The Tea Party claims to be a spontaneous, grass-roots phenomenon. Their “stars” in Congress pose as down-home folks swept into office by “we the people,” who are supposedly fed up with big government and taxes (whether on the super-rich or the working and poor majority.) In reality, these sleazy pols are multi-millionaire imposters protecting their own wealth and the profits of their corporate backers, and gouging everyone else. Their mug shots belong in a Rogue’s Gallery of scoundrels.
The incoming freshmen in the 112th U.S. Congress, many of whom are Tea Party caucus members, have an estimated combined wealth of $533.1 million according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Gosh, sound just like the family next door don’t they? And where are their assets? In such modest ventures as blue chip stocks, real estate, banks, oil and pharmaceuticals!
Tea Party campaigns are largely funded by Rupert Murdoch, David and Charles Koch and other ultra-conservative mega-billionaires, especially in real estate, oil and gas.
Many Tea Party events are organized behind the scenes and staffed by right-wing think-tanks like Americans For Prosperity and FreedomWorks. They provide slogans, sample press releases, and logistics for rallies coast-to-coast. So whose interests are all those Tea Partiers representing in Congress? Not anyone in this writer’s neighborhood. Here are a few of the con men and women currently in Congress.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.): Chair of the Tea Party caucus, she rants against big government. Yet she’s a millionaire due to her husband’s Christian counseling agency, the recipient of generous government grants. This upstanding outfit claims to cure gays of their sexual orientation, a discredited faux “therapy.” Bachmann has also received numerous federal agricultural subsidies. Apparently she’s just for small government for the little people. She votes against Medicare (and children’s healthcare), but now says she wants to “save” it. She denounces Medicaid, while her husband’s clinic happily receives payments from the program! To cap it all, she admires Christian Dominionism, which aims to turn the U.S. into a modern theocracy. Really!
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.): Worth $23.2 million, from oil. Aids wanton environmental destruction. He is backed by Club for Growth, a Wall St. and oil industry-funded political action committee, and works to expand off-shore oil drilling. No doubt he wants working folks to be able to take beach vacations — cleaning shorelines and oil-soaked birds. He managed to get earlier ethics charges dropped that arose when he sold his oil field servicing business for $12 million, yet only reported half that amount on public disclosure forms. His campaign was caught plagiarizing writings from conservative think tanks.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas): Worth $35.8 million, 99 percent from real estate. How many people do you think he’s foreclosed on? He loves the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which held that unlimited corporate lucre can go to political causes without disclosing donors. He benefits through the 60 Plus Association. These masters of disguise claim to be regular senior citizens, but virtually all the donors are pharmaceutical corporations! A (ruling) class act, Farenthold is also infamous for being the good ole boy wearing rubber ducky pajamas while posing with a showgirl at a party.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.): With assets of $49.4 million, Black is a former nurse whose M.D. husband owns Aegis Sciences Corporation, a forensic drug testing company. In early October she contributed to 15 other Republican candidates, then after the election used their support to get a spot on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. She is one of the main backers of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act that calls for balancing the federal budget by slashing social programs (without any additional income from taxing the wealthy or ending vicious and budget-busting wars). This former nurse has made many attempted knife attacks on the public good. She has prior offenses involving scalpels, too — including slicing all government funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Tennessee.
Rep. Cynthia -Lummis (R-Wyo.): Elected under false pretenses. Lummis claims to be just a country girl swept into office by the grass roots. She’s actually a cattle baroness worth around $50 million, but who’s counting? After the BP oil spill she voted against laws to boost oil drilling safety, saying they were just “nuts.” She voted with fellow fat cats to repeal the capital gains tax, and against consumer protection regulations on credit cards. Cutting these “big government regulations” would keep working people from knowing how exorbitant their interest rates are, while the rich laugh all the way to the bank. She’s anti-abortion and pro-privatization of Social Security. The only thing she knows about grass roots is that they feed her cattle.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.): With $3.3 million in assets, he’s a former investment banker specializing in “derivatives,” those unregulated means of speculation that regularly crash the financial sector. So naturally, as former president of the Club for Growth, he works to do away with the FDIC, the insurance protection for small bank accounts! Toomey has advocated a flat 17 percent income tax on everybody – no matter how limited their income. He imagines himself a reverse Robin Hood cutting capital gains, business, income and estate taxes on the rich and raising taxes on the poor. Toomey is armed with corporate money and dangerously on the congressional “Super Committee” that is deciding how to cut the budget without touching the ill-gotten gain of corporations. It is supposed to reduce the budget deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving!
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): A millionaire with 90 percent of his assets in real estate, Paul is stridently anti-immigrant and supports a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. A libertarian, he’s all for “individual freedom,” except where a woman’s right to have an abortion is concerned. He defended BP after the Gulf oil spill, saying that no one is really to blame because “sometimes accidents happen.” He voted to limit BP’s liability to $75 million. (So far the cleanup has cost several billion dollars and is still far from complete; taxpayers are footing the bill.) So much for small government! Paul is nominated to the Rogue’s Gallery for using the oldest alibi in the book — it was an accident!
All points bulletin! The filthy rich listed above are working with co-thinkers to plan future crimes against common people. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and other right-wing accomplices in the corporate media aid and abet these fakers by promoting their Tea Party “just folks” disguises. Together, they stand ready to execute mayhem on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and more. Be on the lookout for these rogues and other multi-millionaire imposters pretending to be ordinary people in Congress!
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