Starving the Beast: Ten Things You Can Do To Take America Back

Increasingly, I’ve been thinking about things that I can do differently to remove the fuel from the corporatocracy that seems to dictate political and economic policy in this country.  At the national level, we have arrived at a situation where the corporate and political powers have moved toward merger and it’s clear that both political parties are dominated by these interests.  Our economic problems stem largely from the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of a very few and this is primarily why we’re even dealing with concepts like “too big to fail” especially when it comes to the Wall Street.  They’re “too big to fail” because this was that sort of insurance that was purchased from the political system.  This problem is not limited to America but is a global one largely involving the same players.

The rise of the corporatocracy in America was driven mainly by consolidation of vast areas of the economy.  The “Wal-Martization” of the economy has taken out scores of small businesses that formerly provided many services and the process itself serves to centralize economic power in the hands of a few and I believe that’s to the detriment of the public. Consolidation reinforces the too big to fail mantra.

The Amish and those like them are largely unaffected by our economic reversals as they were never really a part of the economy per se.  Their lifestyles have not only insulated them, but they enjoy a degree of independence that’s a fleeting memory for most Americans.  The Amish actually live a life similar to that my 87 year old father describes as he was growing up in rural south during the 1930’s and 1940’s.  I’m not suggesting that we all would want to go back to a rural existence, but many of us are going to have to look at doing things far differently than what we’re accustomed to.  This will not be a strictly a function of a desire to “starve the beast” as suggested in the article below, but one of sheer necessity as pension promises are revoked and gainful employment remains elusive.

During the last great depression, the thing that saved many people was the ability to go back to the farm.  Economic consolidation has resulted in the farms now being owned by vast conglomerates which leaves people dependent on food stamps and food banks when they’d be better off depending on themselves.  Perhaps this very good article below might be best titled as Ten Things You Can Do To Get Your Freedom Back and its best use may be as a checklist to determine how close you are to freedom.  Freedom today means setting up an alternative lifestyle to insulate oneself from the economic shocks yet to come while “starving the beast” is a side benefit.  This is a thought provoking article:

Starving the Beast: Ten Things You Can Do To Take America Back

by Sara Robinson

If last Tuesday showed us anything, it’s this: We are not going to get America back on the right road — the one that leads to a progressive, just, carbon-free, equal-opportunity future — by political means alone.

That was an illusion, and it’s time to give it up. We are up against powers so massive that their leaders rightly describe themselves as Masters of the Universe (MOTUs, for short). They’ve got so much money that they can buy off any politician in the world; and so much clout that they maintain branch offices right inside the West Wing. Because of their influence, our courts and our Congress no longer work for us. Our media no longer tells us the truth. Our votes are the prizes in corporate bidding wars. Our jobs are mere chips in a global poker game. Our doctors can only give us the health care corporate insurers willing to pay for, even when better choices exist.

Everything from the food on our table to the content of our kids’ education is chosen for us on the basis of what will put the most money in the pockets of people who are already rich beyond the imagination of a Caesar. Increasingly, we have no say about anything that happens to us. Every choice we make is predetermined to deliver our money, time, and life energy into the service of this increasingly remote and amoral aristocracy.

It goes way beyond Washington. It’s the whole rotten system. And if we really want that system to change, forget taking to the streets. (The MOTUs long ago learned to tune out public protests.) It’s time to take our non-compliance to the next level. It’s time to get serious about not participating in this system at all, until it either breaks or changes.

It will not be easy. The overblown corporate-driven economy exists because we allow it to — and we allow it to because there’s so much that passively cheap and easy and comfortable about being part of it. Compared to a lot of the world, we don’t have it so bad; and the MOTUs are counting on that inertia to keep the money and power flowing their way. But it’s beyond obvious now that we cannot change things unless we’re willing to give up those comforts, and take matters into our own hands.

The good news is that if we’re willing to do that, there are plenty of high leverage points in this system, places we can jam in a hard stick and whang on it and actually hope to create some change. And since we know now that Washington will be totally gridlocked for the next two years, this is as good a time as any to start.

