this time they’d be getting their fair share of the resulting pain? (An early 2014 report concluded that “lurching from government breakdown to breakdown” had already significantly damaged the U.S. economy, resulting in an additional 750,000 unemployed.)

After that, Mann added:

Norm’s response underscores the reality of asymmetric polarization, which the mainstream media and most good government groups have avoided discussing — at great costs to the country. [Emphasis added.] As we wrote, Republicans have become more an insurgency than a major political party capable of governing. Their actions in Congress in recent weeks and on the presidential campaign trail underscore this reality.

But I would go even farther than Mann regarding the media. Their stubborn adherence to a false balance narrative has, ironically, become an integral part of the GOP’s relentless rightward push. By talking about “government dysfunction” instead of “Republican obstruction,” the media actively helps the most extreme anti-government Republicans thwart any efforts at competent governance and it helps promote their “government is horrible” worldview. It normalizes the abnormal, even the bizarre.

There was once a penalty for becoming too politically extreme: one’s actions would be characterized as unrealistic, destructive, heedless of past experience, etc. Sometimes this was justified, sometimes not (as with the Civil Rights movement). But right or wrong, this media practice inhibited radical movements in either direction. For quite some time now, however, conservative Republicans have realized that by moving right and attacking the media for any criticism, they can turn the media into a tacit ally, forcing them to treat preposterous claims as serious ideas, or even proven facts. Thus, when they were planning to force a government shutdown, a key part of their strategy was spinning the media with a preposterous argument that it was the Democrats who were shutting down the government, even though, as the New York Times reported, the shutdown plan traced back to a meeting early in President Obama’s second term, led by former Attorney General Edwin R. Meese.

In fact, at the time of the shutdown, in October 2013, I wrote a piece, “‘Balanced’ coverage ignores nine reasons why the shutdown is a GOP Idea” in which I argued:

[P]erhaps the single greatest asset the GOP has on its side is the so-called “liberal media,” with its ideological bias toward “balance” that prevents it from honestly reporting that the shutdown is a entirely Republican creation — which would dramatically intensify the pressure on Republicans to fold.

Far from producing accurate, objective reporting, the media’s adherence to “balanced” reporting blotted out almost all relevant history. The nine reasons I cited were:

1. The longstanding GOP fixation on shutting down the government.

2. The GOP’s creation of the shutdown crisis by blocking the budget reconciliation process.

3. The emergence and evolution of the incoherent Ted Cruz/Tea Party plan to force a shutdown over “Obamacare.”

4. The record of prominent Republican politicians and others who repeatedly warned against forcing a government shutdown — including many who are now trying to blame the Democrats.

5. The contrary historical record of some Republicans downplaying the severity of the shutdown.

6. The record of drastic Democratic budget concessions embodied in the “clean CR” [which Republicans rejected].

7. The polling evidence that only GOP base voters are opposed to political compromise — and are indifferent to crisis.

8. Evidence that GOP base intransigence drives policy.

9. The framework of American legislative history.

This was just one example, but the point is true in general: “Balance” does not ensure a clearer, more honest, more complete, more objective picture of the relevant facts — especially in current circumstances.

The GOP’s strategic logic is simple and straightforward: If the media is going to split the difference between what Democrats and Republicans say, then if Republicans simply double their demands, suddenly the media, embracing the “sensible center,” will now articulate the old GOP position as the “sensible center,” the “common sense” place to be. It will also adjust its reporting of “facts” accordingly, screening out all the facts that would once have made the Democratic position seem reasonable or plausible, and bringing in new “facts” — such as the GOP canard that it was really the Democrats who wanted to shut the government down. What’s more, once the media plays along, it’s a trick that can be used over and over again. One can keep moving farther and farther right indefinitely, pulling the “objective” media along for the ride, every step of the way. (Conservatives even developed an operational model to describe the process, known as the “Overton Window,” explained by a conservative activist here.)

The basis for all this is a cultural illusion that the “nonpartisan” media is somehow objective, philosophically in tune with science. But historically, this is far from true. Up until the late 19th century, American journalism was quite partisan, serving substantial “niche” audiences, sustained by subscriptions. When advertising exploded as a revenue source in the early 20th century, a new journalistic model emerged, trying to appeal across parties, while taking care not to anger large advertisers. The broader story is well told by Paul Starr in “The Creation of the Media,” while Jeremy Iggers incorporates this history into his account of how journalism ethics confuses the purposes of journalism in “Good News, Bad News: Journalism Ethics and the Public Interest.”

