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« Reason

Texas-sized hypocrisy

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published April 21, 2009

An old college friend of mine asked me last week if I had attended a Tea Party. The first I heard about these was on Tax Day itself, which clearly means I don't watch enough cable news

The movement — if that’s what it is — was spawned by a rant on Feb. 19 from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during a live report by the CNBC reporter — if that’s what he is — Rick Santelli, suggesting that it was time to organize a “tea party” to protest government spending on failed mortgages.
The cable news networks took it from there. Fox News, after running more than 100 promos about its coverage of the event, which did a pretty effective job of marketing them at the same time, had wall-to-wall coverage on the anointed day and dispatched four of its leading hosts around the country to perform a kind of hybrid task, covering events that they also seemed to be leading.

My friend gushed about his experience, "I felt like part of history. Almost like you could roll the clock back 225 years and see the colonists assembling." Back then, the media were fiercely partisan, framing the day's news in terms of ideological leaning, so the comparison may be very appropriate indeed.

I have become exhausted by the talking heads, and I have watched very little news since the inauguration. It's just hard to get pumped up about the news when it's all about the miserable economy; and when it's not, it's this faux populism of the likes of Glenn Beck and Rick Santelli. Populism in pursuit of ratings, not politics.

If the goal were pure political progress, then the Republicans would have been crying foul for the last eight years while more money than has been dreamed of in President Obama's stimulus was poured down the drain of war in the Middle East.

And in Texas, Governor Rick Perry praised the assembled throng in Austin, whose cries of "Secede!" found no rebuke.

Afterward, he told reporters that Texas had come into the union with a unique right “to leave if we decided to do that.” This is a beloved piece of state folklore despite its unfortunate drawback of being totally untrue. 

Haven't we been hearing for the last eight years how we need to support the troops by supporting America and the President? I guess that was just if he was a Texan, and GOP, and named Bush.

So, spare me the rhetoric about bureaucratic spending. I'd rather spend a trillion dollars at home than abroad. Sure, it would be nice if we didn't have to spend anything, but when no one is spending, that's when the government has to fill the gap.

Just ask Alexander Hamilton; he would've understood. 


1ochi56(30 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Tyler; you are 110% right about this staged TEA PARTY; for Fox Cable it's all about the ratings. I do agree we are over due for a second revolution. We need to abolish the "Income Tax". 'We the People' are paying income tax on a VOLUNTARY basis. THERE IS NO LAW THAT STATES WE MUST PAY. THE IRS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!
Google 'American Fascism' by the late Aaron Russo.
Remember; 'It takes a Revolution to create a Solution.'
Isn't that one of the reasons why Jim Traficant was "Politically Linched" !!!!!!!!

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2cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with the point about media, but I'm more bothered by the "objective" outlets than the clearly partisan ones. CNN for example follows the tired format of having two ideologically opposed talking heads argue over an issue; both spout half truths and party lines and the "journalists" make no attempt to differentiate which is telling the truth--"debate" has become the substitute for actual fact-finding and in the long run democracy suffers.

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3Erplane(482 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Good comments. Santelli may have been right in his call to arms to those who dont want govt support (and thus intervention), but all he was doing was fueling the anger of people who feel its okay to make money without meaningful contribution to society. We have CNBC on in the office all day...its a bunch of blah blah blah (Bloomberg is slightly saner). The tea parties are a joke...last I checked we have taxation and represention in America. Its an insult on the backs that shed blood to free us from England that we call these soundbites 'tea parties.'

And cityguy, your comments about CNN are so true, except I would go further to say they have swayed to the left. CNN.com is a joke of a website - instead of objective reporting they go to iReporting. My wife and I got rid of our cable last year and realized how little we miss it (the Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS is still the best daily news program around).

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4apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

A common falsehood of the right wing is that 40% of people do not pay income tax. He even claimed that he piad taxes when he was making little money.

The fact is the people not paying "INCOME TAX" are paying nearly 15% in medicare and social security taxes which are in effect the same as income taxes since they go to pay the largest expenditures in the budget.

Of course Clark paid "INCOME TAXES" back when he worked for little money but his medicare and social security taxes were much smaller too.

The fact is anyone with a job that has any of the taxes taken out pays INCOME TAX and at rates sometimes much higher than the wealthy who derive much of their incomes from capital gains.

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5Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

President Bush 43 was irresponsible to have promoted and signed passage of an unaffordable prescription drug program, tax "rebates" and TARP bailouts. But clearly, comparing his shortcomings to Obama's financial radicalism is like comparing a parking violation to homicide.

Last fiscal year, the deficit was $459 billion. For this fiscal year, it was $569 billion when Mr. Obama took office. Under his proposals, another $1.276 trillion will be added to the deficit this year, for a total of $1.845 trillion.

The CBO says deficits will fall for three years to $658 billion, still nearly 50% larger than any past deficit. After that, deficits go back up every year, reaching the trillion-dollar a year mark again in nine years. By 2019, the debt would reach 82.4% of GDP, a level not seen since 1947.

Federal spending will under Mr. Obama top $4 trillion this year. This translates into 28.5% of GDP -- a level exceeded only at the height of World War II.

Alexander Hamilton endorsed some aspects of a strong central government. He was not a socialist. He did not advocate punishing productivty and rewarding sloth. He did not support vote-buying indirectly (entitlements) or directly (ACORN). His positions regarding protectionism are now accepted as detrimental.

