The tax tea party scam

About 150 people gathered in Rocky Mount on Wednesday -- tax day -- to rally in one of the so-called "grassroots" tea party events. The whole thing is a sham funded by the right-wing and big political money.

One of our local bloggers called it an example of grassroots advocacy.  Anyone who believes the tea parties were local advocacy needs a serious education in how big-time, big-money politics really works.

The tea parties were organized on a national scale by Freedom Works, a so-called "grassroots" advocacy group bankrolled by right-wing Pittsburgh billionaire publisher Richard Mellon Scaife and run by former House Republican Leader Dick Armey, the principal author of the Republican "Contract For America." Freedom Works is the new name of an old advocacy "front" group called Citizens for a Sound Economy. That group was created in 1984 and run out of the office of Republican consultant Eddie Mahe (including years when I worked there as a "senior communications associate").

Scaife always surfaces when a Democrat makes it to the White House. He poured millions on an investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Whitewater.

Armey claims Freedom Works is a "non-partisan" advocacy group but it is a front for big money from rich Republican political contributors.

The only "grassroots" in these operations are the concerted efforts to dupe the gullible and an ability to inspire fear in the easily-scared minions who follow most rabid right-wing causes.

Which explains how this scam could bring out 150 people in Franklin County -- home of former racist Congressman Virgil Goode and one of the last remaining bastions for the Ku Klux Klan.

Besides scams like these, we should also worry about the growth of right-wing extremist groups that the Department of Homeland Security says represents a new threat to our nation.

Reports Reuters:

Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report to law enforcement officials.

The April 7 report, which Reuters and other news media obtained on Tuesday, said such fears were driving a resurgence in "recruitment and radicalization activity" by white supremacist groups, antigovernment extremists and militia movements. It did not identify any by name.

DHS had no specific information about pending violence and said threats had so far been "largely rhetorical."

But it warned that home foreclosures, unemployment and other consequences of the economic recession "could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists."

"To the extent that these factors persist, right-wing extremism is likely to grow in strength," DHS said.

The report warned that military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat skills could be recruitment targets, especially those having trouble finding jobs or fitting back into civilian society.

The department "is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities," the report said.

When I worked for The Eddie Mahe Company, one of GOP consulting firms used by Richard Mellon Scaife, I helped create fake "grassroots" organizations that were, in reality, fronts for corporations and political parties. I also worked for GOPAC in the 1992 elections and it gave me a front-row seat on how big money controls political action.

About 150 people gathered in Rocky Mount on Wednesday — tax day — to rally in one of the so-called "grassroots" tea party events. The whole thing is a sham funded by the right-wing and big political money.

One of our local bloggers called it an example of grassroots advocacy.  Anyone who believes the tea parties were local advocacy needs a serious education in how big-time, big-money politics really works.

The tea parties were organized on a national scale by Freedom Works, a so-called "grassroots" advocacy group bankrolled by right-wing Pittsburgh billionaire publisher Richard Mellon Scaife and run by former House Republican Leader Dick Armey, the principal author of the Republican "Contract For America." Freedom Works is the new name of an old advocacy "front" group called Citizens for a Sound Economy. That group was created in 1984 and run out of the office of Republican consultant Eddie Mahe (including years when I worked there as a "senior communications associate").

Scaife always surfaces when a Democrat makes it to the White House. He poured millions on an investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Whitewater.

Armey claims Freedom Works is a "non-partisan" advocacy group but it is a front for big money from rich Republican political contributors.

The only "grassroots" in these operations are the concerted efforts to dupe the gullible and an ability to inspire fear in the easily-scared minions who follow most rabid right-wing causes.

Which explains how this scam could bring out 150 people in Franklin County — home of former racist Congressman Virgil Goode and one of the last remaining bastions for the Ku Klux Klan.

Besides scams like these, we should also worry about the growth of right-wing extremist groups that the Department of Homeland Security says represents a new threat to our nation.

Reports Reuters:

Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report to law enforcement officials.

The April 7 report, which Reuters and other news media obtained on Tuesday, said such fears were driving a resurgence in "recruitment and radicalization activity" by white supremacist groups, antigovernment extremists and militia movements. It did not identify any by name.

DHS had no specific information about pending violence and said threats had so far been "largely rhetorical."

But it warned that home foreclosures, unemployment and other consequences of the economic recession "could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists."

"To the extent that these factors persist, right-wing extremism is likely to grow in strength," DHS said.

The report warned that military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat skills could be recruitment targets, especially those having trouble finding jobs or fitting back into civilian society.

The department "is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities," the report said.

When I worked for The Eddie Mahe Company, one of GOP consulting firms used by Richard Mellon Scaife, I helped create fake "grassroots" organizations that were, in reality, fronts for corporations and political parties. I also worked for GOPAC in the 1992 elections and it gave me a front-row seat on how big money controls political action.

