Ten Questions for Tea Partiers
Ralph Nader – 2010-10-22
TEA PARTY DEPT.
Supporters of the so-called “Tea Party Movement” should seriously address the questions raised by long-time consumer advocate Ralph Nader in the article below. But first, they should review the history of their own movement, today branded by the corporate mass media as some sort of knee-jerk reaction to “liberal” policies. The public is not told that this movement actually began as a “Tea Party for 9/11 Truth” in Boston on December 16, 2006. This original one-day Tea Party which was held on the cobblestones outside Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall was the brainchild of Senior Military Affairs Journalist and author of October Surprise Barbara Honegger with help from fellow progressives. Following demands for a truthful investigation into the 9/11 attacks, the group proceeded to Boston Harbor where they dumped several faux cases of the The 9/11 Commission Report into the water mimicking the original Boston Tea Party. The purpose was to call attention to the numerous unanswered questions concerning the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Further Tea Parties were scheduled inside the hall and in Boston Commons for Dec. 15 and 16, 2007. In that year, it turned out that Ron Paul supporters in Boston wanted Faneuil Hall for a “money bomb” campaign fund raiser but found it had already been booked by “Tea Party for 9/11 Truth.” Paul’s supporters begged the 9/11 Truth organizers to allow them to have the hall for one of the two days and they agreed to allow Paul use of the hall on Sunday, Dec. 16. According to Online Journal Associate Editor Jerry Mazza, “This history is the key to understanding where the original Tea Party idea came from — it came from Barbara Honegger and her passionately independent Progressive allies. It is the true tale of how that original Boston Tea Party for 9/11 Truth, which was Honegger’s vision — a vision for a politically independent and progressive ‘Second American Revolution’ — happened to be co-opted by the right wing, which Honegger says is “the antithesis of everything our original Tea Parties stood for.” It was first lifted by Ron Paul’s Libertarians then fatefully stolen from him by the Palin/Fox/Koch Brothers/radical right-wing corporatist Republicans. Seeing how Paul and Palin are now candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the corporatists would love to weaken, if not stop, the so-called Libertarian “Tea Party” influence on the future direction of the Republican Party.” Live and learn and don’t fall prey to revisionism, usurpation and political/media manipulation.
Ten Questions for Tea Partiers
by Ralph Nader
October 22, 2010
Here are ten questions for Tea Partiers that they want or do not want to answer. I say it this way because people who call themselves Tea Partiers do not have the same view of politics, government, Big Business or the Constitution. Their opinions range from pure Libertarian to actively furthering the privileges of plutocracy. Their income and occupational background vary as well, though most seem to be middle-income and up.
My guess is that most Tea Partiers come from the conservative wing of the Republican Party who are fed up with both the corporate Republicans like Bush and Cheney, as well as the Democrats like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.
With the above in mind, the following questions can serve to go beyond abstractions and generalizations of indignation and get to some more specific responses.
1. Can you be against Big Government and not press for reductions in the vast military budgets, fraught with bureaucratic and large contractors’ waste, fraud and abuse? Military spending now takes up half of the federal government’s operating budgets. The libertarian Cato Institute believes that to cut deficits, we have to also cut the defense budget.
2. Can you believe in the free market and not condemn hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate welfare-bailouts, subsidies, handouts, and giveaways?
3. Can you want to preserve the legitimate sovereignty of our country and not reject the trade agreements known as NAFTA and GATT (The World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland) that scholars have described as the greatest surrender of local, state and national sovereignty in our history?
4. Can you be for law and order and not support a bigger and faster crackdown on the corporate crime wave, that needs more prosecutors and larger enforcement budgets to stop the stealing of taxpayers and consumer dollars so widely reported in the Wall Street Journal and Business Week? Law enforcement officials estimate that for every dollar for prosecution, seventeen to twenty dollars are returned.
5. Can you be against invasions of privacy by government and business without rejecting the provisions of the Patriot Act that leave you defenseless to constant unlawful snooping, appropriation of personal information and even search of your home without notification until 72 hours later?
6. Can you be against regulation of serious medical malpractice (over 100,000 lives lost a year, according to a study by Harvard physicians), unsafe drugs that have serious side effects or cause the very injury/illness they were sold to prevent, motor vehicles with defective brakes, tires and throttles, contaminated food from China, Mexico and domestic processors?
7. Can you keep calling for Freedom and yet tolerate control of your credit and other economic rights by hidden and arbitrary credit ratings and credit scores? What Freedom do you have when you have to sign industry-wide fine print one-sided “contracts” with your banks, insurance companies, car dealers, and credit card companies? Many of these contracts even block your Constitutional access to the courthouse.
8. Can you be for a new, clean system of politics and elections and still accept the Republican and Democratic Two Party dictatorship that is propped up by complex state laws, frivolous litigation and harassment to exclude from the ballot third parties and independent candidates who want reform, accountability, and stronger voices for the voters?
9. If you want a return to our Constitution—its principles of limited and separation of power and its emphasis on “We the People” in its preamble—can you still support Washington’s wars that have not been declared by Congress (Article I Section 8) or giving corporations equal rights with humans plus special privileges and immunities. The word “corporation” or “company” never appears in the Constitution. How can you support eminent domain powers given by governments to corporations over homeowners, or massive week-end bailouts by the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department of businesses, even reckless foreign banks, without receiving the authority and the appropriations from the Congress, as the Constitution requires?
10. You want less taxation and lower deficits. How can you succeed unless you stop big corporations from escaping their fair share of taxes by manipulating foreign jurisdictions against our tax laws, for example, or by letting trillions of dollars of speculation on Wall Street go without any sales tax, while you pay six, seven or eight percent sales tax on the necessities you buy in stores?
Let’s hear from you Tea Partiers. Meanwhile, see the work of video-journalist, Steve Ference, who has interviewed and given voice to those among you in his new paperback “Voices of the Tea Party” published by Lulu.com on July 4, 2010.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book – and first novel – is Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.