A starting place
The ten suggestions below are just a starting place. (I’m thinking of turning them into a book, and would love your additions to the list.) But they all turn on two basic assumptions about where our leverage lies.

The first assumption is: Big national corporations and the MOTUs who profit from them only have money in the first place because we give it to them. So stop giving it to them.

The second is: People in government only have power because we give it to them. So, wherever possible and appropriate, pull that power away from the federal level, and bring it back to the local level, where we can keep an eye on it — and where the best solutions to our most pressing problems are already being worked out.

With those two core assumptions in mind, here’s what we need to do to defund the Masters of the Universe and get our country back.

1 Live within your means
Taking apart the systems that sustain our comfort is a risky business. The first task, then, is to insulate ourselves from those risks to the extent we can. And the first step is living within our means.

It’s not that big a reach, though it feels like that at first. We just need to resurrect the values of our Depression-era grandparents, who gauged someone’s status on the basis of their thrift and prudence rather than their extravagance. For them, it wasn’t about what you drove or what you wore on your back; it was about what you had in the bank, and what you could give back to your community.

Buy a car you can pay for outright, or hang on to the one that’s already paid off. Let go of the things you don’t use — the toys and trinkets that are just taking up space. Give up junk food and start a garden. Ask if you could get by with a smaller, cheaper house. And consider the possibility that, after you’ve pruned your life down to something more manageable, you might just be happier (and healthier) for it.

Having enough surplus salted away, plus some to share with others, gives you personal resilience in the face of hard times. It means you can lose a job or get sick, and still have a margin to fall back on. It also means that nobody owns you: America’s bosses would treat us a lot better if more of us had a take-this-job-and-shove-it fund in the bank that enabled us to walk away from bad conditions or abusive treatment.

Living with less also means fewer expenses, fewer distractions, and more time and energy for the things that matter. Which is good, because some of the other things we need to do will take a little more time, energy, and money than we’ve been used to spending.

Read more about this: Your Money Or Your Life

2 Stop using credit cards
Conservatives howl that sales taxes are a huge drag on the economy, since they take a little bite out of the value of every transaction. But you never hear them howling about the 3% sales tax we pay to the banks for every credit card transaction. There’s a whole lot to be said about the perverse economics of this; but the short summary is that if we’re going to defund the powers that are choking the life out of our democracy, the first thing we need to do is stop handing over 3% of almost every transaction we make.

The second is to stop paying out an even larger percentage of our annual income in interest. The average American household pays $1500 a year in credit card interest; in some households, it’s much more than that. Bet you can find a better use for that money than the bank can.

If you can’t manage life without plastic, there are still better options than sending your wages to Citi or Chase. Move your credit card to a local bank, which will invest its earnings in your town’s economy. Use a debit card (which takes lower fees) for online transactions, and start doing everything else possible with cash. (As an added bonus: using cash gets your personal business out of the data stream, increasing your personal privacy as well.)

Credit cards are the single biggest hook the MOTUs have into us after our mortgages, student loans, and car payments. It’s also one we have the most control over, so let’s stop sending them that money.

Watch here: In Debt We Trust

3 Move your money to a local bank
Arianna Huffington deserves credit for putting the “slow money” movement on the progressive map. It’s a powerful concept, because it directly defunds the people who are trying to buy our government.

The idea is simple: take your banking — your savings, checking, mortgage, car payment, 401K and other retirement funds, and credit cards — away from the bankasaurs, and give it to a local or regional bank or a credit union. These banks are often safer these days than the big boys, since they’re less likely to get caught up in big finance scams. And, even better: they’re far more likely to put your money to work financing local homeowners, businesses, and farms.

Keeping that money in the hometown economy is an investment in resilience for the long haul. It ensures that your neighbors will have good jobs, that house prices will remain stable, and that small entrepreneurs can find the capital to start companies that are far less likely to relocate. These small businesses usually return far more in spending, jobs, and taxes to the local economy than big out-of-town businesses do, so keeping your money close to home is one way to invest in a stronger community.

