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Posts Tagged ‘grassfire’

Right Wingers Marching in DC Is Big News — But the Same Old Faces Are Pulling the Strings

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted September 14, 2009.

The men behind the religious right make a comeback with the Tea Party movement.

Glenn Beck will tell you that this weekend’s march of right-wing activists on Washington was six months in the making.

Don’t believe a word of it. Try 40 years.

As disgruntled white taxpayers joined conspiracy theorists, gun enthusiasts, state-sovereignty activists and outright racists on Pennsylvania Avenue, the long-time leaders of the American right, whose pedigrees go back to the 1964 presidential campaign of Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., no doubt witnessed a day they thought might never come.

Never before has the right taken to the streets in such numbers. (Estimates range between 50,000 and 100,000 attending the post-mach rally at the U.S. Capitol building.) Marching has long been the province of the left, most notably in the civil rights movement. But the election of the nation’s first African-American president, a moderate liberal, in a time of economic crisis, yielded right-wing leaders the gold of backlash.

While the foot-soldiers of the Tea Party movement give it a more secular appearance than its recent predecessors, the movement is the right’s replacement for a religious right that has weakened since 2004, when it helped win a second term for George W. Bush. The tactics, however, are the same: just as the religious right subverts the Christian faith in the service of its authoritarian, business-friendly goals, so, too, does the Tea Party movement subvert the American civic religion — that faith characterized by love of country, invocation of the Founders and veneration of the Constitution.

At the dawn of the cultural evolution of the 1960s, a handful of right-wing activists and intellectuals banded together to form a philosophical movement that became known as the New Right. These were the people who won Barry Goldwater the Republican presidential nomination, only to see their candidate meet disastrous results in his race against Democrat Lyndon Johnson of Texas. But the right is never truly defeated; its leaders are patient, and they learn from their errors. When they’re out of power, they stay busy, building institutions and mailing lists, all the while waiting for their moment to strike.

And so, in 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency, largely thanks to the tireless efforts of New Right leaders.

Out of their tiny numbers, they went on from the Goldwater campaign to found the religious right, a textbook example of ground-level organizing that led to a national electoral victory with the election of Reagan. And they are at it again.

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Inside Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America’s Dirty Work

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted August 10, 2009.

How the health-care industry, the GOP and one media mogul made common cause with the anti-government fringe.

The recent spate of town hall dustups may look like an overnight sensation, but they’ve been years, even decades, in the making.

Since the days in the late 1970s, when the New Right began its takeover of the Republican Party, it has cultivated a militia of white people armed with a grudge against those who brought forth the social changes of the ’60s.

These malcontents have been promised their day of retribution, a day for which they are more than ready. Few seem to understand that they are merely dupes for a corporate agenda that will only worsen the conditions in which they live.

Why, you may ask, would men of power and fame shake the rough, unmanicured hands of gun enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, gay-haters, misogynists and racists?

Because somebody’s got to do the dirty work. Magnates don’t like to soil their French cuffs, and it’s hard for a bunch of rich guys to garner sympathy for threats to their bottom lines. It’s the classic inside-outside game that the right wing of the GOP has played for the last two decades.

The Health-Care Industry Executive

Imagine you’re an executive at a pharmaceutical company. Your U.S. operations are your cash cow; they earn you wild net profits because, unlike in other industrialized nations, you do not experience the price controls of a government-administered program in which the government negotiates for the best price on prescription drugs and devices.

Along comes a government plan for health-insurance reform that includes a public, government-financed plan. The public option, they call it. As part of the plan, you will be required to negotiate with the government for the price of medications and devices to be distributed within the plan.

Now that could really screw up your massive profit margins. Private plans might then insist on prices more like those the government is getting.

Instead of increasing your profit by double digits in the worst year the economy has seen since the Great Depression, as did an outfit called The Medicines Co., your shareholders may have to settle for profits more in line with the overall growth of the economy. And wouldn’t that just stink?

Meanwhile, polls show a clear majority of Americans — you know, regular Americans, the kind who don’t want to own an AK-47, or who do accept the president’s citizenship status — favor the public option. In fact, in June, CBS News found that majority to be 72 percent.

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