declining an award…

A little bit ago blogger friend, earthriderjudy, kindly designated me a recipient of The Lovely Blogger Award. In doing so, she indicated that her choice was based upon my promotion of others’ blogs. She went on to say that the posts she most enjoyed were those about myself and my family. While I delighted in her validation of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, my current involvement in speaking my political mind makes acceptance of the award difficult.

earthriderjudy personally refrains from promoting her political opinions in the public arena…for very good reasons. Her former career as a reporter, and current one as a teacher have influenced her position.

While I respect her stance…I do not share it.

The 2012 Presidential election is too significant for me not to involve myself personally. At least in the writing of my own opinions.

I listen 24/7 to coverage of the campaign, and read whatever comes across my laptop to do with both Presidential candidates.

My overriding concern has been Mitt Romney‘s morphing of the truth to please specific audiences. The most shocking, of course, was his telling remark to donors, behind closed doors, that he was disconnected and unconcerned about the 47% he’d written off as President Obama’s followers. He referred to them as those who felt entitled to the government’s help.

It’s a fact that these include military personnel whose salaries are tax-exempt when at war, and which, in many cases, are insufficient to sustain their families back home. Some depend upon food stamps to survive.

When my mom needed surgery for a hernia she’d had for decades, Medicaid provided the funds for that, as well as additional medical help she’d not been able to afford as a widow of many years, with a family of 9 to raise on her own.

My mom died some years ago, but she might have been one of the 47% from whom Romney would distance himself.

There are many other instances in which Romney has shown his chameleon-like ability to transform himself from “severe Conservative,” to Tea Party extremist, to the current centrist Conservative.

Which Romney will his followers be voting into the White House?

In addition to Romney’s vacillation on important issues…women’s rights to choose and equal pay for equal work…self-deportation of immigrants…specific government cuts he would  make to balance his 20% tax cuts across the board, including for the top 1%…repealing Obamacare, in toto or in part…running mate Paul Ryan‘s Medicare voucher system for those age 55 and under…I have other major reservations about Romney’s bid for the White House.

As an Independent who doesn’t tend toward the Republican Party’s platform, I hadn’t kept abreast of who rocked their world. In other words, who are the “movers and shakers” of the Republican Party.

I got more than I expected when I read The Obama Hate Machine  by Bill Press.

ALEC CROW - 21st Century Disenfranchisement

ALEC CROW – 21st Century Disenfranchisement (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

In the book I was introduced to the Koch brothers, David and Charles.

Right-wing extremists, billionaire oil-men, the Kochs support and fund the Tea Party movement, ensuring that their politicians represent the interests of Koch Industries, Inc.‘s “bottom line.” Front group, Americans for Prosperity…

… hosted a Website offering ‘Tea Party Talking Points.’ It arranged for buses to transport protestors to and from Washington, while also organizing companion rallies in Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, New Jersey, and other states. It also circulated a memo with instructions on how to disrupt town hall meetings. On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann described the Koch Brothers as the grand puppeteers of the Tea Party crowd, staying out of sight but ‘telling them what to say and which causes to take on and also giving them lots of money to do it with.’

The Kochs have also more than dabbled in the environmental debate. In their own interests the brothers have contributed heavily to the Republican Congress.

January 5, 2011, was a big day for John Boehner. After twenty years of climbing up and falling down the leadership ladder in the House of Representatives, he had finally made it to the top and was about to be sworn in as Speaker of the House for the 112th Congress.

It was a big day for David Koch, too. After all, he and his brother Charles had done more than any two other fat cats to help Republicans win the House–and he was there in the chamber with his top lobbyists when Speaker Boehner took the oath of office.

Not only that: Koch was awarded a private meeting with Boehner, while his top political deputy, Tim Phillips, enjoyed a one-on-one with representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

…The Los Angeles Times reported that Koch Industries and its employees were the largest single donor to members of the panel, more generous than ExxonMobil. They shelled out $279,500 to twenty-two of the committee’s thirty-one Republicans.

…And the Kochs’ generosity soon paid off. The budget bill passed by the Boehner-controlled House not only cut EPA’s funding for the 2011 fiscal year by three billion dollars; it abolished most of the agency’s authority to do its job. As decreed by House Republicans, EPA would be banned from spending any money to clean up Chesapeake Bay; from enforcing new water-quality standards in Florida; from issuing new solid-waste standards that would include coal ash from power plants as a hazardous waste; from publishing new air-quality standards for coarse particulate matter; and–biggest prize of all for Koch Industries–from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from stationary sources.

