It can be said the current government shutdown is decades in the making

Origins of the tea partyThe Tea Party rose to power in 2010 on a wave of misinformation and hatred of Barack Obama. Sponsored and promoted by Fox so-called News, rallies were held all over America. Angry, predominately white citizens came with their racist signs, their unfettered rage and their belief that our first African American president was born in Kenya, was a socialist, Marxist, Communist fascist, was Hitler reborn and sympathized with terrorists. And calm, rational people scratched our heads and wondered why.

In order to understand what happened on October 1st, it is necessary to understand the origins of the Tea Party, the money, the people behind it and their actual agenda. We’ve all been told the Tea Party is a “grass roots movement” born out of real Americans’ frustration about high taxes, the economy and well, it gets a little fuzzy after that (taxes on middle class families are lower than they have been in years).

Let’s look at the origins of the Tea Party first. You can go back to the 1980’s and big tobacco to find a link between the companies currently funding the Tea Party. We’re all familiar with right wing groups like Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, but what many may not know is they were not always separate entities.

Both Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity were at one time a single group called Citizens for a Sound Economy or CSE. It was founded by none other than billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, and they received millions of dollars from tobacco companies, primarily Philip Morris. And what did CSE do for the tobacco industry? They fought against publicizing the health risks of tobacco, excise taxes and government regulation.

Fast forward to 2002, seven years before the “grass roots Tea Party” began to gain national attention. A study funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health found that in 2002, the Koch brothers with financial backing from big tobacco, created a now-archived website entitled The featured text reads “Today we’re having a new tea party against high taxes!”

the true origins of the tea partyBut you have to go farther back than 2002 or the 1980’s to find another piece of the puzzle. Charles and David Koch are the sons of Fred Koch, a founding member of The John Birch Society, a right wing organization still in “business” today. The John Birch Society railed against the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act; Fred Koch even went so far as to write that the civil rights movement equaled Communism. Here is an excerpt from a New Yorker piece on the Koch brothers:

“In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that ‘the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican parties.’ He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil rights movement. ‘

The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,’ he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment a ‘vicious race war.’ In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would ‘infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.’ “

The Tea Party truly began with the John Birch Society, gained traction in the 1980’s with CSE thanks in part to donations from big tobacco, and quietly made its presence known in 2002 with an archived website entitled US Tea And all that hard work, the decades of spreading fear and paranoia finally culminated in the government shutdown this past Monday. But why? Why do Charles and David Koch and their corporate backers want to destroy our government? Is it just greed?

That’s part of it, make no mistake. Koch Industries is one of the largest environmental polluters in the country. One of their subsidiaries, Georgia Pacific, is currently poisoning the entire town of Crossett, Arkansas. If Koch Industries didn’t have that pesky EPA to worry about, they would be free to carry on their business without fear of legal repercussions. Combine that with the new best thing to conservatives-binding arbitration-and Citizens United, and you have a recipe for zero oversight, zero ramifications for releasing toxins into our air, water and ground. Since no one would be paying attention, no astronomical fines. It’s a win-win for Koch Industries, a lose-lose for the rest of us.

koch brothers agendaNow here’s the $64,000 question. How do you get a majority of Republicans to buy this? What do you tell predominately white, middle class or even poor Americans to convince them that these “policies” are in their best interest? You scare them. You tell them the same thing Fred Koch told people; you just have to modernize it a bit. Instead of “Communists,” it’s socialism. Instead of “the colored man,” it’s immigrants. Instead of the president being a Red, he’s “foreign,” “un-American,” “a terrorist sympathizer.” The message remains the same, the base becomes terrified of a mythical boogeymen, and they vote for men and women who are lying to them every single day.

So a “movement” that claims to be “Taxed Enough Already” really started with the John Birch Society, found backing from Philip Morris, moved into the new millennium with US Tea, and somehow got millions of Americans to believe that none of that is true. And they don’t. You try and tell a Tea Bagger all of this, and they will deny it with every breath in their body. It’s a liberal plot, we’re just angry that “they’re” winning.

Ask the millions of people who will bear the brunt of the Tea Party’s insanity if this is winning.



  1. There seems to be a strong ideological connection between the Communist paranoia that fueled the Joseph McCarthy hearings on unAmerican activities in the early 1950’s and the John Birch Society. I wonder if McCarthyism played a direct role in the origins of the Tea Party. I’m sure they played at least an indirect role. More than likely, some of the members of the John Birch Society were former enthusiasts of McCarthyism which had finally been shamed and killed off just a few years prior to the 1958 birth of JBS. Perhaps JBS could be viewed as a resurrection of McCarthyism, but this may not be historically accurate.

  2. Although the JBS didn’t start until the 1950’s, there had been a loose association of these greedy and fascist bastards since the 1920’s….they simply used the Republican Party as their vessel to get their message out. However, after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, they had to lay low for a while…when Dwight Eisenhower (“Ike”) got into the White House, they though they had their chance to re-establish themselves among the GOP…but, since Ike was a Progressive/Moderate and essentially continued the “Roosevelt Republic” that had begun in 1933, they needed to start their own group…thus, the JBS was birthed….but, make no mistake: the roots go back much further than the 1950’s, my friends….

  3. Wow, Erin. Nice article. I know quite a few people who do NOT want to hear this information. It is so disappointing how easily manipulated folks can be when there is unlimited money used to scare and threaten. Sigh.

  4. “Georgia Pacific, is currently poisoning the entire town of Crossett, Arkansas. If Koch Industries didn’t have that pesky EPA to worry about, they would be free to carry on their business without fear of legal repercussions.”

