Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

The Tea Party “Catch 22”

07.18.10

The Tea Party “Catch 22”

The Tea Party movement has started to come unglued over a series of internal contradictions that amount to an identity crisis. The Tea Party is caught in a “Catch 22” position that has largely been ignored by the corporate mainstream media.

Just this morning I watched a local PBS show where a Republican operative claimed that the Tea Party movement was not “Republican, Right Wing or racist.” The comment appears to be the Republican Right Wing official spin on all things “Tea Party” in nature. Unfortunately, the claim really lacks credibility because it conflicts with the facts on the ground all over the nation.

Anyone who really watched the development of the Tea Party movement, as part of the anti-healthcare reform effort, understands that it was a creation of Fox News and corporate funded Right Wing Republican operatives. Despite many claims to the contrary, it brought very few new faces into the political process.

What the Tea Party public relations campaign did was simply “re-brand” the various largely discredited, Right Wing fringe elements in the Republican Party under a new name. It did con the mainstream corporate media very effectively into calling blatant corporatist, economic elitist policies “populist.” It was a bad joke that the media completely missed or just ignored.

Like the fake ACORN pimp and voter registration scandals, the storyline falls apart completely when the details are examined in any detail. The spin relies on manufactured “facts” that are really outrageous lies being told over and over again. In time, the storyline falls apart but often the damage has been done. It appears the mainstream corporate media has learned absolutely nothing from their Iraq War-Weapons of Mass Deception experience.

The reality is that there is probably not much of a Tea Party movement outside of Republican Right Wing corporate control. When it comes to economic populism, the Tea Party has either been completely missing in action or in outright opposition to every proposal that is populist in nature.

Our middle class has been under constant attack by corporate forces for decades. The Reagan-Bush Republicans have been pushing changes in government policy that benefit only the most elite of economic elitists for 30 years. American workers are being driven out of the middle class by government policy and market power. The Republican Right has successfully placed many of the levers of power in government in the hands of the corporatist economic elite. Some Democrats assisted parts of this corporate take-over of government but it was overwhelmingly Republican effort.

The government is not the enemy if it is controlled by the majority of middle class Americans. It is a check on excessive corporate power under those circumstances.

The genius behind the Tea Party campaign is that it is a corporate created public relations/political campaign designed to promote pro-corporate economic policies via government while calling the movement “anti-corporate and anti-government.” The racism angle is a just a way to hook “poor and middle class whites” into an effort designed to economically benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy at the expense of “the poor and middle class of all colors.”

Racism has long been used to divide working Americans up along color lines so they do not demand a better deal from the economic and political elite. Racism serves an economic purpose and always has served an economic purpose. Racism is a sucker bet for working Americans. It has been a key element in building the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party since Richard Nixon. Republican Right wing economic policies are a disaster for 90% of Americans and social wedge issues including race have been the key to Republican victories for more than a generation.

If the Tea Party was really a new creature, it would be fielding third party candidates everywhere under the Tea Party name. Republican and Right Wing operatives claim it is independent of the Republican Party but at the same time strongly oppose real independence. The Republican Party is the Tea Party. The Tea Party is just the most extreme elements of the Republican Party devoted to driving any remaining moderates out of the Republican Party.

You cannot support Pat Toomey-Club for Growth economic policies and still claim to be a populist movement. You have to support economic policies that increase the wages of American workers, support government measures to help the unemployed, curtail the ability of corporations to move jobs outside the United States and sell untaxed imports in our country, shift the tax burden back in the direction of corporations and the Super Wealthy instead of putting it on the middle classes and seek to regulate corporate market power to be an economic populist.

Economic populists do not make excuses for BP like Rand Paul or Sharon Angle. Economic populists do not oppose government deficits during a severe economic downturn nor support government deficits in good economic times, like the Republicans are doing. Opposing better access to affordable healthcare is not a populist position. Giving massive tax cuts to wealthy people while our government is running massive deficits and local governments are firing teachers, firefighters and police is simply stupid economics and has nothing to do with economic populism.

If the Tea Party is” populist” in nature, as they claim, then the policies they support should demonstrate that populism. If the Tea Party is independent of the Republican Party, then they should field independent candidates in the November general elections to prove their independence. If the Tea Party is not racist, then they should condemn the expression of racism from within their movement every time they occur. If the Tea Party is not an expression of extreme Right Wing sentiments, then they should stop supporting the political agenda of the Far Right.

American voters will learn in coming months just how fake and flakey the Tea Party con job is by watching the Tea Party Republicans seeking office in November. You will learn nothing about this from Fox News but the mainstream media should not drop the ball on this story in 2010. The voters deserve a real discussion about the unreality of the Tea Party reality.

Written by Stephen Crockett (Host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com ). Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702. Phone: 443-907-2367. Email: demlabor@aol.com.

Feel free to publish without prior approval.

New Report Charges Exploitation of Immigrant Labor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

07.18.10

AFL-CIO Blog is reporting on a new academic study that documents exploitation of immigrant labor in the seafood industry on Maryland’s famed Eastern shore. James Parks writes:

“In a stinging indictment of our broken immigration system, a new report shows that crab-picking houses on Maryland’s Eastern Shore rely mainly on hundreds of immigrant women workers who are forced to pay excessive and illegal fees to foreign recruiters only to end up in low-paying jobs in isolated rural areas with poor housing.”

“The report, “Picked Apart: The Hidden Struggles of Migrant Worker Women in the Maryland Crab Industry,” was released today by the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM). The transnational non-profit organization is dedicated to improving the working conditions of migrant workers in the United States.”

“The immigrant women, who are in the country on H-2B guest worker visas, must work only on the job for which they were recruited and cannot work elsewhere. Many employers exploit the women by paying them low wages and threatening to send them back home if they complain about living or working conditions.”

“More than half of the women reported serious housing problems and payroll deductions for knives, gloves and safety equipment. Several also said that male immigrant workers who wash the crabs were paid more and given more hours, and some said older women were not treated as well as younger women. One said she was asked to perform sexual favors, according to the report.”

“Jayesh Rathod, an assistant professor of law at American University, said under the nation’s current guest worker system, unscrupulous employers who don’t want to address unjust working conditions can “just decide to send workers home, and that happens.”

“Migrant pickers are paid by the pound, earning typically between $2 and $2.25 a pound, with those who can’t pick fast enough often sent home, the authors said.”

“The report calls for changes to the H-2B visa program, including regulating recruitment practices and sanctioning employers who use recruiters who charge excessive or improper fees to workers. The authors also recommend that the visas no longer tie workers to one employer, which would allow the workers to leave abusive working conditions.”

“Further, the report calls for extending the Maryland minimum wage and overtime protections to seafood workers and educating migrant workers before each season about their rights.”