One of the most persistent critics of the “balanced journalism” that results is James Fallows of the Atlantic magazine, in his ongoing “false equivalence” blog posts, begun in 2012. One such post, quoting from correspondent Shreeharsh Kelkar at MIT, references Starr’s work, along with the concept of “boundary work,” which Kelkar describes as “a kind of rhetorical work that is performed in public argument: something is asserted to be science by stressing what it is not.” He goes on to say:

I think this kind of boundary work exists in journalism too… it’s what you call false equivalence (and Yglesias calls bipartisan think). Here the newspaper is seen as above politics, which is what grubby politicians do.

Such is the basis for the media’s claims of “objectivity.” Starr’s history explains the forces leading to why this happened. And Kelkar goes on to note that these forces are changing once again, corresponding with another change in outlook:

Interestingly enough, we’re now back in more partisan times, thanks to the Web. And it’s interesting to me that you, Matt and others who call the editorials on their false equivalence operate in a completely different new media ecosystem.

The one thing missing from this account is that partisan, ideological and other niche journalism (black newspapers, for example) never went away, although they were pushed toward the margins. But they continued to play important cultural and political roles, especially for movements locked out of power, struggling to find their way in. In this very real historical sense, the blogosphere’s origins were not just Usenet, email lists and the like, they were also the underground press tracing back toIF Stone’s Weekly and George Seldes’ In Fact; the black press, both commercial and movement-based; political journals of the left and right; and so on. These underappreciated traditions provide largely untapped examples of how to do quality political journalism outside of the artificial construct in which false balance is rooted. They point the way forward for us, beyond our current state of asymmetrical dysfunction.

H/t: DB

House Tea Partiers to the World: Burn, Baby, Burn…

Ron Sachs/Zuma; Amanda Lewis/iStock


Chaos, chaos, and chaos. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s withdrawal from the speaker’s racehas caused disarray—that is, greater disarray—within the House GOP conference. Hours after McCarthy’s announcement, there was no word of what comes next. Who might jump in? Would a caretaker candidate emerge? How long could Speaker John Boehner stay in the job? And, it seemed, the House tea partiers who had somewhat caused this crisis—they had succeeded in driving Boehner from the job and had deemed McCarthy insufficiently conservative—were yearning for more chaos. The House Freedom Caucus, the tea party GOPers, put out this statement:

Note that last sentence: “The next Speaker needs to yield back power to the membership for the sake of both the institution and the country.” In other words, we don’t want a speaker who is going to try to govern in a time of divided government; we don’t want a speaker who will endeavor to forge a compromise on behalf of the GOP conference and make the system work; and, as a government shutdown looms and a possible debt ceiling crisis approaches, we want a speaker who will step to the side and let the chaos reign. This is the congressional equivalent of “burn, baby, burn.”

Boehner’s Departure Opens The Door For Tea Party Crazies to Take The Wheel


attribution: NONE CITED


House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to resign will likely be greeted with applause by liberals and conservatives alike, as he presided over one of the most dysfunctional and least productive Congresses in the history of the country. Conservatives will cheer that the weak leader has been replaced by a stronger conservative, and liberals will celebrate the departure of one of Barack Obama’s most prominent Congressional adversaries.

Yet, for liberals, and for the American people in general, Boehner’s exit from leadership may not be cause for celebration. Boehner, for all his faults, was at least a feeble bridge between tea party nihilism and the frayed ends of sanity. His departure blows up that bridge. Without a doubt, the U.S. House was dysfunctional with Boehner at the helm. However, with Boehner out, that dysfunction is almost certain to get worse.

The list of Republicans who are most likely to replace Boehner as speaker, or to advance into other House leadership positions because of Boehner’s resignation, consists of a collection of Tea Party activists and sympathizers. Next in line could be Kevin McCarthy of California, with Paul Ryan (WI), Jeb Hensarling (TX), Tom Price (GA) and Steve Scalise (LA) as other possibilities for either Speaker or House Majority Leader. These five men are even less interested than Speaker Boehner was in running a functioning Congress.

