Saturday, August 13, 2011

Aside - Rick Perry

I will be creating a portfolio on each tea party personality - here is the beginnings of the Rick Perry entry.

Jobs - thats the talking point being pushed in the press -  "Rick Perry made jobs in Texas" - well so did Bush:


The energy sector continued to be a driver of the Texas economy. Jobs in the sector rose at an annualized rate of 18.9 percent in June.

The Texas rig count continued to climb, with drilling activity shifting toward oil. Shale activity also remains profitable for Texas companies

On climate:

Perry wrote in his new book, global warming is “all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight."

Speaking of falling apart, two stories on the Perry political machine seem to be pointing to inevitable breakdown:

 Rick Perry’s cash dash sparks worries

Bushies slam Rick Perry's Ben Bernanke comment 

Then there is always this case, where Perry's  involvement and interfering at least, is cause for great concern:

Cameron Todd Willingham 

Members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission said in 2009 that they intended to hear testimony from Beyler in October 2009 and produce a report on the Willingham case in early 2010. A hearing scheduled for October 3, 2009, was abruptly cancelled, however, when Gov. Rick Perry announced October 1 that he was replacing three members of the commission whose terms had expired. As of October 7, 2009, the commission’s review of the Willingham case was on hold, according to new chairman John Bradley, the Williamson County District Attorney.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission and the Willingham Case 

Death by Fire - FRONTLINE 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bailouts Stimulus and the Recovery Sabotage.

Although the mainstream organized tea party or more importantly the tea party organizers claimed to be opposed to the bailouts they waited until after the national elections to publicly state strong opposition.

The federal government had to become involved in the collapse - with around 16 trillion in federal state local and individual retirement funds at risk and unknowns like 30 - 70 trillion in unsecured derivatives like credit default swaps the federal government had little choice realistically but to get involved or probably end up refinancing the entire US economy after an almost certain collapse.

There were protests to the bailouts before the election. A small group of right leaning libertarian outsiders/Ron Paul followers early on, were vocally against the bailouts. Ironically the right fringe outside the tent and these leftists are the probably the legitimate populist roots (and here) for the Tea Party's expressed anger.

That was hijacked by the current astroturfed group that claimed to oppose government intervention yet failed to show any organized resistance and no good argument to the bailouts until a new president was inaugurated. Since then no particular rule other than extreme dissonance seems to characterize their views.

The only real serious resistance to bailout initiatives that came from any part of the organized right that I know of was in the form of a lawsuit from the Thomas More Law Center (a right wing issue litigation mill) to challenge the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,  ludicrously claiming that it unconstitutionally promotes Islamic law (Sharia) and that religion. The lawsuit was filed because AIG provides Takaful Insurance Plans, which, according to the company, avoid investments and transactions that are "un-Islamic."

Regardless, the bottom line is before Bush left office the implications of this near collapse were known and being legislated for even if the current Tea Party "patriots" made no effort then or in the last eight years to make their voices known.

Indeed before Bush left power the following was enacted:

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 October 3, 2008 "The Bailout" authorized the United States Secretary of the Treasury to spend up to US$700 billion and create the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Troubled Asset Relief Program
Originally expected to cost the U.S. taxpayers as much as $300 billion now (CBO) estimated the total cost would be $25 billion.

Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 signed into law on February 13, 2008 by President Bush

But these were not the only costly programs enacted by president Bush and combined with recovery efforts make up the lions share of the US deficit :

Recently, in at least the seventh raising of the debt limit in the last decade, despite being warned of the effects of near default, the far right republicans i.e. the tea party claimed "debt fear" was preventing growth and obstructed the raising of the ceiling. This led directly to a downgrade and a week of great instability in world markets. Leaders of the tea party have since blamed "deficit fear" but the fact remains that throughout the stock market drops recently US debt was the one safety people invested heavily in.

So again the exclusive public focus on the new administration is problematic.

In conclusion; the Tea Party has different factions and varying origins sometimes at philosophical odds with one another, the concepts that seem to be all uniting are;  a anti environmental, anti intellectualism and a anti liberal social/social  expenditure philosophy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Defintiions, Symbols and Early Beginnings

The Tea Party formed in 2009 as a populist movement optimistically referencing the great December 16, 1773 Boston Tea Party revolt against British taxes and the monopolistic practices of the East India company. Probably more of an indication the entire movement was politically farmed to sow dissent it was later revealed that although they were created as a tax protest party  all but 2 percent of those that supported the Tea Party did not know they had actually received no increase in taxes or a tax reduction.

Tea Party Bumper Stickers
If a singular early founder of the Tea Party did exist it was  Rick Santelli former hedge fund account VP and CNBC on-air editor and in this case spontaneous anti welfare activist and trade floor ranter.

Ironically the bailouts had little to do with any government backed subprime market. In 2008 Freddie Mac owned $190 billion in sub prime and Fannie Mae owned $340 billion. Together, government involvement in actual sub prime industry was below 500 billion. Indeed more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions. (it also should be noted that at the height of the banking crisis only around 20 percent of sub-prime loans were in default) The premise of that rant, and that the government funded sub-prime market caused the collapse was totally incorrect. (Ironically Regan era loan policies, a tax break to spur home investment and  particularly incompetent regulation of the banking system during the Bush presidency had far, FAR more influence in the crisis). 

In January , 2009, Graham Makohoniuk (a part-time trader)?! and a member of the forum; a site seemingly obsessed with welfare recipients and  enacting government cuts (yet probably more "libertarian" than any other group posing as such) posted the idea to "mail a tea bag to congress and to senate," a tactic that had first been attempted by the Libertarian Party in 1973. From there it spread via a message boards and fringe groups before being picked up by more mainstream anti taxation sentiments, viral emails as well as several Republican and right wing television personalties encouraged public protests and the mailing of tea bags to members of congress in April 2009.

Of course as we will seen in the next post little or none of this concern was expressed until after the bailouts (some like AIG multiple times) and the beginning of the new presidency.  

So what are now referred to as the founding moments of the tea party were also actions and expressed opinions based in a vague animosity of incorrect analysis and error.

And indeed as the Boston Tea Party's main issue was what colonists felt was an infringement their right to be taxed by only their elected representatives and as tea bags, of course, didn't exist then even the Tea Party's chosen name and main selected sources of symbolism was based in ignorance, a totally incorrect reading of history, and error on top of error.