Regarding seceding from the union, would you oppose it? Maybe you'd no longer have to deal with the conservatives and their outdated ideas about the American Dream, virtues and personal responsibility.

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6Erplane(482 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Nonsocialist - The medicare bailout is going to end up costing the fed government Trillions in the next 5 -10 years. It fundamentally weakened this country for decades, all b/c Karl Rove wanted W to get reelected. Bush Sr. enacted pay as you go, where every spending program had to have either a tax increase or spending cut $ for $. Clinton abided by it, Bush Jr. let it expire.

I didnt like the Stimulus bill b/c it was Reid and Pelosi's lovechild and contained ridiculous amounts of pork. But the idea of it being used for infrastructure is a good thing and the timing was essential. Alexander Hamilton would have been for it, because he and Adam Smith understand govt's role should be limited but absolutely crucial when called upon. This govt was asleep at the wheel for proper regulation. The private sector took advantage of it without considering the impact on society. And people overlooked sound conservative principals by overlevering their lives.

I think the Tea Parties are a joke.

Anderson, personally I wish the idea of partial privatization of SS would be brought up now. First, the introduction of trillions of dollars into the markets couldnt be at a better time. Secondly, if people have the ability to choose where their money flows, in this market its a (potentially) great time to buy. Yes, there is downside, that is why I would favor only a 25% cap on SS funds being used this way.

Oh, Anderson, on your carbon point. I am a believer in cap and trade. But Ohioans are really going to suffer. Ohio is 41st in the US in renewable energy usage. 86% of electricity used in Ohio is from coal. Cap and Trade could be great if our state govt gets off their a****s and gets us to 25% renewable generation by 2020.

BTW, I decided this is the only Vindy.com blog I will post on going forward. The conversations here are rational, even if I disagree.

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7valleyred(1097 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

O gimme a break. Here you damn liberals go again with the belief that Fox staged these things. WRONG. Jim Shaw planned the one in Youngstown, NOT Fox News. Justin Higgins of Brookfield, OH helped plan the one in Columbus, NOT Fox News.

And o by the way, it is Rick Santelli of the far left NBC Family of Networks that is the inspiration behind these.

I criticized Bush for spending too much and I am going to criticize Obama for spending even more than Bush did.

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8apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Rick Santelli of the far left CNBC??? LOL. CNBC is a mouthpiece of the right ValleyRed. Maybe if you watched it, you know.

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9Erplane(482 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Anderson - thanks, I didnt miss your point, I was just bringing up something from the past. Obama isnt going to get far on his plan.

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10Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


I believe you're letting your contempt of President Bush cloud your reasoning. Of course President Bush spent way too much money that our children will have to sort out, if they can. But do you dispute that the amount being spent by President Obama and Congress dwarfs what was spent under Bush 43? Read the facts in my entry above and tell me which of those facts are erroneous.

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11valleyred(1097 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

As a finance major at Youngstown State, I watch CNBC every single day to get my market news and information. With that being said, CNBC is part of the far left NBC Network.

Any business student studying capitalism in their courses right now cannot be a liberal, at least on economic issues. Hence the reason they appear to be so conservative. I am sure on social issues, they may be pretty damn liberal however.

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12Erplane(482 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Nonsocialist - I dont have contempt of 43. As a New Yorker who was here on one of the worst days of my life, I am very cognizant that there hasnt been another terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. I think Bush had alot to do with that. It had to be dirty, ugly business to gear us up enough to be protected right after, but he did that.

But I do think your missing a key point in your discussion about Bush v Obama and spending. Your talking about it in terms of framing their ideology with their spending, but the more important issue is the timing of such spending.

Bush spent ridiculous sums of money. He lost all sense of fiscal discipline during a time in which the US economy was humming right along. We are now witnessing that the growing economy was based on irrational confidence in increasing values of real estate, and an overleveraging of the economy to juice returns on investment. Had Bush introduced some restraint in the govt's spending, maybe the bubble would not have gotten as big as it did, and we wouldnt have fallen as much as we have.

Now lets talk about Obama. Its easy to say he is a spending liberal. I didnt like how he essentially let Pelosi and Reid have their way with the spending bill. But all good economists and columnists, ranging in ideology from Paul Krugman to David Brooks, agree that this is the time to spend like mad, to create a floor to the economy's decline. We wouldnt have been in as bad of a deficit position had Bush created such huge deficits during good times. W used our dry powder when we didnt need to use any powder. And yes, I still contend that Bush hurt us much more than Obama. His spending on that medicare bill is long lasting and impactful. I believe you are quoting money spent, but we need to look at money dedicated in the future. He fundamentally weakened this country's economy. If a moderate Republican won the 2008 election, he/she would have acted the same way as Obama.

Valleyred - how is the finance dept at YSU? CNBC used to be good, but now they are the TMZ.com of finance. I recommend Bloomberg.com (dont see the tv network much), and if you can, get hold of the Financial Times (ft.com). The brits are much better at balanced objective reporting of finance and economics. The Journal has been hijacked by Murdoch, sad to say.

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13apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

ValleyRed, CNBC is about as far right as any cable station can be. Reporters like Larry Kudlow, who was part of Republican economic teams and others on CNBC are a mouthpiece for Republican policies. To even claim that they are left wing shows your complete lack of logic.

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