The GOP House without Boehner as their leader will be even more dogmatic, resistant and nihilistic than the current House, and that is not an easy bar to clear. Worse yet, whoever does take the reigns will always be looking over his right shoulder, making sure he is placating the right-wing extremists so they don’t topple him in a political coup for being insufficiently conservative.

In many ways John Boehner has only himself to blame. As House Speaker he frequently allowed reckless reactionaries to hijack the House agenda and to turn the lower chamber of Congress into a perpetual circus. Boehner’s House spent much of its time running kangaroo courts to investigate phony scandals, and passing dozens of pointless resolutions to defund Obamacare.

The toothless House Speaker was never very successful at controlling the radicals in his party, who incessantly fought to undermine the last vestiges of functioning government. Boehner’s resignation will only fuel the growing nihilism of the Republican Party’s right-wing. With the lunatic fringe taking the wheel of governance, and John Boehner no longer on the GOP side of the aisle to pump the brakes, the tea party crazies are going to move full speed ahead with their plan to dismantle functioning government. Buckle up America. We’re in for a rough ride.

Keith Brekhus

Elitist Teabagger Pens An Article About What It’s Like To Be Black


Alan Caruba, contributing writer for the fringe right-wing Tea Party News Network, has some pretty impressive credentials. Founder of “The Center for Anxiety,” a conservative propaganda mill, Alan has spent his entire life on the quest for knowledge.

Not the kind of knowledge a contemporary student or scholar craves, mind you; Alan’s quest is for knowledge of how to be as ignorant as humanly possible.

At that he is a complete success. Caruba is a notorious science denier; for years he’s claimed that universities keep the myth alive for the benefit of…who knows who. He’s also a proponent of all things biblical, and he hates the LGBT community with a passion because he’s so much better than them.

The list goes on, straight down the lines of the fringe right.  Alan Caruba is a holier than thou myth junkie whose views are appreciated by knuckle-dragging nitwits across America.

It’s no wonder he writes for the number one publication of the Tea Party.

His latest article puts all of his other exploits to shame. Under the guise of someone hopeful that the Civil Rights Movement would solve the issue of race-relations in the 60’s, Caruba took to his blog to express just what it’s like to be black in the most condescending way possible:

“Middle and upper class blacks share the outlook of their white counterparts. They look at the inner cities and they understand that decades of liberal governance has driven out businesses large and small, along with anyone who could afford to leave. Yes, there was “white flight”, but they were joined by blacks who saw there was no future to be had there for their children. The rest are trapped.”

In an attempt to equate his privileged life with that of the black community, Caruba could only express what he certainly believes to be the only blacks he can identify with. Those who could “afford to leave” the inner cities.

He doesn’t for a minute consider that black people might consider their neighborhoods home, that they might have families and friends there, and that they may opt to try to make their neighborhoods better rather than abandon them.

Caruba further insults an entire race when he decides to delve into Baltimore’s problems. Here he references the Wall Street Journal and adds his little bit of ignorance:

“Asked to choose between two possible explanations for recent events, 60% of blacks said they reflected ‘long-standing frustrations about police mistreatment of African-Americans.’ Some 27% of black respondents said they thought the disturbances were caused by people as an excuse ‘to engage in looting and violence.’ I favor the latter explanation because I doubt that our nation’s police forces engage in deliberate harassment and mistreatment of blacks.”

He doubts that our nation’s police…forces…yeah… Apparently he lives under a rock. The fact that he who relates so well to middle and upper class people of color can even say such a thing makes me think he has no idea what black people think whatsoever. And for a minute there, it looked like he really had his finger on the pulse of the African-American community.

Of course you can’t talk about black people without mentioning the president. Caruba calls him “the most racially divisive leader in American History.”  I don’t know if Alan has noticed or not, but our country being racially divided over the president isn’t because he panders to blacks, it’s because he IS black.

Here’s his thoughts on the president:

“Referring to the Baltimore riot, he said that ‘we as a nation have to do some soul-searching’ when as William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal noted the trillions spent on liberal programs, personified by LBJ’s ‘War on Poverty’, have not succeeded in reducing poverty and have contributed to creating whole populations that live off of government handouts of one sort or another.”