…It was a big step toward the goal Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore in 2006 of eliminating 90 percent of all laws and government regulations in order to strengthen the ‘culture of prosperity.’ ”

The wholesale retreat from environmental protection led to this conclusion by California’s Henry Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee: ‘It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think.’ “

For those of you who so obviously love the world in which we live, as evidenced by the treasure trove of cherished photographs I’ve seen throughout the Word Press blog community, be very wary of the long reach of Koch Industries’ tentacles. ”

…Koch Industries has a bad record of oil spills and air and water pollution. A 2010 University of Massachusetts at Amherst study cited it as one of the top ten air polluters in the country. And it has long been the most-outspoken corporate opponent of any climate-change legislation, because any such government program would inevitably interfere with what it believes to be its right to pollute with impunity.

One of the most damning accounts of the Kochs’ role in undermining global-warming legislation came in a March 2010 study published by Greenpeace: ‘Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine.’ In its report, Greenpeace traces almost fifty million dollars in funds allocated over the course of a decade from three different Koch-controlled foundations to climate-denial front groups working to scuttle policies aimed at stopping global warming.

…from 2005 to 2008…

– Over five million dollars to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation for its ‘Hot Air Tour’ campaign, debunking climate science and opposing climate-change legislation.

– One million dollars each to the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute for ‘scientific’ studies questioning the reality of global warning.

– $800,000 to the Manhattan Institute for hosting seminars featuring climate change-denial speakers.

– $360,000 to the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy to produce its own documentary rebutting Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

– And $360,000 to the little-known Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, or FREE.

…FREE, headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, operates way below the radar. Its target audience is comprised of federal judges and state supreme court justices, whom they pay to attend seminars where, according to their Web site, FREE’s ‘scientists’ apply ‘economics and scientific analysis to generate and explore alternative and innovative solutions to environmental problems.’ In other words, we’ll pay you to come to Montana and learn why global warming is nothing to worry about, so you can then go home and rule accordingly.

…the Koch propaganda blitz is working. In 2008, both John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that global warming was real, and man-made, and that government had to act. Most Americans agreed. Today, that situation has reversed. Obama’s still pushing for climate-change legislation, but he’s been blocked by Republicans in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, public opinion about climate change has shifted significantly.

An October 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center found that only 57 percent of Americans believed there was solid evidence that the Earth is getting warmer, down from 71 percent in April 2008. At the same time, fewer Americans saw global change as a serious priority. Van Jones, now with the Center for American Progress, credits anti-climate change ads paid for by the Koch Brothers with the dramatic decline in public support for action on global warming.

Charles Koch is a smart man. Smart enough to know that he’s “putting one over” on the American public. He admitted as much “in his remarkable op-ed in the March 1, 2011, Wall Street Journal…”

Koch himself acknowledges that American corporations today have been able to use their considerable financial clout to win too many concessions from government. It’s not good for taxpayers, and it’s not good for business, either, says the Journal, summing up Koch’s article, because ‘crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepeneurs from producing the products and services that make people’s lives better.’ ”

Following Koch’s own logic, it’s clear that the massive influence of big corporations on our political process must be curbed immediately. And we need to take a stand against wealthy plutocrats who would subvert the American political system to make themselves even richer. On that point, at least, it seems, we and the Brothers Koch can agree. As Charles Koch himself might say, ‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’ “

If the American Presidency is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, shouldn’t the Brothers Koch be given consideration. They are not risk-takers. They only bet on a sure thing. And they have an empire already in place to guarantee their success. Consider the long list of organizations fully or partially funded by the Kochs.

THE ARMS OF THE KOCHTOPUS

FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity are just the tip of the Koch iceberg. Because they operate through various family foundations, and because not all organizations receiving Koch contributions are required to reveal the names of donors, no one but the Koch Brothers themselves knows how much money they have poured into their anti-Obama crusade. But it certainly adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Kochs pour their money out of three family foundations, with combined assets of over sixty million dollars: the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation (named after a close family friend who died). Again, we don’t know them all, but among those organizations…

-The Cato Institute
-Citizens for a Sound Economy
-Mercatus Center, George Mason University
-Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University
-Heritage Foundation
-Institute for Justice
-Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment
-Reason Foundation
-Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
-Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
-Washington Legal Foundation
-Capital Research Center
-Competitive Enterprise Institute
-Ethics and Public Policy Center
-National Center for Policy Analysis
-Citizens for Congressional Reform Foundation
-Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
-American Legislative Exchange Council
-Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
-Political Economy Research Center
-Media Institute
-National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship
-University of Chicago
-Defenders of Property Rights
-University of Kansas Endowment Association
-Texas Public Policy Foundation
-Center for Individual Rights
-Heartland Institute
-Texas Justice Foundation
-Institute for Policy Innovation
-Center of the American Experiment
-Atlas Economic Research Foundation
-Young America’s Foundation
-Henry Hazlitt Foundation
-Atlantic Legal Foundation
-National Taxpayers Union
-Families Against Mandatory Minimums
-Philanthropy Roundtable
-Free Enterprise Institute
-John Locke Foundation
-Hudson Institute
-Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
-National Environmental Policy Institute
-Washington University
-Pacific Legal Foundation
-American Council for Capital Formation
-Institute for Political Economy
-State Policy Network
-Fraser Institute
-Mackinac Center
-Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
-Institute for Objectivist Studies
-Americans for Prosperity
-FreedomWorks
-Bill of Rights Institute
-Study of Political Economy and Free Enterprise
-Excellence in Economics Education