Read more: Move Your Money

4 Eat local. Eat organic. Cook your own.
More and more of us are aware that the processed foods that fill the center aisles of the supermarket aren’t particularly good for us. They’re full of sugar, salt, fake fat, fake flavorings, preservatives, and GMO frankenstuff. They come from factories thousands of miles away. And we’re sometimes suspicious that the food safety isn’t all it should be.

This is why farmer’s markets, community-supported farms, and food co-ops can now be found in almost every corner of the country, with more coming on line each year. People want alternatives — preferably fresh, organic fare produced by farmers who are close enough to get to know.

I love the fact that my food dollar isn’t going to Cargill or ADM. It’s not adding tons of petroleum-based fertilizers (those damned oil companies again) to the soil and the watershed. It’s not paying to truck food two thousand miles to my store. Instead, it’s going to Mike Finger, my CSA farmer, who lives five miles from my house. It’s keeping our town’s outrageous Saturday farmer’s market alive and lively. It’s providing hundreds of jobs for dairymen and women, cheese and butter makers, bakers, farmers, small meat operations, co-op workers, chicken ranchers, and all kinds of other talented folks in my community. And it’s creating an alternative food stream that banishes the big corporations (and the big banks that fund them) out of my kitchen and off of my family’s plates.

Read more: La Vida Locavore

5 Don’t shop in big-box stores; support local merchants instead
We all know how Wal-Mart bleeds small town Main Streets dry, kills mom-and-pop merchants, decimates local tax bases, and replaces good-paying jobs with non-union McJobs that pay so low that people holding them still qualify for welfare and food stamps.

But it’s not just Wal-Mart. Every dollar you spend at any big box store or chain restaurant is doing pretty much the same thing. The money you give them doesn’t stay in town, creating decent jobs and supporting prosperous middle-class families. It’s going to some corporate HQ in Far Yonder. And from there, in this new post-Citizens United world, a lot of it will be going to lobbyists, who will be using it to more fully corporatize our government.

Cut them off at the knees. Find and use local options wherever you can. Local merchants often carry a wider and more interesting selection (and can order anything they don’t have in stock). They pay higher wages. They know their merchandise — and special tastes of the local clientele. And they pay into the local tax base, supporting your own teachers and firefighters and cops.

And don’t even assume that you’ll be charged more. In some areas, you may pay 5-10% more in a local shop; in others, you may be surprised to find prices comparable to what you’ll find over at the big box. A local restaurant may have better food at better prices, and pay their staff better as well. Not all of the mom-and-pops are good enough to deserve our support; but the great ones are irreplaceable assets in our local economies, and deserve all the support we can give them.

Read more: The Small-Mart Revolution

6 Make your own energy
In our economy, energy is money — which is why the big energy producers have more money than anybody else. If we want them to have less power over us, we need to stop buying their product. And that goes for the big private energy utilities, too, which are the biggest coal users in the country.

Adding solar panels or geothermal pumps to your house isn’t cheap (or even easy); but if you plan to be in the house for many years, it’s an investment that’s worth making. If that’s not feasible, look into community power solutions, and encourage your town to invest in clean, local sources of power. At the very least, the odds are overwhelmingly good that your energy company offers a green power option where you can pay a bit more per month to subsidize the development of clean power sources for your region.

Whatever you can do to replace coal, oil, and gas as your household and community power sources adds a bit more leverage to the effort to remove Big Fossil from its powerful political perch.

Read more: The Renewable Energy Handbook

7 Buy used whenever possible
The Big Consumer Machine runs on our constant appetite for new stuff. One of the best ways to jam it is to simply stop buying what they’re selling. It’s better for our wallets, better for the Earth, and it takes money directly out of the pockets of people who are (literally) banking on our poor impulse control.

Over the past century, our massive consumer engine has manufactured so much stuff that odds are the perfect item you’re looking for — a sturdy winter coat for your kid, extra plates for Thanksgiving dinner — already exists out there somewhere. And it’s increasingly easy to find it, thanks to eBay and Craigslist and Freecycle. Why go to K-Mart when there’s undoubtedly someone local looking to unload something that’s one-of-a-kind (and probably better quality) for a fraction of the price — and will help you raise the finger to the corporate consumer machine while you’re at it?