And there it is. Liberals are to blame for turning black people into social-program dependent burdens on the American taxpayer. Isn’t that a fine how-do-you-do.

The reality is that the socio-economic isolation of blacks after the Civil War continues to this day. Inner cities see it to a much greater extent. If Caruba truly believes the problem can be solved by black people simply rising up and getting high-paying jobs, moving out of the neighborhoods he sees as substandard and acting more like white people, Alan Caruba may possibly be the dumbest person alive.

That statement definitely holds true of someone who would be so bold as to write this piece of garbage article and publish it with this for a featured image:

AA - Obama Increased Black Unemployment

Is it true? Absolutely not. Does it fit into the framework of an elitist jackwagon who has probably never met a black person in real life with the exception of that time he shook hands with Ben Carson at a Teabagger “freedom summit?” Absolutely.

One thing is for certain: As the Tea Party dwindles in size and influence, we can only hope a-holes like Alan Caruba fade into the darkness with it.


Florida Tea Party Hires Actors To ‘Play’ Protesters Opposing Everglade Restoration (VIDEO)

Addicting Info

Recently, Florida’s environmental experts came up with a plan to help restore some of the damage done to the state’s Everglades. The unique and gorgeous habitat has faced a series of setbacks in recent years with commercial development, water usage abuse, and pollution. To help fight this, the South Florida Water Management District has proposed buying up thousands of acres of land to be used as treatment facilities and water storage, where the water will eventually be fed into the Everglades.

For scientists and people who care about the unique wildlife that thrives in Florida’s Everglades, this is great. Unfortunately, the plan does have enemies. The most vocal is U.S. Sugar, which currently owns the land and wants to keep using it for industrial purposes. They have allied themselves with – who else? – the Florida Tea Party chapter, which looks at any government encroachment on business as an act of tyranny.

Everglades restoration has widespread public support though, so to counter that the Tea Party has decided to go with a “fake it until you make it” approach.

Unable to drum up enough popular support for the state to continue allowing the destruction of priceless areas of the Everglades for the sake of profits for a single company (I wonder why?), Florida’s Tea Party chapter has hired actors to “play” the imaginary protesters instead. Think of it as a way for people with money to pretend they’re being democratic instead of having to, you know, be democratic.

According to the Palm Beach Post, a rally of dozens of people held outside the South Florida Water Management District recently consisted almost entirely of paid actors. For $75, the actors held signs made for them by the Tea Party (in showbiz these are what’s known as “props”) and shouted slogans (“lines”) written for them by the Tea Party. According to the Palm Beach Post the actors “[knew] little about the cause they have been hired to oppose.”

From screenshots taken on social media, CL Tampa noted that the Tea Party group didn’t even try to hide that this is what was happening.


No “club” outfits but other than that, head on over to the protest and get 75 bucks for this thing – no need to worry yourself with what it’s about!

Despite the paid actors, the rally appeared to have been an awkward mess. In a brief video posted to the Tea Party Miami YouTube channel, the “protesters” are seen with blank expressions while holding signs and symbolically lighting “two billion dollars” on fire in a grill. Someone is wearing what appears to be a Monopoly Guy outfit for some reason.

As for the actors, it’s hard to blame them for taking the money for the gig. It’s hard out there for a struggling actor and $75 for two hours of holding a sign is pretty good. It would be interesting to learn about their experiences. If you are or know someone who participated in the protest, we’d love to hear from you to get a personal view of the whole thing. You can find my Twitter handle below.

As for the Tea Party, what can we say? For a group that was built by the rich to appear like it was a grassroots movement, this kind of thing must seem only natural. Paying people to look like they support you is exactly the kind of thing we have come to expect. Only this time absolutely nobody seems like they’re buying it.

Tea Party News Network website staff quits after report on ‘despicable practices’

'Citizens line the street in protest of government spending on April 2, 2010 In Charlotte, North Carolina' [David Huntley Creative via Shutterstock.com]

‘Citizens line the street in protest of government spending on April 2, 2010 In Charlotte, North Carolina’ [David Huntley Creative via Shutterstock.com]

But wait…hasn’t the Tea Party been performing despicable practices since 2009?

