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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/12/10

Toward A Progressive Tea Party Movement

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Message Stephen Crockett

Most progressives have little respect for the Fox News generated "Tea Party" movement. However, it has tapped into a very real populist anger with the direction the country is headed in at this point in our history.

Progressives should see a real opportunity in the emergence of the "Tea Party" movement to educate the public and re-direct the anger to the real villains whose actions and policies created the many problems faced by the citizens of the United States of America. Our government has failed the American public by serving corporate interests and private profit instead of the public good.

The Republican Right has been somewhat successful in twisting this legitimate anger and aiming it against those who have been fighting this corporate takeover and corruption instead of themselves. They do this by lying to the public and twisting reality.

Of course, Fox News has been the leading force in this evil propaganda campaign. However, a few corporatist Democrats like Senator Ben Nelson, independents like Joe Lieberman and almost every elected Republican in the nation have helped advance the corporatist agenda by deceiving the reformist elements in the Tea Party movement.

Tea Party activists should realize that Fox News was formed by corporatists to advance the corporatist agenda. The corporatists have captured the "conservative" movement. They are playing their followers for suckers. A few Tea Party leaders know they are being used as a tool of the Republican Right and corporatists but most do not.

The American government is not the enemy if it is actually controlled by the American public instead of by the rich and powerful elite who make up the corporatists power structure. The American government needs to provide a check and balance against corporate power. We must recapture our government from corporate interests. This will never be done by Republicans. It will never be done by the small corporatist faction of the Democratic Party. It can be done with an alliance of progressives, real Tea Party reformers, economic populists and grassroots Democrats.

The Scott Browns and Sarah Palins of the nation only play at being populists. They act in support of the corporatist agenda while talking like reformers. Scott Brown was financed by corporatist forces. He was heavily financed by the debt collection industry, banking interests, health insurance companies and the like just like Sarah Palin. Brown opposes Wall Street reforms and regulation. He wants corporate power to go unchecked. These ideas are clearly enemies of the American public and real functional democracy. Folksy talk is just more hot air. It is actions that count.

Fox News seems designed to act as a financial and political backer of Republican Right corporatist politicians. They spin everything to defeat real reforms and undermine real reformers.

Labor unions act as a check and balance on corporate power. Fox News and the Republican Right corporatists demonize them at every opportunity. Union leaders are always elected by the membership. They are the only truly democratically-elected populist element in our economic system. The Fox News crowd calls these elected leaders "union bosses." You do not get to elect your "boss." Try suggesting free elections for all the management positions at your place of employment and you will probably be joining the ranks of the unemployed. Corporations are basically organized in a top down dictatorial manner. It is their nature and mindset to be dictatorial with very, very few exceptions.

Suing corporations act as a check and balance to corporate power. Fox News and the Republican Right corporatists are trying to eliminate the effectiveness of this check and balance under the disguise of "tort reform."

Campaign finance laws slightly reduced the ability of corporations to buy elections, smear reformers and defeat reforms. While in power, the Republican Right corporatists packed all our federal courts with corporatists. This is why the Republican Right corporatists on the Supreme Court have recently overturned over 60 years of established law to give corporations unlimited power to spend shareholders' money to advance their corporatist political goals.

Most corporations are not loyal American citizens like the recent Supreme Court ruling implies. Almost all the large corporations operating in America are international in nature. International corporations should not be controlling the American economy, the American political system or the American government. American citizens should be. No matter what the Supreme Court says, international corporations are neither people nor American citizens.

The percentage of the American economy going toward debt is growing rapidly. Why? The answer is corporate power and corporatist government policy. So-called "free trade" has failed the American public while enriching the corporatists. Tax revenue has gone in the toilet because we do not tax imports and tens of millions of former taxpayers have lost their jobs. Without good-paying jobs, these workers/taxpayers are not paying nearly as much in taxes.

Tax cuts for over 30 years have been focused on enriching the corporatists and screwing the middle classes. The Fox News and the Republican Right corporatists want you to place the blame on the poor for government debt. This is pure nonsense. Unfair tax cuts are the real villains along with corporatist "free trade" policies. Additionally, the corporatists start unnecessary wars financed by public debt that enrich the international corporations while killing and maiming American soldiers.

So-called "free trade" is undermining our national security by crushing our industrial manufacturing base and crippling our national finances.

Government spending as a percentage of our economy is excessively large mostly because our economy has not really grown the way it should because of so-called "free trade." Free trade has not been free for American citizens. Our public and personal debts have exploded. Our wages have not grown as quickly as our cost of living. Our jobs are disappearing or have already disappeared.

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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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