March 31, 2010

NYT’s Zernike: Tea Partying Something To Do While Unemployed, Collecting Govt. Benefits

ZernikeBetcha didn’t know this: The Tea Party movement’s growth was fueled by unemployed people lying around looking for something to do, and will have a hard time sustaining itself if/when the economy improves. Oh, and they’re so distressed about the country’s circumstances that they’re letting emotion trump facts in their advocacy.

Those are the themes of Kate Zernike’s Saturday New York Times report with the snarky title (“With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party”) that was carried on the front page of Sunday’s print edition. Really. This is the same Kate Zernike (pictured at top right) who saw racism where none existed at CPAC in February, and who Andrew Breitbart memorably called “a despicable human being.” Seems about right.

Zernike’s piece attempted to support its pathetic premises and implications as a result of discussions with three — count ‘em — individuals. One of them is in her mid-60s and collecting Social Security, hardly the archetype of a disaffected unemployed person. Comically, the Times reporter characterized Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks a “Tea Party group,” even though it was founded in 1984, a quarter-century before Rick Santelli’s memorable tea-party rant last year.

Here are selected passages from Kate’s calamity:

At rallies, gatherings and training sessions in recent months, activists often tell a similar story in interviews: they had lost their jobs, or perhaps watched their homes plummet in value, and they found common cause in the Tea Party’s fight for lower taxes and smaller government.

The Great Depression, too, mobilized many middle-class people who had fallen on hard times. Though, as Michael Kazin, the author of “The Populist Persuasion,” notes, they tended to push for more government involvement. The Tea Party vehemently wants less — though a number of its members acknowledge that they are relying on government programs for help.

The fact that many of them joined the Tea Party after losing their jobs raises questions of whether the movement can survive an improvement in the economy, with people trading protest signs for paychecks.

But for now, some are even putting their savings into work that they argue is more important than a job — planning candidate forums and get-out-the-vote operations, researching arguments about the constitutional limits on Congress and using Facebook to attract recruits.

“Even if I wanted to stop, I just can’t,” said Diana Reimer, 67, who has become a star of the effort by FreedomWorks, a Tea Party group, to fight the health care overhaul. “I’m on a mission, and time is not on my side.”

… She and others who receive government benefits like Medicare and Social Security said they paid into those programs, so they are getting what they deserve.

“All I know is government was put here for certain reasons,” Ms. Reimer said. “They were not put here to run banks, insurance companies, and health care and automobile companies. They were put here to keep us safe.”

… (Unemployed Midwesterner Jeff McQueen) and others do not see any contradictions in their arguments for smaller government even as they argue that it should do more to prevent job loss or cuts to Medicare. After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact.

Tea Party groups like FreedomWorks recognize that they are benefiting from the labor of many people who have been hit hard economically. But its chairman, the former House majority leader Dick Armey, argued that their ranks will remain strong — and connected — even as members find work.

In Zernike’s world it’s almost as if you can’t criticize the government’s excessive largesse unless you’re not taking a dime of government benefits in any way, shape, or form.

As to her contention that Tea Party involvement will diminish as the economy improves, three points:

  • Based on my real-world observations of Tea Partiers, many of them do have jobs, and are working their activism around their work.
  • Many active Tea Partiers are in jobs or have self-employed businesses with a lot of time flexibility.
  • The Obama administration itself has said that the employment situation won’t improve much for quite some time, making Zernike’s assertion that Tea Partiers might become to busy to stay politically engaged a far-off dream.

Cross-posted at

Positivity: John Paul II loved Christ unconditionally, Pope recalls as anniversary nears

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:33 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 29, 2010 / 05:28 pm

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Mass at St. Peter’s on Monday evening for the fifth anniversary of Venerable John Paul II’s death. He called his predecessor a “great Pole” whose entire life was given out of charity.

Among the many others taking part in the Mass was Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow Stanislaw Dziwisz, the late-Pope’s personal secretary. The Mass was celebrated four days before the actual day of Pope John Paul II’s death, April 2, because it falls on Good Friday this year.

In his homily, the Holy Father likened John Paul II to the figure of the “Servant of God” described by the prophet Isaiah in Monday’s Liturgy of the Word. The Servant, the Pope said, “will act with steadfast firmness, with an energy that is not lacking until he has realized the task he has been assigned.”

“What the inspired prophet says about the Servant, we can also apply to the beloved John Paul II,” the Holy Father said, noting that late-Pontiff was guided by the Lord to “exercise a very fruitful ministry, for which, once again, we give fervent thanks to God.”

Pope Benedict went on to say that John Paul II’s actions reflected the charity we see in today’s Gospel reading which recounts the story of Mary of Bethany, who washed the feet of Jesus with an expensive oinment and dried them with her hair. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Stupak’s Startling Statement to Catholic News Agency Ignored Elsewhere

03_25_2010_StupakThis item may not surprise those of us who have watched politicians take the safe way out at any opportunity, but it will give any voters who come across it reason to doubt any Democratic congressman who says that he or she voted no on principle against Obamacare on Sunday, March 21.

This explains why it hasn’t been covered much — and maybe not at all — in any establishment media outlet.

On March 26, the Catholic News Agency had an exclusive interview with Michigan congressman Bart Stupak. Wait until you see some of the things he admitted to CNA:

Rep. Stupak: Speaker Pelosi had extra health care votes ‘in her pocket’

The health care reform bill would have passed the House without the votes of Rep. Bart Stupak’s pro-life Democrats because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” Stupak told CNA in a Thursday phone interview.

The Michigan Democrat explained that by opting for the executive order, pro-life Democrats believe they ensured the legislation was “somewhat restrictive” towards abortion funding.

“Speakers never bring a bill to the floor, unless they have the votes. And they always have few in reserve,” Stupak revealed, describing this as a “common tactic” that was used in the defeat of the Dornan Amendment in a funding bill earlier this year.

“The Speaker always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” he said, meaning that some members who voted ‘no’ would have voted ‘yes’ if needed.

“I had a number of members who thanked us after because they could vote no.”

Rep. Stupak said he thought the votes available for Sunday’s vote totaled 222.

Well, okay Bart, who were these Dems who didn’t have the courage to vote their convictions, and instead wish to go back to their constituents and claim they didn’t support the ObamaCare monstrosity? (crickets …)

Better yet, pal, don’t tell us. It would be much more convenient for November voters to presumptively assume that their no-voting Democratic congressman really was a “yes” until Bart bailed them out. That works for me, and it would work for many other like-minded Americans — which is why the press will more than likely pretend that the CNA-Stupak interview doesn’t exist.

Cross-posted at