The Raw Story

The conservative Tea Party News Network website (TPNN) lost most of its staff on Thursday following a mass resignation over the site’s “despicable practices,”Politico reported.

“You regularly show contempt for the people who make all your financial success possible,” the group said in a letter to site owners Todd Cefaratti and Kellen Guida. “The staff who work around the clock to produce timely and breaking content is regularly reminded that ‘writers are cheap.’ The audience is regarded as unsophisticated simpletons.”

The letter was signed by TPNN’s social media director Jennifer Burke and two contributors, Matthew Burke and Greg Campbell. They were joined by Kris Hall and Dustin Stockton, who worked for Cefaratti’s other website, TheTeaParty.Net.

According to the Daily Beast, TheTeaParty.net received more than $6 million in donations during the last election cycle. But at the same time, TPNN’s website has drawn criticism from other conservatives for including non-political content like video footage of street altercations.

“It was supposed to be an educational tool for people who were upset with what is going on in the world,” said conservative activist Samuel J. “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher. “But then they figured out, ‘Hell, we can make more money off of this.’ I stopped going to the site. It stopped being informative.”

TPNN news director and Fox News contributor Scottie Hughes told the Beast that the videos helped the site retain readership.

“Nobody talks politics 24/7. People talk sports. People talk dog shows,” she said. “We are like other news outlets trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We are trying to make you a well-rounded person, so you can have stuff to talk about at the water cooler, so you aren’t just seen as the crazy Tea Party person who has been demonized for so long.”

But the group accused TPNN management in its resignation letter of steering money raised “using non-profit dollars and resources” into a for-profit company without any transparency, while posting “increasingly vile and unacceptable” content.

“The activism that built all the infrastructure is considered a ‘pain in the ass’ not as an opportunity to save the country,” the letter stated. “As a group we can no longer tolerate being associated with these despicable practices.”

The letter was posted in its entirety by the Washington Free Beacon, and can be read below:

It’s Elizabeth Warren’s party now! How to remake it in the liberal heroine’s image

Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama | (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/Yuri Gripas/photo montage by Salon)

I’ll just say, I hope she runs in 2016…


If they’re smart, liberals could use Warren’s new power to make the changes to the party that are so badly needed

Despite being so notoriously difficult to get right, predictions are part of the pundit’s stock-in-trade. So once you’ve got some grains of salt ready to toss into the mix, please indulge me for a moment as I make one of my own.

Here it goes: Twenty years from now, assuming climate change has not yet ended the world as we know it, most American liberals won’t think of this fall as the time when Republicans finally retook control of the U.S. Senate. And they won’t think of it as the brief pause that separated the era of Barack Obama from that of Hillary Clinton. Instead, when the liberals of our near future look back on the current moment, they’ll remember it as the hour when the Democratic Party began to move decisively to the left, thanks in no small part to the continued ascendance of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Pessimist that I am, I’ll readily grant that this is very optimistic. In fits and starts, the party’s been moving leftward for a number of years now, and I’ve little doubt that the midterm blowout will be cited by some as proof that Democrats must become even more centrist. Yet unlike the talk surrounding a historically ignored election, which will dissipate quickly (especially if I’m right about the return of government-by-crisis), the opportunity raised by the Democratic Party’s recent decision to make Warren part of its Senate leadership has the potential to be far more enduring. But only if liberal activists know what to do with it.

At this point, it’s not entirely clear what the folks nominally in charge of this infamously disorganized party are trying to do by elevating Warren. Because the former Harvard Law professor has been prominent in liberal circles since the launch of her brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it can be easy to forget that she’s only been in Congress for a couple of years. And coming as it does after a truly disastrous midterm showing, this seeming vote of confidence from Democratic bigwigs has the risk of being a “glass cliff” situation. My former colleague Brian Beutler, for example, has guessed that Senate Dem leadership may have opted to bring Warren into the fold because they’ll need a popular spokeswoman to deliver the next two years’ worth of bad news to the “professional left.”

