When I think of ultimate horrible business hustles, it’s a long list, but near the top are sweatshops, mercenaries, commodity profiteering and environmental assault.
Enter the Tea Party.
It’s awfully hard to get people to mobilize against their own interests. So corporations have to sponsor folks that speak like they have their best interest in mind, while still helping the worst corporations do the most horrible things. It’s a total hustle.
Consider the case of Tea Party Candidate Mike Lee. Mike Lee has been sponsored from the get go by industrialists like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and Monsanto through groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. Why? Because he helps crooked corporations do things like dump 1,600 tons of nuclear waste in Utah (bit tip of the hat to TruthOut)
- Dick Armey and his political organizing group, FreedomWorks, have been working overtime to convince Tea Party supporters they’re invested in the movement’s “common sense” approaches on states’ rights, strict constitutionalism and protecting Main Street from Wall Street. FreedomWorks’ ties to Big Energy run deep, however, and by throwing their weight behind the group’s endorsed Utah Senate candidate, Mike Lee, Tea Party adherents are inadvertently backing a candidate who tried to bury 1,600 tons of European nuclear waste in what some call their sovereign state. FreedomWorks and Lee, put simply, are capitalizing on Tea Party anger for their own interests.
- FreedomWorks’ PAC, dormant since 2000, was reborn for this year’s midterm elections, funneling about $24,000 to Tea Party candidates, including little-known Senatorial hopeful Lee, who has received a total of $13,610 in contributions and independent expenditures, far more than boldfaced rabble-rousers like Sharron Angle and Pat Toomey. But direct campaign contributions are only a part of the many rewards Senate candidates could reap from a Freedom Works endorsement; the organization expects to spend $5 million in the midterm elections for get-out-the-vote and voter-education campaigns, according to a strategy memo obtained by the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein.
- It was Freedom Works that advanced Lee’s successful charge to unseat incumbent Bob Bennett, a three-term Republican senator — by helping to pack the Utah state GOP convention with Tea Party activists. (In Utah, convention delegates get first shot at determining the Republican candidate; the primary race is run between candidates getting less than 60 percent of the convention vote.) ….
The Tea Party “true believer” believes in his cause because of a subtle alienation and a loss of white and suburbanite socio-economic privilege. They, the placid whites and suburbanites, were the “Silent Majority” that, in exchange for their votes for folks like Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes, received on the average twice as much as the “unsilent majority” who was far less off, and generally urban (again, I recommend Kenneth T. Jackson’s “Crabgrass Frontier”).
This is a very scary time in our history. Rationality is not high on our list of priorities. Greed, survival, the image of supremacy, these seem to be most important to both our culture and corporate machines that sponsored that culture.
I guess that means we’ll just have to up and make our own culture.
One Love, One Struggle,
–Reverend Manny (and the Twilight Empire)