April 6, 2010

Tea Party and AFP

OK. I'm trying to find common ground with the right wing... civil liberties are good issues.

But, then there is this healthcare thing.

Granted, being forced to buy private health care, and enrich the insurance corporations rubs me the wrong way... there's some common ground. (Forget insurance pool size issues... like it doesn't work if the pool is too small).... Should probably have a single-payer system (cut out the corporate middleman... keep the money among we the people)... or turn people away from hospitals if they don't have insurance (they have the "individual right" not to be insured and not get treated... never mind the hippocratic oath... of course, sick people can spread their illness... ah, never mind... making it too complicated!!).

None of what follows deters from my original thesis about the great potential of principled people on the right and left working together on important issues.

The Tea Parties, in many cases, take their lead on healthcare from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and it's president Tim Phillips? Not sure he fits the term "principled" when it comes to conservatives. He's more of a hired gun for corporations.

AFP got its start working for the cigarette corporations ... one can argue that cigarette smoking indoors is an "individual right," and maybe the rules shouldn't be set by government. But, one can also argue that breathing fresh air without someone's smoke in it is also an individual right... Fortunately, we have a representative democracy... we can vote to determine the outcome of such differences. It could be done in the work place if we don't want government involved, but it IS a government of, for and by the people... except when the corporate-sponsored AFP comes along it becomes of, for and by the corporations too; the smoker's "rights" become corporate sponsored "rights". Surely, AFP's involvement had nothing to do with corporate profits... right? It's all about "individual liberties"... or so the AFP pitch goes... personally, I don't believe AFP's pitch is sincere.. they're hired guns.

Aside: State governments realized they were paying health care for uninsured smokers' health problems, which justified the states getting involved in the smoking ban movement. Maybe states had an image problem with turning people away from hospitals. *shrug*

Before joining AFP, Phillips worked for Century Strategies. According to Phillips' Century Strategies biography, "Tim joined Ralph Reed in founding Century Strategies, parent company of Millennium Marketing, in 1997."

I presume you know Ralph Reed was Executive Director of the Christian Coalition 1989-1997 and is seriously tainted by the Jack Abramoff lobbying affair (not exactly principled IMNSHO). Phillip's relationship with Reed wasn't casual. They worked together for ten years before Phillips went to AFP; Reed is still at Century Strategies.

This isn't mere "guilt by association." These people operate at a sophisticated level in Washington and can't claim ignorance about what they and their associates are doing. Although AFP doesn't disclose its funding sources, it's pretty clear they are working for the health industry. I feel that this type of Washington operation is part of the problem. Principled people on the right should know in whose name they are speaking when asked to call their representatives and say they are members of AFP.

What you see is a modest salary (kinda looks "grass roots"):
Tim Phillips, AFP President - paid $60,646 in 2007

What you might not see:
Tim Phillips - AFP Foundation paid $185,843 in salary and $17,236 in benefits in 2007

Grand Total: $263,700 (who knows what he makes in speaking fees, etc.)

No law against making money. I just wonder how many people at the ground level realize exactly who and what is behind AFP?

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