Still, even if Warren’s promotion isn’t motivated entirely or primarily by idealism and generosity, it could nevertheless be a major turning point for activists looking to push the Democratic Party in a more left-wing direction. After many years of kvetching about their paltry influence — and following decade after decade of enviously watching the conservative movement refashion the GOP in its own image — lefty ideologues and organizers now have the chance to turn Warren into a kind of trojan horse for a resurgent politics of economic populism (or, as it used to be called, liberalism). And if they adapt and adhere to the script used many years ago by visionary right-wingers, who famously responded to an electoral drubbing in 1964 by staying the course and propelling a true believer to the White House less than 20 years later, it just might work.

It’s not a perfect analogy, I admit. There are fundamental, irresolvable differences between liberals and conservatives, and they extend well beyond ideology and into the realms of psychology and sociology. (Liberals are less hierarchically minded, more demographically diverse.) Further, in spite of all the mythology about conservative movement turning the GOP into the “party of ideas,” the fact is that the men (and women, but mostly men) who transformed the party of Lincoln into the chief vehicle of the Reagan Revolution spent much more time talking about and organizing around what they were against — taxes, the welfare state, the civil rights movement, feminism, LGBT equality, the separation of church and state, etc. — than what they were for. And while there are certainly some recent Supreme Court decisions they’d like to see reversed, a politics centered around a return to the glorious past is, for liberals, not really an option.

But notwithstanding all of that, I still think the conservative example offers activist liberals unhappy with the Obama record –which is most of them — some valuable lessons.

For one, if left-wing troublemakers want to make Sen. Warren a Goldwater of their own, they’ll have to ignore the 2016 presidential race as much as possible. That doesn’t simply mean giving up on the lost cause of forcing Wall Street favorite Hillary Clinton to reinvent herself as a true progressive. And it certainly doesn’t mean wasting resources on a quixotic primary challenge, which in the present circumstances will do little more than help Clinton get back in the swing of triangulation. Instead, it means building institutional support from the bottom up by creating funding networks and community spaces outside of the Democratic Party’s reach, so lefties can feel personally invested in their cause without having D.C. grandees step in and tell them to be “serious.” That’s what right-wing activists did through churches, think tanks and mailing lists; and the often successful Internet-based organizing from people at Daily Kos and the Blue America PAC has already offered a hint of how those on the left can do it again.

For another, the conservative precedent suggests that even if policy is overrated when it comes to deciding the outcome of elections, it’s extremely important to be in control of the policymaking apparatus for the time that comes next. Our political culture may pay an inordinate amount of lip service to the idea that policy is a translated version of the people’s will, but the reality is that most partisans and politicians choose their policy views by following where their party leads them, not the other way around. Conservative dominance over the grants, scholarships and think tanks that comprised the GOP’s policymaking infrastructure was integral to the dramatic lurch to the right the party platform experienced between 1960 and 1976 (before Reagan’s coronation, you’ll note). And as the Tea Party’s recent takeover of influential right-wing policy shops like Cato and Heritage shows, the value of this approach has not over time been diminished. As Grover Norquist, one of the leading right-wing activists of his generation, noted in 2012, controlling the GOP policymaking machine made it so all conservatives needed in a Republican president was the ability to use a pen.

Last but not least, the success of right-wing activists from the past and present indicates that there can be long-term benefits in a short-term stint as the minority. To be clear, it’d be taking things too far to say that it’s a good thing Democrats now only control the White House. As the last four years have taught us, the powers of the imperial presidency don’t seem to extend very far into the realm of the domestic (at least not yet). So having a majority in Congress is vital, still. At the same time, there’s value, to a degree, in having a party with ideological coherence — increasingly so, I’d argue, in an era of institutional failure and partisan polarization. Most of the Democrats dissolved in the red tides of ’10 and ’14 were “blue dog” conservatives, and while their absence has stripped Democrats of control over Congress, it’s offered lefties within their ranks the chance to redecorate, as it were, now that the majority times have ended.

Perhaps more than anything else, though, what lefty activists should learn from their right-wing counterparts is this: In a dysfunctional two-party system such as ours, in which voters are perpetually unhappy and ready for any excuse to throw the bums out and start all over, it’s only a matter of time until the losers of yesterday are once again ascendant. And as the GOP has shown in the years since its back-to-back wipeouts in ’06 and ’08, responding to electoral defeat by moderating is no longer necessary, while moving further away from the center is no longer a death sentence. Now that they have a political superstar and ideological true believer as their behind-the-scenes agent, lefty activists with an eye on the long term have a chance to, in the words of Warren, “frame the issues for the next few elections” and ultimately make the Democratic Party truly progressive.