If, and hopefully it’s a BIG IF, Romney is elected President of the United States of America…he will most likely serve…as proxy for Charles and David Koch. If not directly, then indirectly…through Boehner and the Tea Party obstructionists in Congress. In unison, they will all hold Romney’s feet to the fire.

White House

White House (Photo credit: HarshLight)

Then…the purchase of America…will be…complete.

…your choice…your vote…

…IF NOT US?…WHO?…IF NOT NOW?…WHEN?

………hugmamma.

two housewives, “founders of tea party movement”

I’d always wondered whether or not ordinary housewives could run the country. Looks like last night’s election proved that they can. Evidently we can do the extraordinary, when we decide to put our passion and energies behind a task. I’m sure all women will agree that’s a “no-brainer.” When wives and moms decide to do something, they do it, like Margaret Whitman, creator of the multi-billion dollar business, E-Bay.

Sarah Palin’s first brush with the media was as a beauty queen. Setting her sights on politics, she became mayor of little known Wasila, and then governor of Alaska, and then GOP candidate for VP. While she and McCain lost the presidential election, Palin landed back in front of the cameras. While she may not have been the media’s darling then, mainstream reporters seem to be back pedaling now. This morning on CNN, the political spin-meisters spoke of her as a force with which to be reckoned, especially in the 2012 election. OMG, I thought! Talk about going the “way the wind blows.”

I’m a liberal, too compassionate to turn my back on those needing a “hand-up.” My husband and I, both from large families, 12 and 9 siblings, respectively, are inclined to “give back,” and “pay it forward.” But I do understand the frustration of those on the unemployment lines, those who are barely making “ends meet,” those whose homes are “under water” because of foreclosures next door, those whose businesses are struggling, those who want a balanced budget, those who want less government, and those of us on Main Street who are fed up with the millionaires on Wall Street. Might I just add here, why are we still making millionaires of athletes, and celebrities, and doctors “playing” the Medicare system? I’d just as soon take all the money we’re pouring into these peoples’ pockets, and help the homeless, the abused, those unable to get health insurance.

While I may disagree with conservative efforts to take the country backwards, I have to applaud Amy Kremer and Jenny Beth Martin, Atlanta housewives who are the geniuses behind the Tea Party movement. According to the Wall Street Journal’s  “Birth of a Movement-Tea Party Arose from Conservatives Steeped in Crisis,” on 10/29, both women “were 30-something suburbanites…frustrated by recession, dismayed by the election of Barack Obama and waiting for the next chapter of their lives.” Quitting her career as a Delta flight attendant to raise her daughter, Kremer turned to blogging after becoming an empty-nester, “one on gardening, one on politics. ‘I had this empty space in my life’… Ms. Martin, a software manager by training and part-time blogger, was cleaning houses to help pay the bills after her husband’s temporary-staffing business collapsed. They were in danger of losing their home.” Martin was enraged after Senator Saxby Chambliss, in whose campaign she had been a volunteer, voted in favor of President Bush’s bail out of Wall Street banks. In her estimation, ” ‘Sometimes it stinks when your business goes bad. But it’s part of our system….The government doesn’t need to come in and hold a business up and keep it from failing.’ ”

In the span of a few weeks in February and March 2009, the two women met on a conference call and helped found the first major national organization in the tea-party movement. Within months, they became two of the central figures in the most dynamic force in U.S. politics this year.

Ms. Kremer, 39, currently chairs the political action committee known as the Tea Party Express. It has raised millions of dollars for upstart candidates and engineered the campaign that threatens Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Once shy about public speaking, today she crisscrosses the country addressing thousands at a time. ‘Are you ready to fire Harry Reid?’ Ms. Kremer bellowed to a crowd of 2,000 in Reno, Nev., this month.

Ms. Martin, 40, is national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group claiming affiliation with nearly 3,000 local groups around the U.S. Leaving her young son and daughter at home, she is on a 30-city tour, revving up activists for the victory she is counting on next Tuesday.

‘This was something I had to do,’ Ms. Martin says. ‘There were just so many of us who were fed up with the Republican Party.’