    You realize that sentence is logically inconsistent, right? They can do that now specifically because the the EPA regulations trump the property rights of individuals whose property is being destroyed. I’m no fan of the Koch’s, but they’re not the ones with drones, guns, and armies.

    • PEER is filing claims with states’ EPA, not federal. Here-

      To the second portion of your comment: You’re no “fan” of the Kochs, but the people they’re hurting and the states they’re polluting and the watersheds they’re destroying don’t matter because they don’t have “drones, guns and armies.”

      Finally, putting the word “but” between two ideas negates the first one. For example, “I love you, but” means the speaker does not actually love the other person. In your version, you have negated your lack of “fan-dom” for the Kochs by giving them a free pass simply because you hate the President of the United States (yes, I broke your code).

      • I don’t know who moderates these comments, but I’m curious as to why my reply to the above posting submitted on October 10 on “putting the word ‘but’ between two ideas negates the first one” is not in fact true most of the time. Is it because my comment conflicts with your point of view and perhaps unhinges the conclusion you have drawn in your posting above, all based upon your interpretation of the poster’s usage of the word “but”, where you state:

        “you have negated your lack of “fan-dom” for the Kochs by giving them a free pass simply because you hate the President of the United States (yes, I broke your code).”

        If this is not the case, why not post my comment from October 10 and either refute it or admit that you were wrong? Over zealous censorship does not make for a healthy blog conversation. I liked and admired your article here on the history of the Tea Party. I’ll be curious to see what you do with this comment and the previous one from October 10. You can either post them or not. Either way is fine, but if you choose the latter (not posting), you risk losing a fan. Then again, maybe you don’t care.

        • The only comments we throw aside are those that directly insult the author (usually with hateful language), those who comment on something unrelated to the article or those that try and point out grammatical errors. While some of the comments are welcome, they won’t be posted.

          You need to understand that our site consists mainly of amateur writers. We do our best to edit them properly, but posting critical comments about the authors language is bad for a site still in its infancy.

    • Andy,

      You’re half right, but only half. Your implicit point, which I wish you’d stated up front, is that property rights and the common law offer one possible solution — sometimes – to offences such as people or companies passing their costs on to others.

      In this respect one way of looking at pollution is it’s overcharging: the polluter is giving something away free when the true free market price is negative; in justice they ought to be paying the recipients.

      That’s a fine theory, people get Nobel prizes in economics for working on the little details, and it would be wonderful if it always worked. It doesn’t.

      Courts can be bought, particularly in jurisdictions where judges are elected, or in places like the
      Supreme Court of the US where both the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas, enough to switch a majority, perjured themselves to get confirmed.

      Expensive lawyers can beat small people into the ground. Big Tobacco managed to keep killing people for two generations after the causes of lung cancer became clear. They lied, they bought scientists, they suborned juries, they advertised and bought the consciences of everybody out as far as Ms. “You’ve come a long way, baby,” Magazine.

      Polluters will do the same thing. They already have.

      More generally, common law is not the only form of law — because individual torts are not the only form of harm.

      Polluters cause two kinds of damages: they pollute, yes, but they also compete unfairly. If polluters are allowed to get away with it until they are forced to pay — possibly generations — they also operate on the cheap during that time. Good guys, the non-polluters are driven to the wall.

      That’s why we need administrative law: to give the good guys an even chance.

      Take the case of fluorohydrocarbons, a major cause of global warming. They are coming off the market because of the actions of a single good guy, the late Pete Dupont. Pierre S. Dupont IV was a Republican Senator from Delaware, where all those corporations live; he was the first husband of Secretary of State Kerry’s wife, and he was a ver-ree rich man, major shareholder in the Dupont family of corporations. His companies were the main manufacturer of these dangerous chemicals, and he made a ton of money off them. His scientists explained to him that they wee in danger of, uh, destroying planet Earth for human use, and he said “Right. Stop it.” So they shut the operation down, and they started up the rewards program for getting the chemicals out of air conditioners without going into the atmosphere.

      Very expensive. Very necessary. And both decent and far-sighted of him.

      Still this left a situation where less decent people could have made a buck out of making the same chemicals and making the cheap air conditioners. That’s why we need laws. Cops. Bureaucrats. Administrators. Jack booted thugs… To stop the bad guys from making out where the good guys have refused to go.



  5. This article is very interesting, but also extremely scary. Especially the part about not getting tea party members to see the truth. Those Koch Brothers are a cancer to the USA.

  6. This article resonates with truth more so than anything I’ve seen on the web. Thank you guys for doing the research and for making it available to the people. I suspect there is a far deeper scheme in the works. Which is to cause a total and complete crash of the US Dollar on World Financial Markets…Thereby, causing a Devaluation of US Currency to a point that the Dollar is no longer “THE WORLD CURRENCY.”
    I also, believe/or suspect that the Koch Brothers(Family) are somehow related/or connected to the “OLD CONFEDERACY” dating back to before the “CIVIL WAR DAYS.”
    The irony in this is…The Republic North won the War and totally Devalued Confederate Money. Which is ORIGINATION OF TERM;.. “COUNTERFIT MONEY” OR COUNTERFIT…!!!
    If they are able to stealthfully manipulate the Tea Party faction. Which is now, clearly controlling the GOP into another threat to Default… Or actual Cause an Actual Default on the Nations Debt. In this critically pivotal juncture of our economic reboot.
    The World’s Bond Buyers could refuse to buy anymore of America’s Debt (Bonds) with American Dollars…But force a purchase of any future bonds in a NON-USD INSTRUMENT…
    It could/or would cause the Dollar’s Value to effectively fall to a ZERO VALUE…AND THEN HELLOOO….DEPRESSION…AND GOODBYE LIFE AS WE KNOW IT….

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