Read more: The Compact
The Great American Apparel Diet

8 Buy American. Buy union.
If you’ve got to buy it new, and there’s no choice but to buy it from a big chain retailer, at least make sure your money is going to support another American worker’s family. Living without imported Chinese goods is almost impossible (as
this woman found out); but again, going out of our way to make better choices is an important way we can shift the leverage in the entire system that’s killing our democracy.

Buying American is good. Buying union is even better. Unions have always been our biggest, strongest, best bulwark against creeping corporatocracy. The more support we can give them — and the more unionized workers we have — the more leverage we have against the big money interests, and the more likely we’ll be able to take our country back in the long run. If we want to restore the middle class, we need to be deadly serious about buying union-made stuff.

Read more: UNITE’s guide to buying union-made goods

9 Cut your use of fossil fuels
There are a hundred good reasons to do this, but the big four are:

1) It reduces our dependence on foreign oil, which also reduces our need to spend 58% of our federal budget on defense. Since defense contractors are among the biggest lobbyists in Washington, defunding the military-industrial complex is an important strategic objective in taking our country back.

2) It cuts the profits of Big Fossil — the oil and coal industries — who are the biggest and most influential donors in Congress, period.

3) Your choices and investments will spur the market for clean technology options, which will accelerate our progress in moving toward a greener future — again, at the expense of Big Fossil.

4) Over time, moving to non-fossil alternatives in food, transit, manufacturing, and so on will make your household and community far more resilient in the face of energy price shocks and climate change itself — an important step toward empowering local governments over higher-level ones.

There are a thousand books and ten thousand websites full of suggestions for how to move beyond the basics like changing out your light bulbs and recycling. But now you have another reason to do it: it’s one of the best things we can do to defund the MOTUs who own our country.

10 Hire a better employer
Our choices as consumers matter, no doubt. But the biggest contribution we make to this system isn’t in our spending; it’s in our earning. The fact is that the best jobs in America in terms of salary and benefits are also too often the same ones that are most deeply involved in the corporatization of our government. And we need to confront and deal with the truth: when we give 40 or 50 hours of our lives to these enterprises, week in and week out, we are contributing far more to the problem than we can ever make up for by anything we do on our own time.

Of course, it’s too much to ask people to walk away from a good-paying, stable job in the teeth of devastating recession. But as a long-term goal, we might be thinking about how to arrange our lives and our communities so that we can stop giving our time, energy, talents, and best efforts to the same aristocrats who want to enslave us. If we get out of debt and off credit cards, build up local businesses and create resilient economies, and learn to live a little smaller, we may in time, also be freer to make career choices that are better aligned with our values, and put our labor beyond the reach of the system that oppresses us.

As I said: none of this will be easy. But we’ve tried to create change while staying within our circle of comfort; and it hasn’t worked. It’s time to move outside that circle, and get on with the work of creating the future we want our children to have — even if that means changing our most familiar and intimate habits and routines.

Still, you’re probably already doing at least a few of these things, for all kinds of good reasons — as economizing measures in hard times, as an effort to reduce your carbon footprint, or out of solidarity with your local community. But there’s added motivation — and even some sweet revenge — if we bear in mind that the things that we’re already doing to protect ourselves in the present and prepare for the next future are also some of the best things we can do to take our money, our lives, and our broken democracy back from the MOTU bastards as well.

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  • OK… so I see this post title with “Take America Back”!!!

    I’m shocked, I thought Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin exclusively owned that phrase.

    So I read what’s here. Not too shabby.

    Items #1 and #2 I’m in complete agreement with and would think that most of my Tea Party compatriots would also. And I’m amused that the “Starving the Beast” article is a reaction to the November election…

    Items #3 – #7 I have no problem with, they’re common sense for the most part. I mean it’s not necessary to have a “progressive” political view to appreciate fresh organic food. Try googling “Crunchy Cons”. And supporting local business has no political bias. I don’t boycott particular stores, there we part. Buying used is a frugal conservative thing to do. Same with making your own energy when possible.