10 Ways Conservatives Sell Their Failed Policies


Poster mocking “Obamacare” | Conservative Report photo

This article is a bit long, but informative…


No, medical bankruptcy is not freedom.

Below are 10 examples of the far right using liberal-influenced rhetoric or terminology to promote destructive policies.

1. “Right to Work” Laws

Proponents of so-called “right to work laws,” which are especially common in Republican-dominated southern states, will claim that such laws are doing workers a favor by “liberating” them from the demands of labor unions. Southern Republicans tout “right to work” laws as a gift to the working class, insisting that collective bargaining is an impediment to one’s ability to be gainfully employed. But as the AFL-CIO and other labor unions have asserted, such laws just give the right to work for less, resulting in lower pay, inferior benefits and bad working conditions. According to the AFL-CIO, median household income in states with right to work laws is $6,437 less per year than in states that are more union-friendly—and in right to work states, only 50.7% of employers offer their employees health insurance compared to 55.2% in states that don’t have such laws. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that the number of deaths in the workplace is 36% higher in right to work states than in union-friendly states.

2. So-Called “Restorative Therapy” For Gays

The Christian Right has been aggressively promoting so-called “restorative therapy” for gays, insisting that homosexuality can be cured with a big dose of Christian fundamentalism. Terms like restorative therapy and reparative therapy have a new age-like ring to them. In Texas—where Republican Gov. Rick Perry has compared homosexuality to alcoholism—such “therapy” is officially endorsed in the state’s Republican Party platform. But Texas Republicans aren’t doing gays any favor by promoting restorative therapy, which doesn’t work—and John Paulk (who, in the 1990s, became the far right’s poster child for turning gay men straight) has come out against it. Paulk now says what many gay activists have been saying all along: homosexuality is not a choice, but a sexual orientation one is born with, and restorative therapy is an abusive practice, especially when imposed on teenagers.

3. Generation Opportunity: Equating Medical Bankruptcy with “Self-Determination” and “Freedom”

Receiving huge donations from oligarchs Charles and David Koch and having strong ties to the Tea Party, the Virginia-based Generation Opportunity (or GenOpp for short) bills itself as a “nonprofit Millennial advocacy organization.” One of its main targets has been the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. GenOpp, using rhetoric like “self-determination” and “free the future,” has been holding youth-oriented rallies urging Millennials to sign a pledge to “opt out” of Obamacare exchanges. But what GenOpp calls “self-determination” or “freedom” could lead to medical bankruptcy for Millennials. Healthcare reform activists have been quite critical of GenOpp’s irresponsible “Opt Out of Obamacare” campaign. In 2013, Ethan Rome (executive director of Health Care for America Now) asserted that it was“seriously unconscionable” for GenOpp to urge Millennials to make a point of being uninsured and stressed that suffering a major illness or accident while uninsured could result in Millennials being “buried by bills and unable to recover for the rest of their lives.” To GenOpp and their friends at Koch Industries and the Tea Party, medical bankruptcy is “freedom”; to sane people, it’s a cruel and frightening hardship.

4. Social Security “Reform”: Butchering Social Security in the Name of “Prosperity”

When Republicans and the Tea Party speak of “social security reform,” they insist they have the best interests of senior citizens at heart and want to make sure they enjoy a comfortable retirement. “Reforming” social security was part of the so-called “path to prosperity budget” for 2015 that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposed earlier this year, but Ryan’s potentially disastrous ideas for social security would be more like a path to poverty for seniors. Ryan would like to gut social security: his ideas have included allowing workers under 55 to invest large portions of their social security taxes in the stock market (a terrible idea in light of how badly Wall Street and the banking sector crashed in September 2008) and—according to estimates from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities—cutting benefits by about 40% for workers making $43,000 a year and about 50% for workers making $70,000 a year. There was a time when some prominent Republicans (including President Dwight D. Eisenhower) recognized social security as a valuable element of the New Deal, but these days, Ryan and other Tea Party favorites speak of “reforming” social security when in truth, they want to butcher it.

