H. Brandt Ayers: I'm ready to punch someone in the nose
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Sometime you get so mad that a surge of powerful emotions takes possession of your mind and body; you want to … to punch somebody in the nose, or do something else that you may later regret.

I sympathize with people who feel that way; I too have experienced those feelings boiling up in me (when I was younger) and so I have looked at the tea party movement as a useful symptom of a deeper problem in our society.

What we are seeing is the result of hope frustrated. As the 2008 elections approached, the public was feeling down; we’d had nearly eight years of war, worrisome debt and a do-nothing, quarrelsome, too-partisan Congress.

Barack Obama’s campaign merged his hopeful vision with the public’s desire for relief and optimism about the country’s future, which was reflected in an electoral triumph, but a terrible shock awaited …

In 2008-09, hope and optimism hit the wall of the Great Recession, which was caused by excesses in the financial system.

A frightened and disillusioned public didn’t care about the causes. They wanted life to be better, and if anything it was worse. Bush and Obama were pouring money into Wall Street, which caused the problem, buying temporary control of GM, but ordinary folks didn’t feel “rescued” or believe anybody cared.

During the congressional recess in the summer of ’09, with the vague notion of some kind of health reform dominating the news, congressmen were surprised at town meetings by the unvarnished anger of frustrated people who wanted their economic lifeline secured — first.

President Obama was nowhere to be seen, but others saw opportunity.

A cluster of extremely wealthy men saw public anger as an opportunity to help the Republican Party in general and specifically to advance their agenda of lower taxes on their great fortunes and fewer regulations on their activities.

Millions of dollars that summer began pouring into the Republican Party and to organizing the tea party movement. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, was one of the significant donors to Republicans.

David Singer, seething with anger that his $17 billion hedge fund would be overseen by Obama’s Wall Street reform measure, made portions of his fortune available to the GOP and to causes that support his agenda.

The same day the House passed the financial overhaul bill, Singer hosted in his Park Avenue apartment a party that raised a million for seven senators who voted against the bill.

Even more significant in shaping a 50-state webbing of organized protests that support an agenda that in part caused the Great Recession are the Koch brothers, David and Charles.

They control a conglomerate richer than some countries that stretches from oil refineries to Dixie cups and brings in an estimated revenue of $100 billion a year.

David, who was the only survivor of a plane crash in 1991, has become a much celebrated and generous patron of the arts who has given millions to, among others, the American Ballet Theater and the Smithsonian Institution.

He does not mind press coverage of his cultural contributions, but he and Charles disguise their political activities behind a congress of innocently named causes and think tanks that support their anti-tax and anti-regulations agenda.

The brothers seem to have inherited and enhanced both their father’s talent as an entrepreneur and his politics. Fred Koch was a founding member of the John Birch Society, which espoused paranoid beliefs that both political parties and government were riddled with Communists, and that President Eisenhower was a Communist agent.

In a self-published essay, Fred warned, “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America.”

If the Koch brothers harbor such delusional views, they weren’t revealed in a long and detailed study of the family in The New Yorker by Jane Mayer, an author and award-winning veteran staff member of the magazine.

While they resist being drawn into public discussion of their political views, choosing to deny through company spokesmen any direct role in the tea party movement, their foundation, Americans for Prosperity, has been helpful.

Jane Mayer’s study asserts that the Kochs are among the billionaires supporting the protest movement. She writes:

“The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to ‘educate,’ fund and organize tea party protesters, they have helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement.

“Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist and a historian, who once worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas-based think tank that the Kochs fund, said, ‘The problem with the whole libertarian movement is that it’s been all chiefs and no Indians. There haven’t been any actual people, like voters, who give a crap about it.

“So the problem for the Kochs has been trying to create a movement.’ With the emergence of the tea party, he said, ‘Everyone suddenly sees that for the first time there are Indians out there — people who can provide real ideological power.’ The Kochs, he said, are ‘trying to shape and control and channel the populist uprising into their own policies.’”

Eventually, the well-meaning citizens who thought they were part of a spontaneous citizen movement will discover that a group of billionaires put their views like a saddle on citizens’ backs and rode them to the polling place.

They will be furious and I won’t blame them. I’m already mad as hell that good citizens are being manipulated by men of vast wealth — for their own benefit — hidding behind such innocent names as Americans for Prosperity.

H. Brandt Ayers is chairman of Consolidated Publishing and publisher of The Anniston Star.
comments (6)
« rjack112 wrote on Friday, Oct 01 at 06:12 AM »
"You people complain about Obama's health care reform but yet I haven't seen any (Republican, GOP, Tea Party) complaining about the huge debt Bush put on this country. Is that just being overlooked? He put us in debt worse than any other president has! Talk about radical spending!!!!"

Typical leftist reaction: "Obama may be the worst president ever, but -- LOOK WHAT BUSH DID!!"

It's true that Bush never met a spending bill he didn't like, but Obama has spent more in two years than Bush did in eight years.


« Informed Reader wrote on Thursday, Sep 30 at 05:20 PM »
YellowHammerFlicker, There are more news channels available than MSNBC. If you watch them all you will see the whole picture rather than just the Obama promotion.

How can the senate GOP block anything? The Dems have a commanding majority if they really want it to pass. Contrary to what you are saying, if the GOP don't get back in control and halt this wreckless spending we are headed for bankruptsy.........
« Fredlb wrote on Thursday, Sep 30 at 02:52 PM »
Obama calls illegal aliens who laugh and sneer at our border and our laws "us", and then you libs call Tea Party candidates "crazy". Get real!

And by the way, trying to manipulate the Tea Party would be like herding cats. Or maybe more like emptying a bowl of jello onto a flat plate and then attempting to shape it. It can't be done. That is the Tea Party's power: it's amorphous.
« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Thursday, Sep 30 at 01:19 PM »
You people complain about Obama's health care reform but yet I haven't seen any (Republican, GOP, Tea Party) complaining about the huge debt Bush put on this country. Is that just being overlooked? He put us in debt worse than any other president has! Talk about radical spending!!!!

As long as you have people like Sarah Palin & Christine O'Donnell you will continue to be called radical, racist & crazy.

Just yesterday the Senate GOP Blocked a Program That Created 250,000 Jobs.

Rather than aggressively fighting to reduce the deficit, the "Pledge" makes it much, much worse. The "Pledge" would result in deficits that are $1.3 trillion higher than the president's budget, with debt exceeding 93 percent — 93 percent! — of our GDP.


I do not know if you all just don't understand or just really ill informed but Republicans are going to destroy this country if they get the chance.

« Heflinresident wrote on Thursday, Sep 30 at 12:52 PM »
We have been called Radical, Racist, Crazy, and now ill informed and led, because we oppose socialized medicine, uncontrolled deficient spending and increased governmental control of our lives.

In November we will be called powerful.

I think our founding fathers were called by a lot of the same names. I think their cause turned out OK.
« Informed Reader wrote on Thursday, Sep 30 at 12:08 PM »
Mr. Ayers, You make it sound like anyone who supports the Republican Party or the Tea Party are totally uninformed and easily led by someone with lots of money to throw around. If you will only look around at the people you see every day, you will easily see just the opposite.

Another thing I can't figure out is how you and the left can support the radical spending of this administration. Common sense will easily show that if you managed your personal finances this way you would soon be living in the street, regardless of how much money you have.

The best explanation of this Tea Party "Uprising" is the fact that 80 million registered voters, for whatever reason, didn't vote in the '08 election. It's very obvious that these people woke up when they saw what's going on and are now getting very actively involved. "Big Money" didn't wake them up, Obama and congress did.......