    #8 “Buying American is good. Buying union is even better.” Buying American is great as long as you can find it. The idea that unions are a bulwark against creeping corporatocracy is totally lost on me… and I was a union worker for about 30 years. It’s big businesses and big unions that buy politicians and bailouts. I know it’s supposed to have been our side that’s been co-opted but I think there’s a big blind spot there on the left.

    #9 Fossil fuels. When I was younger and work was closer I used to bicycle commute daily— because it was fun, healthy, thrifty… and after 9/11 a bit patriotic. Alternatives are great, but fossil fuels are not going away either. And a lot of the green movement is geared to it’s own gov’t subsidized and regulated “creeping corporatocracy”.

    #10 Just a few years ago I left my good paying Big Union/Big Business job to work in a small local based shop. Less pay but less BS also.

    So except for differing motivations many of these suggestions are not unreasonable to a Tea Party member like myself. Like I said, I’m amused that this is a reaction to the election. I guess the premise is that the election was bought by corporate money and not partially the result of people responding unfavorably to the too big to fail bailouts for corporations and wall street. Interesting…

    • Wayne, it appears that we largely agree on the list of things to do above and yes, I agree that not everything can be viewed through the partisan lens that seems to be so prevalent today. There are some things that simply make sense and as I indicated, many will be compelled to do these things as a matter of survival with “starving the beast” being a side benefit.

      As I only offered opening editorial comments with the piece itself being written by another blogger, I can only respond with my own feelings on the election which may or may not mirror hers. There’s little question in my mind that the national political system has been bought, lock, stock and barrel. It’s there to serve those who’ve paid for it and not the people. That’s not to suggest that the people can’t have some small influence, but that’s generally caught under the crush of the corporate and lobbyist money. That’s the reality.

      As I indicated previously, I believe the tea party has been positioned to front run a change message for the republican party. This was funded and shaped by the Koch brothers and others. There will be little change forthcoming despite the republican majority in the house. Sure, there’ll be a lot of stuff that plays to the galley, like talk about cutting earmarks, breaking unions, repealing healthcare and probing the administration’s stimulus spending, but none of this will address the deep and enduring problems the nation faces; many of which result from the failed policy of supply side economics and a small government mantra that’s masqueraded under the guise of deregulation of the financial industry. It was that very deregulation that allowed for the creation of the TBTP banks to begin with. Basically, 90% of our problems really don’t get discussed, while the remaining 10% is addressed by sloganeering courtesy of the right wing entertainment complex. Those of us who know this, know that the changeover in the political scene in DC is merely about more BS–more fiddling while Rome burns.

      But perhaps I have it all wrong here. How do you see the tea party overcoming the money of lobbyists and others to take back government?

      • This is the third time I’ve attempted a reply…

        1st time I wrote so much about logical fallacies, guilt by assumed association, billionaire’s money, tea party history, and my own personal history that it ended up looking too much like a pitiful whine. So I trashed it. 2nd attempt was mostly whine free but became the victim of a wrong button being pushed and a near finished post just evaporates, poof! So here goes again, the hopefully short and succinct version.

        Quick answer to what the (local) Tea Party is doing – Educating on issues and scrutinizing politicians and their votes. Boring, eh?

        Regards your comment, “the changeover in the political scene in DC is merely about more BS” is not lost on us at all. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” is the tune. For now maybe a constant threat of job loss hanging over every elected official’s head is the most effective tool we have.

        The “small government mantra” will not go away. It’s the government that has the legal ability to destroy, kill, and imprison. Since you state that “the national political system has been bought lock, stock and barrel” doesn’t this argue for a government that should be constrained as much as possible? I don’t want to see an overreaching powerful government in the hands of either corporate interests or policy wonks that are certain they know what’s best for everyone. Any excuse for a larger (not to mention more in debt) more intrusive government today, even if it’s sincere, is a recipe for a disaster by an abusive leadership in the future.

