Daily Archives: December 31st, 2009

Don’t be a “Koch sucker”

Symbols of the tea party movement

This is a follow-up to the previous post: 10 biggest douchebags of 2009. Please join us now for our awards ceremony red carpet after party. It’s time to get down and get funky.

So who is behind the Tea Party movement? One of the big players is Americans For Prosperity (AFP). Who is behind them? One of America’s richest billionaires, a man by the name of David Koch. According to Wikipedia’s David H. Koch page:

In 1984, Koch founded Citizens for a Sound Economy. Koch also funds Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group that has recently used new media technologies and other efforts to create opposition to U.S. President Barack Obama‘s proposed health care reforms.

Yep, if there’s one thing the rich want, it’s more “prosperity.” When will the dude have enough to get by on?

In the previous post I wrote a bit about who’s behind the tea party movement. Big companies like Exxon and Philip Morris. So how does that translate to a group like Americans For Prosperity? Let’s take a look at the influence of tobacco. According to SourceWatch.org:

AFP advocates pro-tobacco industry positions on issues like cigarette taxes and clean indoor air laws. The name “Americans for Prosperity” will sound familiar to tobacco prevention policy advocates, as Americans for Prosperity worked around the U.S. in recent years to defeat both smokefree workplace laws and cigarette excise tax increases.

Americans for Prosperity opposed a proposed Texas smoking ban in 2005. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “A proposed statewide smoking ban appears all but dead, supporters acknowledged Monday as they waged a frantic battle to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate. ‘I think the bill is dead,’ said Peggy Venable, Texas director of Americans for Prosperity, which opposed the legislation, arguing that it is an intrusion on private-property rights.” The strategy of portraying smoking as a “property right” can be traced to Philip Morris which, in the mid-1990s, introduced bills in state legislatures nominally to protect property rights as a means of fighting smoking bans. Venable called the smoke-free measure a “reckless expansion of government” that “set a dangerous precedent.” Although Venable did not testify against the bill directly on behalf of the tobacco industry, the Houston Chronicle reported in 2007 that Americans for Prosperity had, in fact, been underwritten by tobacco companies in other states.

Americans for Prosperity opposes smoking bans by using slippery-slope arguments (“Where will it stop?”) and erroneous arguments that smoking restrictions are economically damaging.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) also opposed an Illinois state tax on cigarettes in 2008, claiming it would eliminate jobs.

AFP opposed a clean indoor air law in Washington, D.C. in 2006.

AFP opposed a clean indoor air law in Kansas City, portraying the issue as one of personal liberty and economics rather than public health.

I think there are a lot of really sincere and good people in the tea party movement and even in groups like AFP. Unfortunately I feel that most of them don’t even realize how they are being used as pawns in a big game of chess. Their desire for social change is being funneled into a direction they don’t even know. That’s a bit sad. Some call them teabaggers. For foot soldiers in the AFP movement, the phrase Koch sucker might be slightly more accurate.

And that’s all I have to say about that. At least for now. 🙂

10 biggest douchebags of 2009

It’s time to present the 1st Annual SFTA Douchebag Awards.

This coveted award, a bronzed piece of poop, goes to the person of the year in 2009 who singularly excelled in the area of douchebaggery.

The nominees are:

Rush Limbaugh, Balloon Boy’s dad, John Gosslin, Octomom, Barry Bonds, Bernie Madoff, Joe Lieberman, Sarah Palin, Carrie Prejean, and Tiger Woods. (Edit: Last but not least – Nurse Groping Guy. He’s a late entry but still worthy of consideration for the entire year!)

And the bronzed poop for douchebaggery goes to:

The Tea Party Movement. Wow, from out of nowhere, ooh what a surprise. This is the first nomination and award for the Tea Party Movement in this category.

Calling themselves “patriots” these people galvanized into a movement – but only immediately after Obama was elected president. Using violent imagery and a lot of talk about “revolution,” these folks claim to be against things like taxes, big government and the federal budget. The timing of the movement belies all that, though.

The questionable Bush election in 2000 wasn’t enough to galvanize a movement. But the clear and decisive victory of Obama, elected by the people of the United States, was finally too much. Suddenly they had issues with taxes, deficits, and spending. I know, it’s easy to forget those things didn’t exist before Obama.

They use logos like a clenched fist raised in the air, the “don’t tread on me snake,” and wear t-shirts that say things like “revive the revolution.”

They tell us over and over again that they are a grass roots movement. You know, just a bunch of like-minded folks who sprouted organically all over this great country of ours. What they don’t shout, however, is that their movement is basically a front for old-line anti-tax organizations, and funded by right-wing corporate interests. Companies like Exxon and Philip Morris. During the birthing process of this movement, sham organizations were created with the intent of hiding the true origins and sources of large sums of money. Doesn’t sound very grass roots to me.

It’s funny how times change, isn’t it. Yeah, ha ha ha. Six years ago if you said something like, “I don’t agree with the President that a war in Iraq is the best response to 9/11” you were quickly branded a “traitor” and accused of “treason” because you were “undermining the effectiveness of the troops.” These days, though, the true Americans are the ones who talk about “revolution” while showing violent imagery. Yeah, hilarious.

So next time you see a teabagger out cheering against Obama, taxes, or big government, remember that even though some of them might actually be sincere (every movement has true believers) what they are really doing is cheering for big oil and tobacco and right-wing organizations and acting in a very partisan way against Obama.

I think the “tea party” symbology is slightly misplaced here. What would be better?

Dipped in crude oil and rolled in tobacco.
(The modern version of tarred and feathered.)