Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wrong Again, "Condi"


It isn't only education. When she appeared (clip from Real Clear Politics) Thursday on Morning Joe to tout her new book, "Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me," Condoleezza Rice actually remarked

the tea party is a grass roots movement that is saying to people the conversation in Washington and the conversation out in the country isn't the same and washington you need to listen to the concerns of the people, you need to listen to our anxieties, you need to listen to the fact that we're worried about the size of government, and the debt we're passing on to our children. That's how I see the tea party.

The tea party is a grass roots movement. So saith the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

It is the message most of the mainstream media has chosen to push to the American electorate. But it's wrong.

Coordinating the tea party movement are two main groups: Dick Armey's Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity, the latter a front group started by David Koch and Richard Fink, a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries, headed by Mr. Koch and brother Charles. According to the Guardian of the United Kingdom, this largest of privately-owned gas companies in the U.S.A. "has donated at least $5.9m to political candidates, some 83% of which was set aside for Republican candidates, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics (and) since 1989 has spent more than any other oil and gas company on finding favour in Congress, paying $50m to lobbying firms."

As an astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity is well experienced in hiding its consistently pro-corporate activities behind a veil of secrecy, even creating industry-friendly groups such as the ironically-named Patients United Now and Patients First, which loudly and aggressively protested the effort at reforming health care.

All along, the Kochs have denied funding Americans for Prosperity or having anything to do with the tea party movement, brother David even telling New York Magazine a few months ago "I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me."

Perhaps he never has been at one of the innumerable gatherings where mostly well-meaning, albeit naive, citizens have gathered to protest government and liberalism. Nor is it clear that he would have spoken directly to any tea party activist when he has the industry's (Koch and others) representatives do the talking for him. No need to get your own hands dirty when you're worth, oh, approximately $21 billion.

But a new documentary, "(Astro)Turf Wars: How Corporate America Faked a Grassroots Revolution" (video clip below), has blown the lid off that claim, with representatives of AFP explaining at a convention their success at organizing rallies on Tea Party Tax Day. (Whether the traditional media will pay any attention is another matter.)

Although the evidence is presented dramatically and conclusively, it ought not to have been a surprise to anyone, even to Condoleezza Rice. The Guardian notes that Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks put up their Facebook page and began organizing tea parties a mere one day after the rant on the board of the Chicago mercantile exchange by CNBC personality and former hedge fund manager Rick Santelli.

Is Condoleezza Rice aware of any of this? When she promoted fear among the American people to justify impending war against one of Al Qaeda's fiercest enemies (Sadaam Hussein) or made ignorant comments about American education, did she really understand the issues? The woman media figures like to call "Condi" may be nefarious or instead stunningly ignorant, but she has managed to portray herself as a credible, legitimate public official. And that is no mere feat.







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