 Comprised mostly of middle-aged, middle-class citizens with little political experience, “a braid of many strands of discontent and passion, ranging from opposition to illegal immigration and a national sales tax to support for gun rights. A vocal faction questioning Mr. Obama’s legal eligibility to be president provided another source of grassroots fuel.” If John McCain’s campaign was a “babe” in the internet “woods,” the Tea Party political machine seems hell-bent on giving Obama’s proven internet savvy a “run for its money” in 2012.

Many conservatives felt Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign had never fully exploited the Internet to raise money and unite disparate activists. The Obama team had proven deft at harnessing technology.

And so the TEA PARTY MOVEMENT was born online, in the internet universe.

  • Michael Patrick Leahy, a Nashville technology consultant,  built a network of like-minded activists
  • Eric Odom, among the above, compiled a large list of activists “through a group working to lift the offshore-drilling ban”
  • Stacy Mott, started a blog for conservative women, “Smart Girl  Politics,” launching a website by the same name which drew in Kremer and Martin from Atlanta
  • Keli Carender, arranged the first protest, drawing 120 like-minded activists, after it was broadcast on a local talk-radio show and written up online by Fox news consultant Michelle Malkin
  •  On 2/19/09, in response to the $75 billion dollar bailout for homeowners unable to pay their mortgages, CNBC financial commentator Rick   Santanelli  started the “rant” when, broadcasting live from the Chicago Board of Trade, exclaimed ‘This is America! …How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?’ To the cheers of traders behind him, he continued ‘We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July’… “The rant went viral.”
  • After massive internet organizing among all of the above parties, 50 rallies occurred simultaneously nationwide. Within a year, 2,000 local tea party groups were formed around the country.
  • Wealthy interests threw their support behind the movement, like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, “groups born from a conservative think tank formed in the 1980s by members of the Koch family, who run oil-and-gas conglomerate Koch Industries Inc.”
  •  On 4/12/10, Kremer said she wasn’t boasting in claiming ‘I started this’ when she began a social-networking website called “Tea Party Patriots,” the name her husband recommended.
  • Enter the media. Fox TV’s Glenn Beck “launched his own initiative, the 9/12 project,” as well as touted the Tea Party’s 4/15 rallies, as did Sean  Hannity, and blogger Malkin.
  • Hundreds of thousands of “tea partiers” “gathered in city halls, at post offices, at town squares, parks, and along busy streets.
  • The “Tea Party Express” was formed when Sal Russo, Reagan’s adviser in the 60s and 70s, re-energized a 2008 political action committee, Our Country Deserves Better, as a “tea-party-themed group.” With Joe Wierzbicki, a colleague, they spread the word on a cross-country bus tour. In 2 years the newly christened group raised more than $7 million.
  • Tea Party Patriots, among them Kremer and Martin, maintained a nonpartisanship stance, preferring to stand for issues, and not endorsing specific candidates. On the other hand, Tea Party Express “wanted to raise money for candidates and engineer campaigns.”

The break between the two factions of the Tea Party movement, found its momentun when Obama pushed for massive, health-care reform.

  • FreedomWorks, in its “Healthcare Freedom Action Kit,” suggested ways to omit socialized medicine from the budget.
  • A Patriot coached members on how to “Rock-the-boat…’Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge’ the representative. ‘The goal is to rattle him.’
  • The Patriots, except for Kremer, declined to participate in the Express’  first bus tour, since the groups had different philosophies.
  • Taking part in the D.C. rally organized by Beck’s “9 1/2 Project,” which drew 75,000, Kremer returned home ” ‘a changed person…I didn’t need to stand in the shadows of Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler (activist and Grass Valley, California Internet marketer and attorney)…I felt good about myself.’ “
  • Prominent Florida physician and tea-party activist David McKalip whipped up a storm when he Googled “a doctored image of Mr. Obama as a a tribal witch doctor with a bone through his nose…” In an email to the Wall Street Journal, he publicly apologized. Kremer defended him, to the dismay of other Patriots. ” ‘David, we all support you fully and are here for you…I can assure you of one thing and that is we will protect our own. We all have your back, my friend.’ “
  • In August 2009, the Tea Party incorporated with a 4 person board, Ms. Martin, Ms. Kremer, Mr. Meckler and Rob Neppell, a conservative blogger. “But relations quickly deteriorated…Ms. Kremer indicated she had hired her own lawyers and might try to claim ownership of the group’s intellectual property, according to an affidavit from Ms. Martin. A few weeks later, she was voted off the board.”
  • Kremer shifted to the Tea Party Express, urging it to back Scott Brown, for the Senate seat vacated by Edward Kennedy.
and as they say…”the rest is history”…hugmamma.