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It’s not grassroots; Why billionaires love the Tea Party

Sep 26, 2010

This article is adapted from a brochure, written by Gavrielle Gemma, that was given out at the 9/11 demo in New York.

Koch Oil Industries, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, ExxonMobil and the super rich are all telling us to hate Muslims, hate immigrants and blame them for everything. They don’t like speaking in their own names so they get the Tea Party to do it for them.

Meanwhile, they are laughing all the way to the bank, making huge profits and living like kings.

While we are fighting for good jobs, they are laying off workers, attacking Social Security and public education, polluting the environment, raising our rents and destroying the lives of working people.

The Tea Party and other right-wing racists are claiming they represent workers. They claim they are standing up against “special interests” for the “little guy.” The media, owned by huge monopolies, give them free publicity and repeat this over and over again.

But repeating a lie does not make it true. It only makes it dangerous for those of us who really are workers.

It’s time to fight the lies.

Who funds the Tea Party?

Heading the list is Koch Industries, headed by David and Charles Koch (pronounced Coke), the third-richest people in the United States.

From David Koch’s Park Avenue duplex or from his other mansions, he heads up Americans for Prosperity. This group has given more than $198 million to right-wingers in the last 10 years.

The Koch brothers are the main funders of the Tea Party. The ideas and slogans of the Tea Party come from one of the dozens of AFP think tanks.

Koch Industries is an oil and chemical company with $100 billion a year in revenues. It is the second-largest privately held U.S. company. To protect its special interests, Koch has spent $55 million on lobbying elected officials and giving them campaign contributions.

The Kochs think workers are idiots. In Texas they funded a Tea Party event they called a “populist uprising against corporate power.” They said, “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests.” They should know, because this is exactly what they are doing.

They lobby against Social Security, public schools, unemployment insurance, Medicare, unions, any regulation on corporations, the rich paying taxes, child labor laws, minimum wage and environmental protection.

These oil company billionaires lobbied against money for BP oil-spill victims. They are going wild over the idea that Bush’s tax cuts on corporations may be repealed. They hate Barack Obama.

The Koch brothers fund dozens of groups that sound objective, with names like Institute for Humane Studies and Institute for Justice. But David Koch said, “If we’re going to give a lot of money, we’ll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent.”

And what is their intent? Make profits and the public be damned.

The Wall Street Journal, no friend to workers, called the Kochs’ Mercatus Center “the most important think tank you’ve never heard of.” Mercatus was against most of the corporate regulations that George W. Bush then eliminated.

One of Mercatus’s favorites is attacking environmental protection. This oil company front group argues that oil refinery emissions are good because smog protects people from skin cancer.

Funny? Not very. In 1999 a group of judges in Washington, D.C., agreed with them. It turns out that they had all partied on a Montana ranch where David Koch picked up the tab.

It gets worse. David Koch sits on the board of the American Cancer Institute even as Koch Industries fights the banning of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. Yes, they produce the stuff by the tons. Koch Industries was charged in the 1990s with more than 300 oil spills and received a 97-count criminal indictment for covering up the discharge of benzene in Texas. Benzene causes cancer. So much for protecting Texas workers.

The Koch brothers say they hate big government. But that’s only when the government funds unemployment insurance, which they lobby against. They have no problem with the more than $100 million in government contracts that go to them.

National health care is no good, according to these silver-spoon children of millionaire Fred Koch. So they funded Patients United Now Against Health Care Reform.

They never knew a hard day in their lives. Daddy Koch was an oil man and pro-Nazi sympathizer who left them his wealth. This didn’t stop an AFP rep from saying, “We’re a grassroots organization. ... I think it is unfortunate when wealthy children of wealthy families want to send unemployment rates up.”

We think so, too. But this AFP flunky was actually attacking environmentalists, saying they cause unemployment — not the corporate bosses and bankers who have laid workers off by the millions.

Not just the Kochs — it’s the whole capitalist class

The Tea Party also gets money from ExxonMobil, Philip Morris, Rupert Murdoch, the Coors family, Mellon-Scaife. The whole right-wing, racist Tea Party and other similar groups are funded by the billionaires of hate.

The Tea Party uses catchy names like Contract from America and FreedomWorks to hide their real agenda.

Are you angry about taxes, unemployment, foreclosures? Their answer: Hate immigrants and Muslims.

The fact is these billionaires hardly pay any taxes. They don’t mind when a trillion a year of our taxes goes to war-profiteering companies. They don’t mind when $400 billion of the federal budget goes tax free to banks in interest payments in one year alone. They don’t mind giving mortgage companies our tax dollars.

But they’re against giving tax money to homeowners to save their homes. They don’t mind the $12-trillion bailout of the banks and Wall Street, but it drives them crazy when tax money goes to pay unemployment insurance.

Media gives billionaires’ view

Why don’t we hear about these things? Because the major media are part of the billionaire network and print billionaires’ lies as truth.

Fox News, for example, is a giant monopoly run by Rupert Murdoch. Both Glenn Beck and Sara Palin are on the payroll. In fact, all the major media are monopolies and many are connected to war-profiteering companies like General Electric. They love the Tea Party and give it lots of free coverage.

What is the Tea Party’s real agenda?

Divide working class at a time of economic crisis

Right now the banks are making record profits. So are corporations. They’ve had a recovery.

But we’ve got 30 million who need full-time jobs. Foreclosures and evictions take place every day. Prices are rising and wages are falling.

The bankers and corporate owners are sitting on piles of money made from our labor. They are refusing to put us to work. When they do, they pay low wages. They are lowering our benefits or giving none. They are attacking our unions.

They are stealing our money from the public treasuries of all our city, state and federal budgets and giving it over tax free to banks.

What is scapegoating?

It is blaming innocent people for creating a problem. It is deliberately lying to get us to look in the wrong direction, away from those who really create the problems.

It’s easier to just vent anger than really fight the establishment - right? But the rich just laugh at us for doing that. Not only does scapegoating not put one cent in our pockets, it actually helps the super-rich step on our necks even more by blaming the wrong people, people we should all unite with. Today the Tea Party and others are trying to blame immigrants and Muslims.

United, we workers can force the government to take money from corporate welfare, from billionaire tax cheaters, from the warmongers and create a national jobs program for all.

In the 1930s, employed and unemployed workers in the United States fought and won the WPA, which put them back to work. We can do this today.

Facts for this article came from: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, Aug. 21; Jane Mayer, New Yorker Magazine, Aug. 30; Constitutional Accountability Center; Frank Rich, New York Times, Aug. 29.

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UPDATED Oct 26, 2010 3:39 PM
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