The Truth About the Tea Party
Much attention has been given to the tea party, a movement that defines itself as opposed to high-deficit spending, increased national debt and tax increases.
What is the tea party? Where did it come from? Contrary to myths, it’s not a true populist wellspring. Many think CNBC commentator Rick Santelli fathered the tea party with his on-air rant last year. He was simply one piece of a greater puzzle.
It’s AstroTurf, funded by special interests and appeals to prejudices. After all, where was the tea party when Bush ran up deficits, got soldiers killed over false intelligence as well as faulty wiring by Halliburton subsidiary KBR, and was asleep at the wheel when Wall Street was making risky bets? Does anyone believe if McCain got elected, we would see tea parties in force?
Santelli's rant was actually a PR stunt to leverage upcoming contract negotiations. However, the tea party concept was already in place in August 2008, when Zack Christensen, Twitter Republican and producer for Chicago right-wing radio host Milt Rosenberg, registered the first tea party domain. After Santelli's rant, the site activated. The same day, another site was registered by Eric Odom, a GOP PR man.
It also turns out the tea party's backers from start include Koch Industries, Inc., a major oil company.
Of course, the other major players in this sham are FreedomWorks, headed up by Dick Armey, which receives funding from health insurance companies; Fox News; and Sal Russo, a Sacramento GOP guru who previously coordinated Pentagon-funded Iraq War supporters' "counter-protests" in 2005.
The one true tea party was hosted by Ron Paul and his supporters in 2007, which included in platform withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan and reducing the U.S. military presence and intervention around globe. There has been no mention of reducing the military industrial complex from the neo-tea-partiers.
The current tea party is just the latest incarnation of special interest-funded fake outrage.
Diary of Villa el Salvador
Thank you for publishing Ilene Style's article “Diary of Villa el Salvador” [Feature, June 24-30] . She painted a very vivid and painful picture of the poverty in Peru. According the World Bank, one-fifth of the world's population is living in extreme poverty, which is defined as existing, or trying to exist, on less than $1.25 a day. Poverty is cruel. Twenty-five thousand children under the age of 5 die each day due to poverty. But the media rarely mentions this. It's old news—too many of us feel that poverty always has been and so always will be. Not so. The experts such as Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in defeating poverty, are telling us that we have reached a time when extreme poverty can be eradicated.
One sustainable way of slaying poverty is by way of the process Yunus developed, micro financing—making small loans to poor people who want to begin or improve a business to lift themselves out of poverty. The problem is simply that not enough people are making these loans, even though they can be as small as $25 and many, many good organizations are in the business of facilitating these loans. There is more good news. When the loan is paid back, usually in six to 12 months, the money can be loaned again. That same $25 can be loaned again and again, helping many, many people.
As the lead singer for U2, Bono, who has spent 25 years working to defeat extreme poverty in Africa, says, "How, in a world of plenty, can people be left to starve? We think, It’s just the way of the world. But if it is the way of the world, we must overthrow the way of the world. Enough is enough.”
Where Does Oil Come From?
Oil—it's always been an abstraction to us. It's been something that magically gets from Saudi Arabia or somewhere to our gas tanks. The price at the pump we know; but do we know the oil itself? April 20, 2010, changed that. Now oil is something we can see. The pictures from the Gulf of Mexico make the former abstraction all too real. Maybe now we will understand that burned oil (or natural gas or coal) in the form of invisible CO2 is also real.
The CO2 concentration in our sea of air is now 393 parts per million (CO2now.org). May was the warmest May on record worldwide. Climate change is as real as the gunk in the Gulf.
To find out how we can cut our use of oil in half in 10 years, go to climateprogress.org.
Letter From the IRS
Today I received a letter from the IRS. It was dated June 21, 2010, and had a notice number: CP13. The letter was mailed presorted, first class, postage and fees paid, permit no. G-48. It stated that this letter is for the tax year of 2009. The letter included an insert: Dept. of the Treasury Notice 1212, “Use Our Automated Services.”
It opens with: Why We Are Sending You This Notice
It continues with “we have changed the refund amount or the amount you owe on your tax return ... “
It also states that if you agree with the change “you do not need to do anything ...”
It continues with “what you should do if you disagree ... “
Now to the meat, substance, crux or strength of this government message:
Amount of Overpaid Tax: $.04
Small balance/credit: $.04
When the refund is less than $1, it will only be sent to you upon request.
I have no idea how much it cost to send this letter. It is a two-page letter with a return voucher that had a scan bar at the bottom along with my social security number.
Should I request a refund? How much more will it cost our government to refund me $.04 past what they have already spent sending me this letter? I guess I would get one of those pretty, many-colored checks with the Statue of Liberty.
Only Hope for Democracy?
Apparently Democracy can only be saved in this state by electing Mr. Ortiz y Pino to the Lieutenant Governor's office. At least that is how he has framed this column from beginning to end [ Opinion, “Missed It by This Much,” June 10-16]. He lost, and therefore Democracy was contravened.
To me it looks like it was a fair contest. Ortiz y Pino points out the advantages of the one who bested him and leaves out the advantages he has enjoyed, such as a regular column in a weekly newspaper read by many thousands of N.M. voters.
My guess is that the primary voters have found him lacking and decided to promote the person they felt would have the best chance in the full election. How is that not Democracy in action?
Least Favorite Burque Bike Route
[ Opinion, “Hail, Velocipede!,” June 24-30] At least Coors has a bike lane! Easier than "Bicycle Blvd.," but I'll take any bike route! Which makes it infinitely preferable to the multitude of streets in Albuquerque with no lane at all. Montgomery, anyone? I've ridden Coors and I'll take it over Montgomery any day, or San Mateo. But I guess those don't necessarily qualify as bike routes.
Honestly, I can't pick a least favorite bike route, because I'm happy for any bike route or lane! I guess ones that end abruptly on you, throwing you into traffic, can be annoying if you're not expecting it.
OK, here we go—the "bicycle boulevards" like Silver in Nob Hill, et al: The extra signage and consideration is definitely appreciated, but I'd just as soon take Lead or Coal up or down since they have dedicated bike lanes and you don't have to stop every one or two blocks. Even riding down Coors in a dedicated bike lane, Westside throttle hogs and sprawling subdivisions notwithstanding, is more carefree than trying to mix fully with heavy low-speed traffic that has to stop every block or two, not to mention all the bikes that don't follow the traffic rules and make it harder for the rest of us.
Why Do We Need This?
[ News, “Council Watch,” June 24-30] I don't understand why we need a performance high school Downtown (or anywhere for that matter). The vast majority of these students will never be gainfully employed in the industry, and they can easily work within the confines of an after school arts type program at their regular school. Maybe APS could work with the KiMo Theatre as a performance center. What we really need are vocational schools that give kids some marketable hands-on skills.
And as for the convention center: It would be fine if the city would just build a complex that didn't include a hotel attached to the structure, something manageable—like $100 million, not 300+ million. Rio Rancho's arena costs $50 million (and doesn't get used).
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