        I’m far more upset by what the “progressive” judges have done with rulings like Kelo v. City of New London and eminent domain than I am with the Citizens United ruling. You can argue for the hearts and minds of the voters, you can’t argue with a bulldozer backed by the power of the government.

        • It sounds as if the first post might have been interesting to read and I’m all too familiar with drafting a post and losing it.

          Let me address the Kelo case and its relationship with an out of control government.  This strikes me as your garden variety backroom deal, complicated by an incorrect decision of the supreme court, rather than a “too big government”.  I don’t see it as falling so neatly into the progressive vs conservative paradigm as there were ostensibly liberal groups, like the NAACP, submitting friend of the court briefs in support of the “conservative” position that eminent domain doesn’t extend to transactions related to private parties spearheading  government approved economic development projects.  I’ve always felt that eminent domain applied to something like taking land for something like a waste treatment plant rather than a tax increment financing district, which this sounds like. This clearly an abuse of government power most likely on behalf of private interests.  It does appear however that a number of states have moved to address their eminent domain
          laws to eliminate something like this from occurring. 

          I’m less concerned about “big government” and more concerned about situations where those with undue influence bend government to do their bidding.  That’s the case with Kelo as well as Citizens United; the latter case being a situation where the doors are thrown wide open for elections to be influenced and controlled even more than they are currently by the corporatocracy.  The undue influence of a monied elite in the government and in the nation’s economic sphere is the biggest challenge we face.

          The problem I have with those on the right is the failure to see that talk of cutting down the size of government has never ever occurred on their watch.  On their watch, the only thing “small government” has meant from a practical standpoint was wholesale deregulation of various industries, particularly the financial industry.  Supply side economics has meant tax cuts combined with unbridled military spending and other spending.  Both of these philosophies, as espoused by the right, have contributed mightily to the current economic and fiscal conditions we face.  So when I see the tea parties and others rise up and complain about Obama’s spending and supposed “liberal” policies that are bankrupting the nation, I become suspect as it’s the cumulative effect of the aforementioned policies that are the root cause of the current problems.  Now, I don’t exclude the left from some of that as well, but it’s my feeling that forthrightly addressing the
          issues requires that everyone step outside of the left/right paradigm.

          • Maybe from your POV the Tea Party had sprung from nothing other than the election of President Obama… that’s understandable if you’re looking at it from the outside through the media matrix. Pissed off conservatives have been around for a long time in many disparate non-cooperating groups – Libertarians, Religious, Populists, Objectivists, etc were not on the media map except as disparate non-consequential groups. Then add to that the many who never really took notice until the economy and housing market took it’s crap. Mix it all together and you get something that makes the news.

            You’re absolutely right about left v right – it’s false and artificial. Libertarians have known that for years.

            • This is where the first post you were writing might have been helpful for context.  I don’t deny that the media can serve to prejudice views.  I spend less than 5-6 hours a month watching TV, but I generally read fairly widely and I don’t deny that the vast majority of my views about the tea party would have been derived from what I’ve read rather than direct observation. Being from a group that is generally not portrayed with the proper breadth and depth in  the media, I’m sensitive to media matrix, as you call it, however, I must hasten to add that coverage of the tea party has not been altogether unfavorable and certainly has not been limited. 

              The major spokesman for the tea party has been Sarah Palin.  She’s been very visibly endorsing candidates, tweeting and criticizing the administration as an exclusive spokesman for the tea party.  So my first question is does she speak for you and your local organization?

              To be honest, the libertarian position as espoused by Ron Paul has appeal.  The position he has on sound money and ending our various military occupations/engagements makes a lot of sense.   Actually, these issues are the elephants in the room that really need to be in the public debate.  But it appears that the tea/republican party prefers to go after minutiae like earmarks, repealing health care and etc,  Why is that?

              Finally, how is it that this disparate group of disaffected conservatives were silent up to now? The tea party movement started shortly after Obama’s inauguration. Had McCain/Palin prevailed, would the tea parties been formed?   How exactly would McCain have handled things differently?