5. So-Called “Pro-Life Feminism”

Founded in 1972, Feminists for Life of America is the leader of the so-called “feminist pro-life” movement—which claims that it is “empowering” women by fighting to deny them access to safe and legal abortions. The organization is big on pseudo-feminist rhetoric, often invoking the name of Susan B. Anthony and saying it employs “holistic, woman-centered solutions” when addressing unplanned pregnancies. But even though Feminists for Life of America calls itself nonpartisan, it has never been shy about associating with or endorsing the Christian Right. One of its outspoken members is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom the organization haspraisedfor her “pro-life feminist” views. And the former head of its California chapter is none other than long-time Republican Party activist Susan Carpenter-McMillan.

6. Christian Fundamentalists Promoting “Great Sex”

The Christian Right has a long history of being anti-sex, from opposing real sex education (choosing instead to support failed abstinence-only programs) to opposing birth control. But some Christian fundamentalists have tried to counter that puritanical image by insisting they want you to have wild, explosive sex. For example, 1Flesh describes itself as “a grassroots movement dedicated to bringing great sex to the entire universe.” But it is actually a far-right Christian fundamentalist site that opposes contraception. Similarly, christiannymphos.org is a website that addresses a wide range of sexual topics yet opposes any type of sex outside of marriage. These websites underscore the fact that when Christian fundamentalists try to sound liberal or progressive, they often end up showing how socially conservative they are.

7. The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011

It isn’t uncommon for far-right Republicans to invoke the names of civil rights figures when they are pushing oppressive ideas. A perfect example was the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011. When Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona proposed the bill, he claimed that it was designed to prevent the epidemic of “race-selection abortions” and “gender-selection abortions” (an “epidemic” that doesn’t exist). But Franks’ attempt to sound like the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women all rolled into one fell painfully flat because it was obvious he wasn’t motivated by concern for women or African Americans—he was pandering to white anti-abortion zealots of the far right. Unafraid to call Franks out, Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan told him, “I’ve studied Frederick Douglass more than you, and I’ve never heard or read about him saying anything about prenatal non-discrimination.”

8. So-Called “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”

Although the Christian Right will never admit it, Planned Parenthood actually reduces the number of abortions in the United States by providing contraception for women. But instead of preventing unwanted pregnancies by supporting Planned Parenthood, easy access to contraception and comprehensive sex education programs, the Christian Right would rather deny women access to abortions when unwanted pregnancies occur. A common tactic among far-right Christian fundamentalists is pretending to be an abortion clinic or offer pregnancy counseling: once women are lured into those so-called pregnancy crisis centers with warm, fuzzy language, they are bombarded with militant anti-choice rhetoric from the same zealots who oppose contraception. And even if the pregnancy is the result of rape, many of these Christian fundamentalist “clinics” still try to shame and bully women into not having abortions.

9. Allen West and the Modern-Day “Underground Railroad”

When Republicans and the Tea Party try to sell wingnut ideas to African Americans, one of their tactics is mentioning civil rights leaders of the past. Former Florida Rep. Allen West, for example, has described himself as a “modern-day Harriet Tubman” whose mission is to “lead people on the Underground Railroad” away from the Democratic Party and into the loving arms of the GOP and the Tea Party. West likes to paint himself as a friend of the oppressed and the downtrodden, but his positions—disdain for unions and healthcare reform, trying to butcher the social safety net, opposition to raising the minimum wage—demonstrate that he is anything but.

10. Mike Huckabee’s Idea of Female “Empowerment”

When President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asserted that the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket lost because Republicans’ rhetoric was too harsh. There was nothing wrong with the GOP message, Huckabee claimed—only in the way they presented it. Huckabee has long been a master of trying to make extreme Christian fundamentalism seem warm and caring. But this year, Huckabee showed his true colors when an awkward, clumsy attempt at preaching female “empowerment” ended up sounding contemptuous of women. Opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate, Huckabee insisted: “Republicans don’t have a war on women. We’re having a war for women—to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.” Huckabee went on to say, “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.” Huckabee, in essence, echoed Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that women are sluts if they want health insurance to cover birth control pills. So much for Republicans softening their rhetoric.