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16 Responses

  1. The tea parties weren’t initiated by the GOP elite. There is real anger and frustration at the speed the federal government is deteriorating into a fascist state.

    Much of the discontent was focused by the Ron Paul movement while George W Bush was in office. Bush was responsible for growing government larger than FDR and LBJ. I probably don’t need to remind you, Doug, of the crimes under his administration: wars, spying, torture, massive bailouts. But I list them here so you realize that there are grassroots Republicans who say these things in public.

    I don’t know if there are grassroots Democrats who are already quick to list Obama’s shortcomings: backtracked on FISA wiretaps before he was elected and has even expanded the legal arguments for immunity of the government this week, no transparency in legislation, a cabinet full of Washington insiders and lobbyists, backsliding on the Iraq war, expanding wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, no change to the drug war, and even more massive bailouts. But you will hear these Democrats soon enough.

    More people are deciding that the left/right dichotomy is false. They realize that the same interests are contributing to both parties and funding the major media. The red vs. blue contest is a side show to keep you distracted. You’re not supposed to notice that the same puppet masters own both parties.

    Fox and the GOP leadership are hedging their bets. They are trying to tap into grassroots discontent and channel it back into their comfortable old game. CNN and the Dem leadership are trying to ridicule it as meaningless griping by bitter, unsophisticated hicks. Their efforts all looks to me like a scripted show to try and drain any real meaning out of what is going on.

    The Internet is making it more difficult for those-who-would-rule-us to control the media message. Yes, you are correct that you see the hand of Fox trying to create a simple anti-Obama message. But that’s just part of the story. Thanks to the Internet, you can now dig a little deeper and see what else is going on:

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=15960
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/026359.html
    http://www.dailypaul.com/node/89916

  2. The little gathering in tiny Burleson, TX,
    home of original American Idol Kelly Clarkson, amounted to little more than an excuse to bash Obama, celebrate Rush and complain about having to pay more taxes, and if the mode of transportation was any indicator of wealth most of the folks doing the complaining were probably in the tax bracket that will be getting some of Obama’s tax CUT.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUSmoZ1WPe8

  3. Having watched this debate from afar (I’m not a resident of Floyd County but found this thread through a link on The Roanoke Times web site), I believe I can comment on it as a dispassionate observer.

    When you look at the differences between Mr. Thompson and Mr. St. Lawrence, I believe you are dealing with two distinctly different styles of reporting/blogging. Mr. Thompson clearly is a journalist, a professional skeptic who approaches issues with questions. Mr. St. Lawrence, on the other hand, is a propagandist who obviously sees his role as a cheerleader for his designated causes. He issues breathless prose about Floyd, local businesses and Republican causes and he accepts matters as fact as long as he agrees and dismisses as false anything that strays from hims philosophical point of view. He seldom documents his conclusions or includes links to verify his claims. When he does link it is usually to an ideological web site that shares his point of view. He is a staunch defender of the status quo.

    Mr. Thompson, on the other hand, questions the status quo and provides, in my humble opinion, a far more analytical approach to his articles and conclusions. I also appreciate the fact that he documents his claims with links to source material that is not tainted by bias.

    Mr. Thompson is a journalist. Mr. St. Lawrence is a propagandist. Once you recognize those distinctions it is easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  4. Doug, I know you called for a moratorium on comments about David St. Lawrence but a Floyd County friend of mine pointed me to his latest screed that compares our current President to Hitler. Such garbage cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.

    Here’s what he had to say in reply to someone who challenged his views on the Tea Parties:

    Our current Presidential phenomenon rose to power fanning the disgruntlement of non producers who wanted more "entitlements". He is about as charismatic as you can get these days. No records of accomplishment, no experience, but charismatic as hell!

    Reminds me of a certain corporal in Bavaria some years ago who came out of nowhere and went on to make his mark in the world. He was a Socialist and created one of the most fascist regimes in history.

    The Department of Homeland Security says we should worry about the rise of right-wing extremists in the wake of President Obama’s election. They’re too late. Mr. St. Lawrence’s disgusting trash is proof that extremism is alive and well in Floyd County and the hate and bigotry is fed by the likes of him.

  5. …but David is entitled to his opinion. And, to be fair, extremists from the left called former President George W. Bush "Hitler."  I wrote a number of columns on my political news site that compared Bush to the former leader of Nazi germany and referred to the Department of Homeland Security as "the new American Gestapo."

    Politics is a bastion of hyperbole. Do comparisons with Hitler foster hate? Probably so. Both sides have used such inflammatory language.

    With that said, comparing America’s first African-American President with the world’s most notorious white supremacist could, at the very least, be called a stretch.

    When I worked inside the Republican Party, I found too many overt examples of racism, especially within the GOP’s extreme right-wing. The party I worked with in the 1980s was controlled by racists and homophobes. Unfortunately, I fear the same is true today.

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