              • Diaspora Black

                It wasn’t “less government” that freed the slaves, gave blacks the Civil Right’s legislation that equalized their citizenship, and ended Jim Crow in this country, it was the intrusion of government (at the Federal level, no less)–a direct interaction, albeit on the heels of protests, and other acts of civil disobedience.

                I distrust all governments. Yet I distrust local governments the most, especially at the state level. Left to the political whims of the people, our military would still be segregated, and miscegenation would still be law in certain locales.

                • >>I distrust all governments. Yet I distrust local governments the most, especially at the state level. Left to the political whims of the people, our military would still be segregated, and miscegenation would still be law in certain locales.<<


                  "State rights" certainly mean something much different to those of the blood Afric when considering historical circumstances given that the federal government was often forced into the role of arbiter when it came to protecting the rights of African-Americans. So, yes, this means a fundamental difference when it comes to certain aspects of the notion of "less government". Good point and one that I overlooked.

              • Greg L said
                “The major spokesman for the tea party has been Sarah Palin… so my first question is does she speak for you and your local organization?”

                No, absolutely not.

                Greg L said,
                “The position he has on sound money and ending our various military occupations/engagements makes a lot of sense. Actually, these issues are the elephants in the room that really need to be in the public debate, but it appears that the tea/republican party prefers to go after minutiae like earmarks, repealing health care and etc, Why is that?”

                Sound money is a very big issue for most of us while military questions are more thorny. Why? First it’s because the constitution gives authority for a military while the money issue is not as constitutionally clear. Second, because money is a more abstract concept that lends itself to discussion more readily. Third, the military has touched and affected more people in a personal way and passions run high about it, pro & con. To illustrate this I invite you to read a blogger coverage of our last meeting where the speaker was a libertarian like Ron Paul. The blog is “Neighbors of Easton” and the blogger is not a Tea Party member. The post is here:

                I do not consider earmarks as minutiae as long as they are used as the bribes to pass bad legislation. We have laws on the books that makes it a felony for a lobbyist to promise goodies for a lawmaker’s district in exchange for his vote. But our political leaders obtain votes the same way by funding projects in a representative’s district… we call them earmarks. This is how bad unpopular laws, “reforms”, and tax increases are passed, the votes are bought… It’s the same in Harrisburg and Washington.

                Greg L said,
                “Finally, how is it that this disparate group of disaffected conservatives were silent up to now? The tea party movement started shortly after Obama’s inauguration. Had McCain/Palin prevailed, would the tea parties been formed? How exactly would McCain have handled things differently?”

                My point is that they were not silent. Even the conservative talking heads, radio personalities, and magazines were speaking out against Bush policies. They may not have been argueing issues from your POV but they certainly were not happy with a lot the administration did. I think it would be a fair statement to say that, for the most part, people who later allied themselves with the Tea Party did not generally back McCain in the Republican primary. The same for the “news” outlets mentioned above. Unless you have a subscription to National Review or are similarly attuned to the politics of the “right” you are forgiven for not realizing any of this. That’s what I meant by POV and “media matrix”.

                To further illustrate… would it be fair for me to claim or assume that you must approve of what every Democrat does and says because the African-American community votes Democrat in such large percentages? I would be engaging in rhetorical dishonesty if instead of speaking about issues with you I just hung everything I find abhorrent about Democratic policy or particular candidates onto you.

                I can’t answer the hypotheticals with any certainty (of course). I think if a McCain administration would have enacted anything similar to the Obama agenda the Republican party would have self destructed.

                “The tea party movement started shortly after Obama’s inauguration.” <———— this is a fact. What conclusion you make from it is not neccesarily a fact. I covered this in an online conversation once before on the ExpressTimes/LehigValleyLive website so forgive me for just pasting that here:

                maxmush said:
                "I still hold to my original comment of the convience of the birth of the movement."
                I (WayneFromNaz) replied:

                It's just that there may be an implication behind that statement that can be taken as very offensive… you can correct me if I'm mistaken and make your meaning more clear if you like.

