Monday, September 20, 2010

Who's Pouring the Tea

My blogger friend, Kimmie, suggested that I post a bit on the Koch brothers and their influence on the Tea Party. Here's an excerpt from a recent New Yorker article about them (and a link to the entire article below):

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small

 There's a lot written about the Tea Party members and those who sympathize with their platform. What I find interesting -- and repellent -- is that most of the members appear to be naive about just who is funding them and why. It sort of reminds me of the rise of the Christian Right during the Reagan years -- a group co-opted for purely political purposes. When I listen to those who are sympathetic to the tea partiers, I always wonder what they think is going to replace the "big government" that they so despise -- because it seems to me that big corporate interests are what rules the place -- money -- and those corporate interests are really only using the ideals of "liberty" "freedom" etc. to further their own agenda, which is profit and profit only.  My favorite example of this is all the folks crying about healthcare reform and socialized medicine -- the "government" somehow coming between you and your doctor. I'm living proof that what stands between me and my doctor has ALWAYS been my insurance company, and will always be my insurance company until something changes --  you're dreaming at worst and probably never been sick at best, if you think any decisions will be made purely between you and your doctor. My doctor is at the mercy of my insurance company, not only in how and what she is prescribing for my daughter but in the timing of receiving proper care. If insurance companies continue to work, unfettered by regulation, do you really think the free market is going to work healthcare out?  I'd be happy if we took the profit completely out of insurance companies -- and I'm still a believer in universal healthcare for everyone.

And yes, I'm perfectly aware that government, the government, is often a source of enormous dysfunction and ineptitude -- but I think it's profoundly cynical to write it off as a sort of behemoth incapable of change and great good.

If you want to read about who's pouring the tea, click HERE.


  1. Yeah. That article blew my mind and not in a good way and I've come to the point where the only two options I can see when it comes to describing those people who fear universal health care is:
    1. Very ignorant.
    2. Very stupid.
    Perhaps I should add
    The insurance companies. I have to wonder how much of the anti-health care propaganda they are funding.

  2. I'm Canadian. I live with socialized healthcare and nobody has ever come between me and my doctor. Nobody from government, nobody from insurance, nobody from my employer.

    Years ago my daughter suffered a major brain trauma. She was rushed into surgery and had a large abscess removed, and thankfully survived pretty much unscathed. There was a ten-day hospital stay. There were numerous subsequent CAT scans and appointments with the hospital's top neurosurgeon, neurologist and paediatrician. There was six weeks of home nurse visits to monitor six weeks of massive infusions of antibiotics via IV.

    I can't imagine what the dollar cost of all this was. I never saw any bill. No one ever questioned the doctors' decisions or strategies. No one ever nixed a prescription or treatment.

    Once I worked in Detroit while still living in Canada. My colleagues and I figured out that the difference in the higher amount of taxes that I paid worked out to be less than the monthly fee they paid to insurance companies.

    The only informed people associated with that tea party are the ones who are creating the hysteria, because they know it's very easy to convince people when "information" is based on peoples' fears.

  3. Thanks for linking to this article again, Elizabeth. I first read it when Ms Moon put up the link.

    It's the "tea" smoke that the Koch brothers and other folks who want irresponsible power are blowing at those teapartiers that has them blinded.

    I would love to see a show of hands in the tea party group as to how many of them have traveled outside of the US and have any experience with the health care system, worker's rights, schools, etc there.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I agree with what is said in the three previous comments. I will add, to those who don't want universal health care, a great number of doctors, including a number that are my family and that I love dearly. I also know how they love a dollar! Yes, they spent a lot of time and money getting through school and training. That is something that needs to be addressed. Medical training should be greatly subsidized under universal health care. It would certainly weed out those who are in health care for the money and who are in it for the real desire to make a difference. And, aren't the latter the people we want treating our sick?


  6. Uh, make that the first three comments!


  7. Mrs Moon,

    How is very ignorant and very stupid different?

    What college did you go to?


    thanks for the laugh

  8. @Dave, FYI
    Stupid:lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity;unintelligent: lacking intelligence; "a dull job with lazy and unintelligent co-workers"

    Ignorant:lack of knowledge, information, or education; the state of being ignorant

  9. Oh Goddess. Thank you (for the four hundreth time). It continues to floor me that people are so willing to hand over their money with no thought or voice to insurance companies. Fear is a big driver. I have no answers. Jennifer's comment is an eye/mind opener. There are many "systems" which far surpass the US healthcare.

    As for the Tea Baggers. I only blurb and stutter when I try to say anything ignorant or stupid. Haha. (Love that thread, Ms. Moon!) Your words, Dear Author, are well said, well thought through, full of passion, fueled by intelligence and outrage.



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