                Many of the the people I meet there, like me, have been involved in voting and with different smaller politically oriented groups and associations for years. That a large movement like this would attract us is no surprise.

                Then there's the people who have just recently "woken up", some because of 9-11, some from disappointment with G. W. Bush and the war and the economy, some because the bailouts seem to be targeted to bailout Wall Street, public sector union employees, & union auto workers, some because of the issues brought up by the video of Santelli's rant, the expanding deficit, some because of the way the healthcare legislation was passed and what is in it, and on and on and on… There is plenty to galvanize opposition to the way this country is being run lately (and not so lately… decades really).

                So when you say that we are too "right of center" or that you dislike the ex-governor of Alaska, I can disagree with your sentiments and at least have a discussion on the merits of them.

                But when you object to the timing of the birth of our movement, there is nothing to argue or discuss. That the timing is somehow insidious is a vacuous argument… no one can go back and change that to your liking nor will that change the real issues at hand.

                So you can hold to your original comment and I will continue to maintain that it is a distraction from the genuine issues that brought us together. We can agree to disagree while in the meantime the Lehigh Valley 9-12/Tea Party's invitation to come out and see what we are really all about remains open to everyone.
                Here's the invite:

                Open to all.

                • Wayne, first of all, let me say that I’m appreciative of your sharing your views as well as information regarding your organization.  I think dialogue with those who view things differently and who come from a different side of the track always makes for an interesting exchange.  I must admit that my worldview is vastly different and that’s the filter though which things get processed.   My response:

                  • A quick answer to one point before I go out…

                    “You admit to the truth that the tea party started shortly after Obama’s inauguration and yet dismiss any correlation”

                    I will also admit that the sun rises when the rooster crows and then dismiss the correlation and insist that the former is not the result of the latter. Neither will I try to prove a negative and stumble through all the excuses a white person will give to prove such.

                    I will say this, from personal experience. I do not find the Tea Party people that I’ve met to be any more prejudiced than the general population. And I don’t believe that anyone, including myself, is 100% free from it.

                    So I can understand your interpretation of the correlation. I’m just pointing out that by the rules of logic it does not necessarily follow as such. I take that, and my personal experiences with members as the basis for my dismissal of the charge.

                    More on the issues later.

                  • Here is a pamphlet with our official stand on limited gov’t explained. I should have pointed you to this earlier. The Resolution was sent to:

                    “That this resolution shall be communicated to the Lehigh County Republican and Democrat Party Committees and Northampton County Republican and Democrat Party Committees, and every local, state and federal elected official whose district is wholly or partially within Lehigh and Northampton Counties and they shall be urged to apply these principles to all public policy decisions”

                    and is publicly available here:


                    • >>It’s Post hoc, ergo propter hoc<<

                      You're an articulate spokesman for your cause. I can respect that, but we have a difference of opinion here with respect to the overall reason for several events that occurred in the aftermath of Obama's election and a few other issues. The world won't end because of that and I thank you for expressing your views.

                      I'll take you up on the invitation to attend a meeting in the near future and I'll study your official position and comment as appropriate.

  • Diaspora Black

    “Starving the Beast: Ten Things You Can Do To Take America Back”

    It would take me hours to respond fully to the many implications inherent in the “Ten Things.” But let me deal with the big one. The title implies that We the People once possessed America, and along the way we lost it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We the People never owned it. The monied interest established this country, and they have been running the show every since.

    • BD,

      This is quite true and, as you say, has been the case since inception. The main difference between the recent past and where we’re going has been income distribution. For a very brief period historically, there are more of it as evidenced by the growth of unions and etc. This brief interlude only occurred due to the fact that America’s industrialization required labor so temporary changes in the power equation, along with a better income distribution, was necessary, but didn’t change the underlying premise about who really owns the country. It’s ironic that all of the things gained (i.e. jobs, good wages, pensions and etc.) have all being taken away now as capital has sought the least cost environment via globalization. You’re absolutely correct. The people never owned it.

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